Scott Brown’s No Gossip Rule: The Plague of the NCFIC


How Doug Phillips and Scott Brown Promote Sin and Cowardice In The Church

“Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” –Charles Haddon Spurgeon

gossip-frontIn 2007 Scott Brown, Director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, preached a sermon entitled, Gossip: The Plague of the Church. This sermon was preached to an audience of several hundred immediately following a conference on building businesses and entrepreneurialship. The audience also included some pastors.

Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries, was at that conference and struck a deal with Scott Brown to sell the sermon as an audio CD on the Vision Forum web site.

Jen Fishburne informs me that it was no coincidence that Scott Brown preached this sermon at the time he did. It was at this same time that Doug Phillips was beginning to feel the heat from Jen exposing his ecclesiastical tyrannies and abuses on her blog. Jen had done everything humanly possible to seek reconciliation with Doug, but he sabotaged her every overture. As a last resort she published her story on her blog, not to shame and humiliate him but to publicly expose Doug Phillips as an ecclesiastical tyrant so that others might not fall prey to his abuses.

Jen has been accused many times of being “bitter and unforgiving”, but I know Jen well and I know that the opposite is the case. Her motivation isn’t a hatred for Doug Phillips but a love for the body of Christ.

As a direct result of Jen’s story going public, the home school community was asking questions, and even some members of his own church, Boerne Christian Assembly, were voicing concerns. In desperation Doug Phillips searched for a way of shutting down all inquiries into his abusive practices. The charge of “gossip” was a ready-made excuse for silencing all calls for his accountability and repentance. Scott Brown’s “Gossip” sermon was tailor-made to clamp the lid down hard on any challenges to the tyrannies of a spiritually abusive pastor.

It was Scott Brown’s “Gossip” sermon which launched the No Gossip Rule in the BCA community. By mass-marketing the CD, Vision Forum and the NCFIC have also effectively inculcated the No Gossip Rule within a large portion of NCFIC churches. Doug Phillips and Vision Forum have, likewise, indoctrinated thousands of Christian home school families with the No Gossip Rule. To quote from one of my previous articles:

Doug Phillips has railed against so-called gossipers for years, and gossip is whatever Doug Phillips defines it to be. As Doug Phillips has often said, “He who defines the terms wins”, and the way Doug defines gossip is by equating gossip with a violation of the 9th Commandment. This is quite typical of how Doug Phillips twists and distorts sacred scripture for his personal agenda. To Doug Phillips gossip is anything that anyone says about him, or about his friends, that he doesn’t like. It makes no difference to him whether the things said about him are true and already public information. Say something about Doug Phillips that he likes, even if it’s just complete lies and fabrications (and there have been plenty of his sycophants who have done so to feed his massive ego), but that’s not gossip. But say anything true about Doug that he doesn’t like and it’s not just merely gossip, it’s “wicked gossip” or the “horrific sin of gossip”…

This is one of the most oft-used mind-control tools Doug Phillips has pulled out of his toolbox, and he’s used it to tremendous effect. Doug Phillips injects massive doses of  guilt and shame to prevent anyone from confronting him and holding him accountable, or even so much as reading anyone’s blog where they might find “gossip” about him. What few BCA members and Vision forum employees and interns that have read our articles and posted comments here have inevitably condemned it as, “I see your fruit on this site and it is wicked gossip.”

The fruit of Doug’s “no gossip” rule has created many more non-thinking people than just within the walls of BCA and Vision Forum. That mind-control influence has been spread to thousands of home school families too, and that mind-control prevents thousands from so much as looking at a blog of this nature lest their utopian home school dreamworld be contaminated.

Those indoctrinated in the No Gossip Rule can’t even question it, even in the light of the very Scriptures from which its teachers claim it originates. To my knowledge, the Phillips-Brown No Gossip Rule hasn’t ever been challenged. I intend to not only challenge it here, I intend to dismantle it, and the Code Of Silence that goes with it.

omertaThe Phillips-Brown No Gossip Rule contains a terrifying message. It is the VF/NCFIC equivalent of the Mafia’s Omertà. Omertà means “honor” in Sicilian, but the Mafia perverted the term into a Code Of Silence. The violation of Omertà has frightful retaliatory consequences. The power of the Mafia is real and only a fool would defy it. The power of Scott Brown and Doug Phillips is largely bluff and bluster. The threat of “excommunication” from a cult leader has no impact on the condition of one’s soul, nor does it carry any weight whatsoever with the Lord God. But as P.T. Barnum put it, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Doug Phillips and Scott Brown have effectively created a Christian Cosa Nostra, complete with its Code Of Silence. Doug Phillips is all about drama and theatrics. He loves dress-up and costume parties, so it should surprise no one that he accessorized his Boss image by having VF employees and interns trained as “executive protection” agents. He periodically had them play dress-up as black-suited black-shade wearing armed enforcer goons. In several cases he’s sent his enforcer goons out (very likely at VFM donor expense) to threaten and intimidate people who dared to expose him. In at least two cases that we know of blog owners dramatically altered and removed content from their blogs, or shut them down altogether, as a direct result of those threatening encounters. Those strong-arm tactics have been well concealed and they are known in detail to only the perpetrators, victims, and a few others, like Jen and myself.

Multiple thousands have come under the influence of not only the Phillips-Brown No Gossip Rule, but also the cultish influence they have injected into dozens of other religious sociopathic leaders they have served to inspire within their VF/NCFIC subculture. Brown’s lecture wasn’t preached so much to his own church members, though some were there. He was addressing a larger audience of several hundred. There were pastors in that audience, and Scott Brown had an objective of influencing those pastors to become the same kind of autocratic tyrant that he and Doug Phillips are.

For those who have embraced the No Gossip Rule, violating it could have even worse consequences than what the Mafia imposes. This is because the consequences, as they have been led to believe, could be eternal. As I will demonstrate herein, that threat is a myth based on nothing more than Scott Brown’s clumsy and inept twisting of Scripture.

One thing that is not bluff and bluster, however, is the very real threat of “church discipline” (code word for banishment and shunning) for any who would dare to violate the No Gossip Rule, or challenge it, or challenge any of those other numerous cultish rules endemic in the VF/NCFIC subculture. In Gossip: The Plague of the Church, Scott Brown affirms that gossip warrants a “zero tolerance policy”. According to Scott Brown gossip is the worst and most destructive sin in the church. Gossip is due the harshest possible penalties. Gossip is due only one warning, and two at the most:

“I had a very interesting moment several months ago where I was speaking to a pastor friend of mine at my house and we were talking about the subject of gossip and he told me that in his church he has a zero tolerance policy for gossip, and he said that in his church in Wilmington, North Carolina, no one becomes a member of that church until they hear the sermon on gossip, and he delivers this sermon on gossip every September, and he makes two promises to the people in his church. The first promise is that whenever they come they are going to be taught scripture as best as he can in its context and, secondly, that no one will speak evil of you behind your back, and I was very interested in this policy because I’d never heard anything like that before, and I thought what a great policy and what a great practice in the church, and I said could you send me last year’s sermon, and he did… And he says that gossip is the chief destroyer of the church. And the destruction isn’t to brick and mortar but it’s to the souls of people…(4:20) Here’s what my pastor friend told me in his church. He said, You know Scott in our church if you commit adultery you get four warnings according to Matthew 18. But if you gossip you’re out of here by the first or the second warning. And that’s it. You will not survive in this church after the second warning, and maybe the first” (17:50)

Scott Brown goes on to state his approval for this “zero tolerance” policy, and it’s one that he apparently practices himself. He may be accurately representing his “zero tolerance” pastor friend for the tyrant that he unwittingly portrays him to be. On the other hand Scott Brown may be every bit the duplicitous liar that Doug Phillips proved himself to be when he lied for many years about his “mentor and spiritual father” Pastor Robert Gifford, and that Pastor Gifford allegedly commissioned him to start a church in San Antonio. Either way though, “zero tolerance” has some frightening ramifications.

Yes, we are to confront and discipline sin in the church, but we are to do so per Matthew 18:15-17, and that applies to all sins and all members of the local church, including to pastors, elders and deacons. Scott Brown singles out gossip as being the one sin that is unworthy of any Matthew 18 biblical due process because it is far worse than any other sin. Under Scott Brown’s tyrannical oversight, if gossip happens there’s only one warning, two if you’re lucky. Confession and repentance apparently count for nothing in such a case. You’re put out of the church and you’ll be shunned by all your friends. This sounds like an ironclad guaranteed way to shut everyone up.

Is gossip inherently so much more destructive to the church than other sins that it warrants a zero tolerance policy and immediate expulsion and shunning? Is gossip so horrifically sinful that it qualifies for sanctions that aren’t imposed even in cases of adultery, extortion, drunkenness, and idolatry? Is that really what the Bible teaches? Scott Brown claims as much:

“And so here in Titus 3:10 we read, reject a divisive man after the first or second admonition. I don’t know why this sternness is present here. It’s more stern than the sins that we might regard as even greater sins, like adultery, or like extortion, or like drunkenness, or like idolatry, or like covetousness, or all manner of idolatry. It’s right in the same plane and it’s categorized in the midst of other great evils.” (18:10)

Here Scott Brown makes a subtle and yet significant exegetical and logical error. He conflates terms. This is something he does throughout his lecture, and he does so with practically every verse he quotes. Titus 3:10 uses the term “a divisive man” which he conflates with “a gossip”. If not confronted, gossip in the church does have the potential to cause division. However, it is not gossip that the Apostle Paul is referring to when he speaks of a “divisive man”.  What is a divisive man? Scott Brown doesn’t seem to appreciate the importance of interpreting scripture with scripture. The previous verse (9) clearly defines what a divisive man is by the activities he engages in:

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law;  (Titus 3:9)

Scott Brown and Doug Phillips claim to be Calvinists, so let’s see what John Calvin has to say of Titus 3:10. In Calvin’s Commentaries he likens the divisive man not to a gossip but to an argumentative, quarreling “heretical man”:

10. Avoid an heretical man. This is properly added; because there will be no end of quarrels and dispute, if we wish to conquer obstinate men by argument; for they will never want words, and they will derive fresh courage from impudence, so that they will never grow weary of fighting. Thus, after having given orders to Titus as to the form of doctrine which he should lay down, he now forbids him to waste much time in debating with heretics, because battle would lead to battle and dispute to dispute. Such is the cunning of Satan, that, by the impudent talkativeness of such men, he entangles good and faithful pastors, so as to draw them away from diligence in teaching. We must therefore beware lest we become engaged in quarrelsome disputes; for we shall never have leisure to devote our labors to the Lord’s flock, and contentious men will never cease to annoy us.

It’s debatable whether Titus 3:10 is even about church discipline at all since “have nothing more to do with him” implies that it is addressing someone outside the local church. If it applied to a member of the local church Paul would likely have said something like, “Rebuke him before the assembly and cast him out of your midst for an example to all”. That would be consistent with another of Paul’s pastoral instructions, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear” (1Tim. 5:20). However, even if it could be reasonably argued that Titus 3:10 is addressing members of the local assembly it clearly only applies to the argumentative, quarreling heretical man, not mere gossips.

After conflating “divisive man” for “gossip”, Scott Brown goes on to say that failing to shun a gossip is sinful:

“Notice the last three passages of Scripture that we read say reject a divisive man, or to avoid them, or to not keep company with them. You might think about that on a practical level. Maybe on two levels. Is it possible that there are people in the body of Christ who are sinning by not avoiding you? They actually continue to relate with you and they should not because of this. Or is it possible that we are relating with and not avoiding those who gossip? These are beautiful and very simple passages of Scripture. They’re not complex. A six year old can understand them.” (18:48)

“A six year old can understand them” is a rather common tactic among intellectually dishonest men like Scott Brown. His message is transparent – “What I’m telling you is so obvious that even my little grandchildren get this. If you don’t get it you’re dumber than a six year old. Don’t even think about questioning me about this.”

Needless to say, any pastor who considers his own twisted interpretations of Scripture to justify his autocratic methods of ruling his church to be “beautiful” is no pastor at all. Like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown is a religious sociological cult leader.

Under the terms of this No Gossip Rule the accused gossiper is confronted with the frightful threat of “discipline”. Discipline in many NCFIC churches is accompanied by the implied threat of banishment (“excommunication”) and shunning. This is precisely what Scott Brown is advocating in the above quote. Banishment and shunning means being cut off from “the community of believers” and being cast out into “the world” where they are “lost”. The shunned are cut off from all their friends, and sometimes even family members, who will no longer so much as speak to or even look at them. They may even lose their job if their employer is a member of the same cult (I’ve seen it happen). They are forever a pariah.

The threat of being shunned is a powerful mind control tactic that keeps members passive and docile. This is precisely the demeanor that cult leaders demand of their followers – unquestioning servile obedience in all things. Obedience to the cult leader is the real standard in a cult, not the Word of God. The Bible itself is not the authority to the cult but, rather, it is what the cult leader interprets the Bible to mean for them. Any dissenting views are subject to immediate and harsh discipline. One cannot dictate efficiently as an autocrat without first silencing opposition, and Scott Brown’s sermon gives the alleged “biblical authority” to put down any and all dissenting views, as well as eliminating any and all accountability of themselves.

One of the indicia of cult leaders is their penchant for blowing minor sins and transgressions completely out of proportion with what the Bible says of them, while also often ignoring major sins (and especially their own sins). The sin of gossip is a perfect example of this. Of gossip Scott Brown says:

“The Lord hates it and He calls it an abomination… If we want to understand this subject we need to understand that God hates it.” (24:55)

Scott Brown makes this bold claim by conflating “gossip” for “sowing discord among the brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19) and completely ignoring the context of the passage of those things listed which God actually does hate. Gossip may be the vehicle through which some discord is sown, but sowing discord is a far more egregious act than mere gossip. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God hates gossip, nor does the Bible call gossip “an abomination”.

Abomination is one of those scary words that cult leaders love to recklessly toss around because “sin” just doesn’t have the punch they’re looking for to justify “disciplining” the alleged perpetrator. Once someone is charged with an “abomination” then all bets are off for any biblical due process.

gossip-backThe back cover of the “Gossip” CD case states:

“Gossip is the great destroyer of families, communities, and local churches. And the Bible has much to say about this form of verbal murder [emp. added]. Now, in this Scripture-saturated message, Scott Brown defines and diagnoses the problem of gossip, unveils the spiritual devastation it leaves behind, and explains the scriptural remedy and the blessings which accompany following God’s commands regarding the use of the tongue.”

Scott Brown’s message includes a number of quoted Scriptures, but it would only qualify as “Scripture-saturated” if the scripture verses he quotes were directly applicable to gossip and not distorted into something not intended by the authors. In his sermon introduction Scott Brown says,

“I’m not actually going to do an exposition of the book of James, but I’m going to give us lots scripture, lots of verses. I’m going to just wear us out with verses here this morning. I almost never do this but I’m going to do it this morning.” (3:30)

The following is the list of verses Scott Brown quotes from, given in the order that he quotes them. I’ve summarized the verses, not according to what Scott Brown claims they say about gossip, but what the verses plainly say for themselves:

  • Matt 5:21-26 “angry with his brother without a cause”, “whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool’, shall be in danger of hell fire”
  • Ps 15:1-3 backbiting, taking up a reproach against a neighbor
  • Prov 6:16-19 “A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”
  • Prov 26:20-23 talebearer, contentious man, “Burning lips and a wicked heart”
  • Rom 16:17-18 “divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned”
  • 1 Cor 5:11 “do not keep company with… a reviler”
  • Titus 3:10 “avoid a divisive man”
  • James 4:11 “Do not speak evil of one another”
  • 1 Pet 3:8-12 “Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit”
  • 3 John 9-10 “Diotrephes… prating against us with malicious words”
  • Prov 17:4 “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.”

While we should all take heed of these admonitions, none of these verses have much if anything to do with the act of gossiping. Rather, they are about slander, lying, speaking deceitfully, backbiting, reviling, sowing discord among brethren, contentiousness, and listening to and giving credence to lies and liars. Yes, all of these things can be conveyed by means of gossip. But gossip can also occur without any of those other sins being perpetrated.

Scott Brown’s method of expositing Scripture is little different from throwing a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs at the wall and hoping something will stick. His exegetical skills really are that much of a mess. He twists and contorts Scripture, as well as the definitions of the terms used therein, while conflating one term for another, all to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Deception is always rooted in truth, or at least a half-truth because blatant lies would never have any chance of deceiving anyone but the most gullible. As such Scott Brown starts off his lecture by giving a half-truth:

“So I’d like to define gossip here a little bit with scripture. The terms gossip and slander occur around 56 times in Bible, and they’re often used interchangeably”. (7:10)

As Doug Phillips has stated many times, “He who defines the terms wins.” Scott Brown and Doug Phillips have defined gossip as slander and slander as gossip, when in point of fact they are distinctly different from one another. Slander and gossip are not “interchangeable” as Scott Brown claims, whether it be in the Bible, or anywhere else. If “gossip” were “interchangeable with slander”, as Scott Brown asserts, it would have to be, like slander, a violation of the 9th Commandment in all cases. Certainly gossip can be the means of facilitating these things, but gossip is not, of its own accord, a violation of the 9th Commandment. Gossip is, quite often, completely truthful, whereas slander is always lies, fabrications, and/or half-truths.

To conflate “slander” for “gossip” Scott Brown very early in his lecture uses a specific Bible version that he believes aids him in this error, the 1995 edition of the NASB. The editors of the NASB state: “Version Information – While preserving the literal accuracy of the 1901 ASV, the NASB has sought to render grammar and terminology in contemporary English.” While a modern English rendering may be beneficial to the casual reader, it’s hardly the basis for sound hermeneutics. In order to make his case that gossip = slander,  Scott Brown quotes Proverbs 20:19 (at 7:30) from the NASB:

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

The naive may suppose that Solomon himself is conflating slander for gossip. Wisdom literature, such as we see in the Proverbs, is often poetic, and often delivered in one sentence segments where the second part of the line may serve to contrast the first part or, as in this case, it may serve to reinforce the first part (see Prov 10:1 – 22:16 & 25:1 – 29:27). In all cases it is still a poetic literary form. We get into deep weeds quickly when we take poetical literature too literally by attempting to augur intention that isn’t there; and in the same way we also get into trouble by taking biblical parables too literally. It’s called “wisdom literature” for a good reason – not only may it impart wisdom to those who can receive it, it may also require a modicum of wisdom, or at least a bit of common sense, to properly understand it in the first place.

