Spin: Unpacking the 20/20 Expose of Abuse in IFB Circles

(haven’t seen the video? watch it on ABC or Hulu)

I know many of you were watching along with me Friday night as Elizabeth Vargas and 20/20 took on the stories of abuse in fundamentalism. There will no doubt be a lot of discussion on this so I thought I might start it off with a few observations and impressions that I took away. I actually recorded the episode as I was watching so I can go back and make sure that I actually saw what I thought I saw. Some of the moments were so jaw dropping that they require more than one viewing.

To preface everything that follows, let me say that I’m not a huge fan of the television news magazine style story. They simply lack the ability to present information with the same depth as written stories and rely as much on impressions gained from a quick series of carefully chosen images as on the actual spoken content. That being said, I’m not sure how anybody could watch this production and really call it less than fair.

Tina’s story is familiar to those of us on SFL. I covered it here almost a year ago. It’s admittedly not the usual content I cover here, but her story was so compelling that I couldn’t help but retell it. What I heard tonight on 20/20 was yet another confirmation that Tina’s story is not an isolated incident but rather a single episode among dozens of such stories that have been told and even more that as yet are hidden away by abusive IFB churches with domineering pastors and cowardly members.

I had a few issues with some of the statements made, especially those by Brian Fuller, now pastor of Trinity Baptist in New Hampshire, to whom fell the hapless role of being the solitary apologist for Independent Baptist Fundamentalists everywhere. He was in a bad spot and it was pretty obvious that he knew it and was trying gamely to put his transparency and kindheartedness on display. But as in any intense interview, a few missteps were inevitable and he did indeed make some.

For starters, he plainly stated that IFB churches are “not a network.” I actually laughed out loud when he said that because of how absurd it was. Chuck Phelps, the former pastor who was instrumental in mishandling and covering up Tina’s abuse still sits as vice-chairmen of the FBFI. The networks surrounding schools, large churches, major personalities, and other “camps” are legendary. The idea that every fundy church stands completely alone and separate, completely unaffected by all others is a popular myth, but a myth nonetheless.

When you consider that both Chuck Phelps and Matt Olson made Tina apologize for being raped and then both ended up being Presidents of different Fundamentalist Universities (Phelps at Maranatha, and Olson at Northland) you can see how the influence of these men is not isolated to a single church that is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. Hundreds of preacher boys graduate from those colleges being taught the same kinds of philosophies that these men practice. It’s a little hard to sell a defense based on the notion that thousands of abuse cases are isolated incidents. I can’t say I’m buying it.

When shown clips of Jack Schaap and others advocating child abuse, misogyny and other things, Fuller uneasily attempted to consign these to the “junk drawer” of fundamentalism — even though these types of teachings are rife throughout huge numbers of fundamental baptist churches. And Pastor Fuller’s discomfort grew even stronger when asked whether people in his own congregation were aware that some folks there were convicted sex offenders. He seemed hesitant and unsure of how to answer finally saying vaguely that “that information is available online” but dodging a response about whether or not the church takes it upon itself to warn its members. It was pointed out that a known sex offender (Tina’s step-father) was still singing in the choir in close proximity to minor children until Tina’s story went public.

If we needed any further evidence that this show did not go well for him we need only look at his personal blog. (Edit: the post has since been taken down without comment but you can still see it here)

[T]his gross, broad-brush characterization that all Independent Fundamental churches are filled with arrogant, “going for God” abusers isn’t fair, or true. It is actually dishonest and offensive. As a Dad of four and a pastor who loves his church family, I take protecting our children at Trinity very seriously and so do our people. They don’t look at me like the pope, the “untouchable.” I am accountable to them, financially, morally and spiritually. Our ministry not only has accountability, but we welcome it. Questions are solicited.

I hope what he says about his own church is true. If it is then I’m glad for it. But representing that as typical IFB practice is simply not true. As the victims and other church members who were interviewed repeated again and again, questioning isn’t normally encouraged. In fact, it’s forbidden. As one of the victims interviewed said: “You don’t question the ministry. You don’t question the pastor.” My darker side tends to think that this sputtering is Fuller’s attempt to keep some fundy cred in the face of saying some pretty non-fundy sounding things in the interview. He may truly find himself on the outside without a network if he’s not careful.

But as dubious as some of Fuller’s claims were, the real blood pressure raising moments of this interview were found in the written and spoken statements of Chuck Phelps. Phelps again and again attempted to characterize the relationship of the young teen girl with her rapist as “consensual,” “ongoing,” and even called it a “dating relationship” that “became sexual in nature.”

Now to be fair, the camera was cutting out a good bit so I’m not 100% sure of the context of all of Phelp’s on-camera remarks but he does clearly say “the church has always allowed heinous people under careful guidelines to be part of churches.” But Ernie Willis was not under careful supervision. According to the interviews most of the church didn’t even know that his ‘adultery’ was in fact the rape of a minor. The fact that Phelps is still in the ministry at all blows my mind.

It did not escape me that the Gibbs Law Firm (which is the for-profit side of the Gibbs family business, not the “ministry” of CLA) is who Chuck Phelps is using for his legal counsel according to a picture shot of the letter head. If that’s accurate, that tells me that the Gibbs clan doesn’t think that defending Phelps doesn’t rate “ministry status” but they’re still willing to take his money to give him legal advice. It figures that they would show up at some point.

On the whole I thought the story was sound. The premise was good. The victims were believable. The questions were provocative. What remains to be seen is how fundamentalism as a whole will react. I prognosticate a three pronged response.

1. The victims are all liars being used of Satan to try and tear down great men of God.

2. (as we’ve seen already) These crimes are anomalies and isolated incidents.

3. We’ve already forgotten about it. Let’s not dwell in the past! Hey, did you hear the great sermon our pastor preached last week about how liberals are destroying America?

Only time will tell whether denial and deception will manage to keep the battered sheep in line in fundyland after a little more of the truth has come out for the world to see.

545 thoughts on “Spin: Unpacking the 20/20 Expose of Abuse in IFB Circles”

  1. I am happy that this story was told. May the criminals be punished, and i hope the victims can heal. Be sure your sin will find you out.

    It’s sad that this went pretty hight up. All levels of this religion were involved in the cover up.

  2. Just a couple of points on the chuck phelps site that burn me up inside:
    1. mention of them giving Tina the entire 2500 for her mission trip to Ireland – why do you need to prove that you care for her? 2500? guilt money?
    2. claims that they filed police reports – why don’t you post copies of those reports to your site as proof?

    1. Sue,
      any decent person, regardless of how they felt, would not have posted the mother’s “testimony” against her own child…..a MINOR during the alleged crime. But the IFB are all about busting up family bonds.

    2. In my opinion Phelps’ site is so damning to himself that I actually checked around to see if it was a 20/20 sponsored site. I can’t believe he would publish those responses. I can’t believe they ARE his responses. I can’t believe he would publish the obvious discrepancies. I just can’t believe how classless his responses were. I’m just astonished, appalled, saddened, sickened, and just plain disheartened.
      At the same time I’m very grateful all of this is coming out. We need the light shining in, even if it is the critical lens of the ABC cameras.

  3. I’m disappointed that it seems the moderators of sharperiron.org have chosen to take Phelps’ side. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. 🙁

    And I’m a bit offended about the homeschooling thing. I homeschool my kids. I have a teaching degree, and I think 7 years classroom experience is a good foundation for teaching small children. If I choose to teach them in my home, I am not part of the IFB control crap. 🙄

        1. Multiple reports indicate that he confessed to it in his church this past Sunday.

          I’m waiting on official confirmation for that but it seems pretty credible.

      1. I couldn’t finish reading all of the responses underneath it. I was getting too close to tears/hunting some of those posters down and burning their houses to the ground. Maybe not the most Christlike of responses, but boy, would it feel good.

    1. I don’t understand the context of what SharperIron is.

      Also, after reading nearly every post there, I can quite categorically say that I am glad I am not a Christian.

      1. This whole thing is disgusting.

        Today, I feel ashamed to be associated in any way with many of these crazy fundy “Christians.”

        I have been sick to my stomach all day.

        Thank you Jesus for saving me from that fundy garbage.

        1. I am fully aware of that. Having read Church history though; the good Christians are in the minority.

          And I believe your founder said, “By their fruits you will know them.”

        2. Maybe that’s why Jesus said that it is a NARROW way, while there is a broad way to destruction.

          Maybe that’s why He said there will be people to whom He will say, “I never knew you!!!”

          I say that with fear and trembling.

        3. @PW

          I have read the Gospel of Mark again in the last few years. Decades out of the church gave me fresh ears to hear what Jesus says. You shouldn’t fear for anything. He is a man of utter joy and love.

          Love moves through him in a profound even, mystical way. I know you also believe he is divine. I have no quarrel with that, even though I am more than skeptical.

          When love triumphs there is no fear.

      2. think “fundamentalists who like to pretend on the internet that they are not like other fundamentalists”

        or maybe “I am not a fundy, but I play one on the interwebs”

        This story demonstrated how much of the same old same old is present on a site that declares “thinking is fundamental” yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

      3. GE&H – rest assured that I, and many others, concur that the actions being discussed here, while being perpetrated by those who claim Christ, are in NO WAY Christian at all.

    1. Very good (and sad) point. Many people who were formerly victims of sexual abuse, sadly, continue the cycle, because they’ve come to believe that this is normal behavior. These men are to be both ashamed and pitied.

      1. That point of view is now being rigorously tested and re-examined. As a matter of fact, except for Bob Gray, no pedophile IFB preacher or child abusing IFB preacher has shown any history of being sexually abused. And Gray’s account is dubious. In all the victims I have ever dealt with, none has ever been accused of molesting a child or has expressed such a temptation. In a word, I think the theory that sexually abused children become sexual abusers of children is bullshit. I write this as a survivor of sex abuse as a child (but not from clergy).

        1. Jeri, I didn’t mean to insinuate that the abused are destined to become abusers. I just meant that there are, in fact, some cases in which this happens, and perhaps *some* of these “pastors” may have been abused before. Just like some people who grow up with alcoholic parents become alcoholics themselves, and some become teetotallers to stop the cycle. Some, like you, overcome it. Others pass on this ugly trend, until someone steps in and says, “Enough!” And yes, I wish to see justice served by having these scoundrels thrown in prison. Kudos to you, Jeri, for your work to stop these crimes.

        2. The cause of sex abuse and sex assault is a sense of entitlement. And that explains clergy abuse a lot more accurately than guessing if abusive clergy were sexually abused. Again, I’m telling you, there is NO EVIDENCE that sexually abusive fundy pastors were ever sexually abused. And their victims, when grown have given no evidence of sexually abusing children.

    2. Ever read the book “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” by David Johnson? I know you were talking about a different type of abuse for the pastor, but this book was excellent – talks both about a pastor abusing a church by domineering and taking advantage of his position, as well as a church body abusing their pastor. Worth reading.

  4. I know some of these people. I know these churches, and I know those colleges mentioned in this post. I attended the school Matt Olsen is now president of (before he became president). I don’t know Tina or the curly haired lady, but I know Jocelyn and some of her family.

    I know some of what those girls have been through. I was taught that how Tina was treated, specifically in being frog-marched in front of the church, then having a virtual scarlet lettered tattooed on her forehead, and being forced to visit her step-father and forgive him was perfectly right.

    Forgiveness is Biblical, but in circumstances like Tina’s it should be left up to the Holy Spirit to lead the person to forgive at the time God decides is appropriate.

    I would love to hear some chapel messages from next week from Maranatha, Northland, BJU, and HAC. That would be entertaining stuff!

      1. tangly or curly hair, either is fine! thanks for stepping up and telling the truth. This might actually help others feel courageous enough to do it!

      2. Rachel,

        You may not remember me, but we were classmates in college — I recognized you right away. Just wanted to say thanks for courageously telling the truth. I was sickened to hear such horrible things, but I’m glad you spoke up and I hope you’re finding peace and joy on the other side.


    1. After reading about his 30-blah-blah years of ministry and how he’s spent all these years kissing babies, helping old ladies, and feeding puppies (okay I’m exaggerating… a little), I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes. Like someone said earlier, he’s sweeping. He’s blaming everyone but himself, and even trying to make himself look better with Tina’s mother’s statements which, BTW, are second hand.

      1. Exactly. The only difference between this and the Catholic incidents is the scale on which the Catholic incidents are on a higher scale with the media. In both situations, with the church leaders it’s all about image and zero character.

    2. I’m a little confused by what Phelps is trying to convey. Is he saying that a 16 year old girl had a consensual relationship with an older, married man in her church and confessed it as a “covert relationship” after she discovered she was pregnant? If so, as repugnant as it might be, it may not have been a crime since she was above the age of consent and he was not in a position of authority over her.

      But since he says Tina accused the man of a crime later on in his statement, I assume he is saying either (1) the relationship was not consensual, or (2) Tina was not able to legally consent. Or, I suppose, it is possible that she made the accusation then recanted. I really don’t know here. If, as he says, she was not “disciplined”, then he must not have thought the relationship was consensual at the time. Or, he’s mischaracterizing what happened when she was brought before the church.

      He seems to have raised more questions than he answered.

        1. Not if the age of consent in NH was 16 and, as he claims, she was 16 when she came in (well, technically, she would have had to be 16 when the sex took place). He must have thought something was wrong, since he reported it to the police.

        2. I think the age of 16 is a gray zone because you could interpret that either way.

          Regardless, the judge didn’t buy his story.

        3. Unfortunately in NH 16 is the age of consent so it would not be statutory rape. That is why on phelps.com he is posting her age as 16. It stinks! This is coverup, misdirect, deflect and trivalize. Then to get her mom to make a statement that “Tina is doing this for the money?” It’s a good thing Phelps is lawyered up.

        4. According to the Concord Monitor, at the moment she was raped, she was indeed 15.

        5. The law on statutory rape is a bright-line test. If the victim was below a certain age, it’s rape. There’s no he said, she said; it’s rape. Chuck Phelps fails to get that if a person is below a certain age, there is No Way that person can legally consent to sex. Instead, he tries to muddy the waters by stating her age as 16.

          We just had a case here in Phoenix where the (soon-to-be-ex) wife of a county supervisor was just convicted and sent to prison for sexual assault of a minor. Additionally, a young adult daughter of the supervisor is also facing sexual assault charges involving the same minor.

          Oh yeah, and it’s entirely likely that the county supervisor, the parents of the minor as well as their Mormon Church leaders all knew or should have known this was going on a year prior to everything coming out last fall. (Google “Susan Brock” if you want the messy details.) So not just an IFB thing…but it’s worth re-emphasizing over and over again that children cannot consent to sex. Period.

      1. Consenual or not, legal or not, a pastor should still be disgusted by a 38 year old man having sex with a 16 year old. My suspicion is that it was not forcible rape (Tina’s “blanking out” about the specifics of the incidents sounded suspicious to me), but I believe she was probably a victim of manipulation by this man. Girls w/o their natural fathers at home and especially those who’ve already been abused easily fall for the attention of men. Phelps should have recognized that and torn into Willis for victimizing her even if it were legal. It certainly wasn’t “legal” in the eyes of God. Phelps should have considered Willis a danger to other girls in the church. To me, the legal aspect, as it pertains to Phelps, doesn’t really matter. He didn’t carry out his spiritual duties.

        1. Tina’s “blanking out” about the specifics of the incidents sounded suspicious to me


        2. I know that many abused people suppress the memories, so it is possible she has done so. I missed the early part of the story last night when she described the rapes. I wondered why Vargas left the door open to the incidents being statutory rape, and when I watched the early part this morning online, I just felt Tina might not be telling it all. I don’t want to accuse her. I believe she was victimized regardless. Honestly, I’m surprised no one else has mentioned the fact that Vargas kept referring to the girl not being old enough to consent. It certainly gave the impression that the rape may not have been forced. Again, I’m not blaming Tina. She’s a victim.

        3. seminary wife,
          her rapist KNEW of her previous molestation from her stepfather. To him she was the perfect victim and he was a ruthless predator. Do you need kicking and screaming, bloody fingernails? Grow the F. up.

        4. Seminary Wife, listen up. Either she was an adult giving her full, enthusiastic consent for sex, or It Was RAPE. No one has to *do* anything to legitimize nonconsensual sex as rape. You don’t have to say no or physically fight or have severe injuries. You do have to do something to consent–you have to express your desire for sex–say Yes.

