Thursday, November 24, 2011


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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:

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: