Boerne Christian Assembly Excommunicates Doug Phillips: A Response

I received a notification on my phone today that said there was a sharp increase in my readership here today.  I haven’t posted anything here in a long time, so I was a bit perplexed. Then friends began notifying me of the new article up on Boerne Christian Assembly’s website and it all started to make sense.

Ten years ago, I was blissfully unaware of what was just about to take place. I had just finished my mandatory counseling with Beall Phillips and Reba Short on why I was such an ungodly wife (they had no specific examples, but just a general, broad accusation); I had written my private letter to Doug Phillips about why voting for his father’s third-party candidate was a losing proposition, and he had in turn not only preached against my letter point-by-point on Election Sunday, but had also threatened me with “You will pay for this!” But that retribution did not take effect for three more months, when I was excommunicated on January 30, 2005. There were no reasons given for my excommunication, except for broad-brushed generalizations that I was not a godly wife.

Confused and deeply hurt, Mark and I tried every possible way we knew to reconcile with Doug Phillips and BCA, but he finally threatened to sue us if we ever contacted him again.  When I knew that my heart was right with God on this matter, and I found out that Doug Phillips had hurt other people without a just cause, I began to sense that this was a pattern of spiritual abuse and that my homeschool patriarchy friends needed to be warned about this wolf in sheep’s clothing, so nearly two years after we were excommunicated, I began this blog.  (If you have not read my story in full, it is listed to the left of this article.)

After nine years, Doug Phillips was forced to (voluntarily) resign from his position as President of Vision Forum Ministries and he subsequently lost his business when the homeschool world was rocked with the revelation that Doug Phillips, the man who held himself out as the one to emulate in having the “perfect” godly family, was really a hypocrite to the highest degree, teaching one thing and living a lie, having an “inappropriate” relationship for many years with a young woman who happened to be my daughter’s best friend.

Doug Phillips’ resignation took place just over one year ago, and since that time, I have had many conversations with numerous people who have been either directly or indirectly involved in this whole saga of what was happening behind the scenes in the last fifteen years.  I have finally found out the real reason I was excommunicated: my “sin” that was kept secret from the whole world, one that even I was not aware of.  As I share this, I realize I have no “proof,” but every indication points to the “real” reason for my unjust excommunication.

Doug Phillips is used to being the “top dog” in his own circles. As the years went by, first hundreds, and then thousands, of homeschool families literally worshiped Doug and his teachings, following him around from one homeschool conference to another, and clamoring to attend his “patriarchy-homeschool-only” events.  They were quite memorable and well-done trips and events, to be sure!  Those who challenged Doug were the “outsiders,” those Jezebels and liberals and feminists and all those who never measured up in Doug’s eyes.  But no one inside his circles ever stood up to him and challenged him — until I came along.  However, I don’t think that being challenged by a woman, as insulting as that was to Doug, was the underlying reason for my excommunication, although Doug used it as his “justification.”

During the five years we were at BCA, my daughter was best friends with Lourdes.  They were inseparable and shared all their secrets together.  But as Lourdes turned 18 and “graduated” from high school, something began to change, ever so slightly.  During these Vision Forum grand events that Doug Phillips and Vision Forum Ministries would put on, he needed help with his many kids, so he and Beall would bring along a nanny for the trip.  One year, it was Natasha’s turn to be a nanny for the Faith and Freedom Tour, a highly coveted trip indeed!  But then something happened.  Out of the blue, and with no explanation given, Doug informed Natasha that he would be taking Lourdes instead of Natasha.  My daughter was understandably devastated and confused. That did not make any sense to us ten years ago.

But that was the beginning of Doug Phillips’ more overt attention toward Lourdes, although he had made it abundantly clear what his intentions were long before she turned 18.  So, if Doug had his eye on Lourdes, and Lourdes shared all her secrets with Natasha, what would happen if Natasha told her mother that Doug was acting inappropriately toward Lourdes?  Would I be bullied into keeping quiet? Or would I speak out and tell the world what Doug Phillips was really doing behind the scenes?  Whether Doug Phillips correctly guessed or not, he obviously chose to get me out of the way, and that meant getting my whole family out of the way so he could continue to pursue this young lady he had fallen in love with.