          My God, woman, look up what kind of responses people have to rape. Freezing is very common. If you’re a woman who grows up being told you must obey authorities and that your body is evil and tempting men and that you can’t say no or have boundaries, what do you think is going to happen? I am an incredibly vocal and aggressive and independent woman but guess what? I still am unable to even vocalize that I don’t want someone to touch me when they are *clearly* crossing my physical and sexual boundaries. I just stand there, because I am literally unable to say anything or stop it beyond leaning away. I’m not talking rape, just general run-of-the-mill unwanted grabbing/touching/kissing by disgusting men. How bad would it have to get for me to visibly freak out? I don’t know. Would I be able to physically hurt someone? I’ll be very honest here: Unlikely. Now add in prior severe physical and sexual abuse. You think that kind of history of boundary crossing makes it *easier* to stop it? WTF. “Blanking out” is dissociation – look it up. It’s a very common response to trauma and only reinforces the truth of her story.

        5. MAYBE GRAY “her rapist KNEW of her previous molestation from her stepfather. To him she was the perfect victim and he was a ruthless predator.”


        6. Uh, why is blanking out things suspicious? I’ve blanked out things from my old school far less traumatic than what Tina went through. when you can’t deal, you can’t deal, and your body and mind will do everything it can to protect you. Blanking out is one of those things. Oh well, I guess you have to go through it yourself to understand it.

        7. Please read my comment again that Don questioned me about. I made it clear that she was victimized. I know that an underaged girl cannot consent even if she verbally says yes. I even stated that a girl who has been molested is an easy victim. I am on the same page with you all. I do not appreciate being cussed out when I have said essentially the same thing that you have said, Maybe Gray.

        8. My original point was that if Tina were 16 when the incidents occurred, as Phelps seems to be insinuating in his own statement, it should have been irrelevent as far as Phelps was concerned. Any pastor should know that a 16 year–an 18 year old even–shouldn’t be responsible for what a 38 year old guy did to her even if a law was not broken. For the record, I believe laws were broken. I believe she was raped. I have not stated otherwise.

        9. You may not think you’re blaming the victim, but when you say her story “sounded suspicious” and “the rape may not have been forced,” you’re calling her a liar. You’re suggesting she ‘should have done something to stop it’. I *cannot* sit by and watch someone (no matter how well-meaning you are) make this mistake. It’s devastating to survivors to not be believed, and to have people suggest they played a role in what happened to them (like it was even partially their responsibility to prevent).

      2. Why would Chuck Phelps have asked Tina if she were going to press charges if he didn’t think a crime had been committed? That doesn’t seem like a logical question if he had believed it were consensual. Maybe his question was a veiled “Are you going to exercise your legal right to press charges” without actually telling her she had a legal right to press charges. Never mind that HE had an obligation to report the rape. But he couldn’t have reported a rape if he thought it were consensual…..I don’t get it. There are so many holes in Phelps’ story that I believe his actions qualify him as one of the VERY bad men in this story. I’m just sick about it all.

  5. Did anyone notice that Fuller called the henious abuses by IFB churches “quite bozo”? Seriously? How about disgusting, ungodly behavior? For the record, he also has a lot to hide, and I bet he’s hoping that certain people don’t decide to come out of hiding and tell their stories.

  6. I left Trinity 8 months ago, and my husband’s and my opinion of Fuller is that he sounds good, but you can’t trust him. He is definitely a politician.

    1. At one point when the Tina Anderson case broke, Trinity people remarked in the Conco9rd newspaper comments that he had hired a PR firm to help him handle it. When directly asked to confirm or deny if he had actually hired a PR firm, they would not answer.

      1. Everybody keeps forgetting . . . he raped her twice. The second time was when she got pregnant, and that was either at age 15 or 16. BUT the first time, she was only 14. That’s rape in anybody’s book.

        1. Good point. I read she was 15 when she got pregnant, but didn’t know how old she was the first time.

    1. Yes, she said she was 14 the first time he had sex with her.
      If she was 14 or 15, she could not legally consent. When a 38-year-old man has sex with a 14-year old (or 15-year-old) girl, it is statutory rape. No other details matter.

      By the way, in my state, the age of consent for both boys and girls is 18, not 16.

  7. To my knowledge, Fred and Chuck are not related.

    Ordinarily I would give some weight to the testimony of a mother who is going against her child (since it would be counter to my presumption of bias). But that gets thrown out when that mother exposed her child to a predator.

    I know this looks like the fundies circling the wagons, but it’s also consistent with the actions of someone wrongly accused. I wouldn’t condemn him for defending himself.

    1. @seminarywife: What I’m saying is that Chuck should not be condemned solely for attempting to defend himself…that’s what I would expect an innocent person to do. I’m not saying I think he’s innocent.

      @MaybeGray: My point was that under normal circumstances a parent would have a bias in favor of their child and would attempt to defend them. That’s why they make poor character witnesses…everyone assumes that a parent may lie for their child. When a parent goes against that grain, I tend to think that it might be credible because I assume that it would be difficult for a parent to go against their child and they wouldn’t usually lie to their child’s detriment. Note that I use the term “usually”. Yes, I know that many people have had a different experience, but I still think those reflect the exception, not the rule. BUt then I added the caveat that a woman who brings a predator into her home like Tina’s mother allegedly did loses the benefit of a doubt. She may very well be another perp.

      Maybe I’m just cynical. I don’t want to drink anybody’s kool aid. If you’ve seen enough to make an informed decision, great. I’m just not there…for either side.

      1. pbla,
        you have to understand that getting between family and replacing familuy bonds with church bond is IFB agenda 101. You can’t have a cult without destroying families. So in the IFB, parents turning their backs on their children is quite common.

  8. The first requirement for a pastor if something like this happens is to protect themselves. They worry about how this will hurt them and their ministry. Pure and simple. The poor girl is expendable for the “cause of Christ”. Translation it might hurt offerings and their income.

  9. As a minister, I would think the man would be thrown out of the church and into jail. Regardless of the girl’s past she should not be humiliated in front of the church. It appears that “REV.” phelps does not understand what honor and character are. So many IFB preachers have the silliest idea of what is right and wrong that I will never cease to be amazed.

    As a parent, I am surprised this pervert wasn’t hung. How anyone could tolerate this is unbelievable. This is why I have always watched my children so carefully, even around people in the church. I know that if a guy has a history of doing this type of thing he will probably continue. If I was a member of church that allowed a man like this to be a member I would be looking for another church.

    1. “honor and character”
      Yeah, I was thinking that too when he claimed pastor/sheep priviledges in not divulging details to 20/20 but he didn’t mind reading out all the details and disclosing that she was pregnant to the congregation.

      1. Those privileges aren’t there to protect the Pastor/Doctor/Lawyer! They seem to think they can leak whatever helps them & hurts the victim, and can claim privilege for anything that would contradict their spin!

  10. I’m impressed that Phelps lets folks who’ve committed heinous acts like statutory rape remain in church and even sing in the choir. Now those pant-wearing, cinema-frequenting ladies, on the other hand: That’s an entirely different matter; keep them away from the choir and your children. We fundies do have our standards.

    1. come out from among them and be ye separate! Can’t have those pants wearing children seducing our middle aged pedophiles!!! They can’t be held responsible, they tithe and stuff.

  11. Seriously, though: I love all the talk on SI (and even a few here) about giving Phelps et al the benefit of the doubt, as if that was a holy obligation or something. I don’t know Phelps, but I grew up in fundamentalist circles and spent four years at fundy-u, and I could probably count the incidents of gracious response by leadership toward failings of their people on two hands. Apparently, being given the benefit of the doubt is one of those privileges exclusively reserved for the MOG…

    I generally look back on my time in fundydom with mild amusement but this blatant display of this double standard makes the bile rise. (Variation on the theme: I remember Dr. Bob III writing in the alumni mag or maybe BJU review a few years back something along the lines of how child molestation by Catholic priests was the result of unregenerate “spiritual leaders” taking advantage of their flock, the clear implication being that the child abuse crisis was the natural fruit of the thoroughly corrupt institution that is the Catholic church. That may or may not be true, but I’m sure that many who nodded their heads at that likely slander are among those most vociferously insisting now that these abuse scandals teach us nothing-absolutely nothing-about the nature of IFBism and its leadership. The glee in attributing the corruption of a few to an entire class of people (Catholic clergy) contrasts with the self-righteous insistence that corruption among your own co-religionists is (a) either nothing worth noting or (b) the product of a few bad apples is pure tribalism. It has nothing to do with the gospel. Then again, little in fundydom has to do with the gospel.)

