Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tina's blogging about her second trial

In case you've missed it.

Tina is blogging about the trial that sent her mother's husband, Daniel Leaf, to prison, again.

Be sure to check out her blog at Glimpses of Hope.

Going to trial is not easy. Knowing it affects your mother, makes it worse.

Justice was served but not without a lot of emotional consequences.

Read about her journey.

I hope it inspires you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts!  Daniel Leaf has been found guilty of two counts of a class B felony. More information will follow. 

Concord Monitor article from November 18th

Discussion on the Verdict on the Facebook group

Monday, June 2, 2014

Thoughts as a second trial comes near for Tina

Ever since I started this blog about 3.5 years ago I've talked through almost every post with Tina before I posted it. Her voice was taken from her by those that abused her and enabled her abuse and I never wanted to speak for her because she is a strong woman--a beautiful survivor who speaks well for herself (see her personal blog here). 

My goal from the beginning has been to have a place where the facts of Tina's story were compiled in one place so Tina could see how much support was given to her, so pastors and churches that were willing could learn about the damaging effects of not properly handling abuse cases, and where resources could be put for survivors and churches.

Looking back, I can see some of the positive results from this blog. There have been many encouraging notes for Tina over the past 3.5 years. In fact, hundreds of people sent messages of support before the trial of Ernie Willis in May 2011. There have been some wonderfully supportive pastors and even some encouraging strides for the public message of the right way for churches to handle abuse. 

For this post though, I just want to share some things from my heart about Tina. They are things that I wish everyone could see about the amazing woman, mom and wife that Tina is and the beautiful heart she has.

Things I wish everyone could see about Tina

1. Her heart after receiving news she and Tim were subpoenaed to testify at the trial of her mother's husband:

2. What kind of mom she is to her children. I've been able to spend a considerable amount of time with Tina and her family--especially with the surgeries that her youngest daughter had. These are my personal observations.
  • She is deeply compassionate and kind. There has been a lot of trauma in their family with their youngest daughter having so many surgeries.
  • Her patience knows no boundaries!
  • She has a great sense of humor. There is a lot of laughing and fun in her home. Sometimes I just shake my head and laugh at her pranks on the kids (like wadded up tissue in their shoes for April Fool's day or putting ice down someone's back when they aren't looking).
  • She really cares about providing healthy meals and snacks. She gets up at 4:00 a.m. every other Saturday morning to organize, sort and load baskets for two different co-ops so her family gets plenty of fresh veggies and fruits affordably. Her children think she's a great cook and prefer eating at home to eating out (my kids love to eat out--probably because I do LOL).
  • She teaches her children from a relational position. She isn't afraid of her authority as "Mom" but she doesn't wield it like a weapon or some artificial power play. For instance, if one of the kids is extra wiggly and having a tough time concentrating on homework, she offers five minutes on the trampoline or a bike ride around the park. She understands what normal is and has appropriate expectations by age. She realizes that behavior indicates needs and works to meet those needs. 
  • She's a tireless advocate for her children's needs at school.
  • She sets aside time for her children to read, lets them earn video game time and helps them stay active by planning outdoor play.
  • She lets them help in the kitchen, even if it makes a mess and then helps them clean up.
  • She teaches them how to do basic chores and lets them be accountable for things they can do by themselves. She rewards jobs well done and reteaches when necessary.
  • Her children love her and are very affectionate with her. They know that their mom loves them unconditionally. They trust her. They feel safe with her. They know she is on their side and will never hurt them.
3. Tim has posted about this before so I won't say much, but Tina is a great wife to her husband. 
  • I've watched them together. It's obvious that Tina loves Tim very much. I have absolutely no doubt that Tim trusts her completely. 
  • She respects Tim and manages the things she cares for in a way that he never has to worry.
  • She speaks loving words often. It's not unusual to hear her say, "Hi Handsome" when he calls her on the phone.
  • Tim is pretty amazing himself. Their marriage is a beautiful example of Jesus' love for us. They are unselfish with each other and work hard to provide security, love and safety for their family.
4. Tina as a friend.
  • She's had no shortage of difficult circumstances in her life over the past few years, yet she's offered me just as much support as a friend as I have ever given her. I have observed her to be this way with all her friends.
  • I have never known her to ever be selfish. I've watched her give sacrificially to others in need. I've truly been amazed by this.
  • Tina never tries to draw attention to herself or her own needs. Instead, she is thoughtful and tries to think of ways to help others.
  • She is a beautiful picture of what God's grace can do in healing. It's not that she doesn't have bad days, but she is transparent and real about them and gets the help she needs.
  • She has an amazing capacity to love and encourage others. I see Jesus in her.

Monday, May 26, 2014

G.R.A.C.E. is a wonderful resource for churches!