So, in reality, I was excommunicated so that Doug Phillips could get my family, and especially me, out of his way so he could pursue another woman other than his wife.  I cannot help but think of the time in church when Doug said, “When a man falls in love, all reason goes out the window.”  This was more than foolish young love, however.

Today, BCA’s new elders announced that BCA has excommunicated Doug Phillips because they feel he has not repented for his sins that he first confessed to BCA nearly two years, and for which he resigned one year ago.  This story has now come full circle.  As I try to process this event today, I have several thoughts and would like to share some words from my heart to several people involved here.  Please allow me to post several open letters in this article.

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Dear Doug,

Today you are reaping what you have sown.  You have been instrumental in excommunicating many individuals and families, whether at BCA or through other NCFIC churches.  You have ruined many businesses and careers because of your involvement. You have threatened many people with lawsuits, you have stolen what has belonged to others, you have brought much fear and terror to many families who trusted you and looked up to you. I won’t name names here, but you know the hundreds of people whose lives have been greatly harmed because of how you made yourself judge and jury in people’s personal lives, and you made yourself “God” in judging who was sinning and who was not.

You also set yourself up as the “model” godly family, inviting trusting homeschool families to emulate you and look up to you, while you lived a lie at home. You have treated your own children abominably and they probably don’t even realize it yet.  You have “dealt treacherously” with the wife of your youth, and defrauded another young woman who looked up to you and trusted you.

You have not dealt with the pornography problem, you have cheated your customers, you have lied to get what you want including lying about being commissioned to begin this church which has just excommunicated you, you have not honored your parents and you have blatantly dishonored Beall’s parents. You have committed murder and adultery in your heart, many times. You have stolen and lied and coveted ideas and businesses and recognition that belonged to others.  You teach the Ten Commandments but you do not live them.

I have no problems in listing the “sins” you have been excommunicated for, although BCA probably has their own list.

But I am not going to call you to change your ways. No, I am not.  Patriarchy was wrongly built on a performance-based platform. Patriarchy’s platform was performance and perfection.  “If you do this, it’s a sin.” “If you don’t do that, it’s a sin.” “If you behave in this way, God will be pleased.”  “If you follow this rule or that rule, you will be blessed.”  Perhaps your greatest sin, Doug, is in leading so many astray from the real truth of God’s Word, putting them in a bondage never designed for us.

Doug, that is not the God of the New Covenant.  You have attempted to live your life by the letter of the Law rather than the spirit.  Whenever we focus on outward rules and restrictions, we will certainly doom ourselves to doing the opposite of what we are trying to do.  And the harder we try, the more we fail.  And that is what is being demonstrated in your own life today.  You have forced so many rules down the throats of hundreds of thousands of homeschool families, a burden God never intended us to bear. You could not bear that heavy burden either, so I will not call you to continue to try to carry this heavy burden of performance.

We have all sinned.  No one here is perfect: not you, not me, not any of us homeschool families.  It is not up to us to judge one another in our lack of perfection since performance and perfection was never God’s intent for us.  Doug, this is a heart issue. God wants you to simply put your heart in His hands and allow Him to mold your stony heart into a softened heart of flesh.  When God writes His Law of Love on our hearts and minds, then God’s love is that driving force in our lives.  We no longer need to strive to obey Him or work hard to please Him.  Instead, we simply respond to His love as His love so fills us to overflowing that we cannot help but love all those He puts in our lives.

And that is why I can honestly say, Doug, that I do love you.  God has filled me to overflowing with His love and I deeply desire to see you experience this love that only God can fill you with.  Doug, my prayer for you today is that you turn your hard heart to God and allow Him to soften it with His love.

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Dear Beall,

Although you will never experience the depth of loss and shunning that I did, I want you to know that in this very ironic turn of events, you and I are now on the same team: those who are being shunned by the “community.” Like I told your husband, I am really not interested in what you did wrong or right, but I just want you to know that I care.  I will not participate in the “shunning” that accompanies excommunication in this “community.”  I will not return wrong for wrong.

I choose to believe that you did not willingly participate in my excommunication, Beall.  I know that you truly believe that you must submit to your husband in all things, and in some sense that is admirable.  But there are times when you need to realize that it is better not to be complicit in your husband’s abuse of others.