  12. I was a Deacon in a IFB church. One of the teachers in the school at the church had sex with a 16 yeah old boy. She went to jail and when she was released the church welcomes her back and 2 months later she was working in the nursery. That was the beginning of my families Exodus from the IFB churches.

  13. I am amazed at how the media can be so negative on all IFB churches. Thousands of people get saved because of the many many preachers who give their lives up to preach and teach us the Word of God. I realize that Tina and the others went through some real bad stuff, but how come we never hear of all the good that decent Pastors from IFB churches do.

    1. “I realize that Tina and the others went through some real bad stuff, but how come we never hear of all the good that decent Pastors from IFB churches do.”

      Please tell me you’re joking. Please.

      “Real bad stuff” is losing your job and/or house. It sucks, but is temporary and people rebuild and move on.

      What they went through will affect their WHOLE lives. Tina will always battle her brain for the rest of her life, because of the brainwash that she’s received.

      Shirley, if you want first-hand evidence of IFB abuse, you don’t have to look any further than the people on this site. We are united by our stories. It doesn’t seem that you have got it yet. I hope you do without any hurt to yourself. Honestly, I sincerely hope so, because I wouldn’t wish our experiences on anyone.

    2. “Thousands of people get saved because of the many many preachers who give their lives up to preach and teach us the Word of God.”


      This is my beef with Armenian-ism – it leads to talk like this.

      To God alone be the glory for my salvation Shirley. All praise belongs to him alone.

      1. PS, Arminianism does not claim that preachers or pastors save people. God alone saves people. The distinctive claim of Arminianism is that God wants to save everyone, not just an elect.

    3. “preachers who give their lives up” huh?

      I do believe it was Christ who gave up his life so people could be saved. And besides, the fundy pastor at my ex-IFB church lives large. He owns several homes (investment properties), drives nice vehicles and has traveled the world on “missions trips.” He hasn’t given up a single thing, let alone his life. Your statement is the perfect example of what is wrong with the IFB movement. It is not about your church or your pastor. It is about Christ…always has been and always will be.


      1. Our CAPS LOCK friend 1st posted at 1:19 am in regular grammar. I read that comment. What happened in the 22 minutes between that and the CAPS LOCK post at 1:41am? I did not read the CAPS LOCK comment.

      2. what cracks me up is that this woman is going to go tell her friends and church that she stood up for Jesus on a heathen website. well, let her think that. she can also think that she’s being persecuted for Jesus’ sake. she may be persecuted but it’s definitely not for Jesus’ sake!


      Fundy Preachers = Sinless Perfection?

      This notion is quite contrary to Scripture which clearly states that all men are sinners. Christ alone was sinless and perfect. To him alone be the glory.

      Let’s spend our time lifting up his name, not preachers we happen to enjoy.

      1. boy did CAPSLOCK miss the whole story. Tina was able to survive, she’s now attempting to bring the preditors to justice, AND through it all, she still loves God and was able to share her faith in God on national television.

        OH just please… 🙄


      I really shouldn’t feed the troll, but can’t resist this strawman bonanza.


      Hogwash. Were you wearing earplugs through the First reading from the Old Testament, the Responsorial Psalm, the Second Reading from the New Testament AND the Gospel reading? Just look at the many chapters of gospel that get read on Palm Sunday and tell me they don’t have God’s Word in the Catholic Church. Or were you a ChrEasterer who only darkened the door of your door twice a year?

      No, what you missed was the “true word of the Manogawd®”, which is scripture contorted in its interpretation to the point that stuff like this gets swept under the rug for the benefit of the fundy overlords.


      Puhleese. The rapists did the damage. Tina and the others just exposed them for what they are — rapists. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

      “MATTHEW 6:33”
      Luke 17:1-2

      But that’s just from a papist who doesn’t know the Bible.

      1. “Luke 17:1-2”

        That’s all that need be said on the subject, I think. What does Christ think of these men, I wonder? Somehow I doubt he thinks their “good works” overshadow their sin.

    3. Have I watched people get saved at the IFB church? Yes. Have I witnessed abuse on a large scale swept under the rug at the IFB? OH YEAH!!!! So because some people are finding Jesus abuse on a large scale is okay? Seriously?
      What hurt the IFB and as you put it “the cause of Christ” is allowing abuse and then sweeping it under the rug. Then people finally get enough and come forward like with Bro Gray in Florida, the Hezphibah hous, etc….need I go on with examples? Because I can all day.
      Abuse should be prosecuted not swept under the rug to keep up appearances. I know a pastor that molested several girls in his church then local IFB pastors hid him from law only to find out he was wanted for the same thing in another state. But hey people got saved so it’s okay. Let’s save their soul why we destroy their life.
      Predators feel safe in the IFB environment because they are safe. This abuse will continue until someone takes a stand like these brave women did.


      Wow, what a weak god that statement portrays. It also portrays a very man-centered works view of the Gospel.
      Funny though, how did exposing a criminal activity, sin, corruption and coverup do damage to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

      1. I wish all these accusers who want to blame victims for damaging the church would turn their vitriol on the perps. THEY’RE the ones hurting the church and the testimony of Christians.

    5. I can’t read that caplock. I actually tried, and 2 sentences in, you can’t keep up with where you are. I did paste it into word to spot all the typos, just for fun and mockery.

      tINA = Tina
      UNADULTERED = unadulterated

      I’ll leave ANOTER alone, that was is easy mistake.

      PLAN OF SATANS, is about as bad as it gets. It’d be plan of satan or maybe plans of satan, or satan’s plan or maybe satan’s plans. Even IFB aren’t teaching multiple satans running around.

      DICERNMENT = discernment

      I did read the last sentence and totally agree. If you found a KJVO IFB preacher out there who is a good preacher & person that would be a real news story.

        1. PSS (I know I didn’t technically do a PS, and it’s really PPS, but I like to do that wrong, cause I just do)

          Anyway, I love to picture in my head that people doing these rants (particularly the CAPSLOCK ones) have some kind of a Bowie knife clinched between their teeth, and possibly stabbing the keyboard with knives instead of typing. 🙂

          The rage is palpable.

        2. Thanks, Just Exhaled. Made the mockery worth it to know someone laughed.

          I’m still smh on the “PLAN OF SATANS”. You could make a case that’s somehow a (homousia) same substance trinity style unity within multiple satans developing a unified singular plan. Not sure if that was as funny to anyone else, but I find it delightful.

    6. Shirley…You seem rather angry and UNCHRISTLIKE. What turns people away are not victims like Tina coming forward…but church going people sweeping real sin (rape) under the rugs while attempting to stand up for the wrong things (blaming the victim for coming forward) who make religion real disgusting!!!

      I wonder how many people you have turned away CAPSLOCKS!

  15. Having worked in law enforcement for many years and specializing in investigating child molestations for several years of that time, I found some specific issues with Phelps’ statement that were telling. I’m sure I could find more if I dwelled on it, but these leapt off the page for me.

    Phelps brings out that Tina Anderson was a 16 year old at the time of the incidents and that the incidents were consensual. 16 being the age of consent in the state this occurred in. In most states, 16 is at or past the age of consent, although in some cases it may still be a misdemeanor violation (but apparently not in New Hampshire) even if its not legally rape or statutory rape. I suspect that Phelps specifically dropped this age into his statement because he realized that people would instinctively recognize 16 as being the age of consent. He makes a big deal about the age, at least from my perspective.

    Further, he makes a big deal about the relationship being a covert dating relationship and that the sex was consensual.

    But then he goes on to say that he first consulted the church’s attorney and then notified police and children and family services. What did he notify them of exactly? That a legally permissible event occurred? If he actually called the police, then logically he must have known she was under the age of consent when the incidents occurred. Otherwise, why would an attorney tell him to make such a report?

    So, my view is that he’s lying about either his awareness of the victim’s age or about making the police report. Possibily both, but definitely not neither of the two options.

    As to those police and children and family services reports, I found that awfully strange too. He had a pretty significant amount of detail in there. Maybe some details got filled in later, but more likely he made some things up, too.

    I mean seriously, he has the first and last names of two police officers he called and of the phone hotline operator, too? Call your local police department and see how many of them give you their first name and you’ll understand my point.

    As to the child abuse hotline operator, it’s been standard practice for many years (since before this time period) for such operators to give you an employee number and not even a first name when you call. Perhaps New Hampshire is different, but I doubt it.

    Phelps’ statement just doesn’t have the ring of truth to me.

    1. Sorta off topic, but what would be the big deal of the police officers giving their first names. In my area first names are used all the time in media reports. Are they trying to hide something. Perhaps they are fundies, and fear the light of public exposure.(A little sarcasam on my part)

      1. [quote]But then he goes on to say that he first consulted the church’s attorney and then notified police and children and family services. What did he notify them of exactly? That a legally permissible event occurred? If he actually called the police, then logically he must have known she was under the age of consent when the incidents occurred. Otherwise, why would an attorney tell him to make such a report?[/quote]
        Let me praface this by saying I have no idea what happened, and this is just charitable speculation.

        Maybe he had a sixteen year old pregnant girl who admitted she was in a consensual relationship with a 38 year old man. He does the math and it seems like the acts may have all been after she was 16, but he wasn’t sure and thought maybe the police should be advised so they could conduct their own investigation.
        [quote]As to those police and children and family services reports, I found that awfully strange too. He had a pretty significant amount of detail in there. Maybe some details got filled in later, but more likely he made some things up, too.

        I mean seriously, he has the first and last names of two police officers he called and of the phone hotline operator, too? Call your local police department and see how many of them give you their first name and you’ll understand my point.


        Seems like that might be easy enough to verify. Were there people by that name on the force at that time, and would they have had some type of desk duty where they would have received those calls? If so, it would make his story more credible.

    2. I don’t understand that either. I’m not in law enforcement at all, but the idea that he called 2 diff law enforcement agencies, and reported a rape of a minor, and never heard back from them is just absurd. And I don’t know how he thinks even if it were true (highly unlikely) that absolves him from any further responsibility to pursue a prosecution. Has the ring of calling and reporting consensual sex and being told if it’s consensual they can’t do anything, if he called at all.

      1. From what I understand/remember from when this first was brought to light, the police could not continue their investigation because they couldn’t locate the vicitm (Tina – since she had been sent out of state). I was shocked and disgusted (on top of all the horror and disgust that this whole thing causes) that phelps and fuller were saying the police never responded since I thought I had read/heard that somewhere.

        1. That doesn’t smell right, either. Law enforcement agencies in different states talk to each other, and when the victim is a minor, they aren’t in the habit of just saying, “Oh, well, she left the state. Too bed we can’t do anything.” And the only way the N.H. police wouldn’t be able to find out where the victim was would be if the whole church and her whole family refused to tell the police, which certainly suggests that they thought they had something to hide.

          My hunch is that the police were never informed at all back in 1997. If they had been, it would be a simple matter now for Phelps to come up with the police report. Obviously, I can’t prove any of this, but that’s what my BS detector says happened.

  16. I have to say after reading everything I feel for the Pastor on this one (as I duck and put on my helmet. Not that I am saying I agree with all the philosophy, cultism etc. but I can see from his perspective. Some poor sucker goes to a church with the idea he will preach the gospel and see people saved and do the Lords work. What does he get? Every personal, family, community sin thrown on his lap and he is supposed to give a answer for. Parents with kids doing drugs, homosexuality, spouse cheating, divorce, incest, murder, drunks, arrests and all matter of sin comes right to the Pastor and he is supposed to have the fix. Hell, in school they even told him he had all the fixes. Even a Pastor with a small congregation gets into this mess. It is a burden and a weight most here cannot imagine. Now put yourself in his shoes 13 years ago, what would you have done? Would it have turned out better? I just can’t answer that.

    1. Sorry, BR, there’s no way I can let this one go by. Nobody was asking this pastor to have all the fixes, all the answers, or to be able to know the right thing to do all the time. This was not a tough call. This was rape, an assault from a sexual predator, and it deserved a compassionate response from the pastor towards the victim. That doesn’t even take years of pastoral training to figure out, or any other kind of training either. It just takes a decent human being. Sadly, Phelps is not one of these.

      1. This isn’t a case where a pastor just failed to fix a problem, or even inadvertently made it worse. This is a case where he actively helped cover up a crime that he had a legal and moral duty to report. That’s why he is now claiming that he did report it to police, and that police did nothing. While that’s not completely impossible (it wouldn’t be the first time a police force has shown incompetence), it’s dubious.

    2. This should have been a no brainer. Mom should have called 911. In the event that mom is too brainwashed to do anything without the pastor’s express permission, the pastor should have called 911.

      1. Even though my Mom was a uber-fundie, she would have STILL headed out to beat the sh** out of that guy with intentions of REALLY hurting him, in all her 5 foot, 100 pound glory. I’m convinced of it.

    3. This whole thing should have been handles by the state. Police should have stepped in. The girl should have been removed from the home (they do that at times you know) DHS should have took her to Planned Parenthood for a little “counseling” and we all wouldn’t be here talking about this.

      1. It would have been a lot better if she had been taken to PP! They would have reported the rape, made sure she had all the information she needed about her pregnancy, provided obstetrics and prenatal care, and given her information about being a teen mom and getting the support she needed. And biggest thing of all: they would have told her her rape was the fault of the rapist, only. Planned Parenthood would have supported her *choice* to have her baby, with real action (medical care and love). Christians in the police force, in child services, and at a women’s reproductive health clinic would have been able to support a fellow Christian girl. Yes, we can be pretty sure that would have been better.

        1. Planned Parenthood would have been the last place on this planet that I would have taken this crime victim to.

        2. 🙄
          She wanted to keep her baby. PP offers some of the best support for teen moms around, and they would have done her pregnancy health care, too. And helped with counseling right after the rape, not more than a decade later. Read up on it. Pretty amazing, actually. Maybe what you’ve heard about it isn’t quite true.

        3. Who needs free prenatal healthcare for teen rape victims? Wouldn’t wanna take her there for SURE!

        4. First and foremost, Planned Parenthood is about aborting children. Even though the abortion rate in the U.S. is declining slightly (yet still over one million abortions a year), Planned Parenthood’s 122 affiliates that manage more than 850 health centers have been increasing their number of abortions every year. In fact, they are now the largest abortion provider in the country. In the same period that this quarter of a million abortions were performed, only 1,414 adoption referrals were made – less than 6 for every 1,000 abortions.

        5. 3% of all services PP provides are abortion services
          11% of clinic clients receive abortion services

          Neither of those numbers even come close to 50%, let alone a majority. Check your facts.

      2. I am not gonna wink at this. If this young woman had wished to abort the fetus, then she should have been afforded that right.

        If she chose to carry the pregnancy to term, then I fully support that decision too. It is her choice, after all.

        It is cruel, heinous, callous, and frankly, immoral to insist that a rape victim must have the baby.

        Not that long ago, exceptions for abortion were permitted in the pro-life movement. That option seems to be fading quickly.

        Women and what they want seem to completely lost in this situation.

        1. OH hell, Green Eggs, you just went there. Here, let me cover you with this tarp and mattress to protect you.

          😉 :mrgreen: 😉

        2. Planned Parenthood is not an abortion factory. If you take a rape victim there they are NOT going to be counseled or encouraged to have an abortion unless they are seeking one.

        3. You guys must not watch the news. In some cases planned parenthood doesn’t even report sex trafficking of young underage sex-slaves. Why you think that they would report this rape is beyond me. For years it has been well known that PP consistently does not report young girls being impregnated by adult males, might mess up their cash cow. Fortunately light is beginning to shine in the darkened corners of this organization and it looks like it will soon be de-funded, thank God.

        4. 😆
          i wonder where you got your information from, greg. no, i don’t. i already know.

          Hey all you IFB abusers – take your victims to PP! Seriously. It will be totally safe for you there, I promise.

          … i wish they would. fyi, all clients seeking abortions are questioned by themselves–alone–to protect against what you were implying above, greg.

        5. Ummmmmm. Headline is the opposite of what the story is.

          You provided a link to PP reporting Live Action for trafficking teenage girls.

          This James O’Keefe style stuff is insane. I hope they arrest the Live Action dude pretending to be pimp. Same with Acorn, you just keep saying whatever the criminal wants while you report it to authorities to investigate.

          Please provide actual evidence of actual crimes, not attempted frame jobs that got reported to authorities as should be done.

        6. “I am not gonna wink at this. If this young woman had wished to abort the fetus, then she should have been afforded that right.
          “If she chose to carry the pregnancy to term, then I fully support that decision too. It is her choice, after all.
          “It is cruel, heinous, callous, and frankly, immoral to insist that a rape victim must have the baby.”

          I agree 200%, Green Eggs. Someone had to say it.

    4. This is so funny, 20/20 is famous for doing just this type of “hidden camera” journalism, it has been an accepted standard for perhaps the last 20 years or so, but don’t dare shine that type of spotlight on my favorite liberal cause acorn/planned parenthood. I’ll bet you would be singing a different tune if they were investigating the NRA, huh? How about some of the radical skinhead organizations, bet that would be great! oh no, don’t dare bring that type of journalism onto one of my favorite liberal causes. I would love it, had someone pulled just this type of “sting” on some of the perverts that assaulted Tina, it may have saved her a lifetime of regret.

      “We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the negro population”

      Who would say such a thing? The founder of one of your favorite liberal, death dealing organizations.

      Margeret Sanger December 12, 1939

      1. You’re dead right about ambush journalism is idiotic & should be called out for the BS it is. That was the worst part. I wish Phelps would’ve sat & explained himself, it’s unacceptable to ambush him regardless of if he deserves it. Was the only thing 20/20 did wrong, IMO.

    5. Now that’s interesting. You said the fundy u probably told him he had all the answers. That has me wondering what exactly he was taught. What lesson, sermon, chapel message, book, lecture, philosophy… what did he learn and where did he learn it… that would teaching him such an approach might be acceptable. What set of experiences, or lessons, would he be drawing from here? Even if there was nothing direct, if he was treading out on his own, he would still have his body of experience upon which to draw. And what in that body might point in the direction he’s accused of going? In short, what was going through his head?

  17. Sorry, folks, but those of us in ministry know what’s up here. Phelps saw a successful businessman with a wife and family coming to his church. He saw dollar signs. Tina was thrown under the bus because Tina’s a throw away in ifb cult. She’s the product of a broken home. Her mother has chosen to stay with a pervert rather than side with her children. That’s her mother’s choice. Chuck Phelps is trotting out the 16-year old stuff only now, since the 20/20 piece aired. Why? He messed up. Big time. And now he’s trying to salvage his career and reputation. There is no excuse for what happened to Tina. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the first call you make is to law enforcement. You escort the child to the police station so she can make her statement. You stop at McDonald’s on the way and buy her a milk shake or something. You comfort her. You see to it there’s a counselor who can guide her through the trauma. This isn’t difficult. This isn’t even a moral/ethical/spiritual dilemma. It’s common sense.

    The real issue here is how children – especially the ones from broken homes – are regarded in the cult. If Tina’s family had been more prominent than the rapist, the situation would have been handled differently. That’s the real shame in all this.

    1. Dan, you are exactly right.

      I experienced it in my own fundy church. I’m not comparing my situation to Tina’s, but the principle hold. I went to talk to my ex-fundy pastor about the piss-poor job my “sunday school” teacher was doing; starting 20 minutes late, letting us out 20 minutes early. He also managed a local grocery store, and he manipulated those in his “sunday school” class that worked there. We could NEVER ask for a day off, but he’d allow all 5 of us to leave work early on a Saturday to go to one of his Sunday school “events”. I always questioned this, but one Friday night, I was told I could leave work at 4. I asked why, and he said as long as I was going to hang out with his kids then I could leave early. So I went and ate dinner with his kids then skipped the movie we were going to see (yep, at the movie theater).

      I never believed any of this stuff until I worked there under his management. It was so backward.

      Coincidentally, he was the church’s cash cow. I was told that I should use this experience as a “character building” experience and the problem was not with him, it was with me. Of course the problem was with me … I hadn’t attended a fundy school at any point in my life.

  18. Do I understand Chuck Phelps to still be selling the story that he contacted both the local police & the Children’s Services dept (DCYF or whatever), and they ignored a rape allegation and never got back to him? If that’s what he’s selling, isn’t he also admitting that even if it’s true, that he failed to follow up. Make a pro-forma report & drop it?

    1. That line is so full of it. Police don’t IGNORE a rape call. At least where my HF works. When one comes in, REGARDLESS of the details, there HAS to be a report taken, if possible the victim is sent to the hospital for a rape kit to be done, which tests her and also gathers evidence, and then it’s all sent to the detectives.

      I hate to say it, but HF had one the other night, on an 11-year old girl (yeah, I know, its sick) and HF took the report, spent 6 hours gathering statements and evidence, and turned it all in. Hopefully, the kid who did it will fry.

      So, no, police, unless its a REALLY f***ed up department, doesn’t IGNORE or take lightly ANY rape report.

      1. Maybe there is a PD somewhere that might drop that ball, it’s highly unlikely. Even if it were true, as a Pastor he is morally bound to do whatever necessary to force a bad PD to do their jobs, and he failed that since that’s the story he’s trying to spin it as.

        I think there’s precisely 0% chance he ever told anyone at either place there was a potential sex crime or a minor. He can keep saying 16 all he wants, but he knew then & he knows now that 16 at reporting time means *nothing*.

        1. Even in the smallest towns, the thing is, a call comes in, a “ticket” is made on EVERY call. Its a record of the call. Once a ticket is made, something HAS to be done, so cops are dispatched. From there, statements have to be taken and evidence gathered which then turns into reports.

          Its all a snow ball effect and there’s so much paperwork for every type of call. I don’t care if you call and complain on your neighbor’s noise and a cop comes out. A ticket is done. This is the case in even the smallest towns.

          If he had called, there is SOME record, a ticket number, an officer’s name and badge, something. He has NOTHING to prove that he called, and saying the police did nothing just doesn’t fly.

        2. Do you know when you drive by a cop and they’re sitting in their car in a parking lot? A lot of the time they’re working on reports from that night’s calls.

        3. Yes I did know that (the reporting thing), and I also knew the policemen I know have honed the skill of staring through headlights while running radar to get the front license plate numbers to run them as well. Which I find hilarious & a great way to get double duty done.

        4. Ha ha.. you must live in one of those front license plate states. Thankfully, they don’t have to do that here. We only do the back plate thing, so there’s no ruining of the eyes.. ha ha.

      2. they don’t ignore a rape call, but they may stop pursuing a statutory rape call if the purported victim is over sixteen and refuses to cooperate.

        1. Makes me wonder “if” (and that’s a big “if”) Phelps called the police, if he didn’t keep pointing out that she was 16 (even though she was younger than that when the incident happened) and there is claim that it was a rape. I wonder if he downplayed the whole thing to the cops, but called them to “do his duty”. 🙄

  19. I am so freakin sick of the Kool Aid drinkers and their defence of their precious system.
    Got this letter in my inbox…what pisses me off is that AGAIN the victim’s integrity is questioned and the system is defended instead of the church RISING up and taking responsibility. THis is not the time to defend your MOG but weep with and validate the victims and rejoice in truth.
    Her letter…
    I do not know what hurt you have been thru but I am truly sorry your life has experienced it. I was saddened by the 20/20 broadcast because I feel it hurt the cause of Christ more than it helped. I have no doubt that innappropriate things go on in all churches. I have seen many things myself. I am not going to take the word of a woman I do not know who is being pushed by a network bent on hurting our Saviour. I know a situation in my home church years ago where a girl was flirtatious with older men. Had those men not had self control, it could have been a situation not unlike what was portrayed last night. I do not know if the girl from last night’s episode was raped. She could have been. She also could have been a willing participant. It is not for me to judge her or any part of the situation. I am only concerned with how all IFB churches were depicted. I know there are bad things that happen in some churches and some have cult-like tendancies. But, to go national television like that, and make them ALL look like a cult is wrong. God was not glorified. Jesus Christ was not lifted up. And, I bet not one unsaved person wants to go to church now and find out more about the free gift of life that out Lord has to offer.
    Letting the unsaved media get involved and so they can make Christians look week and ignorant is wrong. That episode made ALL IFB preachers look like dictators and the people in their churches like poor helpless sheep who can’t get away from the tyranny. I can leave my IFB church anytime and so can they.

    1. ZOMG. It’s like they all have a playbook they copy & paste from. The passive aggressive “saddened” is one of the most unbearable things ever in IFB-land!

      Also classy of whomever to assume Vargas (and presumably all media heads are “unsaved”. And whoever wrote that does not need any media (saved or unsaved) to look week (sic) and ignorant.

      1. …if it hurts the cause of Christ, it’s only because of the despicable actions of His followers, not because the media reports those actions.

      2. “Unsaved media”???
        This is just changing the subject– the old “ad hominem” tactic.
        I have no idea what religious beliefs anyone at 20/20 may or may not have, but that’s a red herring. It doesn’t matter who said it– that’s just a way to distract people from the question of whether or not what the “unsaved” people said is true.

    2. So, telling the truth is hurting the cause of Christ? Jesus never had any problems with exposing the errors of the Pharisees, and money changers. If they would “police” themselves, there would be nothing for 20/20 to investigate and report on.

    3. “I feel it hurt the cause of Christ more than it helped”

      Okay, that record is so broken and I’m so fricken tired of hearing it.

      The “cause of Christ” isn’t hurt by these stories coming out, but I believe, is finally cleaning some SERIOUS dirty laundry so that the cause of Christ can be furthered.

      I mean, look at us. Have we steered closer to God or away? And, I’m not talking about our church attendance. I’m talking about discovering the TRUE grace of God as we come out of IFB.

      To me that IS the cause of Christ.

    4. As one of those unsaveds, my response is:

      “Put your own house in order.”

      But I am godless and I dance and occasionally drink, so what do I know.

    5. I am not going to take the word of a woman I do not know who is being pushed by a network bent on hurting our Saviour.

      Using the “-iour” of course. 🙄

      But the arrogance and ignorance of that letter. It is easy for her to say what she would do while in a church where everyitng is “Ok.” She had better thank God she isn’t in a Church where something like this has happened. Let her go through something like this and then let’s hear her tune.

      1. Ain’t that the truth Don. Our Saviour WEEPS at such abuse and atrocities.
        This has triggered me do deeply. I am close to exposing the flat out wickedness I was subject to but from all the spins and victim bashing there is no way I would ever speak. No way. Those women are brave and I stand with them.

    6. What an incredibly annoying and frustrating letter! Yeah, let’s hide all the sin in our churches and put on big, happy, shiny faces so people will come to our churches and be saved (and only later find out about all the evil that’s been hidden). God desires truth in the inward parts; God desires GOODNESS!!! In Isaiah 1, He says, “STOP sacrificing! Stop praying! You WEARY me with your religious activities. What I want you to do instead is stop sinning and start doing right. Defend the fatherless and widows!” How can these supposed Christian defenders of the status quo IGNORE the heart of God as revealed in Scripture???? (I tried to refrain from using capslocks except on only a few words, but stuff like this makes me want to scream!)

    7. “Hurt the cause of Christ”????!!? Hint: Christ’s cause is not rape, is not the false security of the “magic Jesus prayer”, is not the doctrines of men taught as commandments, and is not the cultish control.

  20. I am part of an IFB church and the experiences described in this presentation are not all the experiences I have seen in the churches I have attended. I have never once heard my pastor advocate beating your child into submission, or beating them until they are bruised, or spanking a 2 week old baby. I am horrified that there are pastors out there teaching that this is what the Bible advocates. This is not what the Bible advocates and I guarantee this is not what every IFB church teaches. This is a gross misuse of Scripture.

    I come from IFB churches that teach you are to love your children and protect them from physical, spiritual and emotional harm. I would give my own life to protect my child without a question.

    Lastly, because of the IFB church I currently attend, my life has changed for the good. My husband is taught to love and serve me and I to love and serve him. It is a relationship of mutual trust and respect for each other. It is not the husband treating his wife like a doormat where she is not allowed to have an opinion or say in anything. The Bible does teach submission, but it’s not the dictatorship described here. We each go to our jobs every day, and at the end of the day, someone has to make the final decision. That doesn’t mean their an abuser. We live in a world of positions but that doesn’t mean one has less value than another. This idea of male dominition is not what is being taught in all IFB churches.

    I challenge you to not fall into the trap of lumping all IFB churches into one bunch or ‘cult’ as you call it because of the experiences that some have had in their churches.

    1. And not all Catholic priests abuse children.

      But, like the Catholic church, because of the sick people associated, the title “IFB” now carries with it some ugly things.

  21. It is obvious to me that most of those who have “come out” of IFB, as you call it, have not grown closer to Christ. You language tells the story. It does not glorify God or draw anyone to Him. It makes me sad. Attend what ever church you feel God would have you to, but you should still want to honor Him with your life, and that includes your language. It makes me sad.

        1. I seriously hope you are not more concerned about me saying damn, then about the rape of a young woman or all the shit that we have endured and survived.

          Leaving the church was one of the best things I ever did.

        2. Green Eggs, you said “damn”… YOU SAID “DAMN”! And, I’m not even going to REPEAT that OTHER word.

          (Did you really say a cuss word before that, though? I hadn’t noticed… :wink:)

        3. Many words are not considered “cuss” words in today’s society, but that does not mean they are proper to use in conversationb. I mean do you really think Jesus is proud of rude and suggestive language? Just sayin’. I am from the old school and was taught, and still believe, that people who use improper language do it because they do not have a vocabulary to express their thoughts properly. Done- comment if you want to but I will not be back. Please hold your applause.

        4. I have a fantastic vocabulary. I am well-educated by any standards. I was accepted into a Ph.D. program in philosophy, but chose not to attend.

          I also have a fantastic expletive vocabulary. I have been known to to peel paint with it.

          The two vocabularies are not mutually exclusive.

    1. Suzan, if you think that the language we use in anyway negates the horrible events that 20/20 revealed, you are straining at gnats and swallowing camels.

      And yes, some posters here no longer walk with Christ, and it’s because of pastors like Phelps and judgemental “Christians” like you. 😡

      1. I think she **may** have said that because I said “pissed off”…and if most know me I temper my words carefully. It is condemning, judgmental,prideful arrogant comments like yours that make me “pissed off”. I have had so much incredible garbage thrown at me in the last year and a half from fundies like you, you feel like its your right to set all us “bitter, liberals” straight. I am crying right now, bawling…I am just done.

        1. IMHB, they strain at gnats and swallow camels. They call people out over motes and ignores the humungous beams in their own eyes.

          There is a time for strong language. Read the O.T. prophets; they used some pretty shocking language at times.

        2. IAHB, hugs and prayers. You are a wonderful woman. She should have heard some of the words I’ve used in the last few years.

        3. And, can I point out that “Suzan” and “Susan” are two different people.

          Susan is a sweetie-pie.

          Suzan… not so much.

        4. Thank you beautiful friends. This is all just too close to home and triggering me badly. I am just so grateful to Darrell for providing a safe place to detox. I love the camaraderie here. You all are quite amazing.

  22. Random thought: the IFB culture, by using the word “evil” to describe things like CCM, liberals, other bible translations, Roman Catholics, etc. leaves itself with no word for real evil when it appears. And they spend so much time and energy fighting off imaginary evil that they miss the real evil living among them.

    1. That is the most profound thing I have read in a while…so so so true. It describes my former church exactly. Thanks for putting it into words.

  23. Just a brief word. I’m new here…but an old fundie, or ex-fundie I should say. I was raised like this for over 50 years. I lived this life, so I know what is said here is true. I left my first wife because of a broken marriage. I tried to remain in that church…and for a while, continued to go every service. The stares, glars, whispers, FaceBook postings, etc. got to be too much…so I quit going. I begin to question a lot of what I was taught over the years….and finally realized that after months and months of actually studying the Bible and not listening to a preacher preach Sunday after Sunday that movies, pants on women, drinking etc was a sin, that they were so wrong on a lot of fronts. Being on the “outside” has actually allowed me great “insight” and knowledge. I am free now…ashamed that I lived like that for so many years, but proud that I was able to see the truth. Its so much easier being yourself that being what someone else thinks you shoud be.

        1. Good. That’s how I felt when I came here, too. So, you get comfy and I hope you stick around.

          Hugs and love to you.

          (and I know not of the sarcasm that IAHB speaks of :wink:)

  24. I love how they mentioned several times in the story, “Most of America has never heard of these churches.” That must have been hard to hear. Reminds me of Yurtle the Turtle.