I've mentioned G.R.A.C.E. on the blog before, but they deserve another mention tonight. Led by Boz Tchividjian and a great team of professionals, G.R.A.C.E. provides all kinds of resources for churches, from prevention of child abuse training, to response assistance when something happens, to all kinds of articles and even consultations if a church wants to contact them.

Not too long ago, a church in West Virginia found themselves in a very difficult situation. Boz blogged about it here
"A former church youth volunteer in Bluefield, West Virginia, was recently arrested on charges of child sexual abuse.  The arrest was a culmination of the actions by an amazing church that actually took the right steps when learning that one of its members was suspected of abusing a child.  As a result, at least 12 individuals have stepped forward to report being sexually abused as a child by this individual." (read the rest here)
Please read the whole blog entry. It's encouraging and well worth the read. 

I can't help but be encouraged to read this story. It brought tears to my eyes to think of the difference the way this church handled things will make in the lives of the victims as they journey to become survivors. 

It was my great pleasure to meet Boz Tchividjian in person at a conference in which he participated in Greenville, SC in September 2013. The host of the conference, North Hills Community Church, has posted all of the conference videos and power point files online. 

Tina Anderson came to visit during September so she could attend the conference as well. I remember sitting in the conference room at one point while we were taking a break and watching Tina hug and interact with some of the attendees at the conference. I couldn't help but smile and think about the good things God has done. So many survivors have been encouraged by Tina's willingness to tell what happened to her. More people than I can count have shared how her courage has inspired them. 

As Boz likes to say, "Aslan is on the move." Even in the dark and difficult days, God's grace is apparent. 

Thank you, Boz, for your faithfulness to assist churches so they know what to do. Your experience as a prosecutor of crimes against children has to have left you with some heavy heart burdens, but your willingness to use that to help others is making a difference!! 

Posting with a thankful heart,

Laurie Moody

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tina Asks: "Is a Broken Heart Worth the Cost?"

Tina wrote recently in a blog post that she received news her mother's husband will be prosecuted for sexual abuse. Tina and Tim have been issued a subpoena to appear at the trial.

Tina said on her blog:
"I really have no desire to go through the whole trial process again. I would much rather be home with my children. BUT I know that this is right. So many studies have shown that most sex offenders do not change and will re-offend. If my testimony can help prevent even one child from being hurt, then to me it is worth the pain that is inevitably coming."
Reporting an abuser and testifying in court is extraordinarily difficult and takes an immense amount of courage and support. Please take the time to read the entire post and leave a note of support. If you are a Christian, Tina would appreciate your prayers.


Sexual abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes and one of the crimes with the highest recidivism rates. For more information about sexual abuse or assault and how to support survivors, please see the following resources.


The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is an unprecedented public safety resource that provides the public with access to sex offender data nationwide. NSOPW is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and state, territorial, and tribal governments, working together for the safety of adults and children.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

For the days you wish God had skin on - by Tina Anderson

This post is about as real and raw as it gets. I'm not usually quite this open, but I feel like I'm supposed to share this...

I typically think of myself as a pretty joyful and optimistic person, but lately that has been so tough. Our family has walked through some pretty big stuff with our youngest daughter (In the hospital 5 times in the last 6 months and 3 major surgeries during that time). We have walked through lots of tough stuff before, but for some reason I really struggled far greater this time.

My emotions have been raw. I have felt so very down. I told one of my closest friends "I never understood how someone could have so many great family members and friends and still feel so very alone". Never that is until the last few days. I know that emotions aren't a bad thing, and sometimes the amount of exhaustion your body is in plays into these emotions, but I was not prepared to be so depressed. That just isn't me. But the last few days it was...I cried...I wanted to be alone...I wanted to have a magic wand that would make everything all better.

At some point I realized that I had to make a choice. So, my choice was....................(To read the rest of Tina's post, go to Glimpses of Hope).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Message from Tina

Tina has posted a thought provoking post on her personal blog that cuts to the chase and needs to be spoken. She asks the question, "What message are you sending," to those that choose to support an abuser. 

I will never be able to understand a mother that chooses the abuser over her own children. 

It is not just those that choose the abuser that need to hear this message. Those that choose silence are also giving consent.
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NH Supreme Court Unanimously Rules to Deny Ernie Willis' Appeal

The NH Supreme Court handed down it's unanimous ruling today that Ernie Willis' conviction stands on ALL counts.

The Concord Monitor has it's own story: "Supreme Court upholds rape conviction, rejects religious privilege argument."
"The state Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the rape and sexual assault convictions against Ernest Willis who is serving a 15-to-30 year prison sentence for forcibly raping his teenage babysitter twice, whom he knew through Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, in 1997." 
AP picked up the story, so it is in the media nationwide. Here is the version published by the Washington Post:  "NH high court rejects church rapist’s appeal of conviction; victim, 15, forced to apologize."
 "Ernest Willis was convicted in May 2011 of raping the girl in 1997. His lawyer argued that statements he made to the pastor of the fundamentalist Trinity Baptist Church should not have been used against him. But prosecutors countered that Willis’ statements were not protected by religious privilege because they involved the sexual abuse of a child."
The ruling of the justices is interesting reading and includes some trial testimony excerpts. You can read it in its entirety here.

It is good to see justice stand. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tina took Aria to National Jewish Hosp. in Denver

Tina is currently in Denver with our daughter, Aria, at National Jewish Hospital. She just finished up her first week and will be there at least another week.

Please pray for the doctors as they examine Aria and try to determine the best way to treat her. It's very possible Aria will have at least one & possibly two surgeries next week.

If you'd like to read Tina's updates about her visit, you can go to her blog. The first two entries are linked below.

Blessed - Day 1 & 2

Multiple Tests - Day 3 & 4

Looking Ahead - Day 5

Tina and Aria could use your prayers for strength. It's hard being away from home, in a strange place, and dealing with doctors and hospitals on top of it all.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


While my body was imprisoned,
My soul was free.
Now that my body is free,
My soul is restless.

How could this happen (or be)?
Have I not dreamed of total freedom?
The dream that stayed with me for years
I dream no longer—shed no tears.

Embraced with memories so vivid,
I suffer quietly alone.
There’s no one left who shared my sorrows,
Who walked with me the road of horrors.

How many thoughts remain unspoken,
But memories can’t fade away.
The horrors of the past still haunt me,
The ghostly shadows won’t dissipate.

I tried to free myself, pretending it never happened.
Oh, what a fool I was in thinking I could easily forget.
My nights are long, my thoughts are lingering.
The past will always be with me.

No matter how I try, there’s no escape from what was real.
Should I continue to reveal?
Should others learn the true life story
Of more than one who can no longer tell?

Bannister, Nonna (2009-03-20). The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister (pp. 239-240). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

I know that there are people who can relate to this poem and so I thought I would share it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Life in Fundyville by Fundy Rebel

I want to encourage you to read this woman's blog at My Life in Fundyville. This is a brand new blog. I'm sure you'll want to read all her entries and definitely read the comments where others have told their stories. I know this is going to be interesting and I'm looking forward to future posts.

Everyone's journey in/through/& out of "fundyville" will be different. I have considered what I grew up in as an average fundy church. I've been to "fundy lite," average, and even a couple of extreme fundy churches and there is a difference.

In some ways, I think that "fundy lite" can be more dangerous because it's subtle. It's easier to overlook because you don't realize the hold it has on you. As I went through life, what I thought was the Holy Spirit was just the "principles" and "guidelines" that I was taught to be a good Christian. It's not that the principles and guidelines were wrong but the things that we did and didn't do based on them caused us to think we were sinning, that others were sinning, or if they were better Christians, they wouldn't do certain things.

When you only show up for church services and not involved in any part of the ministries of a "Fundy lite" church, it is very easy to think that you're church is different and not involved in the power, manipulation, and control that you hear about it "other" churches. It's easy to miss that only certain people get "loved on" when sick or having a baby. Or, that only certain people, no matter talent or experience, get to teach a class, sing in front of the church, or be visible beyond working in the nursery.

You also come to believe that all other churches outside the baptist "umbrella" are wrong and teach a false gospel. When you finally venture out from under that "umbrella", you realize that this is not true.

One of the problems of growing up "fundy lite" is that it preps people for "hardcore fundy." I've seen multiple people make that step and it seems to be a natural transition. Unfortunately, these people see this step as a growth of spirituality instead of another level of control.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading Fundy Rebel's blog. I know there are too many people out there who will be able to relate to her story.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

ABUSE: People just don’t “Get It”

People who have never been abused will never understand. If you’ve never been in a highly authoritative religious environment, you’ll never understand what it means to be spiritually abused. If you’ve never lived in a home where your father and/or mother physically abused you, you’ll never understand what it is to be a child in that environment and how that abuse will affect you the rest of your life. If you’ve never been raped or physically violated, you’ll never understand the trauma, emotions, conflicts, reactions, etc. that happen before, during and after an assault. 

I’m one of those people. The closest one that I understand is spiritual abuse because I have been in some spiritually abusive churches and organizations but my experiences are extremely mild compared to some I’ve seen and others I’ve heard about. My parents didn’t beat me. Although I’m sure some of my punishments were excessive and I did get spanked, I would never consider myself abused. I do know numerous people who have been raped and even though I live with someone who has, I’ll never truly understand what she’s gone through and what she’ll deal with the rest of her life because I’ve never experienced it.