I will never forget the day we met in Costco. Only you know what I am talking about. Know that if I saw you again, it would be the same way.

Beall, I pray that God will give you the courage to do what is right, no matter what.  This is not a performance-based “doing what is right,” but this is the natural result of the love of God permeating your very being.

I miss you, Beall.

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Dear Joshua, Justice, Liberty, Jubilee, Faith, Honor, Providence, and Virginia,

What has happened today will not really sink in for a long time.  You may not ever fully understand it.  It may take years and years to process it.  As I think back to how my own children’s lives were devastated by our excommunication, I can only say that I would never wish that upon any other child, and especially upon those whose lives we have been a part of.

For many years, I watched you grow up. Most of you were friends with my own kids.  Natasha was like a second mom to Honor.  It broke her heart to have him ripped away from her like that. I know it is very difficult to lose all your friends you have known your whole life.  I hear that you are attending another church now.  It is not the same, is it?  I know how difficult it is to lose your whole way of life, and everyone you love, and try to start over.

Some of you will handle this better than others.  Some of you will carry the scars of this for the rest of your life. I pray that as the years go by, and you struggle with all the questions that will come up, that you will find that only realizing how much God truly does love you is where you will find your healing.

I pray that none of you ever experience the depth of pain and suffering that my own children did in the excommunication. I pray that no one ever publicly turns their back on you or ignores you and pretends like you don’t exist because of something your father did. I pray that God will heal you from the things your father has done to you.

Perhaps you will see this letter to you many years from now, as I know you will not be allowed to read it now.  When you finally read this, know that I have been praying for you all these years.

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Dear Mark, Natasha, Joshua, and Alicia,

This is karma for us. What goes around, comes around.  But there is a huge difference between taking revenge personally and allowing God to work in His own way and His own time.  There are always consequences for our actions in life, and today is a perfect example of that.

No matter what happens to Doug Phillips, though, never let him rule your life.  Forgiveness frees US from Doug Phillips having any power in our lives. Anger and bitterness only gives Doug authority and power.  God’s Word is always proven true in how we are to treat our enemies, and Doug has treated us like an enemy: Let us resolve to love Doug Phillips, to pray for him, to forgive him, to bless him, and to do good to him. We will leave the rest up to God.

God loves each one of you and rescued us all from the pit of patriarchy and legalism.

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Dear Lourdes, my dear friend,

What a blessing it has been for our families to renew our friendships once again!  We have thought about you and anguished over our lost relationship throughout the years. Natasha has cried countless tears at the loss of her best friend.

But God has graciously brought us all back together again and I am loving the time I get to spend with you — long talks together, delicious homemade meals in your home, running errands together, and even working together! How ironic that we would end up working outside the home together!

It is even more ironic, and perhaps fitting, that God would use women and children to bring down Doug Phillips’ ship. His foundation was “Women and Children First,” based upon the Titanic, but in reality, Doug trampled on women and children, rather than protecting them. God’s ironies are far greater than anything we could have planned!

Speaking of God, Lourdes, I don’t think I have ever seen someone so filled with the love of God as I do in you!  You have no unforgiveness in your heart, no anger, no bitterness toward Doug.  It always amazes me that when you and I get together, the focus of our conversations are on moving forward in life, rather than continually hashing out the hurts of the past.  While dealing with the past is necessary for healing, it is also vitally important to move on to the “acceptance” stage of life, and that is where we both live now.

The joy of the Lord is my strength! That joy is so evident in you, my dear friend! I look forward to many more years of sharing our lives together!

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To the elders of BCA: Jeff Horn and David Fry,

While I have never met you, I’m sure you know who I am.  I can’t help but see a striking difference between my own excommunication and that of Doug Phillips.  While I do not know all the specifics, what I do know is significant. I know that Doug “confessed” to certain sins in February, 2013, and was then “forced” to resign in October, 2013, just over one year ago.  I have also seen the change in eldership since that time as well.

Nearly two years has gone by since this first became known to the church.  It appears, although I cannot verify this, that everything possible has been done to restore Doug to his church. Thank you for taking plenty of time in working through this situation when you could have easily jumped straight into the quick disciplinary action Doug was well-known for.  He was shown the mercy through you that he himself never extended.