In no way does Solomon seek to make slander “interchangeable” with gossip. Scott Brown himself probably knows better. If not then he is a remarkably ignorant Bible teacher. Doug Phillips’ favorite Bible commentator is John Gill. Ironically enough John Gills says of Proverbs 20:19:

“It may be applied to false teachers, and their deceptions with good words and fair speeches; the word used signifies to deceive with the lips; see Romans 16:18”.

Nevertheless, this NASB rendering of Proverbs 20:19, or rather Scott Brown’s conflated interpretation of this rendering, forms the very foundation from which Scott Brown then proceeds to base his entire No Gossip Rule.

“So maybe we could define gossip like this: A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts, a rumor or a report of an intimate nature… But basically speaking negatively about another person without that person being present is gossip.” (9:05)

Here Scott Brown finally uses a reasonably honest definition for “gossip”. Yet he has already corrupted that definition by claiming that the terms “gossip” and “slander” are “interchangeable” when they are not. This is typical of what he does throughout his duplicitous sermon. Since Scott Brown has defined gossip as slander, he then must go on to define “slander”:

“So here’s a definition of slander: The utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation. A false and defamatory oral statement about another person. And this term in Hebrew would be translated typically with the word talebearer and in Greek becomes the word blaspheme or to speak against us.” (10:12)

Scott Brown offers up a reasonably accurate definition for slander, at least up until, like his definition for “gossip”, he conflates slander for “talebearer”. Yes, a slanderer is also a talebearer, but not all talebearers are slanderers. If Scott Brown were capable of an honest definition he would have equated the modern “gossip” for the biblical “talebearer”. I’d like to be able to say that Brown and Phillips are only ignorant Bible teachers; but knowing their character as I do I can’t chalk this up to mere ignorance. This is all quite deliberate on their part. They are guilty of conflating gossip with slander for a specific agenda – to silence any and all opposition to their abuses of authority. This Code Of Silence prevents anyone from holding them accountable.

In seeking out actual dictionary definitions, I purposefully quote here from Doug Phillips’ favorite dictionary, the Webster’s 1828. Of this dictionary Doug Phillips says: “When Noah Webster first published this book, he understood that whoever defined the words of a culture would capture that culture”:

GOS’SIP, noun

1. A sponsor; one who answers for a child in baptism; a godfather.

2. A tippling companion.

And sometimes lurk I in a gossip’s bowl.

3. One who runs from house to house, tattling and telling news; an idle tattler. [This is the sense in which the word is now used.]

4. A friend or neighbor.

5. Mere tattle; idle talk.

GOS’SIP, verb intransitive To prate; to chat; to talk much.

1. To be a pot-companion.

2. To run about and tattle; to tell idle tales.

BACK’BITE, verb transitive [back and bite] To censure, slander, reproach, or speak evil of the absent. Proverbs 25:1.

SLA’NDER, noun

1. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation. slander that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.

2 Disgrace; reproach; disreputation; ill name.

SLA’NDER, verb transitive To defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report respecting one; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated.

It’s interesting to note that “gossip” originally had a positive meaning, but over time it was corrupted to the point where today it is pejorative. The term “gossip” has changed a great deal over time. That is not the case for the biblical terms “slander” and “backbite” whose meanings have remained reasonably fixed throughout history. “Gossip” only came to be used in its disparaging form in relatively recent history. As such “gossip” appears not a single time in the King James Version (1611) or the Geneva Bible Translation (1599). The Geneva Bible happens to be the preferred translation of Doug Phillips and many others in VF/NCFIC circles. The ESV, which is highly acclaimed by Bible scholars, includes “gossip” only twice (Ez 36:3 & 2Chron 12:20). This isn’t much to go on to build an entire doctrine out of.

If Scott Brown and Doug Phillips were honest they would only use the terms “slander” and “backbiting” instead of “interchangeably” substituting the completely separate and distinct term “gossip”.

For those of us who have been on the receiving end of slander (and I’m no stranger to that myself), it indeed can be the murder of one’s reputation – “character assassination”. Through lies, fabrications and half-truths the slanderer with malicious intent sets about to cause severe damage and harm, and to divide friend from friend. Slander and backbiting are expressly condemned in scripture, not only for the harm they cause, but also because they are in direct violation of the 9th Commandment.

3-monkeysScott Brown makes a case for speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil, and he equates the see no evil and hear no evil with sins that will “mar” the hearer permanently. Therefore, one must do everything possibly to avoid so much as even accidentally overhearing gossip, lest it corrupt and defile them:

“Once you hear gossip you’re marred. You are marred. That tasty trifle goes down to the inmost parts and you are never the same again. One little word and you’re never the same again regarding that person. It’s tragic. If you’ve ever listened to gossip then you just need to know that you’ve been defiled. Because it has gone down. It’s gone down, deep down into the inmost parts and it’s a danger to you.” (27:33)

“You’ve been defiled.” How terribly frightening! Fear of alleged “defilement” is a common tactic used by performance-based religious cult leaders to control their followers. Scott Brown then reinforces the policy of cutting off and shunning anyone who would dare to ever gossip:

“Note and avoid a gossip, and there are a number of passages of scripture that make this clear. Romans 16:27-18, 1Corinthians 5:11, and Titus 3:10 all say this. Let’s just sort of get some detail on this. Romans says to note such a one. Romans 16. Titus 3 says warn a gossip once and then twice. Titus 3 says reject a factious man. And in Romans 16 avoid, and 1Corinthians 5 do not keep company with. And then it gets even worse do not even eat with such a one in 1Corinthians 5. Well there’s just much evidence for the importance of avoidance and isolation of this sin. We’re not used to doing that, are we? It’s counter-intuitive to us. We don’t want to do this. But yet we have these very stern and clear warnings from scripture.” (28:10)

Scott Brown speaks “of how gossip is often disguised” as a prayer request, seeking counsel, or bearing one another’s burdens (21:50). True enough, this can happen. In a healthy church of compassionate believers it’s far less likely to happen than in an unhealthy dysfunctional church. Rather than addressing the problem in a biblical way, Scott Brown recommends the elimination altogether of prayer requests, seeking counsel, and bearing one another’s burdens:

“On the speaking side of the coin, first of all keep quiet. Zip it. Just zip the tongue. Remember what your mom used to say? It’s as simple as momma. Momma got it right, didn’t she? If you can’t say anything nice just don’t say it. Don’t share your pain. We live in a culture which teaches us to just share any old thing coming out of our black old heart. Well this isn’t the counsel of the Lord. This is the counsel of a wicked culture saturated in ungodly psychological principles. Don’t make your prayer requests. Have you ever heard of silent personal prayer? Do you have to bring everybody in the world in to prayer for a brother who might be having trouble?  Couldn’t you just labor in your closet for him instead of speaking evil of him in the midst of it?” (33:10)

Is this what Scripture actually teaches? Is making a prayer request for a friend or loved one really gossip? Is coming to the pastor for counseling in, say, an abusive marriage, really gossip? What of “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”? (Gal 6:2). In Scott Brown’s church it appears that everyone is required to just stuff it and suffer in silence. Certainly that has also been the experience for members of Boerne Christian Assembly.

Scott Brown’s teaching on gossip is a gross misrepresentation of Scripture. It calls into question whether he is capable of honestly expositing any biblical topic or passage at all. Rather than guiding Christians out of sin, Scott Brown is actually teaching people to sin. In other words, the cure is worse than the disease. Many of Scott Brown and Doug Phillips’ followers have falsely assumed that obeying the No Gossip Rule will keep them out of sinful behavior in the church when just the opposite is the case.

A wooden compliance with the No Gossip Rule ignores the command of Jesus to “judge with righteous judgement” (John 7:24). Christians aren’t to live with their heads buried in the sand, ignoring sin in their midst. Gossip is hardly the only sin in the church, nor is gossip the “abomination” that Scott Brown makes it out to be, or the “horrific sin” that Doug Phillips makes it out to be. By complying with the No Gossip Rule one would, of necessity, not be able to do a number of  things required in Scripture:

  • Mat 18:15-17 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
    If only I am aware of a grievous sin in a brother’s life, how am I to obey this scripture and still comply with the No Gossip Rule? I can confront that brother privately about his sin, but what if he doesn’t repent? According to the No Gossip Rule I have to keep that brother’s sin a secret, thereby making myself complicit in his sin.
  • 1Tim. 5:19-20 “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
    How am I to accuse an elder of sin when I’m not even permitted to speak with and identity any other witnesses for fear that I will be charged with “gossip”?
  • Gal 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
    How is one to obey this scripture in light of the No Gossip Rule? Also, how do we allow the brethren to fulfill the law of Christ (which is love) if no one ever shares their needs and can only “zip it”?
  • 1Cor. 5:11-13 “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
    This is one of the passages Scott Brown lifted out of context. What if I know that a man is sexually immoral and that man is my own pastor (such as Doug Phillips)? What if that man is also my employer because I work for Vision Forum? What if because I work for Vision Forum I also know the same man is covetous and an extortioner? I could try Matt 18:15, but I already know that everyone else who’s tried it before was fired, put under church discipline, and everyone was ordered to shun them for the rest of their lives. Maybe I could go to the elders of my church? No, that can’t work because they’re all just hand-picked stooges of the pastor. So how do I obey scripture and not violate the No Gossip Rule?

“Bearing one another’s burdens” may require listening patiently to a wounded brother or sister’s tragic story, not judging them over it, or fearing that we’ll somehow be “marred” by it. Requiring that Christians suffer in silence isn’t love but hate.

“Speaking the truth in love” sometimes means having to confront sin (as defined by the Word of God, not some twisted cult leader’s interpretation). The Code Of Silence implicit in the No Gossip Rule just creates a whole new level of sins far worse than the problem of gossip.

It’s been said that, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” How true. Doug Phillips through Vision Forum has marketed the image of inspiring “biblical manliness”. The reality is, however, that Doug Phillips has created hundreds, and perhaps thousands of cowardly men who remain silent in the face of terrible sin. Nothing could more clearly prove this point than the dozen years he spent cheating on his wife. Multiple men knew about it and said nothing and did nothing. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. That’s not manliness. That’s cowardice.

The No Gossip Rule that has been so successfully promoted by Scott Brown and Doug Phillips has had precisely the effect they intended – it’s shut everybody up. There has been much sin in the camp for years; but rather than confronting it to purify the church, sin is concealed. That Code Of Silence is a sure-fire recipe for concealing sin, when scripture commands that we expose sin and purge it from our midst:

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)

Ever since the public revelation of Doug Phillips’ clergy sexual abuse Scott Brown has sought to distance himself from Doug Phillips. In a sermon Scott Brown gave immediately after Doug Phillips’ resignation Brown even referred to Phillips as an “apostate”. Yet it is by Scott Brown’s No Gossip Rule that he empowered Doug Phillips to get away with his apostasy for so many years, and those sins are far worse, and far more extensive, than have come to public light so far.

Until Scott Brown’s teaching on gossip is eradicated from all Vision Forum and NCFIC spheres of influence there will be more scandals and abuses of power that occur within those churches.

Like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown is a Pharisee and a hypocrite. We should all heed Jesus’ warning, and Scott Brown and Doug Phillips should take special note of it:

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:1-2)


January 17:

One of our regular commenters here, who wishes to remain anonymous, emailed me an article that she wrote on gossip. It’s an insightful article and provides some practical guidelines for knowing what gossip is and what gossip isn’t. I believe her article complements my own and addresses several key areas that I have not. I hope everyone will also read it. I have her permission to share it here: Is it Gossip or Speaking the Truth in Love?


295 Responses to “Scott Brown’s No Gossip Rule: The Plague of the NCFIC”

  1. T.W. Eston Says:

    I was going to include the following text in the article but decided against it since the article is already bordering on being too long as it is. So I’ll post it here in the comment thread, as the first comment.

    On the back cover of the “Gossip” CD case is the following quote:

    “Don’t be the Devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fires of strife. Leave off setting people by the ears. If you do not cut off a bit of your tongues, at least season them with the salt of grace. Praise God more and blame neighbors less. Any goose can cackle; any fly can find out a sore place; any empty barrel can give forth sound; any brier can tear a man’s flesh. No flies will go down your throat if you keep your mouth shut and no evil speaking will come up. Think much, but say little; be quick at work and slow at talk; and above all, ask the great Lord to set a watch over your lips.” —Charles Spurgeon

    This quote originates from the 1867 edition of The Sword and the Trowel at page 402. The article is entitled On Gossips, and is written by Spurgeon under the pseudonym “John Ploughman”. We shouldn’t read Spurgeon’s words of wisdom from his article absent their original context. To do so puts us entirely at the mercy of Doug Phillips and Scott Brown in presuming they would give us an honest appraisal of Spurgeon’s original intent.

    Spurgeon’s intent was to address those who thought that only women had a problem with being “talebearerers”. He frames his article by noting the contempt that some men of the time had toward women:

    “‘It is nothing—only a woman drowning’, is a wicked and spiteful old saying, which, like the bridle, came out of the common notion that women do a world of mischief with their tongues.”

    He then asks the question, “Are women much worse than men in this business?” Spurgeon then disabuses that notion by noting that men too can suffer from being talebearers, and he also ends it that way:

    “Gossips of both genders, give up the shameful trade of talebearing; don’t be the devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fire of strife.”

    How interesting that Doug Phillips deliberately leaves off that first half of the sentence entirely, and in a way that deliberately conceals that the first half of the sentence is missing. If Doug Phillips were honest he would have formatted it as: “…don’t be the devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fire of strife” or “[D]on’t be the devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fire of strife.”

    Spurgeon goes on the say:

    “If we must talk, at least let us be free from slander, let us not blister our tongues with backbiting. Slander may be sport to talebearers, but it is death to those whom they abuse. We can commit murder with the tongue as well as with the hand.”

    Spurgeon does not condemn the mere act of talebearing, though Scripture clearly does warn against it. It is slander and backbiting that make talebearing injurious and sinful, and that is expressly what Spurgeon condemns.

  2. PioneerHomeschooler Says:

    Well that is about as thorough as it comes. There is no way that sin would ever be exposed if the sheeple believed all these faulty definitions of “gossip”. Fear of being called a gossip truly allowed all this to continue for far too long.

  3. Mike Says:

    TW: Good job on sorting through Scott’s sermon. I didn’t know that VFM started selling that sermon. I think that sermon was preached by Scott because of the issues he had at TBC. I think it was meant to silence everyone who had any issues with the way he conducted himself during the crisis he created at TBC.

    Here is an except from what one elder said about what he saw in Scott.

    Over the next few days, his defensive tactics grew worse and he adopted an US vs. them mentality that was replete with the discrediting of every Christian brother who opposed him. He questioned the motives of the offended men and described them as angry men with hidden agendas. He discussed strategies of protecting the church, dealing with angry men, dealing with gossip, dealing with men who reject authority and entertain dishonor, defending brothers who are wrongfully attacked, leading the church by clear direction, and the rights and responsibilities of membership.

    • Jen Says:

      Mike, now that you mention it, yes, Scott Brown was dealing with his own “stuff” at the same time that Doug Phillips was. They both came down HARD on gossip, finding it the best form of immediate control in attempting to preserve their reputations. Sometimes that level of damage control has a backlash to it that ends up embroiling the controller in more drama than if they had just dealt honestly with the original issues to begin with.

      • Don Albright Says:

        Here’s a funny story, shortly following the Trinity meltdown one of Doug’s interns moved to Wake Forest, I knew who he was but had never met or talked with him. He took the liberty of instructing a friend of mine that I was a dangerous man and should stay clear of me. It took two days for his gossip to go through several people before it made its way to my wife and then to me. I called this intern, introduced myself, and asked if what I had heard was true. He said yes, and that he was justified in saying it because what he had heard about me was established by “two or three witnesses” and therefore true. It didn’t take too much thinking to know who these “two or three” were, but it sure underscores how deceptive false teachers can be, on the one hand they can instill ungodly fear for listening to anything negative about them, then turn around and use scripture to justify their own gossip.

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          Dear Don, My pastor is actively involved with Scott as a speaker at his events. Our church hosted an event where he came and spoke with information about NCFIC. I went to him with concerns and he told me that SB is a godly man. I think our church may be changing direction but my wife wants to stay on and wait. I am concerned and would rather break thinking things will get worse. Can you give council?

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Andrew, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, who have gone to their pastors over the years expressing similar concerns about Doug Phillips that were also dismissed with, “But Doug Phillips is a godly man.” Their discernment was warning them to stay away from all things Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. But too many pastors these days have no discernment at all. Some of them don’t even have any common sense.

          The warning signs about Doug Phillips have always been there, not the least of which is his massive ego. Pastor Robert Gifford warned Doug about his pride issues long before he ever moved to San Antonio. But prideful men are the last to see and acknowledge their own pride. Can such a prideful man also be a “godly man”? Scripture would tell us not. Scott Brown claims that gossip is the most destructive force in the church. I strongly disagree. I believe that pride is, and pride is certainly the sin that motivates men like Doug Phillips and Scott Brown to seek positions of power by which they can lord it over others.

          Like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown has a massive ego. Your pastor is dead wrong. Scott Brown is not only not a godly man (although he masquerades as one, and like Doug Phillips preaches in a phony self-depricating way), he is a perverter of the gospel of Jesus Christ and wolf in sheep’s clothing. If your pastor refuses to see that I’d say it’s time you get out of your church before it becomes a religious sociological cult (if it’s not that already). Unless your pastor repents of his misguided thinking your church will go from bad to worse. It’s inevitable. Get out while you still can and save your family the trauma that so many here went through because they ignored the warning signs for too long. Go find yourself a safe church. They’re usually not too hard to find.