Here are some other things that I don’t “get.”

#1 Parents…
a.       Who abuse
b.      Who marry a known abuser
c.       Who don’t protect their children from an abuser
d.      Who chose an abusive spouse over their own abused child
e.      Who reject a child that’s been abused

I just don’t understand anybody who abuses another person but even more, a parent who abuses their own children. How can a parent kick, punch, hit, slap, push or use any form of physical violence against their children? I do understand spanking but even then there are other forms of effective discipline that don’t require you to hit a child.

I understand even less raping your own children. How can a parent do this? It’s so disgusting and revolting that I just don’t understand how any person can do that to another person, let alone a child. 

How can a person turn their back on their children? Why would a parent stand up for the abuser and turn their back on their child who has been abused? I’ve heard too many stories of parent(s) turning against their child because the child finally had the courage to speak up. The mom doesn’t want to send her husband to jail but would prefer he keep abusing. The parents blame their daughter or son for being molested by a relative, friend, sitter, or church member. 

I’m just disgusted and I don’t understand the mentality of parents not supporting their abused children.

#2 Church leaders and Religious Organizations who…
a.       Abuse by leaders and church members
b.      Cover up abuse
1.       “You don’t want to break up a family, do you?”
2.      “We’ll deal with it internally.”
3.       “If this gets out, it will hurt our ministry.”
4.      “You shouldn’t take another Christian to court.”
5.   "Let's not dig up the past. He's changed. He's not the person he used to be." 
c.       Give Platitudes
1.       “forgive and forget”
2.      “just get over it”
3.       “let God deal with it”
4.      “you need to give it to God”
5.      “don’t become bitter”
d.      Disregarding
1.       "Our church is not like that."
2.      "We’re autonomous." or "We're not responsible for what that church does."
3.    "Those bloggers, advocates, and victims are just bitter."
4.   "Your PTSD, nightmares, and other problems are not real. It's all in your head. You're just dwelling in the past."
5.   "You're just being vindictive."

It really bothers me that some churches don’t “get it.” They just don’t understand and what’s worse, they don’t seem to want to understand. They’re more concerned about image than justice. They’d rather enforce rules than practice grace. They’d rather be on the defense for religious leaders and organizations than on the offensive for the abused.

 I don't understand why church leaders and organizations will condemn another church over music, clothing, and other standards but they won't address that same church or organization when there is a known issue that the pastor or leader who is abusing, has abused, or has covered up an abuse.

Those of us who don’t experientially understand are not excused from understanding the people that are involved. We love and support. When we don't, we're not much better than the abuser. We don't have to understand what it is to be abused to do what is right.

We need to understand that helping a victim is what God wants us to do. We need to worry about our heart being right with God, not protecting an "image." Let's have character and let God worry about His image. Let us worry about doing the right thing. When we do that, we show the world how God loves.

God’s love is what I want to understand. His love is what I have experienced and that is what I want to demonstrate to those who’ve been abused.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why Would a Pastor Cover Up Abuse?

Ever since Tina's story first became public in May of 2010, I've had a dozen or more conversations with people that just can't wrap their minds around how Chuck Phelps could have made the decisions he did. Why did he call the police but not follow up by submitting a written report? Why did he decide to allow Ernie Willis to remain in the church, even serving as an usher and attending youth activities with his children while Tina was sent away? How could a pastor that professed to love people seem to have more concern for Ernie's family than a 15 year old girl that was raped? How could he have participated in a 15 year old girl being brought before a congregation full of people to apologize for her part in a "compromising position" (pregnant from a 38 or 39 year old man who admitted to the pastor he was the aggressor)?

For those that did not grow up in independent fundamentalist churches, the situation is beyond puzzling. It seems bizarre -- obscene even. How could the adults in the congregation not interrupt or intervene? I came across a video online that may help some asking those kind of "why" questions understand a little bit better. The video is of Bob Wood teaching a counseling class at Bob Jones University back in 1994. Bob Jones University is where Chuck Phelps got two degrees. Did he sit in this class I wonder? How many other graduates of Bob Jones University went on to teach similar classes to this at other schools in the BJU orbit? Did any of them teach at Hyles Anderson College? How many churches (along with their attached schools) and mission agencies (and attached schools) have been infected by this insidious, disgusting teaching?

Darrell over at Stuff Fundies Like posted the video with Bob Wood's teaching with his own comments.