I also thank you for not taking the easy way and just believing that Doug Phillips was repentant. Doug may have fooled many with his smooth talk and charm, but those of us who know him well know very well that he is not the least bit repentant.  In excommunicating him, you have not only shown that we share this view, but you have also effectually said that Doug has committed some serious wrongs.  This was not done without much prayer and time, and that is obvious. Thank you.

I also realize that as elders, you have inherited a mess at BCA.  Many people, including my family, have been greatly harmed and wounded at the hands of BCA, in some way.  I pray that you will not try to simply sweep all these wrongs under the rug, but as these are all bound up with Doug Phillips, in some way, I sincerely hope that you will also be the catalyst to bring healing to a very hurting community. God has given you an incredible responsibility at this point in time. Please use it wisely.

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Dear Past and Present BCA members, and members of the “community,”

Whether or not you ever signed your name on the dotted line of the “till death do us part” covenant, we are all still united.  God is the One who brought us all together, and no matter what hurt or pain has separated us, our hearts are still connected, and always will be. God made us that way.

There is no place like BCA, no “community” like ours. It is one of a kind, never to be duplicated again.  Whatever happens in the community in the future, whatever happens to BCA, let us all keep one another in our hearts and in our lives.  You can tell your stories to your friends and family far and wide, but they will never “get” it, because it is such an unusual place.

There is a ton of hurt and pain in this community right now.  We all need healing.  We can blame Doug Phillips or you can blame me, or we can play the blame game all day long, but the truth is that we need one another, and we need God for healing.  Not only do we need healing on an individual level, many of us, but we all need healing on a corporate level.  We, the “community,” and we, the past and present members of BCA, are part of one united body. Why are we self-inflicting wounds? Why not bind up those broken hearts, why not reach out to those we have judged as being “not worthy,” why not come together in unity as Christ commissioned us to?

Do you remember the first year together, when we learned about “one anothering” in the Bible, when love and fellowship was contagiously high?  Have we lost our first love?

There are many of you I have not met yet.  You are still a part of my heart.  I want you to know that I love you and am praying for each of you and for this “community.”

PS. I want to say a special word to Jennifer Grady. I don’t judge you.  I’ve been in your shoes in so many ways. You have spunk and you’re gonna make it! I’ve heard that you have made some awesome changes in life lately!  Great job! Always remember that God loves you just the way you are.

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To my readers, especially those affected by patriarchy and/or the NCFIC,

Thank you. You all have helped me go through this difficult part of life in a way I would never have dreamed of!

It may be tempting right now to gloat about what is happening to Doug Phillips, but that was never my intention here.  I came here solely to warn people about a wolf in sheep’s clothing because I didn’t want anyone to be hurt in the way my family was.  While many readers heeded the warning the first year (I personally heard from over 1000 families who left patriarchy the first year I told my story here), unfortunately, there were many more who did not listen. It grieves me deeply to see how many people and how many families have been wounded by Doug Phillips, either personally or through his teachings. So let us not use this opportunity to rejoice at someone’s fall, but let us endeavor together to pray that God will soften his heart of stone, and let us pray for Beall and their children, and for Lourdes. My family still really needs prayer and healing.  And BCA.

You are all my extended family. I thank God for each one of you.  I pray that this whole ordeal will be a life-changing lesson not only for us individually, but as the larger community of Christian homeschoolers.

This has left a black eye, or worse, for Christian homeschoolers. Let’s let God put a steak on that black eye and bring healing to our whole body.

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Doug Phillips: Affair or Criminal Clergy Sexual Abuse?

Scary-Doug-PhillipsThroughout November the internet exploded with the news of Doug Phillips’ recent public resignation from Vision Forum Ministries. Even though it’s been a little more than a month, various comments to my articles, as well as blog stats, clearly show that many are just now finding out. Many more will continue finding out in weeks to come.

Quite a few people initially equated Doug Phillips’ Statement Of Resignation with “repentance.” However, as I explained in a previous article, it was no such thing. Doug Phillips was duplicitous and evasive in just about everything he said in his public statements. However, he did at least tell the truth about one thing. He got the title right. It was a “Statement Of Resignation”, and nothing more.

Too many of the blog and newspaper headlines were along the lines of, Doug Phillips Extramarital Affair Forces Resignation From Vision Forum Ministries. I too made the mistake initially of using the term “extra-marital affair” to describe this scandal. However, I quickly came to see that, although it was indeed extra-marital and, therefore adultery against his wife, “affair” is an inappropriate term to use in this context. Worse yet it excuses what is, in reality, criminal conduct.

Herein I will use the term “adultery” to define Doug Phillips’ betrayal against his wife, and “clergy sexual abuse” to define his criminal actions against the young lady who, for purposes of this article and future articles, I will call “Cassandra.” Doug Phillips would object to my application of the terms “adultery” and “sex” in much the same way that Bill Clinton objected to those terms. As lawyers they use “adultery” in the strict legal sense of only constituting sexual intercourse, and if it’s not sexual intercourse it’s not even “sex.” For Doug Phillips’ it was just “an inappropriate relationship.” Such parsing leaves a lot of wiggle room, although I won’t get any more graphic than that (this is a G-rated blog).

Doug Phillips also interprets “biblically knowing each other” as sexual intercourse, and only sexual intercourse. In his way of thinking he can perpetrate any physical act, with any woman not his wife, short of actual sexual intercourse, and it’s not adultery against his wife. In his mind he hasn’t cheated on his wife and he’s not an adulterer. This gives him the escape clause he needs from being subject to the same terrible judgment that he’s pounded the pulpit with for years: “The Bible requires that all adulterers be stoned to death.” Regardless of his rationalizing, Doug Phillips is an adulterer and worse. However, I don’t believe he should be stoned to death. Doug Phillips should be grateful that our criminal justice system is rooted in English Common Law and not Sharia.

Here’s the problem with the term “affair”: It defines a relationship based upon free will and informed consent. Such a relationship is one in which both parties are fully willing to participate — where there is no coercion, manipulation, or control, and where there is a reasonable expectation that any promises made can be realistically fulfilled. Both parties are in full control of their mental faculties and emotions, and remain free moral agents. They are free at all times to say, “No” without fear of retaliatory consequences; or if after they have said “Yes” they are free to later say, “I made a mistake. This isn’t right. It’s gone too far. I want out.” Lastly, and most importantly here, an “affair” can only happen where the two parties have relatively equal “power” in the relationship. None of these things occurred in the Doug Phillips/Cassandra case because, as I’ve explained in my previous article, Boerne Christian Assembly is a religious sociological cult and Doug Phillips is the cult leader.

Doug Phillips characterizes his relationship with Cassandra as an “inappropriate relationship”, but this strains all credulity. Let’s just call it what the Bible calls it: adultery against his wife. Doug Phillips clearly demonstrates his lack of remorse (and therefore lack of repentance) when he trivializes the gravity of his offenses in Clinton-esque we didn’t go all the way terms. Even Doug Phillips’ strongest supporters didn’t buy it for long.

Cassandra was in the Phillips home every day for at least 12 years, and probably longer. It started at the time she was a young teenager, all with her parents’ consent and encouragement. She and her family were members of Doug Phillips’ religious sociological cult, masquerading as a church, Boerne Christian Assembly. Cassandra quickly became highly valued by Doug Phillips, who said of her, “In fact, we consider her to be a member of the family, and her parents to be the dearest of friends.”

Cassandra began serving part-time in the Phillips’ home when she was 15, and was there full-time from the age of 17. Even though Cassandra came from a very poor family, Doug Phillips didn’t pay her. No one, other than Doug and Cassandra, know exactly when the sex began but, at best, Cassandra was barely at the age of legal consent (17 in Texas). Some have argued that it likely started when she was under the age of consent. For Doug Phillips’ sake he’d better not have done anything at all “inappropriate” if she was under the age of consent. Texas has no statute of limitations in certain cases of sexual acts with a minor under the age of legal consent. He also better not have paid her off the buy her silence, for that too would have onerous legal consequences. But even if the sex started at 17 this wouldn’t necessarily leave Doug Phillips clear of the possibility of criminal prosecution, both in Texas and under federal statute.

Because of her age, as well as the BCA cult training, which conditioned BCA girls to “submit” to fathers and elders (i.e. passive obeisance), she would have been extremely vulnerable to Doug Phillips’ advances. The daily contact, coupled with Doug Phillips’ charm, would have softened her up.

