Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OUR 9th ANNIVERSARY

Today, my wife and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary.

I just want to let everyone know how proud I am of my wife. I love her more each day and appreciate her in more ways and that just keeps growing every day of our lives. I can't and don't want to imagine living my life without her or the children that she has borne for me.

She has always been an inspiration to me. She's helped me be a better man. She's helped me develop compassion and be more sensitive to others. I am a better person because she is my wife.

There is so much more that I could say but we are off to the see the Zoo Lights at our local zoo. I'm looking forward to holding her hand and being with her. (We're leaving the kids at home with the grandparents.)

I LOVE YOU, SWEETHEART!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chuck Phelps Removed Some Information From His Website

Under a recent blog post a reader asked a question:
"I can no longer find the reference on Pastor Phelps website saying Tina was lying or in a consensual, dating relationship with Willis. Do you think they changed it? Or maybe I'm just missing it. Thanks."
After a quick look at the website Chuck Phelps set up (drchuckphelps - DOT - com), I realized there were at least two documents missing -- both pertaining directly to the ABC 20/20 broadcast eventually aired on April 8, 2011 titled, "Shattered Faith." I have a pdf file of the documents on my computer, and there are images of the two documents saved on other websites. One document is a letter is dated July 22, 2010 and is addressed to Alan Goldberg at 20/20. The other document is a statement released on October 14, 2010 that Chuck Phelps put on his website.

Because I am glad Chuck Phelps no longer has those documents visible on his website, and I recently wrote that Phelps should remove documents stating Tina lied from his website, I do not wish to post them here. However, even though he removed them, there are a few problems, in my opinion:

  1. He removed them from the website without a mention or an apology.
  2. He kept other information on his website that STILL refers to Tina as dishonest, so the problem is still not fully resolved.
This image is taken directly from the page: "Specific Answers to some Difficult Questions"

Chuck Phelps says he stands by his answers to the reporter in the parking lot.  

What did Chuck Phelps say to that reporter? Following is a transcript of the conversation. You can go to this video clip online to watch for yourself. The time stamp is approximately 2:56 - 4:39. 

Reporter:  In 1997, did you report that Tina Anderson had been raped?
Phelps:  Absolutely.  Yes I did.
Reporter:  You called it a “dating relationship.”
Phelps:  No, I did not.  I did not call it that.
Reporter:  Why wasn’t it rape?
Phelps:  I called it...
Reporter:  In your statement to us you did call it a “dating relationship.”
Phelps:  Yes, I did call it that in my statement to you because it was an on-going relationship but I did not call it that to the police department at the time.
Phelps:  First, I didn’t know he had impregnated a 15 year-old girl…remember it was an accusation made.  An accusation is not a conviction.  …it’s not the responsibility of the church to close the doors to people who have real problems and issues no matter how heinous.  And so I think you’ll find the community historically has always allowed heinous people under careful guidelines to be part of churches.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

From My Heart: The Responses of Bob Jones University and Chuck Phelps to Tina Anderson




This video is an interview of Brian Scoles, a spokesperson of Bob Jones University, and a local Greenville, SC psychologist regarding Chuck Phelps' resignation from the board at BJU.

I've been discouraged and disappointed with every public response I've seen from BJU and local press. First there was a not-so-subtle reference by Dr. Bob Jones III from the chapel platform to the public expression of disappointment and disagreement with Chuck Phelps being placed on the board at Bob Jones University. Then there was the statement read by BJU Executive Vice President for Operations, Marshall Franklin from the chapel platform on November 21, 2011--a statement posted and then removed from the BJU newsfeed (as of 9:52 p.m. 12/06/2011). For the purpose of clarity, a pdf screenshot of the original statement is included below.

BJU Statement Re Chuck Phelps on Board

Does it even matter to BJU or Chuck Phelps that the jury delivered a verdict? Ernie Willis was found to be GUILTY of forcible rape--felonious sexual assault. Yet Chuck Phelps still has documents on his website calling Tina Anderson a liar -- a website that Bob Jones University PROMOTED and ENDORSED both on its website in the written statement and from the chapel platform when Marshall Franklin spoke on Nov. 21.

A jury of his peers found Willis GUILTY of FORCIBLE RAPE and Chuck Phelps and by extension BJU are calling Tina a liar. And if the board of BJU has a problem with this they sure aren't saying anything. What is wrong with them??? How much does Tina have to continue to suffer at the hands of these people? Chuck Phelps gets a pass for calling her a liar STILL. BJU gets a pass for agreeing with him. Where is Tina left in all of this? She is STILL being shamed and shunned by the people that should care for her more than anyone else -- they claim to be Christ followers! This is not representative of the Jesus that suffered and gave up everything to suffer and die for our sins. NOT grace. NOT love. NOT compassion. NOT Jesus. I am so broken and hurt by the way my alma mater and former pastor and boss is treating this whole thing.

Why should one single rape victim ever ask for help from anyone in the Bob Jones University circle of pastors, grads or churches? Why? Why should any rape or molestation victim ever trust any of them? Bob Jones University appears to care more about STEVE GREEN and his music (preached against in chapel March 1992) than it cares about a young girl who was abused over and over and over again.

Chris Leaf, Tina Anderson's biological mother, allowed her husband Daniel Leaf, (the convicted child abusing, sex offender stepfather) to abuse Tina and her brother, Tom. It's a matter of court record that while those children were under the shepherding care of Chuck Phelps the stepfather was imprisoned for a second time for physical assault of Tom. Court records indicate the vicious bruising results of the beating Tom took from a BELT WITH METAL RIVETS IN IT at the hands of Daniel Leaf (who still to this day is married and living with Chris Leaf). Tina and Tom both still have scars from the buckle end of a belt at the hands of Daniel Leaf on their backs and legs. As an aside, the first prison sentence Daniel Leaf served for assault of the children was in Arizona. While he was in prison Chris Leaf moved to NH to be closer to her family. When Daniel was released from prison Chris allowed him to come back into her home.

Why does Chris Leaf and her indefensible choices as a mother even matter in a discussion of the responses of Bob Jones University and Chuck Phelps to Tina Anderson? Well, it is Chris Leaf to whom Chuck Phelps refers to defend his choices in response to Tina Anderson's rape in 1997.

In conclusion what we have here is two sides:

1. A poor excuse for a mother that exposes her two biological children over and over again to a convicted child beater and molester, the giant of fundamentalist Christian universities--Bob Jones University, and one of their graduates--Chuck Phelps saying Tina lied. Oh... and Ernie Willis who claimed on the witness stand under oath that he asked a 15 year old girl if she would like to engage in sexual intercourse with him and she said yes (yes--that is what he said). Chris Leaf and Chuck Phelps are saying Tina lied -- the jury got it all wrong when they found Ernie Willis guilty of forcible rape. And Bob Jones University, via statements by Bob Jones III and Marshall Franklin, supports Chris and Chuck.

2. A woman that never had anyone speak up for and protect her as a child--molested, physically assaulted and raped. Validated by a week long court case that SHE DID NOT CONSENT to Ernie Willis' criminal act. That SHE SAID NO. That she was RAPED FORCIBLY. A woman that did NOT seek any of this--the police CAME TO HER and asked her to cooperate in the prosecution of Ernie Willis.