Scriptural Principles for Counseling the... by EricITGuyatTHGC

I just can't help but wonder how many students sat under teaching like this at Bob Jones University and later applied the principles in the lives of children still suffering the damaging effects today. It is completely heartbreaking.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reactions to Abuse

I’ve been thinking about the different reactions that people have when it comes to abuse. The idea of abuse just boggles my mind. I don’t understand the mentality that goes into harming another person. I know we’ve all done it to one extent or another but to purposefully set out to abuse another person physically, sexually, spiritually, and/or mentally, is something I have a hard time understanding. I sure we can boil a lot of it down to one person wanting to control another.

Most people struggle with the idea that a pastor can be spiritually abusive or that a relative might be sexually abusing children, especially when it comes to their children. It’s hard to imagine that your neighbor or co-worker physically abuses their spouse or children. It’s hard for us to recognize in ourselves that we might be abusive in our words and actions to those around us. 

Some of the reactions that we might have when it comes to abuse in any form is….


“Why?” and “Where were you, God?” are always big questions when bad things happen but it seems to be a bigger question when you’re raised believing that God loves you and has your best interest at heart. It’s also harder because you might think that you’re sinning if you’re questioning God but there are many examples in Scripture that shows that asking God “why?” is a valid option and there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. We all want answers. Who better to ask than our Heavenly Father.

Some even go so far as to wonder if there is a God. If you’re taught that God is good and loving and in control of everything but then you’re abused by the people (parents, family, pastors, leaders, etc.) who are telling you this, is it any wonder people start to doubt? Is it any wonder that a lot of formerly religious people stopped going to church and some have become agnostic or atheist.

I like what Wade Burleson said regarding …Our Mistake About God on his blog. The entire article is good but I’ll quote a couple things. Wade says,

“Since evil is not part of God's nature, His allowance of evil to occur simply means He has a greater good in store, a greater good that would not exist were the evil to be prohibited. This is why God can hold the wicked accountable and responsible for their evil, but overcome their evil for good.”

“But God works ultimate good out of all things, including evil. For God to do this, he MUST know the end from the beginning.”

“But God works ultimate good out of all things, including evil….We can't comprehend how evil can be present for a greater good to occur. We can't fathom how One is outside of time and independent of time and has no need of time, but uses time for His glory and our ultimate good.”


I have noticed that a lot of victims start wondering what’s wrong with them or what they did that made someone hurt them. Some start questioning their value as a person and some start questioning their sexual orientation. The abuse a person received from others sometimes turns inward to where they start to abuse themselves.

This questioning only gets worse if a victim does not get the support he/she needs from their family, friends, and spiritual leaders. There a many reasons why a person is not supportive but when it’s to protect someone other than the one who has been abused, it’s just despicable. For some, it’s just ignorance. We don’t understand what someone has gone through or we don’t understand how something that is said or done causes someone to question themselves.

The questioning of self may never go away but maybe with the right support a person might be able to accept themselves more. When the people around a survivor accept them for who they are, it’s easier for them to accept themselves. I know I have tried and I know I have failed at times but I have noticed a few things that have helped. First, it has helped me when my wife lets me know when something’s been said or done that has been or could be a trigger. Second, and probably the biggest, was encouraging and supporting her to seek justice. Third was moving out of our comfort zone of fundamentalism and into the unknown. We found a new church, friends who love God and have been a part of exposing abuse in fundamentalism.


My biggest surprise is that religious leaders have not been supportive of victims. Many deny helping a victim in lieu of  "protecting" their churches by covering the abuse. Unfortunately, the leaders are sometimes the ones doing the abuse. All the "protecting" only puts more people in danger. There are numerous stories of abusers who were "forgiven" and allowed to continue in the church only to find out years down the road a trail of victims because leaders denied help to the abuser and are basically complicate in the abuse of others they should have been protecting.

And then we have people who deny the validity of a survivor's story. It doesn’t matter the reason why you may want to question their story. They shouldn’t have to provide you with DNA evidence or even their name if they want to remain anonymous. Listen to them. Offer support and if possible, help them get justice.

Don’t deny that there is a problem. Don’t deny the fact that it might be happening in your church or religious organization. Just because people and organizations call themselves “Christian” or “Christ-like,” it does not mean that they are behaving themselves as Christ would behave.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Please Pray for Tina

I'd appreciate it if you would take a few moments and pray for Tina. Most of us can only imagine the stress that a survivor of abuse deals with throughout their entire lives but then imagine that your life is lived in the media for the world to see and that stress just multiplies. Sometimes the story dies down and you can go on to live a semi-normal life but for Tina her life's struggles just keep popping up into the public through the newspapers, courtroom proceedings, Facebook, survivor groups and blogs, religious organizations, and the list goes on. It's very overwhelming.

You may have heard that Ernie is appealing his conviction.
Cached text version of Concord Monitor article

      In the article it says, "Willis’s lawyers, though, believe those conversations should have been off limits, protected by a religious privilege that allows a minister to not disclose confessions made to him in his 'professional character as a spiritual advisor.' On Wednesday, they’ll argue the issue before the state Supreme Court, asking that the justices overturn Willis’s convictions."

Tina needs your prayers. Even though some say it's highly unlikely that the conviction will be overturned, just the chance that it might can really cause some sleepless nights.

Here are some specific things you can pray for.
  1. God's peace in Tina's heart.
  2. God's wisdom and strength in Tina's life to go through the challenges that she must face.
  3. God's healing of Tina's body, soul, and spirit.
  4. Wisdom for the State Supreme Court that justice will continue to be served.
  5. Whatever else God lays on your heart.

Please pray and I'm sure she could use some words of encouragement.

Thank you for all your prayers. Thank you for your love and concern for our family. It is greatly appreciated.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Support Your Spouse

For me, supporting my wife was not an option. It’s one of the reasons God gave her to me. I’ve come to realize that I may have an advantage over some spouses because I knew about my wife’s abuse within the first few days of dating. My wife thought that I’d run off scared. We’d both been through trying times in our lives and it just made us connect. I know that knowing about her abuse before I fell in love with her is an advantage over some couples but love is a choice. When you got married, you made a commitment “for better or for worse.” We always hope the “worse” never comes but now that the secret is out, I pray that you’ll stand by your spouse. Here are some things that I’d like you to think about.

Be proud of her
When my wife told me her story, I was proud of her. She’d endured so much abuse and she still loved God and wanted to serve Him. She did right by giving her baby up for adoption and had moved on with her life and was trying to make the best of it. I admired her for her strength.
Don’t blame her
It’s not her fault. My wife had no control over the things that happened to her. Blaming her in any way is putting the blame on the wrong person. You can also play the “what if” game but it does not matter. She was abused. Someone took advantage of her and it was not her fault.
She’s not damaged
Some might view a person who has been sexually abused as “damaged goods.” This is far from true. A person may have wounds and scars from the life they have endured but this does not make them damaged. I’ve never looked at my wife as being less of a person because someone abused her. I look at her and realize that she’s a better person because of her past. I’ve always thought that God was going to use her in a special way to be a blessing and encouragement to others because of what she’s gone though.
Help her get justice
This is an area that I feel bad about because it never crossed my mind to get justice for Tina. Tina may not have been ready for it but I never brought it up. She had moved on, had accepted it as her past, and was trying to get on with life and “forget” about it. The great thing is that God had His timing and when the time was right, God worked out the details.
Stand with her (Be Supportive)
It is not an easy thing to bring up the past. It’s even harder to make things right and bring about justice. It’s even harder when you, as a spouse, are not supportive. Your spouse needs you. She needs to know that you support her and will stand with her. She needs to know that no matter what happens you will be with her, not judge her, and do whatever is necessary to make sure she feels loved. It makes everything a million times harder if she thinks you’re going to do to her like everyone else who has abused her in her life.
Most of the time you’re not going to know what to say but if you just listen, it will go a long way. You may not even understand because you have not gone through it. That’s fine. If you can be a sounding board for her, it will show you how much you love her.
Get Counseling
If you’re having a hard time coming to grips with your spouses abuse, get a licensed counselor who specializes in abuse and have that person help you walk through the issues that you are and will face in the future. Your spouse may be dealing with things that he/she may not understand and it will help them also.
Conflicts will happen
There are times when conflicts will arise between couples because of the stress caused by dealing with the past. Be aware of this. This is probably where I struggled the most because I sometimes took it personal and it wasn’t really me that she was upset with but I was the closest and even the little things were made bigger.
Be aware
Pay attention to your wife. There were times I could tell my wife was not sleeping well and I could only imagine the nightmares she may be having. Do something to help comfort her. I used to turn on the radio or put on a CD of Christian music for her. This seemed to soothe her because the positive, life-affirming music would drown out the dreams and subconsciously dwell on something more positive than her past.
My prayer was for me to understand my wife better. I knew it wasn’t her that needed to change but me. I figured that if God could help me see things from my wife’s point of view, than I could help her through the things she was going through. In turn, this would translate into a stronger relationship between us.
See the light
You may be going through a dark tunnel right now and see no end in sight but keep your eye on God and He will bring you through. Eventually, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. The best light you see is when you see God’s hand directing and leading and bringing glory to His name because you did what was right. And hopefully you get to see justice. Unfortunately, that does not always happen but it’s great when you do.

This is not an easy thing to go through but it’s easier when you do it with someone you love and with someone who loves you. The Bible talks about two being better than one because when the one falls the other is there to pick them up. That’s marriage and when the trials of life, both literally and figuratively, happen, you’re there to support each other. 

I realize that it’s not just men that have to deal with a wife that’s been abused. Unfortunately, boys have been abused also and it’s just as hard for men to admit they’ve been abused as it is for women. There are a lot of books about abuse but I’d like to introduce you to a man who had to go through this journey. Bill Harbeck lived with his secret for over thirty years. I’ve read his story, Shattered: One Man’s Journey from Sexual Abuse and it is heart-wrenching. I’ve met and talked with him and his wife a couple of times. I would encourage you to read his story.

Monday, August 27, 2012

“You’re Hurting the Name of God”

You might hear other variations, such as: “You’re hurting the Cause of Christ” or “God’s Name will be Damaged” or something along those lines. As a Christian, this is the last thing that you would want. Right after someone says this to you, you’ll probably hear them say that if unbelievers hear this they will not want to become Christians. This insinuates that you are stopping people from receiving Christ as their Savior because sin was made public for everyone to see and we should keep Christian shortcomings secret so that “the name of Christ is not hurt.”

Do you think that God is worried about His name? Do we see God covering up the sin of His people so that He does not get a bad name and reputation among unbelievers? What has been God’s public response to sin? In Scripture, these answers are better to see than when you’re down in the middle of the situation and living life but through Scripture we see how He protects His name.
I can imagine what people might have said to Samuel. “Hey, you’re hurting the name of God by confronting King Saul in front of all those people for not obeying by killing everyone and all the animals. He meant well and just made a mistake and He was going to offer the stuff to God anyway. That should count for something. Let’s not make a big deal out of this because you’ll make us look bad in front of the other nations.”

What about when Nathan confronted David about his sin? Can you imagine Nathan arguing with God? “God, I know David did wrong. I know he killed Uriah and a baby was conceived out of wedlock but he's the "man of God" and if you make everyone aware of the sin that he did, they’re going to question Your choice in making David king. I’d hate to see that and they are going to blame Bathsheba. They are going to start questioning her age, and if she consented. They’ll say that she did it on purpose to seduce him, or that the Philistines put her up to it. I just don’t think the nation of God can handle the scandal and ridicule that will happen. You also know that nobody’s going to want to come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and worship You. What about the tithes and offerings? Those are going to suffer.”

Can you imagine what the disciples were telling Jesus while he’s throwing out the money changers in the Temple? “Jesus, you’re hurting your name. Settle down. Why are you getting so mad? We’re in the foyer of the Temple and these are just people who have set up booths and display tables to sell things to believers to help them be better believers to serve God. You’re going to make yourself look bad and if people see your behavior they won’t want to follow you. If they are really doing something wrong, you need to follow your own teaching and go to them one on one and confront them of their sin. If they don’t listen, take us with you to confront them, and if that doesn’t work than you need to talk with the priests to get them kicked out. You’ve really need to think about your image before you start throwing things around.”

And what about Paul when he confronts Peter in Galatians 2? Those church leaders should have told Paul, “This is a local, independent, Baptist church and we just don’t confront other pastor’s in our fundamental circles. That would make us look bad and cast a bad light on the name of God and people might not want to join our congregation. We just don’t get involved in the affairs of other churches and you shouldn’t either. If you have a problem, you should probably just start your own church and do it your own way. We have these rules to make us conform to the image of God and if you can’t accept and look like us Christians, than you are probably just backslidden and need to get right with God.”

My above examples are just absurd but they sound familiar. People are so worried about “hurting the name of Christ” that they’d rather hide sin and cover abuse than to do what is right and what God in the OT and what Jesus and the apostles demonstrated in the NT. God says that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” If we apply that today, God would want us to do what’s right and confront sin instead of determining that we’ll just tithe more, serve more, preach louder, witness longer, make more rules, and “forgive and forget” because we don’t want our reputation spoiled because someone might not want to come to church with us because we don’t look righteous.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daniel Leaf Indicted for His Abuse of Tina Anderson

Daniel Leaf has been indicted for his abuse of his stepdaughter, Tina Anderson, when she was a young child.

"Man named in rape trial now indicted:  Stepfather faces sex assault counts"
by Maddie Hanna on August 23, 2012

A few quotes:
"When she testified last year to being raped and impregnated as a teenager in 1997 by a married man who attended her Concord church, Tina Anderson told jurors she also had been sexually assaulted by her stepfather years earlier. 
Anderson said at trial that her mother and her pastor at Trinity Baptist told her to forgive her stepfather, Daniel Leaf, for the abuse, and he never faced charges in connection with her allegations. 
That changed last week, when a Merrimack County grand jury handed down two aggravated felonious sexual assault indictments charging Leaf with assaulting Anderson between 1990 and 1992, starting when she was 10 years old." 
The topic of "Forgive & Forget" was brought up at the trial of the man who was convicted of raping Tina. You can read more about that here.