BCA may have been a reasonably healthy and normal church when it was first started by Doug Phillips and three other church elders. There was genuine pastoral accountability and a divergence of opinions among the elders. But as those other elders started leaving to start their own churches closer to their own home towns, ultimately leaving only Doug Phillips to rule the roost, it left a vacuum of accountability and diversity of doctrine. The power soon went to his head and Doug Phillips was left unchecked to rule as an autocrat. The authoritarian Hyper-Patriarchy doctrines he continuously taught of unquestioning loyalty and submission of wives and daughters to husbands and fathers, and each of them in turn in complete subservience to their church elders (of which Doug Phillips was the only one for most of BCA’s history) served as a powerful form of mind control, as evidenced in most all religious sociological cults.

At BCA the mind control was reinforced by the terrifying prospect of excommunication, and the inevitable shunning of the entire family for one member’s excommunication. Those who have never been in a cult, or who have never studied the sociological structure and psychology of cults, find it difficult to comprehend how otherwise intelligent people can give up control over their lives, their freedom of will, and even their freedom of thought, to a charismatic leader; but the fact is it happens all the time. Most assuredly it happened to Cassandra, as well as to her parents. They all were swept up in the excitement of following a home school rock star.

Doug Phillips’ cult leader powers of persuasion add another strong argument against Cassandra having entered into a sexual relationship with Doug Phillips of her own free will, anymore than did the multiple women that David Koresh bedded. The sociological structure of Doug Phillips’ power-cult, along with his idol status among his followers (especially among the women), made it inevitable that he could, if he wanted to, bed almost any of his followers, including teens, and married women.

There are numerous reports of women flirting with Doug Phillips, both in BCA and elsewhere. This would be consistent with the behavior of “groupies” who follow rock stars. Indeed, prior to his fall Doug Phillips had a rock star status among his followers, and he had his groupies. Is a man responsible for a woman flirting with him? If he encourages it, yes, especially if he holds a position of authority over her. A man in a position of authority, and particularly pastoral authority, should do everything in his power to dissuade flirtation, not encourage it. From all reports Doug Phillips encouraged the flirtation. He, thereby, invited temptation, both to himself and to the women that he exchanged flirtations with. No doubt the cumulative effect of all that flirtation was that it went to his already inflated fat ego. In his pride Doug Phillips encouraged, rather than discouraged, his own adulation. The inevitable result was his self-destruction:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

It’s likely that Cassandra did flirt with Doug Phillips, and for that she is probably now blaming herself. She does bear responsibility for her part in this but, in my view, her part is almost inconsequential to the sin that resulted. Doug Phillips was the moral leader and had the responsibility to rebuff any flirtations that were directed at him; but that not only didn’t happen, Doug Phillips has been seen many times in public encouraging the flirtations of his adoring female fans. As this illustration shows, the religious leader always has the weight of responsibility for preventing marital infidelity because he holds the role of leader, plus he has the advantage of experience, knowledge, authority and power, and the victim generally holds little if any of those things:

Clergy Sexual Abuse 4 Major Imbalances

These relational imbalances are the reason why various licensed professions, such as Psychiatrists, Counselors, Therapists, Doctors, and Nurses are held to strict professional standards of conduct which govern their relationships with clients and co-workers. In all cases sexual relationships with clients and patients are prohibited. The same applies in the military where superior ranking officers and enlisted personnel aren’t permitted to “fraternize” with subordinate ranking personnel. Numerous professions have such restrictions, including clergymen. One problem, however, is that too many clergymen don’t think such standards should or do apply to them. This is especially true of those in “independent non-denominational” churches where they often have little to no accountability. However, in many states there are laws governing the conduct of clergymen with their church members. Texas is one of those states:

PENAL CODE
TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON

CHAPTER 22. ASSAULTIVE OFFENSES

Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:

(10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser;

(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

Sexual abuse by a clergyman has sometimes been prosecuted as a federal crime, as was Pastor Jack Schaap who received a 12 year sentence for engaging in sex with an underage girl. Schaap was initially investigated in his home state of Indiana but was cleared when it was found that the girl was of the age of consent (16 in Indiana) when the sex started. The FBI later picked up the case when it was determined that Schaap had traveled with the girl to at least two other states where they engaged in sex. Those states’ age of consent was higher. Furthermore, the federal age of consent is 18.