I just want to make it clear to current students and graduates of Bob Jones University. You may not like those clear facts. They aren't trifling minutia such as has become the focus in other debates (like: did Chuck Phelps call the police -- YES, was Ernie Willis a deacon -- NO). This isn't about little errors others have gotten wrong. Before you feel sorry for Chuck Phelps, remember he still is calling a rape victim a liar. Not an alleged rape victim. Willis is CONVICTED of forcible and statutory rape. And Bob Jones University is standing behind Chuck Phelps as he calls Tina a liar.

Are YOU standing behind Chuck Phelps too? Grads and current students, you have a choice to make. You have incontrovertible facts. Chuck Phelps AT THE VERY LEAST should remove the statements accusing Tina of lying from his website. AT THE VERY LEAST he owes her an apology for keeping them up over six months past the conviction of Ernie Willis. The court found that Tina did not lie--that Willis forcibly raped her. She did not consent--was not in a long term dating relationship. She was raped.

Bob Jones University AT THE VERY LEAST owes a public statement of apology for agreeing with Phelps that Tina lied. Marshall Franklin read that statement without even calling Tina like he did Chuck Phelps! Marshall Franklin violated the very biblical principles he was advocating in the statement he read.

I'm not saying that current students and alumni need to rage and rampage. But if you have the information, you are responsible for it. It's that simple. Two sides:  those proclaiming to be Christian ministers calling a rape victim a liar -- and the woman that endured in her faith because of the grace of God that was vindicated by a court of law. Choose one.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

BOB JONES UNIVERSITY, CHUCK PHELPS, AND FUNDAMENTALISM

When I was growing up, Bob Jones University (BJU) was the primary college of choice. Our pastor was a BJU grad and we had BJU ensembles and speakers come through our church all the time. I’ve heard Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones III speak in our church and have had pictures taken of them and with them. I was one of those kids that would go to the preacher after the service and have them sign my Bible. I know I had their signatures and many, many others but unfortunately I lost that Bible at a hay ride youth activity at South Mountain when I was in high school.

While I was in high school, it seemed to me that if you were to go to college, you were supposed to go to a Christian college and the ones who did mostly went to BJU but a few went to Maranatha Baptist Bible College (MBBC) and even less went to Pensacola Christian College (PCC). These were the colleges that we grew up hearing about. Any other college that we may have heard of was considered too liberal or headed in that direction.

I would have followed everyone else’s footsteps but in my junior year of high school our church started its own college, International Baptist College (IBC). I decided to stay home and I did my first two years of college at IBC but joined the Marine Corps Reserves during my last semester and that summer disappeared into the military for about six months. When I came back, for a number of reasons, I did not go back to school at IBC.

Over the years, my siblings and I have gone to and graduated from four different Bible colleges. One sibling has a degree from MBBC and BJU. The other went to PCC but graduated from BJU. I went to PCC for two years but graduated from IBC and almost finished a master’s degree. A couple years later I went to MBBC and earned a second bachelor’s degree. Although I never took classes at BJU, I’ve been on their campus several times over the years.

My point is that my siblings and I grew up in a church that was and still is independent, fundamental, Baptist and the Christian school that was associated with it and we have been a part of four major colleges that heavily influence the IFB world as we know it.

This whole situation with BJU, Chuck Phelps, and the rest of the IFB, really hurts me deeply. It’s a huge betrayal of all that I was taught. I grew up hearing quotes like: “Do right until the stars fall” and “The greatest ability is dependability” and "Don't sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate" and many others. I grew up to admire these men, thinking they were men of God. What they said, we thought was “gospel” because they said it with authority and used Scripture to back up what they said.

In the classroom, I was taught Greek, Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Bible doctrine, Theology, Bible, and all the classes pertaining to becoming a preacher. I sat under preaching during chapel and church services that espoused everything that you would expect to hear while a college student at a Bible college. I learned a lot and took it to heart, especially when it talked about what it took to be a man of God, a good husband and father, and other sermons and lessons regarding the character a person of God should possess. When I prepared sermons, I did what they taught me and I looked at context, studied the Greek, and applied what I was taught in my various classes. It never occurred to me to take a verse and use it as a jumping off place to preach what I wanted it to mean. I didn’t realize how many preachers did this because I was moved by their stories and enthusiasm and I wished I had that talent.

I’m disappointed with Chuck Phelps because he is the opposite of what I’ve always been taught that a man of God should be. Confidence is one thing but pride and arrogance are another. Authority is one thing but abusing that authority is another. Honesty and integrity is one thing but twisting or rewording the truth to make yourself look better is another. Guidance and counsel is one thing but manipulation is another. If you made a mistake, own up to it. Ask for forgiveness. Do your part in righting a wrong instead of compounding it by trying to hide what you know to be the truth so that you can “save face” in front others.

I’m disappointed with Bob Jones University because, even though I didn’t go there, I thought they stood up for what was right. If someone was on their board or a teacher in their school that did not hold the values that they taught, I would have expected them to make some changes. Instead, they refused to listen to those with legitimate concerns and just blew them off with an attitude of pride and self-righteousness. This is not the first time this has happened but it’s the most current and maybe the most obvious example of the superiority mindset of the school. It makes me concerned that the students coming out of there are picking up the same mindset which influences the churches and schools where they minister.

What bothers me most is their extra-Biblical teaching. Their views have been modified based on the changing of the times, bad press from the media, social activism, and many other reasons. But, If racism is wrong, it’s always wrong. If mixed marriages are wrong, they’re always wrong. If accreditation is wrong, it’s always wrong. If it’s a preference or an opinion, say so and say why but don’t condemn others because they disagree with you.

They, and many others like them, have taught and preached about things using Scripture but they were misusing Scripture and then their students come out doing the same thing. When I look back on myself, I did the very same thing. I was taught certain things and thought it was based on Scripture, only to realize later that it’s really a preference or another man’s opinion. I accepted and adopted philosophies as my own because those I thought that those with more experience knew what they were talking about.

I’m disappointed in fundamentalist Baptists as a whole. There are exceptions but over the past year and a half my eyes have been opened by their lack of compassion, their lack of integrity, their lack of standing up for the abused. They’d rather protect their image than to protect their character. They’re afraid of how people will look at them on the outside and not how God looks at them on the inside. The things I’ve learned over the past year about the movement that I grew up in has made me realize that I never want to be an independent, fundamental, Baptist again. I believe in the fundamentals of the faith as taught through Scripture but I found out that Baptists do not have the market cornered on Bible truths.

I’m also disappointed in myself. I realized years ago that there are different churches for different kinds of people but I had it in my mind, due to my training and background, that if churches and people didn’t do things like I did then they were less spiritual and as they grew spiritually, they would look more like me and my church. It wasn’t until we made a decision that we couldn’t stay at our current church that I was forced to decide where to go, which also caused me to evaluate what I believed and what I had been taught. I realized that your music doesn’t indicate your level of spirituality. A church’s worship team was not an indication of apostasy. A person's appearance is not a manifestation of a person's heart towards God. The “world” is not the things you do, such as: clothes, food, drink, music, movies, tattoos, etc. but the mentality of your heart, such as: greed, lust, hate, pride, and many more.

