I began this blog in Feb. 2012 after noticing that the Google reviews I had posted of my former church were being removed. Days after the commencement of this blog, I received a legal summons suing me and three others for defamation to the tune of $500,000. The story of spiritual abuse needs to be told. People are being hurt emotionally and spiritually by abusive pastors who use bully tactics; we need a place to learn, to talk freely, and to heal. I will not be silenced.
On May 21, 2012, we had our first court hearing. Two of the original 4 defendants were voluntarily dismissed from the lawsuit, leaving Hannah and me. Later, Meaghan was added to the lawsuit, plaintiffs claiming her comments on my blog were defamatory.
I believe the lawsuit is an extension of the spiritual abuse we incurred. A key part of spiritual abuse is control and especially controlling what people can and cannot say, in this case, months and years after leaving a church. When Chuck O'Neal and BGBC decided to sue us in the legal court system, they challenged the rights of free speech for everyone who shares their stories and opinions online. This story should be of grave concern to all in the United States, especially bloggers, opinion and review sites, political sites, etc. July 13, 2012 is the court hearing at the Washington County Courthouse in Hillsboro, Oregon. The time is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. The judge's decision could have a profound effect on those who use the internet to express their thoughts and opinions.
Legal online sites are acknowledging the threat. Here is one from Citizen Media Law Project, including court documents.
Here is my court declaration.
A few people have asked for a condensed version of "my story". My story is not written out like that, but in bits and pieces as posts for the blog. So, in the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to have one post which includes links to the key posts to my story so readers do not have to wade through all of them. ~ja
You Won't Find a Better Church - This article discusses more of the elitism we were taught. No church could ever measure up to our church. What are the implications of that kind of thinking?