Doug Phillips treated Cassandra as “a member of the family” and she routinely traveled with him all over the country, and out of the country, often without Beall. With all the out of state travel it could easily change the question of age of legal consent considerably. However, this issue of legal age of consent is still separate and apart from the matter of criminal sexual abuse by a clergyman, and it’s entirely possible that Doug Phillips may be guilty of both.

In the Phillips sociological cult structure Cassandra would have been conditioned to act exactly as she did. In other words, if she did flirt with Doug Phillips, it was only after she had witnessed other young ladies doing the same, and his favorable responses to them. Her flirtations toward him also would not have happened until after he had directed signals of his interest at her first. He wanted her attention and, in her teenage ignorance, she gave it to him. Once he got it he rewarded her with special favors and privileges, including further access to him. Since she knew that he carefully guarded his access to himself, she would have felt highly favored to get to spend time in his exalted presence. That access was in itself a huge reward. Once it turned physical this would have been interpreted as an even greater reward. This is all part of what cult experts and psychologists call “grooming.” Cassandra’s attraction to Doug served to cloud his already self-aggrandizing judgment as he sought to rationalize what turned into years of cheating on his wife.

Sociopaths, with their lack of conscience, can readily do that. For a sociopath it’s not about having to deal with a guilty conscience because they, quite literally, have no conscience. But sociopaths are keenly aware of the importance of conforming to social norms within their particular sub-culture. So in Doug Phillips’ case it was just a matter of not getting caught. Add narcissism and a lawyer’s craftiness to the mix and you have a toxic recipe. That narcissism ultimately led to Doug’s downfall. He started to get sloppy. Most adulterers work hard to conceal their cheating, but a narcissist who has so long gotten away with his transgressions will tend to get more brazen about it.

In February 2012* Doug wasn’t even trying to conceal his “inappropriate relationship” with Cassandra. He was parading her around the San Antonio Independent Film Festival (Feb 23-25) as they walked as lovers, hand in hand. Eye witnesses were stunned and assumed Doug Phillips had just completely lost his mind.

In January 2013 Doug was literally caught with his pants down, in his home, by one or more Phillips family members. To the best of our knowledge it was Beall and or Josh who caught them.

Prior to this point the relationship had been an open secret. As long as Doug kept it in the closet no one at BCA or Vision Forum would hold him accountable. But for Doug to openly flaunt his adultery put everything in jeopardy, including many people’s jobs. Something had to be done. Doug was finally confronted in an “emergency BCA meeting” in February where he allegedly confessed and repented and stepped down as Elder of BCA. Doug promised the relationship would end. It didn’t. It just went back into the closet.

By September 2013 Scott Brown and the Vision Forum board members were informed of Doug’s cheating, either directly or indirectly. Pastor Joe Morecraft and Peter Bradrick flew to San Antonio in the later part of October to confront Doug Phillips for his sin. As Peter Bradrick articulated on his Facebook, things didn’t go well. However, they did go exactly as anyone should expect when confronting a sociopathic narcissist. The Notice Of Resignation followed shortly thereafter.

This entire saga makes for a textbook case of clergy sexual abuse. It is, therefore, not an “extra-marital affair.” Tragically, cases like this one are not rare. Instances of clergy sexual abuse are rampant. They must be exposed and the perpetrators must be prevented from ever again being welcomed into positions of power and trust where they can prey on the vulnerable. This especially applies to Doug Phillips who is guilty of many more betrayals than just this one case of clergy sexual abuse.

Numerous have been the comments requesting prayer for Doug Phillips and his family. Strangely absent are prayer requests for Cassandra and her family. No doubt they’re just following the example of Doug Phillips who, likewise, makes no requests for prayers for Cassandra and her family. It’s as though they don’t even exist and Doug Phillips isn’t guilty of betraying any family other than his own. I can only conclude this is because they view Cassandra as an adulteress, and likely a temptress who bears responsibility for the downfall of a great Christian leader. Clearly they don’t view her as a victim, but they really need to. If it was one of their daughters who had been caught up in such a cult I can guarantee they’d be blaming no one but the cult leader for it.