When I looked at Scripture I thought I was the tax collector praying “be merciful to me a sinner” but I came to realize that I was the Pharisee saying “I am not like…(other sinners)..” Then I felt like I became like the Pharisee who came to Jesus at night and had to learn what Scripture really said and not what I thought and taught it was saying. Eventually, just like that Pharisee, I left. I had to leave. I lost a lot with that move but I gained so much more.

I’m not saying that all IFB church members and pastors are Pharisees but looking back on myself, I was and I didn’t even realize it. Maybe you are too. I’m far from perfect and I still wear a mask at times to others but in my new surroundings I can be more honest and open about who I am because I don’t have to worry about looking perfect. I can be more honest about my faults and learn from others who might have the same weaknesses and struggles that I have. It’s been very enlightening and encouraging.

This is my question, “Is it more important what people think about you by the way you act and dress OR what you really are on the inside, the person that God sees?”

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Statement to the Concord Police

This statement has been saved as jpg images to prevent the alteration of any words. It is posted here exactly as it was submitted to Detective DeAngelis.


Tina Anderson Statement to Concord Police

Thursday, November 24, 2011

THANKSGIVING

Today is Thanksgiving and I wanted to share with others some of the things for which I am thankful.

GOD

I thank Him for providing His Son for our salvation. I thank Him for ALL things that He has provided, ALL that we have been through, and ALL the future that He has in store for me and my family. I thank Him for all the below because without Him, I would have nothing.

FAMILY

I thank God for my wife. Every year I grow closer to her but I think this past year our relationships and connection with one another has grown exponentially. The more I know her, the more I love and admire her. I was alone for quite a while before I met her, married her, and started having children with her. I would not change it for the world. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you start to live with someone else. I thank God for this gift of love.

I thank God my three beautiful children. Through them, I learn something almost every day. What I love most is the insight that I gain into the relationship between parent and child. This insight gives me a perspective of God’s relationship with us, His children. But He’s a lot more patient than I am, for which I am also thankful.

I thank God for my siblings. We don’t always see eye to eye on things (and I would not expect them to) but I know they love me and my family. I thank them for their prayers. I know they worry about us and I’m thankful they are in my life.

CHURCH

I thank God for the church He directed us to. When we filmed 20/20 in the summer of ‘10, we had just started our search and that was only the second church that we had visited and it was our second visit because we didn’t know where else to go. We spent the summer going to various churches before we decided which was best for our family and then it was another 14 months before we decided to join with these believers.

We thank God for the many relationships and friendships that we have built there. We’re excited to get involved in the many ministry opportunities within and outside the church. We thank God for a church that wants to get involved in people’s lives and to give back to the community and be a ministry and an outreach to those less fortunate than ourselves.

JUSTICE

I thank God that justice was served this year. Although it was slow in coming, God worked in an amazing and most bizarre way to bring to light the crimes that had been committed against Tina so many years ago. I thank God that He gave Tina the strength to tell her story to the police, to allow her story to be shared through the media, to go through the trial, and finally to see her rapist sent to prison. God is not done and we'll see what other areas God brings justice. We thank you for what He has done and what He will do.

SUPPORT

I thank God for all the people that God has brought into our lives, and especially Tina’s life, that have been a comfort and a support for Tina over this past year. It’s amazing the number of people who have supported and defended Tina on numerous blogs, blog comments, forums, websites, Facebook, etc. I am thankful for every one of you who is standing up and taking a stand against abuse. I am thankful for all of you who are sharing your stories with others. It makes others who have been abused not feel alone.

ASSAILANTS

I thank God for those who have and are still attacking us and other survivors of abuse. It’s hard to be thankful for this but I know God has a purpose. It’s hard to have your integrity and character questioned by people who think they understand all that has happened or they twist the story to fit into their preconceived ideas of what happened. It makes it harder when all you’ve tried to do is be as honest and open as possible. It’s a reminder to me that not everyone likes it when you stand up for yourself or for others. Not everyone is going to agree with you even when all the facts come out. Not everyone is going to like you when you “rock the boat,” even if you’re right. Not everyone likes the truth.

I’m thankful for the assailants because God is using them to wake up the people on the fence to choose between standing up for the abused or staying comfortable in their religion.


II Corinthians 2: 14-15

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.


I Thessalonians 5: 18

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I am not angry

I wasn't in chapel today at Bob Jones University. I only have the reactions of those that were there to go by at this point. I just want to offer a few words of clarification about my intent in keeping up with this blog.


I'm not angry or bitter. I'm sad. Grieved. Torn. Disappointed. A child went through unbelievable trauma and the pastor that contributed to it hasn't been humble enough to repent and seek forgiveness. Where is the Gospel in that?

Child abuse, rape, molestation -- it has touched me -- my family -- loved ones close to me -- personally and deeply. I speak because I love God's work.

I think sometimes strongly controlling organizations get into message management when they are trying to do damage control. I can't assign that motive to BJU, but based on what has been done so far, I want to say that I  believe there is more harm in limiting the information students get on campus about this matter. I think there's more harm to only promoting one side, to shutting down conversation, to defining the "opposition" by deflection, projecting, name calling or maligning intent by labeling emotions. The real harm comes from hiding sin. The real harm comes from failing to admit that the church at large has had a problem with covering up child abuse. It is not just the Catholic church, it's a problem within fundamentalism too.

Until those that have erred -- even with good intent -- confess their wrong, ask forgiveness and are willing to talk about it openly, this topic in general will continue to be very difficult. There will continue to be hurts. Bob Jones University is teaching students that will go out into the workplace and churches and communities that will have to deal with this issue. Many of those graduates will become mandatory reporters. If they do not see an example before them where these things are openly addressed, it hurts them. It hurts the Gospel. It hurts the name of Christ.

Oh, and for the record, with regard to the trial notes section of this blog:

  • Every effort was made to carefully write down as much as possible--almost a full notebook.
  • Where there was a question about something, every effort was made to compare with the three reporters that did live blogging and other attendees that took copious notes.
  • If there was EVER one single area where something was doubtful because of incomplete notes, it was LEFT OUT of the notes transcribed for this blog.
  • The heart and motives of the people taking notes was pure--seeking only to convey the truth. There is no bitterness, wrath or malice from this person toward Chuck Phelps or the Lord's work. 

I do have a suggestion:  if Bob Jones University is truly committed to pursuing love and truth in this matter, how about they seek the full support of Chuck Phelps to contact G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) and ask them to consider the facts and give counsel. GRACE "provides individual assistance and counsel to churches and Christian organizations who are in the midst of addressing abuse issues within their respective bodies."


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Petition Update

Thank you to everyone that has signed and/or passed the word on to friends! As of this moment there are 822 posts. One quick note about the petition: once you sign the petition, you will be taken to a page that says your signature is accepted. Then you will be taken to a page where the petition site asks for a donation. You DO NOT have to donate to sign the petition. The petition site provides the ability for anyone to create and/or signn petitions for free. Obviously the site owners get revenue somehow to provide a free service. It's a combination of donations and advertising.

Please continue to spread the word!

Sign the petition to ask Bob Jones University to remove Charles "Chuck" Phelps from their board.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why do I care?


Why do I care? Why have I spent so much time trying to track news stories, blog posts and speaking out on behalf of Tina Anderson?

I recently updated the "About Laurie" page to talk more specifically why I started this blog.

Is Chris Leaf Credible?

One of the questions I have seen frequently is, "What about Tina's mom? Chuck Phelps said she is the one that made all the decisions." The question may be worded a bit differently, or it may just be a statement given in support of Charles "Chuck" Phelps.

Chuck Phelps has a website with some documents defending his decisions as a pastor purportedly provided by Chris Leaf (Tina's mother -- though I don't personally believe she deserves the title since she so frequently chose her own desires -- like keeping her convicted child abusing, registered child molester pervert of a husband who wasn't the biological father of her children in her life and house). The thing is -- the documents on Chuck Phelps' website were prepared for Chris by her attorney, David Gibbs III -- the same attorney that represented Phelps at the trial of Tina's rapist (the letter purported to be from Chris is on the letterhead of David Gibbs III). At the very least, it is safe to assume that the attorney had an interest in also protecting his client Chuck Phelps, and at the trial, Chris Leaf never would say on the stand who paid for David Gibbs III to represent her. Neither Chuck Phelps or Chris Leaf testified if the documents prepared for them by their attorney were prepared in collusion with each other.

In the interest of shedding more light on Chris Leaf, I am posting below, with her permission, a guest post from Beth Murschell.

Laurie Moody

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011
Tina's Mom and Credibility    By: Beth Murschell
I've wanted to address this issue, and a Facebook comment (reprinted with permission) covers most of the bases so I'm posting it here (with the caveat from the poster that it is "speaking from my recollection and not from a side-by-side comparison of facts and testimony" and open to correction):
Tina's "mother" has a lot of credibility issues. 
She is married to a man she knew was abusing her young children physically, a man who also sexually molested Tina. 
This man is now a convicted sex offender for having molested another little girl. 
Tina's mother even sent her children to live with their aunt for a time before Daniel Leaf, her husband, went to prison, because she was afraid of losing custody if child welfare authorities investigated their home life. There are others who testified to the fact that Tina and her brother were not properly cared for in their home as children (dirty clothes, untidy appearance), as well. 
So to take the word of this woman, who has a degree in criminal justice, by the way, over her daughter's sworn testimony and not to question either her veracity or her motives is, how to put it delicately, foolish. Her judgment is highly questionable. 
Furthermore, it doesn't matter whose "idea" it was to ship Tina to Colorado to have her baby - yes, long ago, this was the way things were done to avoid family shame - the facts are that Mr. Phelps, Mrs. Leaf and Mr. Willis conspired, collaborated if you'd rather, to send Tina far away from the police who were investigating the case. This was quite probably illegal, since it prevented the ongoing police investigation. In some states, at least, it amounts to sex trafficking, since Tina was shipped away for the explicit reason to bring her child to term. 
Mr. Phelps's public statements before the trial stand in direct conflict with key parts of his testimony at the trial. That he was involved very deeply in covering up this crime and attempting to intimidate the victim into silence last year in the months leading up to the trial by repeatedly and very publicly calling her a "liar" and characterizing the situation (against his sworn testimony) as an "on-going dating relationship with an older man" is beyond the pale. This is not just poor judgment. It is lying and obstruction of justice. 
Since Mr. Phelps fought so very hard to prevent his notes, which had been turned over to the prosecutor without his knowledge, from being admitted into evidence, I firmly believe that he had intended to give false testimony on the stand until he was forced to testify from his notes. There is no veracity left to his claims when you read the reports from the trial. The trial transcript will be available shortly, and we will have the full evidence plainly available for all to see.
 By the way, Phelps's testimony revealed that he knew that Tina was raped twice and that the first incident occurred when she was fifteen.
My own impressions of Ms. Leaf (based on observing that week at the trial and at the hotel where all of us stayed--quite bizarre, really and another whole story):
  • She seems both weak-minded and stubborn. Whiny and inconsistent and very dependent on the approval of authority figures. She chose Phelps and her child-abusing/molesting husband over her children. Completely lacked any coherence as a witness. Nauseating to even watch on the stand. Toxic and unloving.
  • I pity her, but I cannot excuse her. And I cannot let BJU throw her words around as if they meant something. Because her actions speak WAYYYYY louder than her words.
  • I think some people believe her words as recorded by Phelps' website because on the movie screen of their minds they're picturing, I don't know, a regular mom?  The kind who gives out hugs and exudes acceptance and warmth and would do anything to protect her child?
Lose that image immediately.
As for Tina, my heart shattered as I listened to this woman utter her outrageous statements in court. I wish I had words powerful enough to convey the horror.
I love you, Tina. I hope you can sense the love of a mother as you are with your kids, feeling their love. And from God himself, who holds you close in the way you never received when you SHOULD HAVE. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bob Jones III Gives Tacit Approval of Chuck Phelps

In his chapel message on Tuesday, November 15, Bob Jones III addressed the difficulty some pastors are facing around the country, exhorting students to pray for their pastors. He then went on to address the situation at Penn State regarding Joe Paterno's bare minimum compliance with reporting policies of a young boy by one of his longtime friends, Jerry Sandusky. This is the point at which Bob Jones III decided to give a tacit endorsement of Chuck Phelps and his actions towards Tina Anderson in 1997 and then again when her story became public up through the rape trial of Ernie Willis.
Quotes from the message (within first 11 minutes):
"...I’ve been away a great deal this fall in church, after church, after church -- literally from coast to coast. An impression has accumulated on me in the process that is - that faithful, Bible preaching men of God have never been under such assault -- satanic assault -- as they are today..."
"And then there are the efforts of angry and bitter people who would not endure sound doctrine, who instead of turning the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon themselves when the word of God is preached, they turn it outward upon the messenger. They go on their blogs and Facebooks and they start defaming and ridiculing and even some times slandering their pastors, accusing them of all kinds of unjust things. And in the process of that it weighs heavily on you. You know, in all of that there is only one thing to do about any of that, is ignore it and not to read it -- you can’t do anything about it. It’s one of the curses of technology. There are some good parts of it but there are some curses too, and that is one of them. You just don’t pay any attention to them -- you go about your business. You know you are doing right in the eyes of God and that’s all that matters ..."
"I share that with you because I think it is indicative of the growing venom and hatred against Christians whose testimony is bright for the Lord and unashamed, and you are going to face that as these days come nearer to the coming of the Lord. We are warned of those days. We were told about those days in Paul’s epistles and we shouldn’t be surprised that these days have come upon us. These days when people will hire preachers who will tell them what they want to hear and tickle their ears. They don’t want the truth -- they want to be flattered. They want to hear what they want to hear and if they don’t hear that they will find another preacher somewhere. There is always another preacher in any community who will tell them what they want to hear. It’s just that way in the end times, and it goes on and on until the Lord returns. But this is not unusual -- Peter told us not to be surprised when these things happen. The Lord said when you are ridiculed as the prophets were, rejoice and be exceeding glad. They were persecuted ahead of you and you will be persecuted if you have a testimony for Christ..."
"Before I come to the message I would just like to say one more thing because I think that in times like these it’s necessary for the university to be on record. You have probably heard the last week about the scandal at Penn State. Joe Paterno, their venerable coach, has been involved in it. I saw a little blurb yesterday that said it is possible that he might even face criminal charges in this. One of their people in the athletic department years ago molested -- he was a sexual pervert -- he was accused of being a sexual pervert and molesting some boys. The charges are that the president of the university and the vice president, I think, and the athletic department including Joe Paterno knew about this and swept it under the rug and did nothing about it. If that is true, it is shameful and there should be some criminal actions taken against those -- not only the man who did those things -- but the person who covered them.
I just want to tell you for your own peace of mind that Bob Jones University doesn’t do that. There’s an elementary school here, a high school here, a university here, a graduate school here. Physical molestation -- sexual molestation -- it will not be swept under the rug. It never has been -- it’s not the way we operate. It’s always reported to the authorities. There are some very clear guidelines written for anybody employed here, including student workers who work with children about what will happen -- what we will do -- about what this institution will do if we hear of such activity as that. Nothing is swept under the rug. Nobody would be kept here who did despicable deeds like that. Nobody would be kept on the board or on the faculty or staff who did such things as that or swept things like that under the rug. It’s just not the way we do things. And so I just want you to know that because this was another educational institution and it’s been much talked about. I want you to know that you can just tell anybody that might say anything to you, that by the grace of God the institution I attend does not function that way. It never has. And I know that I speak for the president and all the officers of this institution that it never will..." [punctuation is my own, as best I could tell from his speaking]
 Dr. Bob III doesn't really elaborate on what he means by "sweeping something under the rug." There is an excellent response to what Dr. Bob III had to say in chapel by Darrell here:
"The two topics are addressed in conjunction because they are not unrelated. They're seeing the online backlash against their support of Phelps and questions concerning his placement on the board. They see this as "persecution" of both Phelps and themselves. 
Then they protest their innocence (and Phelps' innocence) by saying that they always report crimes to the police. Ergo, since Phelps reported Tina's rape to the police he therefore fulfilled his obligation and is innocent of any wrongdoing.
That would be all fine and good if it weren't for the pesky fact that Phelps stood in his church while a man confessed to "adultery" instead of "rape" and allowed that lie to stand. He then introduced Tina's confession as a completely unrelated matter. That was a cover-up. That was sweeping it under the rug. And Phelps is guilty of it in a moral if not a legal sense. 
Not that I ever expect BJU to admit this. But it's documented from multiple witnesses that this is, in fact, what happened. This makes Bob Jones III either 1) willfully ignorant or 2) a liar."
I'm astounded that Dr. Bob III is taking this path by defending someone who is not above reproach -- who has not shown evidence of repentance for his incorrect statements issued before the trial that were stated differently on the stand as a witness at the rape trial of Ernie Willis. Charles "Chuck" Phelps has never apologized to Tina or even made a statement at all to her since the conclusion of the trial. Regardless of his reasons for doing so, he should not be held in high regard and added to the board of Bob Jones University. If BJU will "separate" from other Christians over such issues as music, Billy Graham crusades/services, or any other "standard," then surely the way Chuck Phelps handled Tina Anderson should qualify for their discernment when considering him for their board.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ernie Willis will have appeal heard by NH Supreme Court

As reported in the Concord Monitor, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, Ernie Willis will have his appeal heard by the NH Supreme Court.
Quoted from the article:
Headline: "Church rape appeal goes to high court"
Before jurors convicted Ernest Willis of forcibly raping his teenage babysitter twice in 1997, they heard testimony from his former pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, who said Willis confessed to twice having sexual contact with the 15-year-old girl and described himself as the "aggressor."
The appeal issues surround whether or not the convicted rapist was "confessing" to the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church at the time, Chuck Phelps (now the pastor of Colonial Baptist Church, 8140 Union Chapel Road  Indianapolis, IN 46240, Phone: 317-253-5597). During the trial, Judge Larry Smukler ruled that Ernie Willis was NOT making a "confession" to his pastor, Charles "Chuck" Phelps, because Phelps learned the details as part of an "investigation" into what Tina Anderson had told him the night before. Also, Smukler ruled that since Willis continued the conversation with Phelps at a later time in front of his own wife and Phelps' wife, "Willis waived any privilege to keep the statements confidential" (as quoted from Concord Monitor article).

As more information becomes available on this appeal it will be posted here.

New Article: Tina Anderson story mentioned

ABC has posted a new story detailing the abusive teachings believed to be related to the death of three children. Tina Anderson's story is mentioned because Trinity Baptist Church, the church where she was made to stand in front of hundreds of adults and "confess" her "responsibility" in her rape, is an IFB church.
Quoted from the article:
When Melissa Fletcher was little her mother would dress up in a gray wig and horn-rim glasses, ring the doorbell and pretend she was "Myrtle" from the child protective services.
"Where did this bruise come from?" she would ask systematically. "Myrtle," a United Airlines shift control manager and devout Christian, made it a game, quizzing and recording her five little ones, drilling them to say, "I fell" or "I bumped into something."
She didn't want authorities to find out about the two- to three-hour beating sessions that her husband carried out on his children in the name of God -- so-called "breaking the will of the child".
Melissa Fletcher has been a supporter of Tina Anderson since her story first became public in May of 2010. Melissa's sister, Jocelyn Zichterman, also a strong supporter of Tina Anderson, is also mentioned in the article.
Quoted from the article:
Fletcher is now a 36-year-old mother and lives in Hawaii, but she is in therapy reserved for soldiers of war because of the ritualized trauma.
"My father found a great position," she said. "Most people bend over. I would lie on the bed on my stomach and he would put my face in the pillow so no one would hear me scream. Our hands were underneath our stomach."
Years later, when her father became pastor, he brought the rod and pillow in to demonstrate it to his parishioners.ABC's "20/20" called her father for comment last year, but he refused.
Fletcher's sister, Jocelyn Zichterman, was also abused. They two became activists, and their group, Freedom From Abuse, reaches out to other "survivors" who were indoctrinated into the faith and now want out.
One survivor, Tina Anderson, made headlines when she was raped and impregnated by fellow parishioner at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, N.H., in 1997 when she was only 14.
Anderson was forced to confess to her pregnancy congregation and was then sent to live with another IFB family in Colorado where she was homeschooled, kept from other teens and eventually put her daughter for adoption.
Anderson's rapist, Ernest Willis, 51, was convicted earlier this year and is now in prison.
Many other survivors have come forward since Tina Anderson allowed her name to be used when her story became public. Some have indicated their own abuse and sought help and healing on a Facebook group organized to show support for abuse survivors from within the IFB.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Campaign To Remove Chuck Phelps From BJU Board

Specific actions supporters and friends of Tina Anderson can do to help in the Campaign to Remove Chuck Phelps from the Bob Jones University Board.