        • Don Albright Says:

          Andrew, if you are serious with this question please ask Jen for my email address and contact me personally,

        • Humbled by Grace Says:

          This comment is directed to Andrew McDonald. As I have been reading these posts and the various comments, I came across a few from you and thought, your church sounds like it could be mine. Your comment from earlier today confirmed it. I too have concerns about our pastor being involved with the NCFIC and being on the board of Christian Heritage. My prayer of late has been for the Lord to open our pastor’s eyes to the “real truth” behind the nice facade of “Godly homes and families” that these groups present. I don’t wonder that any sincere christian would jump on board with the idea of wanting a godly family and home life. I have always taught my children to make sure what they hear, read or are taught measures up with the word of God. When we first heard of Doug Phillips and received a Vision Forum catalog in the mail in 2002 we thought “How neat! A God honoring and family friendly company!” Kinda expensive though, lol. A few years later we were informed that a new Christian homeschool convention was going to take place in the spring (2006), and we were excited to find out Doug Phillips was to be the keynote speaker. This was the inaugural year for Christian Heritage and our family has attended every year since. In 2009 my spouse and I took our 15 year old to the film festival in San Antonio. This is where I believe the Lord started to open our eyes, we saw some disturbing things up close and our radar came back online albeit only partially. Over the next few years we started to question or were not comfortable with a lot of the things being presented, sold or taught in these circles. I’m ashamed to say it still took Phillips’ resignation to reveal the full extent of our failure to heed my own instructions to our children. From 2010 – 2013 it was a struggle to decide if we would go to the homeschool conference or not. Some of our dearest friends and church family attended and we knew we would miss their fellowship. We wound up attending each year, but I found myself wandering the vendor and curriculum hall almost every workshop or sitting down to read or check my email. The workshops and especially the general sessions were at this point simple regurgitation of years past “do this and do that, and this why you must do this and do that”. Where was the “101 ways to get your child to like math”? Wasn’t this supposed to be a homeschool conference? Sorry to ramble on so… Anyways back to the present. Andrew, I really love pastor and his family, we have known him for 12 or 13 years now and the one thing that stands out the most about him is his love for Christ’s flock and he does recognize it as Christ’s. He is faithful to preach the GOSPEL every Sunday and that is something that was woefully missing or rarely done by these other usurpers calling themselves elders, pastors or shepherds. If I as a faithful, blood bought christian can be duped by the “package” presented, radar not turned off, but the volume all the way down, because this was all presented as biblical and you don’t scratch the surface to investigate because it was just a little pebble at a time of twisting of scripture which I believe is the most dangerous of all. Anyone can see the boulder in the way. The attacks of satan are varied and sneaky, and like pebbles adding together stuck in your shoe wearing it dangerously down instead of a boulder, he will take his victims down anyway he can. I do believe our pastor is a humble man of God, who wants nothing more than to bring honor and glory to Christ and to bring lost sinners into the kingdom. My prayer is that he will be shown why the NCFIC and Christian Heritage are wrong even when they “look and sound so right” and that he may extradite himself and our church carefully away from their clutches. May God have the glory in this situation. I really think he just needs to check into the background of each of the “big names” associated with these groups. Needless to say we won’t be attending the Christian Heritage homeschool conference this year. I know now what I really couldn’t put my finger on before. A little research can go a long way, believe me. Thanks Jen and T.W.

        • oneh20 Says:

          This would also describe my dear pastor and our church. Praying for wisdom.

        • Molly Says:

          Andrew, that is basically what happened at my church. Our pastor got caught up in the teachings of Phillips and others. It changed the whole vibe of our church and caused a lot of strife and pain. In the end, our pastor was the one who left, along with a few families who ended up starting their own church. I don’t know what to advise you, other than to pray pray pray. It is possible for your pastor to see the light. It is also possible that God will send you a new pastor. Only the Lord can tell you if it is time to leave or not. I’m sorry; I know the terrible effects these teachings can have on a body of believers.

        • oneh20 Says:

          Hi Molly,

          Did the families who left actually join the pastor in starting a new church?

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        Don, some of the most irrational people I have ever seen in my life are the No Gossip Rule people. Some of them are sincere in their beliefs, and so they at least practice it consistently. They are the strict Code Of Silence people. In other words they are sincere, but sincerely wrong. But many of the No Gossip Rule people are frauds and hypocrites. They’re completely oblivious to the magnitude of their own hypocrisy and they refuse to be held accountable over the fact that they are selective about when they choose to be governed by their own man-made rule.

        What you experienced, Don, is a classic example of this. No Gossip doesn’t apply to “bad” people, only “good” people. You’ll never hear this exception of the rule openly preached or acknowledged by Scott Brown, Doug Phillips or their partners in crime. Adherents of the No Gossip Rule learn of the “bad guy” exception by following Brown and Phillips’ example, and there are many such examples they’ve given. Good guy and bad guy is primarily determined by whether or not you’re “one of us”. Another one of their code words is “like-minded”. If you’re like-minded you’re a good guy and the No Gossip Rule applies. If you’re “not like-minded” you’re a bad guy and fair game for slander and backbiting.

        I think of the Queen of Patriarchs (and power behind the James McDonald throne) Stacy McDonald. Stacy McDonald is the poster child for the No Gossip Rule. Never was there a better example of how this Code Of Silence has turned otherwise intelligent people into non-thinkers. For more on this plant her head firmly in the sand Pharisee of Pharisees see my article Doug Phillips and Blissful Ignorace. Stacy McDonald has a very long history of defending her friends using the No Gossip Rule. Yet she is one of the most malicious slanderers and backbiters in the Patriarchy movement (add to this her partner in slander and backbiting, Jennie Chancey). Stacy McDonald has gone strangely silent on Doug Phillips after initially coming out to defend him. She tried in desperation to shame any who were seeking answers for how their hero could have proven to be such a monumental hypocrite. Her response: “This is gossip. It’s none of our business.”

        My next example is (hopefully) not at all comparable to Stacy. He suffers from a form of cognitive dissonance that I’ve seen many times among the No Gossip Rule adherents. In Mykl’s case he may very well not be a hypocrite. He may just be one of those sincerely wrong people. His biggest problem is that he takes his No Gossip Rule to such an extreme that he thinks he can sniff gossip a mile away. He’s come to the place in his life of being able to just know, in some weird metaphysical sort of way, that something is “gossip” even before he has heard it with his own ears or read it for himself. This is another fruit of the No Gossip Rule. It produces Christian psychics.

        The No Gossip Rule people have replaced the standards of the Word of God that they claim to live by for their own subjective opinions that they selectively apply on a good guy/bad guy basis, and they get to decide who’s good and bad. They are the last people in the world to see what Pharisees they have become. May God open their blind eyes and deliver them.

        • Andrew McDonald Says:

          to: Humbled by Grace, I went to the pastor of our church with concerns about MB and then about SB and about a book’s author he’d given out at a Mens Retreat by Doug Wilson. While these folks seem ‘picture perfect’ frankly they frighten me. When I mentioned them I was dismissed. I hope your church does well but I am afraid my pastor may have become enchanted by these folks. I think they may be grooming him for ‘greater things’. I love my pastor, I love his family. I love everyone in our church BUT I get alarmed that he has aligned himself with folks like these. In addition I don’t like being afraid of being ‘found out’. I was told to stop looking at the net for ‘juicey’ stuff. I know that if God used a jackass to speak to Balaam I know he could use an old fool like me to speak the truth too, the question is: will the teacher listen. Today we saw our pastor’s wife at the store and she had on jeans, it seems kooky but it was a relief to see her dressed that way as it indicates we are not dressing up like the others yet. But my concerns go deeper than attire. My wife and I are praying for our pastor too I want to keep my family safe. If you think you know me, and want to talk, then ask me Sunday at church if I’m related to Jason and how too spell his last name. Sorry for being so cryptic.

        • Jen Says:

          Andrew, if the pastor’s wife is still wearing jeans, they are not too far gone yet. I believe there is still hope!

  4. Andrew McDonald Says:

    Yeah, don’t share a concern about a false teacher or divisive person in your church UNLESS the pastor agrees! Then it’s information exchange for the good of the church.

  5. T.W. Eston Says:

    An apt Shakespearean quote descriptive of Doug Phillips and Scott Brown:

    “And thus I clothe my naked villainy
    With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ;
    And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
    ― William Shakespeare, Richard III

    • Andrew McDonald Says:

      How very apt. The old guy was genius. I heard he wrote some good stuff too.

      • Tim Says:

        Andrew, personally I think you should leave. If the Bradricks attend there and your pastor is doing NCFIC speaking engagements with that organization then your church is into this movement pretty deep. The longer you stay the harder it will be to leave. One thing is for sure. These Patriarchy\NCFIC\Dominionist type of churches will have issues. A bad tree doesn’t bear good fruit. The NCFIC is the tree.

    • Sarah Says:

      Seriously! Allowing people to download each of the catalogue covers! How about a real apology Doug!

    • Nea Says:

      He’s actually included a catalog cover for 2014? The year *AFTER* VF closed and sold everything off?

      • Sarah Says:

        That’s pretty pathetic isn’t it? No shame!

        • Blindsided Says:

          Jen, I think you are right on target about the purpose of the downloadable catalog covers. Come worship and adore us. What else could it be? f

      • Christine V. Says:

        “As we close this chapter and conclude the work of Vision Forum Inc.,…”

        Translation: “As we are forced to close this chapter and conclude the damage that we’ve done through Vision Forum Inc.,…”

      • Half truths abound Says:

        That’s not surprising. He didn’t expect to get shut down. The catalog has always been good until fall of the coming year.

        • Jen Says:

          Yes, HTA. Wouldn’t the 2014 catalog have been scheduled to come out in October/November of 2013?

        • Half truths abound Says:

          Yes, but it appears that they went with a digital version with a very small print run. Times must’ve been tough…

        • Nea Says:

          I understand that he didn’t expect to get shut down – what surprises me is that he’s essentially relased *proof* that he didn’t expect to be shut down – that he had already started thinking about fiscal year 2014 in Vision Forum.

          That the title on the cover is about “Hidden Truth” presumably coming to light for the catalog in which his hidden truth came to light and derailed the company — well!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          His conscience must be seared… VF is his livelihood. I suppose that is the final insult to his supporters – they were supporting a righteous cause and he was making a living. What a loser DP is… He sold his birthright for a bowl of stew.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Angela, agreed. However, I’m not so certain it’s a case of his searing his own conscience as that he never had a conscience in the first place. That’s one of the most significant traits of a sociopath. Researchers are not entirely clear on how sociopaths are made, but it’s thought that around 50% is genetic (they’re born predisposed to it) and the remainder is family of origin and early childhood development factors (their upbringing). The fact that at least two members of the Phillips family, Doug and Brad, function as though they have no conscience at all, would make them an ideal sociopathic case study.

          Sociopaths aren’t retrained from doing evil because they have a conscience but, rather, by their concern for conformance to social norms, or at least giving the appearance of conformance. They do so only for the sake of social acceptability. Sociopaths do care very much about what other people think of them. They just don’t care what God thinks. Virtually all cult leaders are sociopaths (most of them are also narcissists).

          When a sociopath like Doug Phillips doesn’t like having to comply with social norms his best possible option is to create his own sub-culture and define that culture’s social norms himself. That’s exactly what BCA and Vision Forum are all about. Doug is king of his own fiefdom and gets to define what is “normative” (one of his favorite code words). Or as he has so often said, “He who defines the terms wins.”

          I hadn’t thought so much about Doug selling his birthright, but I certainly have thought of Jesus’ words and how they apply to Doug: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

    • Andrew McDonald Says:

      DP may be in bonds but I question if it’s in the ‘bonds of Christ’. Not meaning to be mean; just the facts ma’am.

  6. Blindsided Says:

    A tidy display of 15 years of catalogs along with a prayer for all of us seems like an amnesiac moment coming from Mr. Phillips. How does he juxtapose this polished message with the scandal he caused? I think I would be too ashamed of myself to send a slick farewell message. I’m scratching my head over this…

  7. Just a shadow Says:

    This is soooooo DP.

    • noturniptruck Says:

      and tells me that he’s farrrrrrrrrrrrrr farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr farrrrrrrrrrrrrr repentant amongst other things

  8. raswhiting Says:

    An article on a related topic, from the website, A Cry for Justice-
    Judge not — are we forbidden to judge?

    Should we judge others? Many Christians think we shouldn’t. Sermons and Sunday schools have emphasized Matthew 7:1 so strongly that many Christians seem to believe the sum total of the Bible’s teaching on interpersonal judgement is judge not that ye be not judged. (Bold font representing the Christian equivalent of the sword of Damocles; apologies to those who have been triggered!)

    see the rest at

  9. Grace alone Says:

    Thanks for your excellent analysis, TW.

    My dad did lose his job because his employer was a member of the cult we were excommunicated from. Why? Because we associated with an excommunicated family. Why were they excommunicated? The dad of the family “rebuked an elder” when said elder/pastor called the dad’s daughter in for questioning (without the dad’s knowledge). Why? The daughter’s friend ordered a balloon and flowers from a florist for the daughter’s 18th birthday. The florist sent a beer balloon.

    So thankful God providentially sent that beer balloon to set my family free!!

    But, everyone must remember that cult leaders expect and encourage gossip from the “cream of the crop” people to keep the peons in line…or in trouble, in the effort to keep the peons under control.

    • Grace alone Says:

      Oops, I left out one important part! How did the pastor find out? The girl (my best friend) who ordered the balloon had a “cream of the crop” sister who tattled, I mean gossiped, about the situation. It was all approved gossip since the gossiping sister was concerned about the souls of these dear girls. The sisters still are estranged; my best friend escaped the cult (with the rest of her 5 siblings and parents) after malicious slander and lies were spoken about them all. The gossiping sister is still in the cult.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      I’m sorry to hear of what you and your family had to endure. I hope you’re recovering okay.

      Was your cult part of NCFIC or did it have some Vision Forum connections?

      You’re right about the gossip rule and its selective enforcement. Doug Phillips and Scott Brown have never complied with the rule themselves. Doug Phillips is one of the most malicious slanderers and backbiters you can imagine. I don’t know if the same applies to Scott Brown, but generally such men are big hypocrites. The very things they preach the most emphatically about are the things they are the most guilty of themselves.

      • Grace alone Says:

        No, TW. This was 22 years ago in an extreme fundamental separatist christian school/college/church, so extreme that the noted fundamentalist college in Greenville, SC, was my plan of escape to freedom–and it would have been freedom! God directly differently, and has been faithful through the years to teach me real grace. Even though I’ve noticed some aversion to calvinism on this board (and I do not like to use that word), I have come to understand grace by studying the doctrines of grace. I am secure in Christ because of His grace alone that found me and will keep me. Coming from my legalistic, works-based background, that is SO comforting. So, this cult founded in 1977 started long before DP ever moved to TX or Scott/NCFIC invaded my state; however, it is only a few counties away from Wake Forest and Scott Brown. What is frightening is that cults can be anywhere and everywhere. Even in a reformed baptist church, we saw leanings of the elder toward legalism, but he didn’t have the charismatic personality Doug has and resigned in a huff.

        Being previously involved in the leadership of the state-wide homeschooling group, we have heard DP and SB’s message loud and clear. God gave clear insight to my husband to see that DP was unbiblical in his theology. DP mad such a bad impression on our conference team, thankfully! He is a rude man. We even thought of driving the 30 miles to SB’s church, but God prevented that as well! When I first heard DP, I thought I had found that utopia and perfect way to have a perfect family that all cults promise (even the one I grew up in). I have commented on this board before that even though I can spot legalism and cultic behaviors a mile away, I still yearned for what Doug was promising. But, of course, it was a false promise with Christ dethroned and family enthroned. Christ must be the only thing I desire! Christ is the perfect answer to all my problems in this fallen world. All Glory to Him!

        • Jen Says:

          Grace alone, I can relate to still wanting to find that utopia, but knowing in the back of my mind that it doesn’t really exist. 🙂

        • Michael Says:

          Yes, it is only gossip when the sheeple dare to speak about the favored vessels in the congregation. We went through exactly the same kind of “teaching” many years ago in another cultic setting. I know Gothard has a “no bad report” rule as well. The big thing is to make sure nobody ever challenges leadership. Keep the sheep as stupid as possible, especially when it comes to any kind of objective, biblical critique of what is coming out of the pulpit. The problem for these guys is found in a couple of biblical truths, one being the inability to keep sin covered forever. The harder one (especially a church leader) tries to cover his sin, and the longer he is able to do so, the bigger is the explosion once God removes the cover. The other biblical truth I have seen over decades of being involved in churches is what the signers of the Declaration of Independence called “the consent of the governed.” The church was not designed by God to be a tyranny, and when a tyrant does arise in the church, it is only a matter of time before God dethrones him. Even in the most unaccountable church setting, God will use someone to expose the tyrant for what he is. It looks to me like God is “clearing the decks” in this “movement.” It is HIS CHURCH after all.

          With all that said, I have grown to admire Presbyterian Church government over the years. We have never attended a Presbyterian church, and I know there are apostate denominations out there, but the concept of accountability and due process seems most prevalent with the Presbyterians.

          Now, regarding Jan’s comment about utopian churches…it occurred to me several years ago, and this thought is continually reinforced by experience, is that we seem to miss the fact that all the churches in the New Testament were riddled with problems. Most of the letters written by the apostles were addressing some sin or sins, or they were warning the church that they needed to exercise vigilance against a heresy that was making the rounds among the churches. The church in Ephesus is the best example I can think of. The letter to the Ephesians is the most beautiful document ever written to the church. My heart soars when I read what God says about who the church is in Christ, and the beauty of his Bride. Then we read the letter to the seven churches in Revelation that this church had “left their first love.” They had problems too, in fact they had the worst problem of all, in my opinion. The reality of the very real situations in the biblical churches should help us to understand that our expectations are not realistic. In scripture we are exhorted to WORK at walking in the commandments of God referring to the church. If we are willing to confess our weakness, and I believe this applies especially to leadership, then our “image (idol)” doesn’t require constant propping up and polishing. Just some thoughts…

        • Jen Says:

          Michael, perhaps the church we should be seeking is the one who is willing to bear one another’s burdens, because we all have them, and we all need to love one another, through the good times and the hard times.

        • Michael Says:

          Jen, I agree wholeheartedly. When the focus is on the institution, or organization, of the church, in place of the people, who are the church, we have lost sight of the church. Empire building is a trap many church leaders fall into. I have experienced it over and over. The focus might be on how big the church membership is, how successful the Sunday School is, how many are reached through missions, how many respond to the altar calls, etc., etc. The people get lost in the shuffle and/or are used to accomplish the “mission.” There is no time for the weakness of the people and their needs. Americans tend to worship strength and success. It seems pretty easy to convince large numbers of people to give themselves to build some guy’s empire.

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          “The people get lost in the shuffle and/or are used to accomplish the ‘mission.’ There is no time for the weakness of the people and their needs.”

          Amen, Michael.

  10. Glive Says:

    Okay so I don’t know if anybody’s interested but just in case anybody wants to check out Mr. Eston’s take on the Scott Brown spiel………

    Download it while you can because it’ll probably get hit with a take down notice really fast.

  11. Jen Says:

    TW, I want to publicly thank you for such an outstanding article! I know the many hours you’ve put into researching this over the last several days, and the tremendous amount of prayer that went into this article. Your insights into these issues regarding patriarchy, and especially the “leaders” of patriarchy, are invaluable. I very much appreciate all that you bring to the table here.

    This “No Gossip” Rule has been beaten relentlessly into the hearts and minds of those who have followed either Doug Phillips or Scott Brown for years now. I pray that this article will be read carefully and that people would pull out their Bibles to see what the Bible truly does say about gossip. While we all agree that gossip is not a good thing, it is important to have a proper understanding of what gossip truly is. When we add to Scripture, such as how Scott Brown clearly did in this message, we end up binding the conscience of someone else over extra-biblical rules. That is simply called “legalism.”

    Having a “zero tolerance” for gossip leads me to wonder how someone could show true repentance for even one instance of true gossip. How does an elder then measure this repentance? This article leads me to believe that this “One strike and you’re out” rule is a life sentence. It is almost as if he is saying that a person would lose their salvation if they gossiped even one time. What else are we to make of this extreme stance on an ill-defined word?

    And then those who listen are marred and defiled? This fear-based teaching does not promote healthy relationships in a church setting, or otherwise.

    Here is what I am thinking. Adam and Eve sinned. God told someone about it who then wrote it in the Bible. Did God gossip? Are we marred and defiled because we listened to that gossip? Noah got drunk. Abraham was a liar. Moses was a murderer. Aaron lied and made graven images to worship. King David was an adulterer and murderer. Peter said some really bad things and refused to eat with the gentiles when the Jews were watching. And hundreds of other sins are also recorded in the Bible. Did God gossip? Are we marred and defiled because we listened to that gossip?

    • Blindsided Says:

      I second that, Jen. TW Eston has once again done a remarkable job of revealing the tactics of cult leaders. It is enormously helpful to see exactly how handily scripture is twisted and misinterpreted in order to silence one and all. It seems there is still a group of followers though, that are betting their lives on it that these men (Brown, Phillips, etc.) are not guilty of what the rest of us see as manipulation. I guess they’ve invested their entire lives- spiritual, emotional, economic, etc.- and simply must continue in order to validate their investment. Where else could they go? Well, to Jesus, for one… In Him: freedom from distortion, slavery, bondage, lies, manipulation, shunning and the noose of legalism.

  12. tlc3 Says:

    Excellent point, Jen, about God being a “gossip.” I was wondering when the subject of talebearers came up: Well, do these people read books? They certainly sold enough of them in the Vision Forum website! And if all talebearers are slanderers, aren’t Douggie and his ilk gossiping every time they tell stories about their “wonderful” families and churches?

  13. Scott Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe you can download all the covers of the VF catalogs for FREE. I would have expected Doug to sign each cover, Doug Phillips ESQUIRE and sell them as a framed collector set for $595.

    In regard to Snotty Scotty’s gossip CD, I think he should do one on MINIPULATION. ” An experts guilde to minipulation, it’s not just for witches”, would be a great title.

    Forward by Doug Phillips, endorsements by Don Hart , Micheal Bradrick, Geffro Botkin,Jim zes, Stacy McDonald, OLD SPICE MAN & his perfect wife little MIss Muffet.

    • Jen Says:

      Scott, apparently Doug Phillips had the wrong marketing team all these years. He could have been so much richer if he had hired you instead!

  14. oneh20 Says:

    I do get the point, but I’m someone who has been deeply impacted by a great deal of gossip and slander in many settings including a board of elders. Although gossip tends to be spreading something truthful, its intent is malicious. True or not, it is likely no one’s business and/or there is usually a whole lot of assumptions being made or significant details changed as it travels though the grapevine – and then its toothpaste out of a tube. You can’t put it back in – no one can. I do think it defiles in that way as those thoughts are always there in the back of one’s mind even if one doesn’t believe the words. Gossip IS serious business and I realize you are not saying that it isn’t, but I honestly wish many people throughout my life would have had a zero tolerance rule applied to them by others. Now, can it be used by those in a corrupt system to protect themselves? Of course, but I think the real issue today is getting potentially key people to understand when you are NOT being malicious and are genuinely concerned – an issue you addressed. So, like I said, I do get what you are saying. I’ve seen a lot of people cover up and/or participate in mega bull out of a so called desire not to participate in so-called gossip. Its hurtful when one does listen to gossip, its hurtful when one gossips, and finally, its hurtful when one isn’t discerning enough to know the difference between a real issue that needs to be addressed vs. genuine gossip.

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Yes, gossip, all on its own, does have the potential for causing harm, even if the gossiper has no ill intent. You’ve made an excellent point too about what happens as the gossip gets spread from one person to the next. The story tends to take on new details as it gets passed along. Some things should just not be repeated at all, particularly where it’s a violation of confidentiality. A betrayal of trust is the quickest way to end a friendship.

      Gossip can have exactly the opposite effect, based entirely on voice inflection and tone. I can say exactly the same statement, using the same words, but my tone of voice can create two entirely different results. Both statements may be 100% factual and truthful, but the end results can be exactly the opposite of one another. The positive tone of voice can cause people to admire and respect you. The negative tone of voice could divide your friends from you. The intention of the gossiper has everything to do with that.

      I share your concerns about gossip. I can’t agree though that a zero tolerance policy is appropriate. Nor is it the least biblical. When anyone has gossiped about me I’ve often used it as an opportunity to create an even deeper friendship out of it. When I can confront someone for a wrong done against me and they own it, without excuses, and they are genuinely sorry for it, that’s someone I want to get to know better. I respect imperfect humble people far more than I can perfect proud people.

      We all sin from time to time. We all can make foolish decisions and say things impulsively that we later regret. I’ve done so many times in my life. As James tells us, no man has tamed his own tongue. If the Bible itself imposed a zero tolerance policy against gossip I’d be very alone in this world. Thankfully my friends and acquaintances cut me a bit more slack than “zero”.

      I would never defend a malicious gossip. But what should be done about them? Are they due zero tolerance? Once we go there then we place ourselves on a slippery slope of having to make exceptions for other sins, as well. I’m a staunch believer in biblical due process, so I oppose exceptions to Matthew 18 in all cases. One must first reasonably exhaust all their remedies, but never forget to use common sense.

      • oneh20 Says:

        I understand and my saying i would have loved a zero tolerance policy for the people who harmed me and my family was just an expression of how damaging and hurtful it has been. Thankfully we do have the Word because my feelings do not always line up with the right thing to do!

  15. beech112 Says:

    Hello, TW.

    Excellent article. You are doing a great service to the body of Christ. Very refreshing to have this kind of truth and exposure of evil, yes, I said evil.

    I pray God’s blessing and nourishment to you and Jen in your obedience to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness. Amen.

  16. MomT Says:

    Just received this NCFIC email:

    July 10-12, 2014 | DES MOINES, IA

    This July 10-12, please join me near Des Moines, IA for an inspiring and foundational conference on the power of God working in the Christian life in the midst of a world of compromise: the Living for God Conference.
    We will consider the transforming nature of the Gospel and how God takes broken people and makes them vessels of good and beacons of light in their homes, churches, and communities.
    It’s Time to Take a Stand on Truth
    Are you prepared to be a light in your culture? Is your family equipped to do the work of the Lord? Is your church passionate about Gospel living?
    Christians, for too long, have been living a powerless Christianity devoid of the mighty witness we read of in the New Testament. Something is absent from the modern Church.
    The only hope for a clear and pure direction for Christians is the Word of God.
    Come for a Scripture-Filled Weekend
    At this conference, we will declare that we must cast aside the wrong, worldly philosophies which are hurting our families and undermining our churches, and we must take the urgent and needed stand that Scripture is our light (2 Tim. 3:16-17) — for the church, for the family, for economics, for education, for worship — for how we think about every area of life.
    Some of the other speakers include Kevin Swanson, Steve Deace and Phil Kayser.

    Scott T. Brown
    Kevin Swanson
    Steve Deace
    Phil Kayser
    One of the primary goals for this conference is that we will walk away with this blessed thought: That man must live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, just as Jesus said in Matthew 4:4.
    Mark this event on your calendar — July 10-12, 2014 — the Living for God Conference, and register. Early bird pricing ends January 31st!
    Use cupon code “NCFIC” for 25% off the registration price.

    • Jen Says:

      MomT, this sounds like Scott Brown’s response to this blog! I’m glad that he is taking a cue about some areas that are seriously lacking in patriarchy. Let’s see what he does with it now. I hope he learns to exegete Scripture better for this conference than he did for the Gossip message he preached.

      • Mike Says:


        Scott doesn’t need to be teaching others, he needs to be taught. He has been indoctrinated for years with Doug Phillip’s theology. He is a disciple of Doug Phillips; he wasn’t Doug’s mentor or co-equal as I see it. He bought into everything was Doug was preaching. In fact many of the things Doug said and did I heard Scott say the same. From ‘patterns and principles’ found in Scripture to Patriarchy and other aberrant theology. He also molded his NCFIC ministry after the VFM model. He started taking in interns like Doug and having them do pushups like Doug. Scott really needs to be detoxed and taught doctrines of Grace by some good teachers. Years of learning under Doug isn’t just going to evaporate overnight. Especially since he has stacked his whole legacy on the patterns and principles that Doug set.

        • raswhiting Says:


          Thank you for this warning and I agree, SB seems nowhere near being “detoxed” and ready to teach anyone Biblical grace and truth.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          “He also molded his NCFIC ministry after the VFM model.” Actually he molded nothing at all about NCFIC. Doug was the one who molded it and later turned it over to Scott. NCFIC originated as a Vision Forum ministry after he plagiarized the entire idea from Eric Wallace, author of Uniting Church and Home. Doug Phillips has never given any credit to Mr. Wallace, and that’s typical of Doug. He’s stolen the intellectual property from many men and women and allowed everyone to assume that it’s all been his original thought.

        • JC Harmony Says:

          Eric Wallace is a very good friend of mine, and I can tell you that Eric is the antithesis of Scott Brown, Doug Phillips, and those types. SB and DP are about law first; whereas Eric is about Gospel first. Some of what Eric wrote about in that book is similar to what you might find in some FIC circles & churches, however, Eric has always had his eyes fixed on the end goal: the Gospel – for the glory of God! Everything we do in life – our actions, behaviors, thoughts, and philosophies, should be viewed as means to an end…with the end being to lift up the Gospel and bring glory to God. What SB and DP have done is make all our actions & behaviors ends unto themselves. It’s unfortunate that many misunderstood what Eric was saying in his book, because they read it while already being infected with the teachings of DP and Vision Forum, and the like.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          I could tell from the description at Amazon that the book was written by someone qualified and in an different “spirit” than what I’ve read of Doug Phillips. Vision Forum is a poor imitation of good, solid teaching. I am reformed and study the Confessions of the 16th Century, as well as the works of the Scottish Reformation and the Scottish Covenanters, and while VF leaders pretend to understand what “covenanting” is and the mediatorial reign of Christ, they really don’t. First of all, they are shallow in their theology and they aren’t even qualified to be administering the sacraments or preaching the Word of God. They are a cheap imitation and are the ones who should be shunned; I will stake my reputation on this fact. I am so disgusted by their twisting of God’s Word and abuse of His people that if I were to meet Doug Phillips on the street, I’d probably spit in his face and shake the dust off my feet to him in a very noticeable way.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          ” Scott doesn’t need to be teaching others, he needs to be taught. He has been indoctrinated for years with Doug Phillip’s theology. He is a disciple of Doug Phillips; he wasn’t Doug’s mentor or co-equal as I see it. He bought into everything was Doug was preaching. In fact many of the things Doug said and did I heard Scott say the same. From ‘patterns and principles’ found in Scripture to Patriarchy and other aberrant theology. He also molded his NCFIC ministry after the VFM model. He started taking in interns like Doug and having them do pushups like Doug. Scott really needs to be detoxed and taught doctrines of Grace by some good teachers. Years of learning under Doug isn’t just going to evaporate overnight. Especially since he has stacked his whole legacy on the patterns and principles that Doug set.”

          I agree and yet Scott is booked all through 2014, sharing his *supreme* wisdom. DP-ites are grasping for someone to follow right now.

    • Dom Walk Says:

      Buzzword bingo. Same old theonomic legalism couched in whatever language gets the people in the seats. Be not deceived. Note how inward-focused it is, as always.

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      Regarding MomT’s report: Isn’t Steve Deace a political commentator? I wonder why he’s included… Perhaps I’m missing something?

    • Molly Says:

      Am I the only one who honestly doesn’t see the great worldly witness these people think they have, or that they want to get? From my point of view, Vision Forum and the NCFIC have great impact on the home schoolers and fundamentalist churches, but basically nothing in the way of bringing the unsaved to Christ. I’ve always thought that they spend most of their time preaching to the choirs and insulating themselves from the world that needs Jesus. “Stay at home, teach your kids at home, work from home, keep your wife at home…” when do they actually go out into the world and impact people?!

      • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

        Molly, you hit the nail on he head! They never do any of those things, thus they miss the true message of Christ and Christianity. As a result, this is how they became and are raising up many little cults all over the country with no accountable pastors through the NCFIC website, conferences, books, tapes and the spreading of this “movement” is about as unbibilical as can be. These churches that are out there are run by mostly lone ranger pastors. ANYONE can start one and post on their site. Then you get some family who heard about this at a home-school conference,etc. who looks to find a church in their area on the NFCIC church finder part of their site and bingo you got another one into the cult! It is that shamefully simple. Or a pastor is removed from his church and starts one of these so he can keep on doing what he was before andmaybe even doing wht he was removed for. Unfortunately, not too many people ask enough questions to find out the real past of someone. Thus they too get sucked in. If they don’t like what they see in the last FIC, so they split it and start another. All the while Christ gets lost in the shuffle of all this craziness! It is a sad shame as it is so deceiving to so many! We need to pray that God will continue to reveal all of this so others won’t get duped in the future at such conferences. We need to have home school conference speakers who are speaking on making a true difference for Christ by grounding our children in Him and thus being able to send them and our families out to the world to make the impact we as Christians should be.

        • raswhiting Says:

          Thank you for this good comment.

        • Jen Says:

          NFA, excellent observations! And I would add that it is NOT gossip to research the history of a church before joining.

        • meginoz Says:

          NFA said” These churches that are out there are run by mostly lone ranger pastors. ANYONE can start one and post on their site. Then you get some family who heard about this at a home-school conference,etc. who looks to find a church in their area on the NFCIC church finder part of their site and bingo you got another one into the cult! It is that shamefully simple”

          Jen said “And I would add that it is NOT gossip to research the history of a church before joining.”

          I have a little knowledge of this down here in Australia and what I know is VERY disturbing. I notice on his web-site that SB has a disclaimer message of sorts, urging people to do what Jen says ie investigate oneself… I really must say.. what is the point of the NCFIC??

        • Jen Says:

          meginoz, please tell us more about what you know that is disturbing. I am glad that Scott is urging people to investigate. Does he truly want people to investigate the origins of his own “church?”

      • Sarah Says:

        Amen! I am a homeschool mom but we are not hiding from the world. Voddie Baucham has the best sermon on this. FYI Voddie is nothing like DP. Voddie even does martial arts so he can spent more time with unbelievers.

      • JC Harmony Says:

        No, there is no great worldly witness because too many families are spending their time and effort “making sure” that their children are not impacted by the world around them. We are supposed to be the lamp on the stand; however, if the lamp is lit and placed on a stand that is hidden two valleys over from the rest of the world – WHO CAN SEE IT? No one, except the family that’s in hiding – and unfortunately too many feel pretty good and comfortable in their hiding place. The Gospel has clearly been lost in this, dare I say: lifestyle option. [Read the entire book of Galatians if you want to learn about FREEDOM!]
        I have seen too many families try to insulated their children and too many families profess they love Christ; only to refuse to engage others who are not like them. Loving your neighbor easily becomes loving those like yourself.
        For many, Evangelism is carried out by way of dominion theology – whether they realize that or not.
        Here’s how some folks think:
        “Let’s see. If I have 8 children and make sure they follow Christ; then they get married to perfect spouses who also follow Christ and believe in never using contraception…then my 8 children should produce 8 children each. And on and on it goes. Isn’t this amazing? Why care about evangelism? I’ll just focus on perfecting my family, insulating them from the world, and making sure they marry just the right spouses…and produce children without limit. Then in 6 generations (presuming they all have at least 8 children each), our family will have produced over 2,000,000 faithful followers of Christ. Why worry about evangelism and carrying the gospel beyond our property lines, if I can help guaranty over 2,000,000 for Christ?! A street preacher could never bring so many to Christ.”
        Obviously it doesn’t work this way…but don’t think that many have not thought through this same process. Problem is…no system, no program, no works, no church or FIC or Homeschool club involvement can guaranty in any way, shape or form, that one’s children will follow after the Lord. But many have been sold a bill of goods – that if they do things this way, then they will create children who are guaranteed to follow after the Lord.
        I, and some others, tried to plant a church a few years back. It was under the guidance and direction of another FIC church, so we had accountability and weren’t “on our own.” After 14 months, we couldn’t even get a core group determined enough to follow after the things of Christ. Thus, we ended our effort. The church drew folks, but some of those folks wanted to live out the ways and means that are associated with more cult-like FIC churches. Some families just wanted to be with others like themselves – other families were willing to reach out to the lost – and in the midst of it all, not even all the families that came were willing to love each other. That was so awful to see and experience.
        I WILL TELL YOU…there are some healthy FIC churches out there – churches that preach the gospel with great regularity – churches that emphasize going out into the world and loving those that are different than themselves – churches that have lines of accountability established and maintained – churches that DO NOT have tables laden with NCFIC or Vision Forum materials.
        The tricky part, is that it is hard to find these healthier FIC churches. Unfortunately, I believe them to be fewer in number than the unhealthy ones – so they are indeed harder to find. Even the so-called FIC directories (two that I know of) are unreliable because not all the churches are vetted, so as to weed out the bad ones.
        Christ, and His Gospel, has indeed become lost in many FIC circles. Ultimately it comes down to this: too many in the FIC community have come to fear the world, and trust in one’s own efforts. When anyone begins to focus too much on their own efforts – their ever-growing list of do’s & don’ts, then it is very easy to begin to lose sight of the Gospel, and what drew us to the Gospel in the first place.
        They have forgotten Him, and what He was about. How sad it is to lose sight of our First Love.