Some have asked, “What sort of a future could Cassandra see with Doug Phillips? She stuck with him throughout her later teens and the whole of her 20’s – the full span of time when all the other BCA girls are the most eager to marry. Why did she sacrifice all those years for a man who, by all appearances, couldn’t offer her marriage? The fact of the matter is he did offer her marriage, and she believed him.

EngagementRingSome bloggers, such as Doug Wilson, have alleged that Cassandra was some sort of “Foxy Bubbles” seductress. Far from her being the tempting seductress, it was Doug Phillips who seduced Cassandra with charm and promises. His promises included marriage and children, and his promises were sealed with what can only be viewed as an engagement ring. As confirmed by this image from 2010, Cassandra has been wearing an engagement ring for a minimum of four years.

The implications of this need to be understood in the context of the cultish culture of Boerne Christian Assembly. Many BCA girls are given “purity rings” by their fathers, which they wear on their ring finger until it is replaced with an engagement ring given to them by a fiancé. Purity rings are always simple plain bands of silver, and occasionally gold. Never would they resemble an expensive engagement ring with a large multi-caret diamond, such as the one seen here. No one in BCA could have failed to see such an expensive engagement ring on Cassandra’s ring finger. No one would have believed that it was a promise ring, especially since her father was too poor to afford it. It should have been obvious that Doug Phillips had plans for Cassandra of a permanent nature. But when you’re a cult member you just don’t question such things, and that even includes the cult leader’s wife. Whether it makes any sense to us or not, the fact of the matter is that Cassandra has believed for years that Doug Phillips would make good on his promises to marry her.

There’s one major impediment to fulfilling that promise – his marriage to Beall. Doug is deep into Patriarchy, and there are those who call themselves Patriarchs who are also into polygamy, but it’s unlikely Doug will go that far. Divorce would settle Doug’s problem but Doug doesn’t have any biblical grounds for divorcing Beall. Beall, however, certainly has biblical and legal grounds for divorcing Doug. Unfortunately Beall shares Doug’s beliefs that divorce is never permissible.

This prohibition of divorce in all cases only makes sense in light of Theonomy. But even most theonomists disagree with Doug’s extreme position on divorce. Theonomists generally hold to the more conventional view that divorce is permissible only in cases of adultery and abandonment. As an extreme Theonomist Doug Phillips would have all adulterers put to death. Thus, if your wife cheats on you, you stone her to death, leaving yourself free to remarry, without the inconvenience of having to divorce, or the stigma associated with being a “divorcee.” This also leaves you free to continue being a pastor or elder (many churches ban divorcees from being pastors and elders).

Why would Doug Phillips make promise after promise, year after year, of marriage and children to another woman when, by his own doctrinal standards, he could have no lawful means of getting out of his current marriage? His only out is if Beall were to die.

Several people, knowing Doug’s extreme views on divorce and remarriage, have emailed Jen and I expressing their deep concerns for Beall’s safety. It would be hard to miss the implications of where Doug Phillips’ extremist views might ultimately lead, and for those who have been following my articles you already know my take on Doug Phillips’ mental condition. Those already familiar with such personality disorders know what a narcissistic sociopath is capable of.

Compounding our concerns is the fact that Doug Phillips has had to confront such desperate times, and may soon be confronting even more desperate times. The old adage, “Desperate times call for desperate measures” seems ready made for an already mentally imbalanced man.

The worst possible scenario for Beall is if Doug’s exit strategy includes moving the family to some obscure place, in some obscure country (like Kenya with Brad, or maybe Peru), out of the public eye, where Doug is no longer subject to scrutiny, and Beall is cut off from all outside communication.

Pray for Beall Phillips and for the Phillips’ children. May God preserve them and protect them from all harm. And don’t forget to keep Cassandra, and her family, in your prayers, as well.

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*Author’s Note: I had previously stated this occurred in 2013. After checking again with my sources I realized that my chronology was inaccurate. The circumstances remain unchanged, but the chronology of events was out of order. I apologize for any confusion. If anything this creates an even more problematic situation. What this means is that key Vision Forum people had first hand knowledge that the “inappropriate relationship” had been going on for even far longer than we even realized and, apparently, little or nothing was done to confront it.