    I’m Yurtle the Turtle
    Oh Marvelous Me
    For I am the King
    Of all that I see.

    (even thought its just a pond.)

      1. Careful, there—Ozymandias, AKA Usermaatre, AKA Rameses II, Pharaoh of Egypt, God-King, was a VERY big deal in his day. Thirty-three hundred years later, not so much (Sorry, it’s all that Egyptian history roaming around in my head, screaming to get out).

        1. Usermaatre Setepenre. His throne name, but I am sure you knew that. Ramesses was his birth name. Nice to find another Egyptophile on here.

      2. I can still recite the poem “Ozymandius” by Percy Bysshe Shelley thanks to my 8th grade BEKA spelling book with the poems we were required to memorize at the back. I both was taught from it and later taught it, so it’s now part of my long-term memory (which is cool, IMO. I love poetry.)

  25. The one thing that really gets me about Phelps. His official statement says that the relationship was consensual. Never does it mention rape. Then when they catch him on camera he insists that he told the police ‘rape.’ But then they caught him. “You said rape.” “yes.” But you wrote to us that it was consensual.” “That’s because it was.” That is bull shit. 100% pure bull shit. If he still insists that it was a consensual relationship, and his official statement insists on that then why on earth would he tell the police any different.

    That my dear friends is why he is guilty, that is his sin. And until he asks for forgiveness for that he is not fit to be a pastor.

  26. Phelps makes a big deal about Tina being 16 years old at the time of the crime on his website. But when the 20/20 reporter caught him in the parking lot he said that he said something about Tina being 15.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire.

    1. Yeah, I just checked it on my DVR again to make sure. When asked by the 20/20 reporter about why he allowed Tina’s rapist to remain in the church, Phelps starts his answer with, “First, I didn’t know that he’d impregnated a 15 year old girl.”

  27. It is true that Tina received the crappy end of the deal (albeit an illegal crappy end of the deal) on this because she and her family weren’t up to snuff” at her IFB church.

    Same thing at my old IFB church – those who are cash cows in the church are allowed to run the show.

  28. Folks we’re closing in on 350 comments here.

    I’d like to recommend (not an order just a friendly nudge) that our regulars here start some threads over on the forum to continue talking about Planned Parenthood and some of the other rabbit trails that have sprung up just for the sake of organization.

    I’m sure we’ll all be talking about this story and surrounding issues for at least weeks if not months and it’s just a lot easier to keep track of it all in forum format.


  29. Pastor Phelps used the passage in Deuteronomy to tell Tina she was lucky she didn’t live in OT times because she would have been executed for not screaming. I have been arguing on the forum that these types of atrocious OT passage should not be defended as God’s word on any grounds. Phelps exemplifies why.

      1. I don’t think it was ever God’s rule that raped girls who were not heard screaming in a city should be executed. I find that horrible at any time and in any place.

        1. OFOOTCN, first, do you have a shortened handle, like “dwayne” or something? Now, as I understand it, these laws were put in place to protect the innocent, and the “screaming” rule was about protecting men from false accusation.

          Also, nearly every Bible commentary I’ve read agrees that the penalties listed in Deuteronomy were the maximum allowable penalty, as determined by the judge (this is from the extant Midrashes which invariably interpret the law this way).

        2. If you are correct, why did God change his mind? Did he develop a moral compass?

          This idea is barbaric. I wouldn’t get within a billion miles of a God that thought that executing rape victims, under any circumstances, was correct.

        3. @GEAH Directly below this, Amazed by grace posted a link to jeriwho.net that points out all the idiotic flaws of how badly the screwed up that passage. The death penalty were for essentially adultery (betrothed women engaging in consensual relations outside of their vows). You’d be right to be morally outraged by stoning for rape victims. You wouldn’t think anyone who claims to love the Bible would try to pin themselves into having a book that stones rape victims, Chuck Phelps & fundies think it’s in there, and seem to be pretty happy it’s “there”.

  30. Wow, you’re more upset over a few words than you are over the victimization of young girls in the IFB? Yup, chalk up another one for seriously wack priorities. *facepalm*

  31. Anyone know who the monster they played audio of that was the big advocate of beating children? I suspect the name is someone we’ve all heard on here before, but I have no clue who it is.

  32. “preachers who give their lives up” huh?

    I do believe it was Christ who gave up his life so people could be saved. And besides, the fundy pastor at my ex-IFB church lives large. He owns several homes (investment properties), drives nice vehicles and has traveled the world on “missions trips.” He hasn’t given up a single thing, let alone his life. Your statement is the perfect example of what is wrong with the IFB movement. It is not about your church or your pastor. It is about Christ…always has been and always will be.

  33. We all know that an IFB association will disassociate a church who does something as radical as, for example, call a female pastor. So they obviously have the power to sanction. Since they have all known that their pastors are abusing members of their congregations, and believe me when I say that they all know that it is happening, and they make the decision not to investigate and to disassociate churches who abuse, they are all entirely culpable. Beginning, middle and end.

    I know whereof I speak. The youth pastor at our church sexually abused dozens of girls and the church hid it for years. What’s more Jack Hyles himself knew and did nothing to stop it. We all know that he had dozens of ways of bringing a church into line and if he had really cared about women he would have.
    To say as Phelps does that they should not all be painted with the same brush is entirely ridiculous. They have all known, they have not done a single thing to stop it, they all deserve the exact same brush, which is another layer of white-wash on their sepulchers.

  34. So Jocelyn’s brother confesses that she has been telling the truth all along. Its the right thing to do.

    Still think all those other survivors are lying?

  35. Could someone give me the link to Jocelyn Zichterman’s story on audio. I can’t find it on her website, and the link on SI isn’t working for me either.

  36. And I am going to go there some more. (Thanks for the tarp, Natalie. 😀 )

    The best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But that means giving up the cherished abstinence programs and outright bans on contraceptives.

    But controlling women’s sexuality is the real issue here.

  37. i feel to bad about all this mess to make a joke at this poor girls expense. i figured it’d be easy to get C.P. to “the Bieb’s” in 7 steps, but it’s too serious and not a fun day.

    Plus why call Justin Bieber out for being the devil when these people are doing real sin and real harm. I mean “Baby, Baby” might be offensive to some, but i mean these are the guys that would probly preach against the Bieb’s. Seriouslly?!?! And you got this crap going on in your church?

  38. Its simple, the IFB is a cult with a stealthy doctrine of justified, holy abuse against women and children. Its easy to turn a blind eye when you see women and children as not fully equals (spare me the mental and theological gymnastics, fundy lurkers.)
    The abuse is in the doctrine. There is no saving the IFB anymore than you can save Communism.

        1. Proxy would be the best way if you don’t have access where you are to either ABC or Hulu. I don’t know of any, but I know you can google “open proxy” and be connected pretty quickly

  39. The way I see it, it all comes down to accountability. If you have a Church government where the Pastor is at the top with no one else to answer to, then it is easy to see how this kind of thing happens. Given that INDEPENDANT Fundamental Churches absolutely thrive on not having to answer to any other churches, it is little wonder why the pastors end up just as free from accountability as any individual IFB church.

    Solution seems simple. Drop the I in IFB, make your church accountable to another church or churches. Same with the pastors. If your church is too small for multiple pastors than make him accountable to another churches pastor…even if the other church isn’t IFB *GASP* I said it. Letting pastors or churches run free just isn’t worth it as it leads to this kind of abuse of power.

  40. IFB and know first hand the shunning, sham, spiritual & emotional abuse one suffers under the heavy hand of the “pastor”. I can’t say every IFB church is abusive but I can say the ones we attended as well as the churches these “independent churches” fellowshipped with were all lead by authoritarian bullies known as the “pastor”. We left there with a twisted view of what a pastor was, what a true child of God is and worse Who God is. By the grace of God, with much prayer and Bible study, we put aside everything the IFB church taught us and sought to learn who the true God of the Bible is. Most if not everything we learned in IFB churches were nothing but traditions of men. IMO, Matt 23 sums up the over all mindset of the IFB. When folks ask why we stayed there I tell them, it was all we knew. You are also manipulated by fear of leaving the “church”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “If it isn’t an Independent Baptist, New Testament,KJV Bible believing church it isn’t God’s church!” We lost a hefty amount of friends and family when we left the IFB church. To them leaving the IFB is the same as forsaking God. In our case, we forsook the IFB so we could have a true relationship with God.

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