        • Grace alone Says:

          JC Harmony,
          I remember when I first realized that DP’s whole mentality was based on works–when I realized he assumed every one of his children would be converted to Christ. I could not find in scripture a sure promise that every child of a Christian will become a Christian. I do pray with all my heart that God will woo my children to trust in Christ as Savior. But, Doug is preaching pure error–salvation by works–which is what every false religion preaches.

        • Jen Says:

          JC Harmony, I’m not sure if you realize it not, but that is not just how some folks think, but that multi-generational plan to have gobs of godly children who marry godly spouses who also have godly children who marry godly spouses, etc. is Geoff Botkin’s 200 Year Plan. That is Patriarchy 101. Yes, they are so inwardly focused that there can be no room left for reaching out to others. I’m thinking that this inward focus is far more a cause of the growth spurt of legalism within patriarchy than anything else.

        • Christine V. Says:

          It seems to be an arrogant Man-centered faith doomed to disappoint, especially these “200 Year Plans”. Tell me, who knows the plans of God? As Christians we are called to be faithful to teach our children the ways of God in all our doings, but ultimately, they seem to be forgetting Jesus’ own words that, “no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted to him from my Father.” (Jn. 6:65) It’s as if they are using the logic of “If you build it they will come”. “If you plan it, they will believe (and I will be a beloved and powerful Patriarch to boot)!”

    • Mike Says:

      Scott was booked up long before all this stuff with Phillips and him unfolded. I would be surprised if any of his speaking engagements get canceled this year. It seems to me that most church leaders react slowly to controversies surrounding those who are influential in their circles or those who they have been influenced by.

  17. Feeling sad/bad no longer Says:

    Thank you , thank you, thank you for the best explanation of what gossip is and isn’t that I have ever heard taught and /or preached. You are spot on in every point. You also exposed one more of the enemy’s tactics. Good work!

  18. sweet t Says:

    Great article! One thing that struck me is that not only does Dougy want no one speaking truthfully, but he demands blind loyalty. Before Vision Forum was created, while still in Virginia, Doug taught a group of young men in his home for a couple of years all about the Bible, law, politics, and more. The content was heavy on Calvinism, reconstruction, patriarchy, the Constitution Party, and more. One of the first hand-outs that Dougy provided these youngsters was an article titled, “Letter to Garcia.” See the link below:
    The message from Dougy couldn’t have been more clear: I expect blind loyalty. Don’t question. Don’t think. Just do.
    I wonder how many of Dougy’s VF interns, employees, perhaps even church members received this article from Doug. As we’ve seen from your article here, no one can speak ill of Doug. But, from the earliest days of his relationships, he demands that you follow him blindly without asking questions.

    • Jen Says:

      Sweet t, very interesting comment about Doug’s early years. Was this a first-hand experience of yours?

      So Doug fancies himself to be the general and expects all his “foot soldiers” to be blindly loyal to him. I get the point of the article, and can relate only too well to the plight of finding good workers, but there is a huge difference between going above and beyond in doing your job well and being blindly loyal to someone or some cause when there are major red flags waving in every direction.

      So this puts a whole new meaning to Doug stating that this is a time for him to be a “foot soldier.” I wonder who his new general is now.

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      If I were to use this letter, it would be to emphasize one’s loyalty to Christ. Doug Phillips nor any man deserves blind loyalty of this kind. I have a nagging thought that Doug learned some of his tyrannical tactics from leaders in the Constitution Party. Folks, there’s bound to be a connection – his dad founded the CP (formerly the US Taxpayers Party).

      • Jen Says:

        Angela, I am sure that he did. Please feel free to explain more about what you are thinking here.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Right now I think that the teachings of Doug Phillips, Scott Brown and others defending patriarchy have infiltrated groups that consist primarily of homeschoolers and “patriots.” While I never read much VF materials, their teachings still influenced me; my connection to Doug Phillips is through the Constitution Party and folks in that organization. I vividly remember being told by our state party chairman in 2001 that the hope was to have Doug as a presidential candidate and for him to eventually take his dad’s place in leadership. The ethics of the Constitution Party leave much to be desired and they were experts at making power plays and getting rid of those who disagreed. They even disaffiliated our party in Illinois at one time by finding a procedural loop hole.

        • Jen Says:

          Oh, Angela, I certainly hope that the CP is not still set on Doug becoming president!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          There is much infighting and jockeying for position in that group – if Doug wanted the candidacy, he’d have a real fight on his hands with folks who are similar in methods and ethics.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          From what I’ve been told there is no possibility that Doug Phillips will ever be able to run for anything, especially as a Presidential candidate, in the Constitution Party. Even before his clergy sexual abuse scandal Doug had made many enemies in the CP. One of his most powerful enemies is Michael Peroutka who ran for CP Presidential Candidate in 2004. Apparently there were a number of things that caused the fallout between Doug and Michael, but one thing in particular was the whole Raising The Allosaur scam and the way Doug defrauded both Joe Taylor and the DeRosas. Peroutka stepped in and bought the allosaur skull from the DeRosas, apparently to help them settle their huge legal bills incurred from Doug’s fight with them. On Oct 18, 2013 Peroutka donated the allosaur skull to AIG.

        • Eva Says:

          TW I think Peroutka donated the whole dinosaur fossil. At least from some mailings we’ve gotten from AiG that is what it indicated.

      • Dom Walk Says:

        I think Angela’s spot on here. What little I saw of CP, I was shocked at the nastiness toward what most would term conservative Christian politicians, even from their presidential candidate. Just like what one hears in the harsher VF/NCFIC “churches”.

        • Michael Says:

          Uh, just a little reality check here. It really doesn’t matter WHO the Constitution Party runs as a presidential candidate, there is NO CHANCE they will ever win. They as re just another party that few take seriously. They never do well in presidential elections. It would actually be laughable if they ran Phillips. He is a nut job, and would be painted as such if he created so much as a blip on the media’s radar.

        • Jen Says:

          Michael, in that case, it might be good if Doug Phillips were to run for President after all!

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          It has long been Doug Phillips’ ambition to run for President as a Constitution Party candidate. I can’t see that happening now after his clergy sexual abuse scandal. But who knows? By 2016 the power brokers in the CP might take him.

          Many in the CP dropped their support in the 2012 race to support Ron Paul. Even several CP directors bailed out to work for Ron Paul’s campaign at the national level. Rand Paul may run in 2016 and we’ll likely see the same thing happen with CPers refusing to back their own Presidential candidate to work in Rand Paul’s campaign. By that point the CP might be so desperate that they’d actually take Doug Phillips. Why not? Nothing to lose anyway, or so they may think.

          One thing I do know is that Doug Phillips can’t resist staying out of the lime light. Like a moth to the flame – irresistible. Nothing would get him as much attention as running for President. Not to mention he would dramatically expand his mailing list too, which comes in handy for marketing purposes. By 2016 he’ll be operating under a new company selling more Christian sling shots and dolls. Running for President would be a huge shot in the arm to any of his businesses, which would be his real motivation for running, not because he actually thought he had any chance of winning.

        • Michael Says:

          Jen, I would get a kick out of watching Phillips exposed further by the national media…right before they dropped him as a very uninteresting story. I really believe, given the reputation and lack of real interest in the Constitution Party by the American people, that Phillips would have a hard time drawing much attention. He is a NOBODY outside the little pond that he has been a big fish in .

    • DesiringToDiscern Says:

      sweet t,
      It is a shame that the message of that article which you linked to was so abused by DP . I have never read that before today but I like the article on its own merit. It is sad that we live in a day where there are such BAD attitudes with entitlement mentalities. As for the military aspect of the article, yes, in the military there is to be unquestioned obedience to orders unless there is a serious breach in moral code. DP lives in a fantasy of having his own personal army/monarchy.
      Before our Holy God there is no excuse for immoral behavior.

    • Bridget Says:

      Sweet T –

      Wow! How off the teachings from Phillips are. He takes a military letter out of the context of the military. He uses resources and questions to tie the concept to scripture, including Andrew Murray’s book on “Humility.” Then he puts all of it in a context of how young men interning (or, more honestly, being indoctrinated) for him should respond to him. It’s just really sick. FWIW, I don’t believe God or Andrew Murray would be pleased with their books being used this way.

  19. sweet t Says:

    @Jen, yes a first-hand experience. Under this type of relationship that I’m sure many have had with Doug, students/underlings are taken with Dougy’s knowledge, his charisma, his seemingly good relationships with “experts.” Our group spent time with authors, theologians, scholars, historians – those who’s teachings Doug approved of. We were impressionable and we wanted to carry the “Letter to Garcia” wherever Doug asked – the type of blind loyalty that I’m sure gained Doug’s approval.
    Looking back on this time, there are distinct memories:
    1. Of the hours per week of teaching and study time together, there was never an emphasis on the Gospel
    2. Doug could and would slice and dice Scripture to prove his points. His constant use of terms like “the normative pattern of Scripture” or “the Bible’s patterns, precepts, and principles” were used to bolster his positions.
    3. Doug would often point out that Jesus was able to change the world with 12 disciples. There were only 7 of us whippersnappers, but I believe Doug wanted to be a revolutionary with a small group of followers.

    • Jen Says:

      Sweet T, thank you so much for sharing that with us. It helps to understand that he has never really changed. All those things were very much a part of our time with him at BCA as well.

      • Humbled by Grace Says:

        Andrew are you referring to Saling?

      • Andrew McDonald Says:

        Not referring to Saling, as confused as he might have been and opinionated (lol, bless his heart!). No not him, the current one. He was painted as the enemy to us. Recently we had JS to our home and I was able to love him. How precious and God driven is that?! My wife in just naturally sweet. (Now you know me for sure!)

        I, on the other hand, needed God to move in me to allow any grace to abound. Yep, we’re in the same place alright. Who’d imagined? Out of all the places, all across this large nation. We are in the same building as you. How close to home can it get?

        Today we saw our daughter; we see her interacting with her kids and we see the damage… the extreme of the pendulum swung the other way and we grieve. We are the authors of that. I led my family in that way. But our hope is in God. No one is an island and we need to be sure that we protect our kids from these extremes and lead them to follow Christ and His voice.

        Since you are reading this page and from what you have written, I assume you are concerned as well. Our pastor is young (comparatively speaking) so this chapter will likely be a mere comma in his life. I hope so. It has been a paragraph in ours. As we begin this new chapter I have no desire to re-write the same first paragraph. Blessings!

        • Jen Says:

          Andrew, I understand the pain and confusion you are experiencing now. I pray that God will clearly lead you and give you discernment in all this.

  20. Sarah Says:

    It blows my mind that the Vision Forum Inc. website hasn’t been closed. Most incredibly Doug’s blog. Then there is Vision Forums Vimeo account as well as Doug’s. This list goes on and on. His idea of what a foot soldier should resemble is obviously quite different then mine 🙂

    • Jen Says:

      It’s his legacy, Sarah.

      • Bridget Says:

        It seems that there is some obscure “legacy” teachings/instruction out in Phillips land. It keeps coming up as an undercurrent, yet it seems to be the main driving force behind the actions of many of the leaders associated with Doug Phillips. What is this “legacy” stuff and why does it seem to drive men to all sorts of ungodly actions? Are they mixing up having some earthly “legacy” with their spiritual growth that leads to Godliness?

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          I think Bridget hit the nail on the head regarding legacies… I had privately mentioned to Pastor Mathis that Christian Reconstruction/theonomy loses sight of Heaven and focuses on the here and now, IMO. I was in it for a dozen years and when I first started out I was still enthusiastic for evangelism… Then down through the years I lost my zeal and couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly where I had become lukewarm… It was like the frog in the boiling water and now, thank God, He has plucked me out and my joy is returning. Praise the LORD! 🙂

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          @Angela, I think I would love to know you.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Thanks! I need new friends! I’m laughing right now because most of my “friends” on FB appear to be “shunning” me. 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          Angela, boy, do I ever understand that! Sometimes, it is just time for new friends. 🙂

        • Jen Says:

          Angela, what a joy it is to have you here! God has certainly worked in your heart and life many good things these last three months!

        • Blindsided Says:

          Angela, you are a courageous and kind person and I admire how you have given support on Facebook to those who speak out against ecclesiastical tyranny. Good on ya’, as they say. If you are being shunned on Facebook, you must be doing something right! That doesn’t, however, make it any easier. Those who have struggled to be free from slavery to cult leaders have a great appreciation for you! God bless you!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Thanks Blindsided! I am blessed to be used by the Lord in this matter. 🙂

        • Molly Says:

          “Legacy” has become such a buzzword in Christian circles nowadays. Personally, I’ve become wary of it because of these teachings, although I know that it can have different meanings to different people.
          Angela, what you described is exactly the way I felt when I was under these teachings. I lost my joy, my connection with God, and most of the time, I felt like I was praying to the ceiling. Thankfully, God took the false teachers out of my life and brought me back down to the basics. I feel more connected to Him now than I have in years.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Thanks Molly… Last night I received this blog update from a friend at Theonomy Resources: “With Vision Forum Closing, where can I find Solid Biblical Family Material?” and it broke my heart. He’s a wonderful young man with small children and I hate to see how he’s closed his eyes to the truth. May God help us all and may He graciously use our mistakes for good. I’ve really turned a corner these past few months and want to express my gratitude to Jen, TW and all the wonderful new friends I’ve made here.

        • Jen Says:

          Angela, in a way, I can understand his predicament. It is difficult to find good material, with or without Vision Forum. But if he searches for it, there is plenty to be found!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Years ago when I was on our local school board, I directed parents to Christian Liberty Academy in northern Illinois. This was before Vision Forum came into existence; I’ll do some research and perhaps direct Stephen and his readers to them. 🙂

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Angela, So these people are OK with adultery, misappropriation of funds and outright deceit including the Gifford issue!!!!! VF materials (and alleged authority) were predicated upon lies ! 😦 DP is not my role model

        • Molly Says:

          DesiringtoDiscern, VF did re-publish some good older material that you couldn’t find anywhere else. My husband was torn because he wanted a book written by John Quincy Adams (Lessons to His Son, or something like that) and VF was the only one who carried it. But he didn’t want to support them financially. Not everything they carried was Doug-breathed. 🙂

        • Nea Says:

          This answer is actually to Molly, but I couldn’t find a direct reply link on her comment. I put “John Quincy Adams Letters Son” into Google and found Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teaching on (print) and Google ebooks (ebook). Project Gutenberg didn’t show it on a quick search, but one of the letters appeared as a .pdf at the Massachusetts Historical Society website.

          The fastest and easiest way for people like Doug Phillips to make money is to not actually buy the copyright to obscure books, it’s to put out a pretty package and *pretend* to have exclusive publishing rights to obscure information that is actually available free for anyone willing to go looking for it.

  21. FreeatLast Says:

    “Once you hear gossip you’re marred. You are marred. That tasty trifle goes down to the inmost parts and you are never the same again. One little word and you’re never the same again regarding that person. It’s tragic. If you’ve ever listened to gossip then you just need to know that you’ve been defiled. Because it has gone down. It’s gone down, deep down into the inmost parts and it’s a danger to you.” (27:33)

    TW listed the above quote from Scott Brown’s message on Gossip.

    I heard this message live and I still remember the feeling sitting there. Brown’s words pierced me right through the heart. I was so scared after hearing this message that I thought about having my voice box removed permanently for fear that I might commit the unpardonable sin of “gossip”. The mind-control worked and it made me reluctant to confront bad things I saw Phillips do. Like many, I had found out about Jennifer Grady’s adultery with a young man but I could not confront her, or the elders, about it because I was warned that if I did, I would be confessing to having committed the unpardonable sin of having listened to a gossip. How else could I have known about Grady short of having been an eyewitness? Conclusion: I listened to a gossip. Yikes!! The fact that the gossip told me only because the gossip was in fear for my own children’s safety around Grady didn’t matter. And the message was made clear by Phillips at BCA: if you warn anyone about someone like Grady (he didn’t use her name), then you are a gossip and you will be subject to church discipline! I was torn about the whole mess. What to do about Grady’s open and obvious advances on other young men while Sarratt and Phillips looked the other way. I was frozen!

    Sarratt is the Sergeant Shultz of BCA. If you try to talk to him about church-wide problems that are destroying many lives, he interrupts you and says something like, “I know nothing! I didn’t even get up today! I was never here!” Sarratt makes it clear that he isn’t interested in the safety of the flock or your concerns. He doesn’t want to hear you because he has been bound by the unpardonable sin of gossip rule also and he is afraid you will tell him something that will make him guilty of the unpardonable sin of listening to gossip himself. What a convenient cover for not having to address all the problems created by an unrepentant adulteress moving through the flock and devouring it.