1. Sign the petition:  http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/chuckphelps/

2. Write a letter asking Bob Jones University Administration to remove Chuck Phelps from the board.

  • The Articles that control how the boards work at BJU are set up so that a limited number of people really have any control: "In short, the chancellor and chairman of the board and his most trusted cronies are the ones with all the power. They decided they loved Chuck enough to bring him back in the middle of a scandalous trial that exposed Chuck's penchant for equivocation and self-contradictory statements, and they're the ones who would have to decide whether or not to chuck him out now. Applying pressure on BJU's employees and administration is good, but what about the old white guys who really matter?"
  • Here is a list of men that really control this decision. Please contact them:
PLEASE still contact the administration, other board members and pastors you know that will be concerned about this, but also urge them to contact the men that control the final outcome of the decision. 
3. Write a letter to churches that you know support Bob Jones University and ask those pastors to speak out against this travesty. (List of supporting churches coming soon)

4. Call Bob Jones University to express your disapproval of this action.
  • 864-242-5100
5. Use social media
  • Twitter
  • Bob Jones University Alumni Association is on twitter so you can tweet from your own account with a link to the petition and tag BJU by adding @BJUAlumni to your tweet. When you use Twitter, use the hashtag #RemoveChuckPhelps (with no spaces or other punctuation than the # symbol)
  • ABC 20/20 is on Twitter. Post the petition link and add @ABC2020 and   #RemoveChuckPhelps to the tweet
  • Elizabeth Vargas is on Twitter. Post the petition link and add @EVargasABC and  #RemoveChuckPhelps to the tweet
6. You can comment on Elizabeth Vargas' web page - She is the journalist that did the interview of Tina Anderson and other survivors from IFB churches in Shattered Faith.

7. Contact Media Outlets

  • Media Outlets in Indianapolis, IN
  • Media Outlets in Greenville, SC

    Note: Back-ups for articles can be found on Scribd if they disappear from the internet.

URGENT: Please share and sign!!

Important action needed for all supporters of Tina Anderson:

Chuck Phelps was the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church when a 15 year old girl in the congregation was raped. He gave comfort to the rapist, a man who confessed to the pastor that he was the aggressor, made the young girl apologize for her part in getting raped, sent her away with her mother's help to another IFB church in Colorado where she would have her baby and give it up for adoption away from friends and family, and allowed the rapist to remain in the church.

In spite of his failure to protect a child and make sure a rapist was brought to justice, even allowing the rapist to attend youth activities with his children after Tina Anderson was sent away, Bob Jones University has added him BACK onto their board. He was on the board for a few years and stepped down when he took the presidency at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.

Please add your signature in support of asking Bob Jones University to remove Chuck Phelps from the board. Bob Jones University preaches the need for repentance. Chuck Phelps has not demonstrated repentance for the way he treated Tina Anderson.

Sign petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/chuckphelps/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

THE INFLUENCE OF OUR PARENTS

“You” are the product of two people that came together that created your life. Hopefully, it was a product of two loving people and they are the ones who raised you but sometimes the circumstances are not so fortunate.

Have you ever looked back on your life and contemplated the impact your parents had on you? There is always the debate of nature versus nurture but in reality, it’s a combination of both. Some of the influence is intentional but I dare say that a majority of the impact our parents had in our lives was unintentional. Through the actions or inactions of our parents, they helped shape us into the adults that we are now.

I’m defining a parent as the person(s) who raised you. If you’re lucky, you were raised by someone who loves you, no matter if they are your biological parent(s) or not. A parent can come in many forms: biological, step-parent, adopted parent(s), single parent, care-giver, grandparent(s), etc., etc.

For one reason or another, your “parent(s)” may change. The reasons are numerous. In my case, I had two loving parents. They also gave birth to a daughter about 15 months later but then another 13 months later, she died. Can you image the impact that this had on me, a two year old, and my sister, who had just turned one? We then lived with our grandparents and their one and a half year old boy. Yes, my grandmother gave birth to a child four days before I turned one. My dad worked and we lived with them for over two years.

Then, when I was four and a half, my dad remarried. My dad and my second mom had a daughter one and a half years later and that was it. When I talk about my “mom,” my second mom is one I am talking about. I didn’t think of her as a step-mom. She raised me. She loved me. I love and miss her very much. Except for a short period in 4th grade, I never thought of her as my step-mother. I knew she was but she was my mom. Some people never knew that she was my step-mother. Some people may have even forgotten about it. It was not a secret. It just was something we never discussed.

My mother was a very godly influence. She loved God and did her best to serve Him. That’s one of the reasons my dad married her but not for the reason you would think. My dad married her because he knew she would raise his kids the way he knew they should be raised but not how he wanted to live. He wanted us to be raised up as Christians serving God, going to church, going to a Christian school, and being what he knew he should be also. But, my dad was not a good man. My dad, to name some of his qualities, was a cheat, liar, manipulator, and later, much, much worse. My dad was two-faced. For over twenty years, he pretended to be a good Christian but in reality he served himself and did whatever he wanted. For years, people thought of him as a good Christian but it was all a show, smoke and mirrors, a fa├žade he hid behind because he wanted to live like the world but he wanted the church to think of him as Godly.

While growing up, I looked up to my father. I admired him and wanted to be just like him when I grew up. My dad taught me how to work. During the summer, I would go with him to his jobs and help him. He taught me chess. He taught me how to win and lose graciously. He taught me to obey and to fear him but I don’t remember him being cruel to me. I’m told by others that he used to belittle us as kids but I don’t really remember that but I know that the way he treated me had an impact on my life. My parents had their problems but they kept them hid from us. It’s not until you look back that you realize that something was not quite right. For the most part, I grew up in, what I thought, was a pretty stable home. It wasn’t until the oldest two moved out of the house that he stopped caring about appearances of his double life around the house.

When I was in my late teens, we moved to a house with a laundry and storage room attached to the back of the house. This is where I lived. I had to go out the sliding glass door in the living room to the back yard and into my room. Sometimes, late at night, I’d go look through the hole in the curtain through the glass door to see what my dad was watching. To say the least, it wasn’t wholesome. I’d ask him questions about music and other things. It didn’t always jive with what I was being taught at church and school. What it taught me and what I remember thinking was, “As a parent, you teach your kids the highest standards but as an adult you don’t have to live up to those high standards, you get to pick your own standards.” Basically, I learned hypocrisy. I learned “do as I say, not as I do.” I was in my early twenties and by this time I was out on my own doing my own thing.

One day my dad found something in my car that made him realize I was obviously disobeying God and living in sin but my dad didn’t confront me about my sin or say anything negative about it. A couple years later, I realized why. He was living in his own sin. At first, when I found out, I thought it was cool and that my dad wasn’t a “square.” What I realized later is that it was a justification of my own sin. I found out that I was following down the same path as my father without even knowing it. I was not as entrenched into the sin of the world like he was but it would have only been a matter of time. By the grace of God, He pulled me back to Himself.

When Tina was very young, her parents divorced. Her mom, Chris, then marries a man because he got her pregnant, After the marriage, she had a miscarriage. This man makes her and her brother’s life a living hell by beating them severely for the smallest infractions. Tina still has scars on her body from the physical abuse she suffered. Daniel ends up in prison, not because of Chris but because of a baby-sitter. Chris & her two children move across the country to New Hampshire. Daniel gets out and moves to NH and the beatings begin again but this time the sexual abuse starts also. Again, Daniel goes to prison but not for what he did to Tina, but for beating Tom, indecent exposure, and sexually abusing some other child. For years, Chris makes Tina and Tom visit Daniel in prison every week. Chris is mostly an absentee mom. She’s working, school and church. Tina and Tom are left alone a lot to fend for themselves.

When Tina is 15, she’s raped twice by an adult, someone she looked up to. That trust was broken. When it’s finally revealed to her mother, she calls the pastor and a series of events sends her to Colorado. After the baby has been born, adopted to loving parents, she lives there for a while until she’s forced to go back to NH. She’s now forced to go to church where the man who raped her is still attending. She’s finally able to leave home and go to college.

While at college, her father, who divorced Chris and is now married to someone else, comes to visit her in WI. She has not seen him since she was a couple years old. He’s now trying to be a dad. With all the lies that her biological parents have told her about each other about why they did not remain married, it’s kind of confusing on whom to believe.

Finally, thirteen years later, the past is drug up and police become involved and it hits the media like a wildfire. What’s Tina’s mom’s response to all of this? Silence and then betrayal. She used to call every week or two, now nothing. Why? My guess is self-preservation because Tina not only told of the rape of Ernie but also of the physical and sexual abuse of Daniel, Chris’ husband. Then, at trial, instead of trying to help get justice for Tina, she lies.

THE BIGGEST WAY OUR PARENTS AFFECT US IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS. In this case, I’m not referring to how we relate to one another, although that is affected also. What I’m talking about is the long term family interactions we have with our parents and our kids have with our parents. It would be great if we all had great relationships with our parents but sometimes our interactions with our parents are broken and bruised. It would nice if they could all be mended and healed but sometimes it can’t or won’t ever be fixed.

I’m thinking about all of this because this month, 17 years ago, a relationship with my mother was permanently severed and was severely broken with my father due to the self-centered actions of one person. Seventeen years ago this week was the last time I ever talked with my mother. Because of our conversation, I spent a day in prayer and fasting asking for God to turn my dad’s heart back to Him. I knew things were bad and I knew my dad lived in sin and that he didn’t bother hiding it any more. Now he was trying to get my mother to leave him so that he still looked like the good guy. I cried with my mom. What does a son tell a mother whose father is a horrible husband?

About a week later, I got a phone call that my mom had disappeared. On Halloween, October 31st, I was informed that they had found her. Two weeks later, my father was arrested and confessed. He was 50 years old and has now spent almost 25% of his life in a state prison. About every six months, I take my family to go see my dad. They did not understand the restrictions and rules that we had to follow or why we could not stay at grandpa’s place. We never explained it to them. A couple of weeks ago two of my children were watching the myth buster show of Jamie and Adam trying to break out of prison and they put two and two together. I’ve always told my dad that he’ll have to explain to them why he’s in prison. Our next visit will be an interesting one. It won’t be an easy one.

Sometimes relationships are damaged by the actions of parents. He took a beautiful person’s life. He took away the relationship that she could be having with her grandchildren today. He limited his own relationship with them because he lives in prison. He damaged severely the relationship with his own parents. His three children have tried to maintain some sort of relationship with him but it’s hard to trust, even after so long. Forgive and forget is not even an option. Consequences for him have an impact on us. He has been forgiven. I pray that his grandkids forgive him also.

Tina and I both think a lot about telling the children about our families. Some day we will have to explain why Tina’s mom does not visit or call. We pray that some day that relationship will be restored. We had to explain how Tina’s dad’s wife is not Tina’s mom. After not being in Tina’s life for about 18 years, he’s being a grandpa to our kids. We’ve explained that my mom is not alive and that her friends have “adopted” our kids as their grandkids since my parents can’t. They do a great job. They have adopted our whole family as theirs and we love them very much. Some day we’ll tell the kids about their sister and the situation that happened. We’ll explain that she was adopted, loved, and raised by a great family who loves God. We pray that some day we’ll have a relationship with her.

That’s the impact that our parents had on us. I pray that we have a better impact on our children.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tina Anderson Answers Questions from Readers

Recently, through her husband's post on this blog and through a post on the Stuff Fundies Like Forum, Tina offered to answer questions from readers. The questions she answered are below, separated by a dashed line, with Tina's answers in blue. One questioner asked a series of questions, so those are grouped together within the same section.

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QUESTION:
You are courageous, and sharing your story on ABC 20/20 has helped many see the truth about IFB extremists.

While reading the live reports during the court hearing it seemed as though the defense attorney, David Gibbs, purposefully tried to sit near you...and some saw that as a subtle attempt to intimidate you.

How did you perceive his actions?

ANSWER:
I think he was acting like a bully. I find it very shameful that he also appeared to use his son for these purposes as well. I was very thankful that I had some wonderful friends and also a great prosecutor who stuck up for me and did not allow his feeble attempts to continue.

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QUESTION:
It appears as if Jeri Massi is on the same "side" as Tina as in wanting these people exposed, so I'm curious as to whether Tina herself is against Jeri of her name is just being used. I don't "know" Jeri so I'm not "defending" anyone, I am just curious because it seems that both women are working for the same goal here which is why I am confused about why someone would be "against" someone working for the same goal as them.

ANSWER:
I have never spoken or communicated in any way with Jeri Massi. I do not know her, and I cannot pretend to know her heart or her intentions. I think that everyone should have a personal commitment to fighting against child abuse in all of its repulsive forms.

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QUESTION:
What Tina did was a brave and noble thing. What would Tina suggest for someone who cannot go that route due to the fact that it would permanently screw up the life they have now that they have rebuilt?

ANSWER:
Let me start by saying I felt like I had rebuilt my life and had a great life with my husband. When my story came out everything I worked to rebuild came crashing down around me. Tim and I are once again in a rebuilding phase. That being said, there is a HUGE amount of healing that has come from seeing justice finally happen. There has also been a huge weight lifted off that I never really knew was even there. The freedom I have experienced has been so liberating!


My advice would be to know and understand that as a general rule, abusers—especially sexual abusers—don’t change. You may be safe now, but you need to consider how you would feel if you found out that your abuser had hurt another child. Would you be able to forgive yourself if you could have potentially stopped it. I would always encourage those who have been abused to come forward. One thing that really helped was to have a good friend or two who were willing to walk the road with me and encourage me along the way. I would never have found the healing and freedom that I have if this wouldn’t have ever happened. God will strengthen you to go through a trial if that is what He calls you to.

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QUESTION:
First, Tina, I appreciate your bravery for coming forward and telling the truth, at great personal pain and cost.

Second, to your husband, Semper Fi, sir! I'm sure your fortitude and dedication was a great support to your wife.

I don't have any question, just wanted to let you know of my love and prayers. My heart really goes out to you both.

ANSWER:
Thanks for your words of encouragement! It has been wonderful to know that I have people that I don’t even know behind me supporting me along the way! I have been so thankful for the love and support we have been shown!

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QUESTION:
I have written Matt Olson of NIU and asked him to step down as President. I sent copies of my letter to three members of the board. Matt claims that he did nothing wrong. He claims that he was very loving and kind.

Tina, do you feel that Matt Olson was very loving and kind during the time you were in Colorado?

ANSWER:
As a general rule the Olson family was kind to me. I remember this more about Diane than Matt. Overall, Matt kind of ignored me, but Diane was kind.

QUESTION:
Did Matt Olson suggest that you write a letter to Willis' wife apologizing for what happened?

ANSWER:
I did have to write a letter to Ernie Willis’ wife apologizing for betraying her trust. I was made to do this in Colorado, and I believe that Matt Olson was the one who required me to do this.

QUESTION:
Has Matt Olson apologized to you for his role in removing you from NH resulting in Willis being allowed to stay in Phelps' church?

ANSWER:
No, I have not received any apologies from any of the church leaders involved in this saga. While I have forgiven them for what they have done it would still be nice for them to admit where they failed and ask for forgiveness. First, it would add a final sense of closure for me after everything that has happened. Second, I believe it would be instructive for IFB leaders all over the country that look up to and respect Matt Olsen and Chuck Phelps. In order to effectively lead their congregations and prevent further shame to the name of Christ, pastors need to know how to properly handle situations of child molestation and abuse.

QUESTION:
Did Olson suggest to you that you were responsible in any way for what happened to you?

ANSWER:
Every step of the way along my ordeal I was blamed for what happened. Every person who was an authority figure in my life told me I was to blame for what happened and that I needed to accept responsibility for my actions.

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QUESTION:
I was at court with you of course... but, I'm curious what the FIRST thing was that went through your head when they read the verdict. :)

ANSWER:
Praise God!!!! :-) I was just so thankful that God had given me strength to get through the ordeal of trial and that He opened the eyes of the jurors to see what had really happened! It was so amazing to feel like for the first time in my life I was believed and had some vindication!

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QUESTION:
What have you done each day to focus on "first things first" and stay relaxed under pressure? Any tips for other victims, who are going through very traumatic court cases right now?

ANSWER:
I try to keep my focus on God and what he REALLY thinks about me! What a revelation in the last year that I’m a princess, a daughter of the most high King and I am loved just for who I am and because I exist and not because of what I do or don’t do. I often listen to good music when I am down or call a friend that encourages me.

To other victims---let me start by saying I’m so very sorry for what you have gone through! No one should ever have to endure abuse! I think that you need to find 1 or 2 really trustworthy, safe people that you can talk to about what is going on in your life and who can encourage you to keep doing what you need to! Even if you don’t know someone there are rape crisis centers all across the country that have victim advocates that can help you through the process. I also think it is really important to pace yourself. Take one day at a time, and try to focus on what you have to deal with that day, not what is going to happen or might happen next month. One of the things that really helped me was finding a comforting verse to memorize. I would use wet erase markers to write them on the mirror in my bathroom at home. At trial I had multiple note cards with verses and prayers that I kept in my purse that I would read through when I got too stressed. This would help me to remember that God loves me and He is in control.

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QUESTION:
I guess as I watch, I am also deeply concerned for your daughter that was given up. I am praying for her often. I wonder if you will ever be given the chance to meet her again.. Also, how can we best pray for her? I pray that she will learn to relax in the arms of the God of grace and love who created her with joy despite the circumstances of her conception.

ANSWER:
This would probably be one of the toughest things for me. I love my daughter dearly, and my heart misses her every day. I pray for her daily that God will keep her safe, and help her to know that she is deeply loved. I pray that I will get to meet her and tell her that I love her unconditionally. No matter the circumstances surrounding her conception she is not to blame in any way and she is a beautiful child of God created in His image.

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QUESTION:
After going through all you did, what would be your advice for those just starting the legal process? I'm sure survivors could benefit from one who's already walked the path.

ANSWER:
Earlier I gave some advice, but I will expand here… Please tell the truth and the whole truth. Don’t be afraid to share details. There may be those who would encourage you to only answer the questions you are asked, or not to volunteer any information. I would say please do not listen to these people. If you hold back information at the start and then come out with it later it can appear that you aren’t telling the truth or you are adding to your story. These are the kind of things that defense attorneys will pounce on to try to make you look like a liar. Another big thing is that there may be toxic people in your life that do nothing but bring you down. Sometimes it is really hard to break off these relationships, but for your mental health and those you love it may become necessary to walk away from these people. If anyone—whether it be a sibling, a parent, a close friend, someone you respected, etc is abusive or manipulative in any way the relationship with them can only bring you down. Please know that you are a person of great value and you do not have to put up with that under any circumstance. It is ok to say this relationship isn’t healthy and I’m going to do what is best for me and end it. You should be loved unconditionally, and if that isn’t the case please take the time to re-examine the relationship.

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QUESTION:
As a fellow abuse survivor: What are some of you tactics you use to combat the "bad days"...those days where just getting up is a struggle, let alone taking care of the kids and housework?

ANSWER:
First of all, know that you are not alone. Sometimes if I am really struggling I put on some good music, read an encouraging book, spend time in prayer, take a walk, and talk with friends. Sometimes if I’m really down I will try to reach out and help someone else even in a small way. This helps me to get my focus off of myself and my problems. Ultimately you have to find things that encourage you, but the idea is don’t allow yourself to stay down. I have found that if I allow myself to stay down I will not only get dragged down deeper I will take my family with me, or take it out on them. It is not fair to them, so I do whatever I need to do to change my focus. This doesn’t mean that you can deny that you have these feelings, or not work on them. These are just some coping mechanisms that have helped me. It is really important to take time to work on these issues. Finding a good certified counselor that you can trust will probably be very helpful as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lynne Tuohy's Article in Atlanta paper


NH convict in shamed girl's rape gets 15-30 years

Highlights:

"It's a huge amount of vindication for me," Anderson, now 29, told The Associated Press. "I was never really believed, no matter how many times I said it was not consensual. Now it's been proven in a court of law that he's guilty and he's been given a significant sentence."
"Willis, wearing bright orange prison garb and shackled at the ankles, also apologized to his ex-wife and their children for the embarrassment and financial ruin they've suffered and to Concord's Trinity Baptist Church for the ridicule his case has wrought."
In my personal opinion, Trinity Baptist Church and former pastor Chuck Phelps deserved every bit of censure, ridicule and blame they received from the community and around the world. Chuck Phelps had the chance to do the right thing for the victim and he instead chose to consider the needs of a child rapist first. 
"The case remained unsolved for years because Concord police could not locate the teen. Unbeknownst to them, the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church helped ship the girl to Colorado, with her mother's consent, to live with a Baptist couple she did not know and put her infant daughter up for adoption."
"The teen babysat Willis's children and, a prosecutor said Tuesday, considered him a father figure. 'Her trust and admiration were repaid with violence and rape,' prosecutor Wayne Coull told the judge. Coull said the most aggravating factor of all was Willis's reaction upon learning the teen was pregnant. 'He offered to punch her in the stomach so hard as to cause a miscarriage,' Coull said. 'For the defendant to be so cruel and selfish as to recommend such actions upon a child is just outrageous.'"
Tina, I applaud your courage and celebrate with you the justice you are finally receiving from the court today. Though due to the statute of limitations, not all people that should have been held responsible were, there will be a day of final hearing for them. May God show them more mercy than they showed you.