Tina's biological mother, Chris Leaf allowed Daniel Leaf back in her home even though he had been imprisoned in Arizona and NH for abusing the children (convicted of assault with evidence of extensive bruising). In addition, Daniel Leaf was a convicted child sex offender. She continues to live with him today in NH. Clearly, she chose her pervert, pedophile, child abusing husband over the well-being of her children.

More from the article...
"He was also convicted of second-degree assault in 1992, according to the registry. Christine Leaf, his wife and Anderson's mother, testified in court last year that her husband had been found guilty of the assault for spanking her son. She said he spent seven years in prison for the sexual assault conviction, which she said related to a victim who wasn't one of her children.
Yesterday afternoon, Christine Leaf answered the door at the couple's house in Tilton and said she did not think her husband, who was inside, would wish to comment.
"Really, I don't think we have anything to say," Christine Leaf said, asked whether her husband maintains his innocence."
Hopefully, Daniel Leaf will finally be held accountable for the abuse of Tina. She deserves justice, as do all children abused by anyone. Children should be safe in their homes, churches and schools. In my opinion, pedophiles should never be released from prison. I believe the recidivism rate demonstrates that they just cannot be trusted to be around children ever again. Keeping them locked up seems to be the only way to protect children from them.

Would you like to help Tina and Tim?

Tim has been updating folks on Aria's medical condition on his blog:  Tina's Marine.  I've had a number of folks ask me how they can help. It's really hard to figure out an easy way to do that without giving out their address, so I just asked Tim what I could tell people.

If you would like to contribute to help towards Aria's medical expenses (about $3000 just for the most recent brain surgery), you can send a gift via their PayPal account (they are verified users of PayPal). The e-mail address to use for sending the gift is

If you are wondering more about Aria's condition, you can read about it here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Don't Shoot the Messenger

A couple days ago I was talking with someone inside the IFB movement, who is very satisfied and comfortable with what they believe and made the statement that they aren’t going anywhere. While talking about it, they made at least two logical fallacies that I’m sure that most people in this person’s situation are making. The first was that we shouldn’t be talking about everybody’s abuse because we don’t know the whole story. It was stated that it was fine what we did and what was done to us was wrong and we could talk about it because we were there. The problem with talking about the other stories is that there are two sides to the story, and we don’t know all the details, we shouldn’t be saying anything about it. The reasoning is that these “victims” could be making it up to get attention and I was asked if I thought that was true. I said most people would not make up an abuse story. Even real victims don’t want to come forward because they don’t want the attention. I did say it highly unlikely and that we will always side with the abused. We will always speak up for them because they don’t always have a voice, especially in religious organizations and churches and we will always support the abused.

One of my biggest concerns is that the message of abuse in the churches is being dismissed because of the people trying to draw attention to the abuse. This was the other logical fallacy that was brought up. They stated that it looks like it’s just a vendetta against churches and that they’ll do anything for attention. They also said all the stuff they see on Facebook in reference to their lifestyle and everything else was making them not look credible and because of our association with them that we don’t look credible either. I tried to explain, briefly, that just because you don’t agree with how an advocate lives, does not lessen the importance or significance of what they are trying to say.

I’ve communicated with people from various religious, sexual, and political backgrounds with varying levels of interest from soft-spoken to overly-aggressive in stand against abuse. Every single one of the people has one goal in mind. Their goal is to stand up against the abusers. They have taken different methods and tactics but they want to see abuse end, no matter what the organization, whether church, college, children’s home, etc.
Another thing that keeps being mentioned is motives. I think we should worry more about what is being done than why it’s being done. Motives refers to the heart that we can’t see. Let God worry about that. We may assume or even be right about someone’s motives but don’t dismiss someone’s message because we think they have the wrong motives. It does not change the fact that abuse needs to be attacked. 

Mark 9: 38-40 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us.

Philippians 1:15-15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.

Can I make a suggestion?  DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER. In other words, don’t dismiss them because they don’t think like you.

ADVOCATES – Keep your voice loud and clear! Keep up the fight, no matter the obstacles. Don’t attack each other. You’re on the same team, with the same goal, just in a different part of the war.  

IFB MEMBERS – Just because you don’t like someone’s beliefs or lifestyle, don’t ignore the warnings. The problem is real even though you don’t like it. Listen to the message, even if you don’t like the messenger. It’s important.

IFB PASTORS – Become an advocate!! Quit being quiet about the problem. Stand up for the victim and stand against the abuser. You’re so vocal on so many things that don’t matter. Be vocal for God’s children. Remember Jesus cleaning out the Temple? Do that! Help clean God’s House and throw out those who claim to serve God but are only serving themselves.