    • Jen Says:

      FreeatLast, oh, I don’t know whether to cry or to rejoice at your statement. I am crying for all those who lived in such a tremendous amount of fear and really had no recourse for serious problems. That is just grievous.

      Please tell me, as your name explains, that you truly are free from this unbiblical teaching on gossip now.

      Also, you said you heard this live. We were trying to determine exactly where this was given. Do you remember?

      • FreeatLast Says:

        I am free!

        The message was given on a Sunday morning, downtown San Antonio. I cannot remember if it was after the “Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp” or some other event. It was several years ago.

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Based on Scott Brown’s opening remarks I figured it must have been immediately after the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp, but I didn’t want to go on record and say so in the article without knowing for sure. It’s become far more challenging figuring out such details since so much content has been removed from the VF web sites, and what of it there is that remains is difficult to navigate.

          Speaking of entrepreneurialism, here’s a humorous comment I just remembered posting shortly after Doug’s “sincere resignation”. So far my predictions have proven true. It’s just a matter of time before he files for bankruptcy, if that hasn’t happened already.

        • Jen Says:

          TW, I’m glad to see that Doug is still following our “advice.” 🙂

      • Blindsided Says:

        FreeatLast: Jen said it best~ this is just grievous. Grievous. I am so very sorry you had to endure such pain and hardship. It is chillingly like being in an abusive marriage. People on the outside say, “Why don’t you just walk away? This is nuts!”. But it’s not so easy. When and if one does get free, it still takes time and hard work to recover. My prayer is that you are fully recovered from such a traumatic time. Writing as you did is very brave.

        • FreeatLast Says:

          Thanks for your comments. I am glad we got all of our children out of there. It was scary near the end because we knew they (Phillips and Sarratt) would come after us, but in the end, it was worth what we had to go through to get out. Funny side note: Phillips and Sarratt don’t have a lot to say to you when you are at BCA like asking how your spiritual life is going, etc. but just try to leave and they suddenly have all kinds of interest in you. Sarratt never called me for anything the whole time I was at BCA but once I told him I was leaving, he managed to call me several times after I left and pressure me, even though he knew I wasn’t in sin and that I was going to another church. I think his new found interest in me was driven by the fact he now knew that I was no longer under their thumb and blindly loyal to them. This made me a threat and I believe the calls were all about that. I shuddered in fear that they would come to my house some night with a bunch of the henchmen in tow.

        • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

          Freeatlast, We agree 100% and can back up all you say as we too are free at last. All that happened to you, happened to us over the same issues/people at BCA. It is sadly comforting to see and hear that yet so much relief to be out. God bless.

        • Not Fooled Anymore Says:

          I want to clarify that it is sadly comforting to see and hear that others experienced the same harsh treatment and now knowing that we were not the only ones to go through the same thing. I don’t wish what we all experienced and went through on another soul and wish to see all of this stopped for other families sake. We keep praying!

    • Angela Wittman Says:

      I think Pastor Mathis said it best when he explained that these wolves feed on people with sensitive consciences (Angela’s paraphrase). Perhaps you will receive some comfort from his article “A Weak Gospel creates weak families” Can you imagine what the Apostle Paul would say about Scott, Doug and co.? Well, if they don’t repent, we just might get to hear what the good Lord thinks about their “ministries” that terrorize His beloved people! Shame on those bullies!

      • Grace alone Says:

        Thank you for bringing out the truth that the wolves feed on people with sensitive consciences. The light bulb just went on! I do have a sensitive conscience and was controlled by a cult for years. Any more details of Pastor Mathis’s summary would be most helpful because I do not want to have a hardened heart.

  22. steve240 Says:

    Another good blog post. Someone posted this as a comment on I believe one of your other other blog posts:

    Those who choose to hear no evil, see no evil will certainly become captive to evil.

    Concise but accurate. If you choose to not want to see or hear or even entertain the possibility that a leader has issues then you set yourself up to be captive to poor leadership like so many did with Doug Phillips.

    This extreme teaching on gossip and slander might work when you have leaders that are humble and open to seeing their sin but as the saying goes “power corrupts.” What I find perplexing with Calvinists is how they claim to believe in the “total depravity” of men but don’t set up checks and balances and even use teaching on “gossip” to insulate leaders from criticism or being questioned. Why teach one thing but your actions seem to contradict?

    One thing to realize with some of Bill Gothard’s teaching on “gossip” and spreading a bad report is that Gothard’s motivation for at least some of his teaching was a result of a sex scandal that broke out in his organization that includedBill Gothard and his brother. The motivation was to try and suppress the exposure of the sin etc.

    • InterestedReader Says:

      I don’t think “Calvinist” has anything to do with whether churches set up checks and balances. I found less checks in my previous church of mixed beliefs (and an overuse of “teaching” on “gossip,”), and many more checks in my current, strongly Calvinist church. I do think we should be careful of broad brush-strokes.

  23. T.W. Eston Says:

    Please note the following addition that I’ve made to the end of the article:

    One of our regular commenters here, who wishes to remain anonymous, emailed me an article that she wrote on gossip. It’s an insightful article and provides some practical guidelines for knowing what gossip is and what gossip isn’t. I believe her article complements my own and addresses several key areas that I have not. I hope everyone will also read it. I have her permission to share it here: Is it Gossip or Speaking the Truth in Love?

    • T.W. Eston Says:

      Note also the comment that I just posted above. I back-dated it to give it greater visibility to any new readers to the article. But for any who have already read the article, and read through the comments, this is important information that I wouldn’t want to go unnoticed.

    • buddy Says:

      Well it sure looks like you all did a good job on exposing this tool and those around him, I would hope that the sheeple that still follow him have learned that rigid religion is not something they want for them or there families. I never knew this type of nonsense even existed and further I still have a hard time trying to figure out why people would even want to be part of it. The hate for Catholics, the hate for gays, not right out saying it, but its implied, Church is a place to refresh your soul, not a place to fear like DP made it.

    • Steve240 Says:


      One tendency I have is with how the no “gossip” rule is used to keep sheep in the dark and allow leaders to hide their questionable actions is to want to disregard all teaching on gossip. Certainly there are times when something truly is “gossip” and shouldn’t be shared. I have heard that one needs to ask what their motive is in sharing such as is something being shared maliciously.

      It is disappointing that the “gossip” rule has been used to silence questioning of leaders and their actions.

      My thought is that one needs to find the right balance. Also, one needs to determine who is affected by say someone’s sin.

      – Telling people about the “cougar” and how she preyed on young men is something that definitely should have been shared.
      – Letting members of a church or the general body of Christ know about questionable actions of leaders also many times isn’t “gossip” that so many leaders like to call it.

      If nothing else, something like this isn’t so black and white.

      • Jen Says:

        Steve, it does seem to be a question of discernment. Gossip does not fall into any black and white categories, nor does the Bible provide for zero tolerance of it. We should pray for discernment in these areas.

        • Steve240 Says:

          Agreed. Unfortunately I have seen so many cases where people are quick to call dissent or questioning gossip and think that the Matthew passage (of first going to your brother in private) will solve all things. Unfortunately especially leaders questionable (at best) actions sometimes need to be well publicized otherwise these leaders will continue with their abuse.

    • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

      Gee. I’m inconvenienced.

      • T.W. Eston Says:

        I think you’re missing something significant. Read the fine print at the bottom. Blue Behemoth was owned by Vision Forum Inc. which is owned by Doug Phillips. It’ll be interesting to discover who bought Blue Behemoth. It’ll also be interesting to see when it comes back online if the new owner is still peddling Doug Phillips/VF stuff.

        • PioneerHomeschooler Says:

          No, I didn’t miss it. I’m just amazed that anyone thinks any of us would be inconvenienced by not being able to download the Sermons that Save. I don’t care who owns it or why. Although I don’t believe for a moment that the ownership has really changed. VF has-beens apparently think it’s the only way to preserve some of the market.

        • JC Harmony Says:

          The WHOIS records for was updated yesterday and the website is now apparently being operated by Enthuse Entertainment out of Hollywood Park, TX. Their website is – do any of the folks on the contact page ring a bell?

        • Jen Says:

          JC, I don’t recognize any names there, but thanks for finding that!

        • Anna Says:

          These names on the contact page are not familiar to me, could you help me understand the players? I do see lots of female names. 😉

        • Eva Says:

          Is this Enthuse the same as the one releasing the movie “Alone Yet not Alone?”

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          One in the same.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Doing a bit of peeking at linkedin searching…the contact people at enthuseentertaiment are, to say the least, interesting in their employment/job backgrounds. the people who sold their wares at Blue B. probably never imagined this happening.

        • Sarah Says:

          Yes Jen I was referring to the nanny and some of her family members that were listed in the cast.

        • Bbb Says:

          I am reposting with a clarification correction
          I had been researching this myself – particularly since we had some purchases I had not saved in the past – a few audio books. I don’t really need them – but am interested if this site will honor the purchased downloads.

          Here are my findings:

          CJ Legare
          Enthuse Entertainment
          326 Sterling Browning #126 San Antonio
          Just updated site Jan 17 2014
          Jan 20 site hosting updated by Ecommerce Corp

          Domain previously registered to this computer IP:
          Transferred on Jan 13 to this IP:
          IP: Registered to Douglas Phillips, Vision Forum, San Antonio
          IP: address now maps to Coffeyville Oklahoma.

          Enthuse Entertainment releasing soon: Alone Yet Not Alone to Have and to Hold
          Staff: Brian McNulty, Erika Castillo, Courtney Legare, David Rodriguez, Stephanie Henderson. Brian may be one and the same filmmaker in Austin – also audio engineer.

          Paper Trail of Alone Yet Not Alone and 2013 SAICFF leads to comments regarding the last minute withdrawal from the film festival and speculated reasons – some citing last minute editing issues and others stating that was not the case. Red flag.

          Vision WHO IS
          Douglas Phillips
          Feb 2014 expiration if you are interested 🙂

 Website used IP Addresses –
          •      ( used on 10 January 2014 listed as Americommerce L. P. Beaumont
          •      ( used on 25 October 2012
          •     – site using this IP address now

          Vision Forum Ministries
          Registered to Peter Pallock
          Last updated: Jan 9, 2014

        • Jen Says:

          Bbb, thanks. I’ve done a bit of research on this myself. When you say the domain is registered to Doug Phillips, are you talking about Blue Behemoth? It is currently registered to him? Yes, I know that he owned it. What happened on Jan. 13?

        • Sarah Says:

          It looks like everything changed hands last week Jen. VFM went to Peter Pallock, expires in two months, Blue Behemoth to CJ Leger(spelling?) and it looks like VF expires in one month 🙂

        • EyesWideOpen Says:

          Unless DP has major stuff to hide, I don’t see his point in relinquishing his domain names.

          Interestingly, Peter Pollock just landed his “dream job” working for Enthuse Entertainment. Small world…

        • Sarah Says:

          A small world indeed!

        • Bbb Says:

          Just to spell this out (please see my other interesting info posted in sidelines earlier)
          This re-connects Vision Forum Ministries to BlueBehemoth – at least for the time being by way of VFM going to PP as I posted earlier. Was PP connected to VFM site in the past? He did speak at the SAICFF and do some VF film work – but not seeing this name on VFM previously. If I had to guess – this could simply be an information gleaning – emails, donors, etc. I can’t see anyone making use of VFM anymore for sure.

        • EyesWideOpen Says:

          Was PP connected before? Definitely! He ran the Blue Behemoth site (from the VF office) and was one of VF’s main photographers. He and his wife went to Greece as photographers. He was a full time employee of VF for many years.

          This goes to show that there was no real difference between VF, VFM, BCA, and Blue Behemoth. They were all one in the same. They were all Doug Himself.

        • Bbb Says:

          I’m sure some are wondering about the relevance of the websites, film, owners, etc. For me, it is about making sure these people do not crop up in the other homeschool and edu functions we are a part of. It is so multi faceted.

          I am so surprised no one has commented on my earlier posts today especially the one citing the demographic for the standard vf site visitor…stay at home moms, low income, no higher edu? What about that? Let me say, I do not fit that demographic but did frequent the site for toys, audio books. Maybe my higher edu and median income kept me from being a casualty…I dunno…no offense here but if I would have heard one word about shunning or wife suppression, I would have bailed sooner!

        • Leslie Says:

          Bbb, I did not see that post. Are you sure it posted?

        • Bbb Says:

          I was referring to this:
          Statistics Summary for’s three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 111,199. Compared with all internet users, this site’s audience tends to be users who have children; they are also disproportionately women browsing from home who have no postgraduate education and have incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. The site has attained a traffic rank of 29,145 among users in the US, where we estimate that 92% of its audience is located, and has been online since 1998. The site is based in the US.

          Alone in the news again tonight. It will definitely get more exposure. I hate that the media is slamming the film for being Christian. That’s not good for any of us.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          I would say those statistics pretty much describe most of us… 🙂 My husband browses for tractors and trucks – I look for educational materials. 🙂

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Joni Eareckson Tada is such a well-known and respected Christian woman – I hope she doesn’t suffer from any of the fallout from Doug Phillips’ involvement with this film:

        • Bbb Says:

          No – that passed on the 13th.
          DP is still listed for VF.
          VFM is now Peter Pollock
          A changing of the guard so to speak.

        • Bbb Says:

          the 13th went to which registers CJ Legare, Enthuse Ent.

        • OtOLi Says:

          I haven’t seen “Alone Yet Not Alone”, but from the little bit that I have read and researched, it doesn’t seem like it fits with DP’s “Patriarchy” vision. And why in the world has it taken so long to get released? From what I read, filming took place back in 2010.

    • Sarah Says:

      Doug’s blog has also been removed. All that’s left on the VF website is the disturbing farewell newsletter.

      • Grace alone Says:

        Enthuse is releasing “Alone Yet Not Alone” this year; it’s title song just was Oscar nominated the best original song. Joni Eareckson Tada sings it.

        • Jen Says:

          “Alone Yet Not Alone” is a fantastic movie! They had to delay the release date so they could edit Doug Phillips out of it.

        • Grace alone Says:

          Jen, are you serious? He had a role?

        • T.W. Eston Says:

          Yes, Doug had a cameo role in it and was prominently featured in the title credits. Once Doug’s sex scandal broke the financial backers (IMDb shows the film’s budget at $7,000,000) took it back into the editing suite and removed Doug’s part and anything in the title credits referring to him. Jen and I had seen the film trailer prior to Doug’s sex scandal, and Doug appeared in the trailer. Not long after the sex scandal broke the trailer abruptly changed, with no sign of Doug. Doug Phillips used to be listed in the cast of the film on IMDb. He’s no longer there, although Jubilee and Josh Phillips are still shown and, we’re assuming, their parts won’t find their way onto the cutting room floor.

        • Grace alone Says:

          I’m so tired of hearing projects that this man was involved in! Will it never end??! I had no clue he invaded this film too–I just watched the trailer yesterday. It’s so sickening, because Doug lived off others’ $ and ideas and only glorified himself.

        • Sarah Says:

          All those closest to Doug are in it.

        • Jen Says:

          Sarah, are you referring to his nanny? 🙂

        • mom2six Says:

          Ok, my children and I were extras in Alone Yet Not Alone. It was the first time I met DP and Beall. We went to the theater and saw the movie. Doug was still in it, as was one of his daughters.

        • Jen Says:

          Mom2six, yes, Doug and all were in it for the preview. He has now been cut.

          We would love to hear about your experience with this movie!

        • Grace alone Says:

          Way back machine for IMDb pulls up the cast list with his name playing Colonel Mercer; his last name is mispelled compared to his kids.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          The *AYNA* behind the scenes video lists Geoffrey Botkin as a cameraman ????

        • Jen Says:

          D2D, nice catch! Looks like Geoff Botkin was one of the cameramen. I am NOT surprised. VF was heavily involved.

        • OtOLi Says:

          It seems that DP has for a long time been merely an actor playing a role (for pleasure and profit).

          What about Beall and the kids? Will their future be in acting too? It would seem that they’ve all had lots of practice dressing up and pretending as well.

        • Bbb Says:

          This is really causing a stir. Perhaps more people will land on this blog googling the people in the film 🙂
          From 3 days ago:

          So how did Alone Yet Not Alone end up breaking through to the Oscar ballot? Deadline pins the movie’s unlikely success to the efforts of two men: William Ross and Bruce Broughton. Ross, who scored Alone Yet Not Alone, happens to be the conductor for the orchestra at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony; Broughton, who wrote the eponymous song, is the former head of the Academy’s music branch.

          According to Deadline, Broughton first hired publicist Ray Costa to campaign for the song’s inclusion. When that approach failed, he placed a series of personal calls to voters, urging them to consider “Alone Yet Not Alone” as they filled out their ballots. The gambit worked; when the nominees were announced on Thursday, “Alone Yet Not Alone” managed to edge out high-profile artists like Taylor Swift (“Sweeter Than Fiction,” from One Chance), Coldplay (“Atlas,” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Lana Del Rey (“Young and Beautiful,” from The Great Gatsby).

          Was Broughton’s one-man grassroots campaign permissible under Academy guidelines? By the letter of the law, yes — but it’s long been considered a breach of etiquette to mount personal campaigns for awards. In 2011, Melissa Leo was raked over the coals for paying for her own Hollywood trade ads — and while she went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, some insiders and prognosticators had predicted she would lose the category based entirely on the backlash against her.

          Though the situation here sounds even sketchier, Alone Yet Not Alone’s breach of etiquette will probably be treated less like an affront and more like a bizarre curiosity. As surprising as it was to see “Alone Yet Not Alone” on the nominee list, there’s virtually no chance it will take home the trophy on Oscar night. Though the nominees for Best Original Song are selected only by songwriters and composers, all of the Academy votes on the final winner, and Broughton presumably has far less sway with the Academy as a whole. (By a wide margin, the frontrunner in the category is “Let It Go,” from Disney’s animated musical Frozen). But while Alone Yet Not Alone is likely to wind up empty-handed, the film’s real victory was arguably achieved the moment it showed up on the shortlist. Deserving or not, we’re all talking about it now, right?

        • Bbb Says:

          Oops – meant to add this to my last post also:

          This film has definitely had it’s share of issues in more ways than one.

          Also add this to my “whois” website post info above.
          Statistics Summary for’s three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 111,199. Compared with all internet users, this site’s audience tends to be users who have children; they are also disproportionately women browsing from home who have no postgraduate education and have incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. The site has attained a traffic rank of 29,145 among users in the US, where we estimate that 92% of its audience is located, and has been online since 1998. The site is based in the US.

        • Molly Says:

          That is really interesting. However, I thought campaigning for an Oscar was a pretty common practice. Maybe not by the actual actor or song composer or whatever, but by the studios, record labels, etc.

      • seekingholiness Says:

        I must differ with Jen and say that ALYNA is one of the poorest examples of independent “Christian” films that I have ever seen. I hope that few people see it, as they will get the idea that this is the best that the christian community has to offer. Kelly Grayson is a pitiful actress. She is trying to promote herself as a great actress, when all she has is her figure and Dad’s money to advance her “career”. The cinematography was beautiful, but poorly edited. The acting was forced and contrived, and the screenplay was a shameful treatment of a truly exciting and beautiful story. DP’s part never should have made it to the screen in the first place. Geoff Botkin had no part in the making of this film. He was asked to consult with the first director, they actually changed directors midway through filming, and he refused when they powers-that-be (JL and company), refused to make improvements to the script. There were too many chiefs and too few indians involved in the making of this film. Pardon the pun….

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          sh, Botkin is listed in the credits on the behind the scenes video on their website. Camera

  24. Joel Horst Says:

    I was shocked by the link at the top of the article to the Executive Protection school, which the “Student Testimonials” page shows that Joshua and Justice Phillips, Ben and David Botkin (Geoff’s sons, I assume?), Stephen Bradrick and Bob Renaud attended. The kind of training they received is shown at . It is disturbing to think that Doug would send his sons and workers to such training. Worse yet, to use it to intimidate people.

    All of this reminds me of what God showed me recently about ignoring the commands of men. We are not to follow men; we are to follow God. I blogged about this the other day at Coming from a Mennonite and homeschooled/ATI background, I have had plenty of men’s commands drilled into my head over the years. They are many times more defiling than any gossip I have ever heard. Years after leaving the Mennonite church, I still find myself following commands of men–things that Jesus never gave us.

    We each need to ask God for spiritual discernment and understanding to avoid the commands of men.

    • Just Truth Says:

      Hi Joel,
      But most people would say that headcoverings and no remarriage after divorce is also man made rules and legalistic. How does one decide what is man made and what is liberty? I don’t mean to argue a point or derail this thread, but with the discussion on legalism and liberty on some of the threads, I just wondered who draws the lines and where they are found. Maybe someone else would like to comment on what is legalism? Does it have a certain look? Should a lady refrain from wearing dresses to not give the legalistic look?

      It seems that where ever we go, there is a need for Christian love and Charity, as there will always be those who look at us as more legalistic, or more liberal than they, no matter what church we attend. It will be the love and acceptance of the Lord Jesus that brings us together, will it not, or am I missing something?

      But still, we don’t want to make others feel burdened to do as we do, so what is the answer?
      thanks, God Bless

      • Jen Says:

        Just Truth, legalism is when you you bind your own convictions on someone else.

        • oneh20 Says:

          True. I would add that it is also when one follows rules they believe are biblical, but are actually extrabiblical due to a misunderstanding of the text – generally taking things out of their context, whether it is cultural context, historical, or the surrounding text. One can innocently fall into legalism when not realizing he or she needs to look to the whole of Scripture for the bottom line of a subject. I believe from experience that most people who live in legalistic bondage don’t know it and are very sincere in their faith, however the truth is we need to be Bereans (Acts 17:11) and frankly it is easier to follow a bunch of man made rules (easy and eventually life draining) than to walk by the Spirit (risky but worth it!).

      • mom2six Says:

        Just truth, I have wore skirts & dresses all my life. This was something I was taught I had to do growing up. I’ve come to understand that’s not so, but for several reasons my daughters and I still choose to dress that way. In most of my almost 40 yrs. I’ve rarely been treated badly because of how I dressed- until now. We find that when we go to homeschool events people within the events glare at us or hold us at a distance. I have to be extra friendly and excepting of others and give them a chance to see we aren’t legalistic people even though we have “the look” of those that tend to be. This makes me sad. When I’m in our town doing business I am treated with respect and

        • Jen Says:

          Mom2six, is it a sin for women to wear pants? If one of your daughters asked to wear pants, what would you say?

        • Just Truth Says:

          Is some of Mom2six’s comment above missing?

        • Jen Says:

          Just Truth, yes, it appears that she posted a little too soon. 🙂

        • Just Truth Says:

          Thanks for sharing! I would be interested to know the rest of your thought. Finding a balance seems confusing at times.

        • mom2six Says:

          Sorry, phone messed up.
          and greeted with friendly faces by “the world”. Within the last 5 yrs I go to Christian homeschool events expecting to be frowned upon. So strange. No it isn’t a sin for women to wear pants. I would be OK with my girls wearing pants but my husband wouldn’t . We dress the way he prefers to honor him but also to still have a voice with our family and friends who are still bound by the heart of legalism. It’s strange I grew up with a group who is legalistic about a dress standard but preached against Christian school because they wanted kids to be salt & light. To those we’ve always known we are “out there” because we do something strange like homeschool but we push their standards with things like me coloring my hair, my girls taking swimming lessons in swim trunks, etc. But, @ homeschool classes my kids are told they’re “too homeschool ” because of the way we dress and don’t have TV. Thankfully at this point my kids seem OK with not fitting into any group’s box. I think stressing to them that what we do is OUR choice not commands of God helps.
          Jen, I’ll try to email you about our movie experience on my ancient pc thatt In short it was awful.

        • Jen Says:

          Thank you for sharing that, Mom2six. It is good to honor your husband, of course, but I hope that he does not end up putting your daughters in a difficult situation.

          Yes, please email me. Thanks!

      • Joel Horst Says:

        Obeying Jesus is not legalism. If Jesus says “Do this”, we need to obey Him. “Legalism” is not a Biblical term. It is not something that God has defined; therefore, it can mean anything to anyone. It is the favorite way for many people to throw out Jesus’ commands.

        The way to find out what is man-made and what is God’s commands is to search the Scriptures like the Bereans. If somebody tells us, “This is the way, walk in it”, we need to search the Scriptures to see if they are teaching us God’s commands or man’s twisting of God’s commands. However, there is a catch.

        “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2) That is why I ended my first comment with this phrase: “We each need to ask God for spiritual discernment and understanding to avoid the commands of men.” Without the light of the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will not recognize the commands of Jesus, and we will accept the commands of men because they twisted the Scriptures well enough to get us to believe it.

        I was indoctrinated with “dresses-and-skirts-only” theology from little up. There was a Bible verse that seemed to clearly state that women must not wear clothing like a man would wear, and I certainly didn’t want my mother and sisters (or anyone else) to be an abomination to God. The verses I hadn’t seen and pondered the real message of were the verses that said we were not under the Old Covenant, that we were dead to the Law, that the Law was dead.

        To be honest, when God started prompting our family away from skirts-only-ism, it scared me. It had been my belief for all these years, and I didn’t want to be wrong. It had also become my filter for judging the spiritual commitment of a lady. Suddenly, I found that my filter was all wrong! All this to say that I understand what it is to think that you are following Jesus and instead be following man.

        We have seen the dangers of falling off the cliff on the conservative, Doug-Phillips-and-Bill-Gothard side. I have hear the reports of the parents who thought they were doing all the right things, but their families turned away from Christ. However, we are now in danger of falling off the cliff on the other side of the road–the liberal, do-whatever-you-want-Jesus-doesn’t-care cliff. The road to Heaven is a narrow pathway, and we must always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I suggest that you read over — a list of Christ’s commands that our family put together. I know that some people are probably rolling their eyes at the very thought of keeping Christ’s commands, but Jesus told us: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:21-24) This is the secret to a relationship with Jesus.

        One more thing: participating in a denomination and/or following a man or group of men, according to 1 Corinthians 3:1-6, causes us to be unable to understand the real meat of Jesus’ teaching. I’ll leave that explosive subject right there.

        • Just Truth Says:

          thanks for being honest about what you stand on. We seem to have come from similar backgrounds. What makes it hard is every one on both sides of the road and every where in between has read the same Bible and is convinced by the same Holy Spirit to believe and teach what they do. This makes it confusing, to say the least.

        • Molly Says:

          – It had also become my filter for judging the spiritual commitment of a lady. –
          THAT is the true problem with legalism. It causes us to judge others based on our own convictions and/or man-made standards. The Bible says that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. No woman should be considered more holy OR more self-righteous because she wears skirts!

        • Jen Says:

          Molly, that is exactly it! We desired to be holy, so we made outward changes in life. Then, when that area was “perfected,” and we still desired to be holy, we would add new outward areas to “fix.” And so the legalism grew.

        • Jen Says:

          Joel, perhaps an article about this will help. Let me think on that. Thanks for your thoughts on it.

        • OtOLi Says:

          Yes Joel. There is a need to keep God’s commandments (not in our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit living within us). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:2-3). Yes, we must be discerning and not follow men or the commandments of men.

      • Leslie Says:

        Having not been a part of this movement, but having a daughter ! SIL and 8 grandchildren who are entrenched I must sat I don’t get it. What is with the 1880’s look? I am 69 and my daughter is 43. In pictures that have been taken of us together people think that the pic of me is my daughterand ask who is the old lady with the gray hair. That old lady with the gray hair is my 43 year old daughter. Several years ago I treated her to a shopping trip. She picked out several really dowdy old lady outfits. I told her that even at my age I wouldn’t wear those outfits. I also told her that she should dress young and cute while she was still young and cute. And that she needed to take care of herself so she could be a role model to her daughters. She did compromise somewhat. But, like I said I don’t get why she goes out of her way to be old and unattractive. Her 21 year old daughter is following in her mothers footsteps.

        • Jen Says:

          Leslie, apparently some think that is a “holy” look.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Leslie, I think the men encourage this as they lay the blame for “lust” at the woman’s door… I remember one man telling me he would like for his wife to wear a burka! (sp?) Frankly, a woman can be just as seductive in a floor length skirt as she can be in a mini. 🙂

        • OtOLi Says:

          Who is being legalistic now? If people want to do their hair a certain way and dress a certain way, that’s up to them. Does “dressing young and cute” make someone more spiritual? I kind of understand where you’re coming from, but legalism cuts both ways.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          OtOLi – I understand a mother’s concern that her daughter is dressing in a manner that is common with legalistic churches/cults. My grandmother was Pentecostal and all of her daughters wore floor length dresses with sleeves down to their wrists as children and teenagers; all the girls grew up to reject Christianity. God isn’t as concerned with outward appearances as He is the heart – ex. the Sermon on the Mount.

        • Jen Says:

          OtOLi, I can understand the backlash on both sides here. I think that when women purposely choose to dress in ways that make us look less pretty or less feminine or less beautiful than we naturally are in order to be more “holy,” then it is definitely an area of concern. I know many who do this, and I think that is what Leslie may be saying here. Making yourself dowdy in order to appear holy does not make one appear holy at all.

        • OtOLi Says:

          Angela, Ultimately, these are issues of the heart. Why are you doing it? Do you attempt to bind others with your personal preferences?

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          OtOLi, I think my mother’s background kept me a bit more sensitive in the area of clothing, and while I’m now too mature for a mini, I still try to dress attractively (so my husband will be pleased) and modestly in order to set a good example for younger women and not cause any weak men to sin :).

        • Jen Says:

          Angela, when are we “too mature” for a mini? 😉

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          LOL! For me it was about 10 pounds ago! 🙂

        • Leslie Says:


          I may be more a matter of control than a matter of the heart.

        • Leslie Says:

          It may be

        • Walking in Freedom Says:

          We dressed that way for many years, beginning with the prairie look and eventually ending up at the stylish skirt-wearing look. We believed that it was the only modest way to go…not accentuating the crotch area (which would cause men to stumble) and looking distinctively female (which told the world that we were Christians). This legalism was a bit difficult to move beyond, but the freedom on the other side is amazing!

    • Jen Says:

      Joel, thank you for your comment and thanks for reminding us how difficult it can sometimes be to get these messages out of our heads!

      I was curious as to why you are shocked that Doug would send people to IAEPA. Please tell me more about these concerns.

      • Joel Horst Says:

        I was curious as to why you are shocked that Doug would send people to IAEPA. Please tell me more about these concerns.

        Perhaps the quote from Joshua Phillips sums it up: “This will help me in my work with my father.”

        Doug is not in need of a bodyguard, let alone a team of bodyguards, as far as I know–except for the possibility of meeting up with some irate ex-Vision-Forumite. Part of my shock is in connection with the results–using these guys to harass and intimidate others.

        As Christians, we are commanded by Jesus:

        Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39)

        Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:43-44)

        Having a team of bodyguards is the opposite of “resist not evil”. I realize that this could open a whole new can of worms that could spill on for pages and pages with no conclusion. I have no intention or desire for that. I am simply quoting the commands of Jesus for how we are to handle people who hate us and attack us. If Doug was merely training bodyguards, he was preparing to do exactly the opposite of what Jesus commands. That’s all I’ll say on that subject.

        Joshua’s quote throws a potentially sinister light on the subject. How would Executive Protection training help him in his work with his father? If Joshua desired to make a career as a security guard or a bodyguard, it would make sense. However, it seems more likely Doug is either paranoid that someone will try to kill him, or he is training a commando unit. These guys got training in using assault weaponry–just look at some of the pictures. This is not practicing swordfighting with plastic swords.

        The only other way I can think of that Executive Protection training would help Joshua is by equipping him with more “chivalry” skills to teach others. Personally, I don’t see that as very likely.

        • Jen Says:

          Thanks, Joel. I appreciate your perspective on this. I agree that this training does NOT line up with how Jesus taught us to live.

  25. Thankful Says:

    Jen and TW,
    Thank you for all the time you have clearly put into revealing the truth. I’ve read your posts and every single comment, but have never commented. I also have appreciated the comments from others who were involved. I was not affiliated with VF, but I sure did put them on a pedestal. I had a wake-up call when my husband said, “I’m not Doug Phillips. I never will be. I never want to be like him.” Ouch. He mistrusted DP 10 years ago when we first started homeschooling. I spent so much money I didn’t have on VF materials, and tried to imitate them in many ways. I am so very thankful for my husband’s wisdom and discernment, and sad that I took so long to see the truth. He has never once said, “I told you so.” Your blog has really opened my eyes. I write all this because I was so far removed from VF and yet still feel so foolish and duped. I *ache* and I pray for the people closely involved, especially the young people. Also, no one has mentioned the group Landmark Tours. I received an email from them and it looked just like an old VF faith and family tour. I can only guess that is how they had my email. There are names listed that were once affiliated with VF. Wondering if DP is part of this. Again, many thanks to both of you and the many commenters.

    • Jen Says:

      Thankful, welcome to the blog! It sounds like you have an awesome husband if he never wanted to be like Doug Phillips! I realize that there are differing levels of involvement here, and I pray for healing and discernment for all.

      I don’t see anything online about Landmark Tours that reminds of VF. You would have to give me more information.

      • DesiringToDiscern Says:

        Jen, re:Landmark Events. We received an email from them also. …No previous tours. First one to be with Bill Potter lauding the Calivinists/reformed history. Low budget but not cheap ! Adult (17+) – $99
        Child (5-16) – $85 Family $550. Kevin Turley on the About Us page. No idea how we got on their email list (wink) 😦

        • Jen Says:

          Yes, Landmark Events by Kevin Turley is his way of jumping on the empty bandwagon left by Doug Phillips and hoping that others will join him.

      • meginoz Says:

        Is this a relative?… there is a Justin Turley who has a graphic design web-site … lots of it is old VF stuff and also an ad for Landmark Tours…

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Sorry to rant, but I just clicked on the Justin Turley link and I hate it that Doug Phillips and Co. highjacked the reformation and our nation’s Christian heritage. I’m still praying imprecatory prayers for them and ask the good Lord to either lead them to repentance and/or show those folks to be frauds. They have not only twisted Scripture to fit their agenda, they are doing it under the guise of reformed history and theology; they are fakes and frauds.

        • Jen Says:

          Justin Turley is Kevin’s son and he used to do a great deal of web design for Vision Forum.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          Interesting about the Turley family factor. I believe I saw that they are at Goofree Bottkinns *church* now. Seems that Justin was a drummer in a rock band in CA for a bit and then went to TX to be with his family. One comment found from a poster on another site is interesting….
          “The Turley family is very intriguing to me; like how did they wind up as VF elite when Justin was 10 years old before the parents got married? Did they have a connection through other family members? ”

          Not sure what all that meant but most folks in VF purport elite imagery it seems. Ah, the fantasy world. 😦

        • Jen Says:

          Oh, the rumors! They are no longer at the Botkins’ church. Yes, Justin was living a normal life before Kevin persuaded him to come back home as a young adult. Doug gave him a job at Vision Forum, in my opinion, to teach him how to become “patriarchy.” Kevin was a hotel manager when they first moved here to attend BCA, and he and his wife worked very hard to get a job at Vision Forum. They volunteered to go to EVERY conference for a LONG time, so eventually they worked their way “up.” She also volunteered at the VF retail shop every Friday for years as well, or at least the Fridays they were in town.

          I don’t know if that makes them “elite” or not, but they did continue working for VF when they moved away from BCA and San Antonio.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          I appreciate that, Jen 🙂 We always enjoyed the imagery of his posts/website. of his family/children, etc. But lately we are skeptical of everyone from there and seeing a *shadow* of DP is now on our creep-meter. Sad isn’t it? 😦

    • FancyFans Says:

      Thankful, I feel like you in many ways! We have some dear friends who are pretty big into the Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement and they first introduced us to VF. I remember my husband saying, “This sounds weird” or something of that nature. However, once we began looking into VF more (unfortunately, I never saw this -Jensgems- website or paid it any attention, I guess) we were pretty much “all in” except for the QF part (my husband and I never felt it was scripturally mandated…even after reading Nancy Campbell’s book) and having to dress a certain way (I don’t wear long skirts all the time). We are totally on the outskirts of it – have only purchased some of their materials – didn’t choose DP type names for our kids…never attended events…haven’t switched churches because of our church’s differing views (I know people who have)…etc…but still…I feel like a total idiot for being so drawn into to the whole “perfect family life” idea. I felt so much pressure (from myself) to be like the Phillips family – or atleast what I pictured them to be since I have never met them. In many ways, I would try to imitate my friends who introduced us to VF because I figured that was a good example of what we “should” be. My heart aches for his children and so many others whose families are so sold out to this “movement” and think that by doing so they are sold out to Christ. I am praying that God will use this in my (and countless other’s lives) to drive us follow CHRIST and no man here on earth. I have been reading the posts and comments from this site over the last few weeks (we just found out about this whole deal about a month ago) and am praying about approaching my friend about it.

      By the way – the friends I am speaking of are very big into the NCFIC and are even trying to move to a different part of our state to be a part of one. I actually am “for” many parts of the integrated church movement, but worry for them in their super hardline stance on it. Any suggestions of particular stories or websites (in addition to this one) that I might steer her to without overwhelming her with too much? I am thinking she might feel like looking at this stuff at all is part of the gossip issue (related to the latest post on this site) and so I don’t want to give her too much…just enough to make her stop and think.

      Thanks so much for this website – praying for God’s perfect will and His glory through all of this.

  26. scott Says:

    Men who really believe it is up to women to control their lust are lying to themselves. We know when we are going there, and proactively pursue it sometimes. Any man who claims he can’t lust after a woman without her even being in the same ZIP code at the time is LYING. Even if a woman is in a Burqa , our minds can unwrap them in .06 seconds at the most. My times are more in the neighborhood of .03-.04, when I was younger it was almost instantaneously.

    The key is learning to control your mind and what you read, watch and indulge in. Believe me, lots of these guys that are constantly harping on how women dress have a secret drawer full of porn or secret files on their computer. Years ago I had a holier than thou roommate that would keep track of my church attendance on his calendar. Once I was on the way out the door for a date and he said. ” Remember ! , SIN came into the world through a WOMAN “. I paused and said, you mean the ones on your computer screen ? Months latter I came home from a business trip a few days early and found a huge collection of female undergarments and weird sex toys being organized into various boxes on the kitchen table. Not just a few items, tons and tons of magazines, films and clothing items. I took my suitcase back to my car and went out for dinner, a VERY, VERY LONG dinner. Then I went to my sister’s house and crashed in her basement for a few days. Needless to say I moved when the lease was up.

    • Jen Says:

      Scott, thank you for honestly giving us a man’s perspective. Do you know what happened to your “holier than thou” roommate?

      I would not be surprised to find that much of this same sort of stuff resides in certain patriarchy homes as well.

      • JourneyGirl Says:

        Jen and Scott, that’s just it. It is found in many Lookin’ Good on the Outside families. This really gets me fired up! So many (though not all– not trying to over generalize) husbands and fathers who mandate or put undue pressure on the women of the household to wear long skirts and baggy shirts or dresses are really just trying to cover up serious sexual sin in their own lives. It goes far beyond teaching women what modesty should look like; in fact, in many cases it has little or nothing to do with modesty at all. I am recognizing it as a means of the man’s manipulation and control: “If she wears clothing from head to toe then no one will question my integrity.”

        • FreeatLast Says:

          The Bible says that women are to dress modestly (regardless of whether men lust or not). I am not about to tell you what specific clothes to wear, but just like there are legalistic people on this issue demanding women wear only skirts, etc., there are those looking for an excuse to dress immodestly based on someone else’s form of legalism. I fear some of you are looking down your self-righteous noses at those that have chosen to only wear skirts, making all kinds of declarations, yet you have your own issues. Be careful!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          Dear Freeatlast, For goodness sakes – I’m a grandmother! So, I hope you aren’t including me in a group that desires to dress immodestly. While I might have missed a few comments, I’ve been following this discussion closely and no one has advocated women dress immodestly. Here’s a story: A professional woman I respected (she sold Real Estate and was the first woman elected to our local school board) mentored me when I served on our school board as a young mom in my 30’s. And while I would consider her an independent woman who probably did not know the Lord, she told me she never wore pants. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover… It’s okay to wear skirts only if you and your husband are comfortable with this. For me, skirts only would be impractical. I live in a rural area where bluejeans are my daily attire; I usually wear skirts to church because I like to dress up and look pretty. No sin in that… 🙂

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          Hi, FreeatLast, I am in agreement with you that women should dress modestly, and if a woman is convicted that modesty means wearing only skirts then that is fine. I used to wear long (to the ankles) skirts all the time, for everything activity. It was a conviction of mine, not mandated to me by anyone, and I was the first female (as a daughter) in my family to adopt this standard. However it eventually became a form of legalism for me and as I searched the Scripture, I couldnt find Scripture supporting my own strong stance on the issue of dress. As I sought to be led by the Lord and learn what it important about modesty and womanhood, the subject of pants versus skirts lessened in importance over many other characteristics of being a godly woman. I do still dress modestly, carefully, discreetly as the Lord convicts my heart. I wear a lot of skirts, dresses and pants. My point earlier was not to be disparaging toward those who only wear skirts, but to point out that in many of the families whose husbands/fathers espouse the long skirts rule, there is sexual sin hiding behind the guise of “I want my women to dress head to toe.” The men hide behind the skirts, as it were, in order not to be suspect of indecency, lustful behavior or willful sexual sin. It’s not about the skirt… It’s all about “why the skirt?”

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          I agree with JourneyGirl. I like wearing longer skirts because they are practical in the colder months and they look dressy; I wear shorter, lighter skirts in the warm months. My mom taught me to be modest and while she told me how legalistic grandma was, she also cautioned me to not swing the other way by dressing too scantily. 🙂

        • FreeatLast Says:

          I will take you at your word that you didn’t mean to paint with a broad brush by suggesting that women that only wear skirts necessarily are married to a man who is involved in some kind of immorality, etc. However, I will caution you that even suggesting this is to plant that thought that there is a direct relationship between a desire to dress modestly and the husband being involved in some type of sexual sin. People are throwing out all kinds of suppositions and accusations on this blog and we all need to remember we will be held accountable for every idle and carelessly spoken word.

          There are a lot of professing Christian women defrauding men by their dress. I remember one church we attended where a woman in her 20s or early 30s was sitting in front of me, and every time we stood to sing, etc., all I could see were the cheeks of her rear end hanging-out of a pair of shorts. Whether I have a problem with lust or not, at the very least, that is distracting. As a man, I can say that modest skirts don’t guarantee I won’t lust after the woman, but it sure helps over low-cut tops, sleeveless blouses, shorts, and pants (which don’t look feminine at all to me). Some of you ladies don’t know how hard it is to look at you while having a conversation when the most prominent feature is your bust, especially with cleavage showing. Why not spend as much time railing on immodesty regardless of what one wears as some of you do on trying to analyze what sins the husband must be harboring if his wife only wears skirts!

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          I’m not going to rail on immodesty because my impression is we are here to help expose the excesses, extremism and legalism of Doug Phillips & co. in order to help set the captives free. If a woman is wearing too short of shorts to church, why not quietly take her aside and gently tell her what you saw when she stood up? Wouldn’t that be the loving, kind thing to do?

        • Leslie Says:

          To me, modesty means not calling undue attention to one’s self.i wear skirts 60% of the time because they are so comfortable. Not for religious reasons. To tell you the truth I am shocked that some women wear skirts to direct attention away from the crotch. I never would have thought of such a thing. In the Victorian Era everything was sexualized and covered. Even table legs.

        • Angela Wittman Says:

          “To me, modesty means not calling undue attention to one’s self”
          Leslie – this is a good definition! Thanks for sharing!

        • Joel Horst Says:

          The whole “modesty” thing has been much overblown. The Bible does not define “modesty” in 1 Timothy 2, and God has not given me the authority to do so.

          As someone who comes from a strong modesty background, I had drilled into me: “This, this and this are immodest! If a woman dresses like this, don’t look at her!” The problem is, it works like this:

          First, tell a young man that lust is adultery (true; very true; see Matthew 5:27-30).

          Second, tell him that a sleeveless top is immodest. Tell him that cleavage hanging out is really immodest.

          Third, tell him not to look at an “immodest” woman so he doesn’t lust.

          Fourth, run a Modesty Survey five years later and find out what he thinks is immodest. Ask him, “Does it bother you to see a woman in a sleeveless top?” Assuming you properly indoctrinated him, the answer will be “Yes!”

          Finally, tell the ladies that men consider a sleeveless top to be immodest.

          Since the Lord opened my eyes and I realized that the modesty rules I had been taught (and had taught to others in an article online) were man-made, I have slowly been finding that some of the things that used to be a temptation to me (like cleavage hanging out on display) no longer have quite the attraction that they used to. By no means am I trying to endorse display of cleavage–I hold it in the same category as guys with their pants halfway down their rear. (For pity’s sakes, guys! Really?)

          True “modesty” is the “shamefacedness and sobriety” that God commands in 1 Timothy 2:9. It comes from the heart. A Jennifer Grady-type woman in a long dress and long-sleeved, tight-necked blouse is still a flirt. A chaste woman in a tank top and shorts in her garden, pulling weeds, is still a chaste woman. If a man drives by and lusts after her, Jesus places the blame squarely on his shoulders.

          My father has been researching this subject and has been turning up case after case after case of sexual sin and crime in the “modest” community. Doug Phillips is the latest case, and I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it. My dad’s book is currently in the 300 page range. Stay tuned…

          And for a preview, see

        • Joel Horst Says:

          To add one more thing… back in my modesty days, I read that a woman’s legs (when wearing pants) made a “V” that directed men’s eyes to her crotch. Even then, I found that the only time my eyes followed the “V” was if I thought about it and was trying to discern if I actually followed the legs to the crotch–or if the woman was wearing tight pants. Most of the time–naw… my eyes didn’t notice the “V” or the crotch. So much for the modesty teacher…

        • JourneyGirl Says:

          Joel, thank you for sharing your insights here. My husband was raised Beachy Mennonite, and would concur 100% with your thoughts on modesty in dress and appearance. He is free from those church-derived standards now, and is more concerned about where my heart motive is in the way I dress than in me trying to conform to a ‘form of godliness’. He has said, “The cape dress and veiling don’t hide the flirty demeanor or bossy attitude of a woman!”

  27. Sarah Says:

    Jonathon Park website also changed over to Peter Pallock last Thursday. Was a busy day 🙂

    • Maxwell Says:

      So… I wonder… did Enthuse/Peter Pallock pay $400,000ish into VFM coffers for JP?

      • scott Says:

        In 1931 gambling was legalized in Nevada. Las Vegas quickly became a hot spot of organized crime activity as “families” from Chicago, New York, Cleavland, Tampa, Detroit, Kansas City ,Milwaukee, and New Orleans moved to open the first casinos. They then skimmed vast sums out of the counting rooms and transported it back the the real owners of Vegas. For more than 50 years this continued. Occasionally there would be exposure of mob links to the owners of record of the casinos, arrests, and prosecutions. The families would then find a NEW FRONT MAN TO LEGALLY OWN THE CASINOS and operate them for the mafia. The skim continued. In the late 1980’s several large prosecutions resulting from intensive wiretapping by the FBI (straw man 1& 2 and Vegmoney) pretty much brought most of this to an end.

        Doug Philips is smart enough to know he is done as the costumed showman of vision forum to the Christian community. He has been exposed as being as bogus as they come for many, many years. There is a very good possibility that he is just making friendly arrangements and parking a few entities where he can still profit off the Christian community regardless of how repulsed most people are by his Hypocrisies.

        • DesiringToDiscern Says:

          scott, It sure looks like it. Sadly many will want to fall for it so they can keep their illusions/delusions 😦

      • Sarah Says:

        Peter Pallock didn’t pay anything. He’s an ordinary citizen. An IT guy.

      • OtOLi Says:

        Donate Online
        Donate Today! Your donation will be processed through Vision Forum Ministries, the umbrella 501(c)3 organization for the Jonathan Park Creation Adventure Drama. Your gift is fully tax-deductible, and will be used specifically for the ongoing work of Jonathan Park. Enter the amount of your donation, and make sure to select the Jonathan Park Fund, to designate your donation.

        I think they need to update the website 😉 So was JP a business or a ministry? We never bought any since they were so expensive. That sure seems like a nice business model–solicit donations to fund the production costs, but still charge full retail price for the product–what a moneymaker!

        • Sarah Says:

          I believe they are looking for a ministry to buy Jonathon Park. Although I am doubting anyone will want it under the circumstances. Maybe if they have it away which they really should considering donars funded it while Doug made the profits. Pretty darn smart business model he had set up. Unethical, but smart 🙂

  28. Leslie Says:

    Bbb, unfortunately Christians, especially Christian fundamentalists have shot themselves in the foot. Again. If Christians were out in the world being salt and light to the culture, instead of isolating themselves with a holier than thou attitude, there would not be such a blow back against Christianity.Heck, I am a Christian and don’t want to be associated with many who call themselves Christian. I am sure that is why the film s being slammed. Along with the revisionist history.

    • Christine Says:

      Leslie, How in all of this has Christians shot themselves in the foot? This is sinful man at his worst but his sin is not my sin. Ok so now I must take issue with your fundamentalist coment 🙂 I would be lumped into being a fundamentalist Christian. I believe every word of the Bible,it is relevent to today and it is literal where it is clearly meant to be. I sin just like the entire rest of the world. I don’t listen to all kinds of music. I wear PANTS 99.9999% of the time GASP! I try my best to share Christ and salvation to others , something I totally stumble over and fail to do more often! There will always be people scoffing at Christianity. We want it only because we are doing right in sight of the Lord and not our stumblings and failings.
      I don’t know how people lasted so long listening to DP’s extraordinary use of the english language. His pride and self-love seeped out of him every time he opened his mouth. I had to turn off a dvd and told the kids I was sorry. There was something very wrong with DP! I think the film was made 5-7 years ago.

      I don’t lump all christians in the same boat except we are all sinners but redeemed by the blood of Christ. I don’t scoff at others when all they wear is skirts. 🙂 I tell people when asked about others “skirt only” view , well I am not legalistic because I only wear pants! Are you?? I wish though people would stop putting yokes around others and themselves. I often ask my daughter her heart on wearing skirts which she does as often as I wear pants! It matters more what the condition of the heart is than the outside.
      We had an outreach day for the surrounding community at our church last year. A lady who lives across the street from the church came up to me and said. So you’re the little rebel?! I was like oh dear what..oh my nose ring. (ok yes I have a nose ring! LOL and everyone loves me anyway because I got the idea from the bible! How can you argue with that!) I said what do you mean I am a rebel? She says…”I watch you come in every week with those pants on and I say here comes the rebel” she got a hoot out of it thinking I was a rebel. I had to explain the church does not make people wear skirts it is their own preference if they want to wear one or not. I told he she is welcome to come in her pajama pants if she wants We’ll love her no matter. I realize some churches are legalistic. But I am been to a church attending the same time as a friend and she thought they were legalistic looking down to others for not wearing skirts and I thought the opposite. I think sometimes (not everytime) we put this in our own heads. No one ever questioned me about not wearing skirts and I never felt more loved at a church EVER!
      I am off on tangents about clothing now…

      • Sarah Says:

        I am just going to add to your comment by stating that I do not believe Doug Phillips is a Christian. So he’s really not making anyone but himself and his enablers look bad.

        • Joel Horst Says:

          “Beware of false prophets… By their fruits ye shall know them… Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in Heaven.” — Jesus

      • Angela Wittman Says:

        Hey Christine, Leslie is on our side. I think you should try to read all of her comments. Anyway, I agree with what she said and if you’re interested in my background, you can click on my gravatar and read my biography. Lord, have mercy, but this entire mess with DP reveals we sheep really can be a silly bunch at times. Even the good Lord had to send prophets to speak unpopular things to His people from time to time. Also, I agree with Sarah that DP probably isn’t a Christian and this is because of the rotten fruit he has produced over a lengthy period of time (a decade+ probably even more years!).

      • Leslie Says:

        Hey Christine, I didn’t mean to upset anybody. I agree we are all sinners saved by grace. Christians can an do some pretty foolish things and so lose their position of salt and light in the world. Being persecuted for righteousness sake is one thing. Being persecuted because we are doing foolish extra biblical stuff is quite another. We must all learn to rightly divide the word of truth.

        As for the clothing issue, I just brought it up because I feel my daughter and grandchildren are being controlled by DP and ATI. She NEVER dressed immodestly. Now she may as well be wearing a burka. Clothes really are not the issue. It is the heart and the control factor .

  29. Bbb Says:

    I can’t help but laugh thinking about dp and all involved shaking their heads wondering how the heck a bunch of dumb women unraveled all these connections in just a matter of days. LOL and to think it could have been prevented if they did not so arrogantly use their own names and addresses! LOLA

  30. Steve240 Says:

    I am not sure if this has been shared before on this blog but one concept I have heard is that a lot of cults and cultlike groups can be describe as a “submissive pyramid.” The characteristics of this “pyramid” is that you move up based on how well you both submit to those “above you” in the hierarchy and how well you can control those “below you” in the same hierarchy.

    I am sure Doug Phillips had a form of a “submissive pyramid” in place both at his “church” and the organization he ran.

    The no “gossip” rule certainly is one tool used to created and maintain this “submissive pyramid.” The definition of what they considered gossip suppressed a lot of questioning and would lead people to think that they were the only one with questions.

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

    […] part. All was soon forgotten and anyone who continued raising concerns about it was branded “a gossip“, “hateful” and “bitter”. That’s exactly how Joe Taylor was […]

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