Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hannah's Personal Story in Her Own Words

Readers:  I've had this post in my "draft posts" for quite some time, but the time to post it is now and I will explain more about that very soon.  You'll see why it is important to hear from her own words.

I shared my perspective of Hannah's story in the most popular blog post, In Honor of Hannah.   What's interesting is that our former pastor has obviously included Hannah in the phrase "Julie Anne and those with her," because she was part of the $500,000 defamation lawsuit.  Hannah had no interest in the dealings of the church after leaving, of waging war with God, the church, with families as has been said.   She's been too busy working full-time and going to school full-time getting her degree trying to survive on her small income.

I texted Hannah earlier today and she knows I am posting her story and gave permission to post this picture taken of us at her graduation (might as well finally post a decent picture considering all of the funky media pictures out there of us - lol - proud mama moment right there!).  She said she will probably add more to the story when she gets home from work today because this was written months ago before we won the lawsuit, so you can check back later for any additions.


Hannah's Personal Story in Her Own Words




I’ve been wanting to write a more detailed account of my side of the story, and with it becoming viral and the numerous questions my mother has faced such as the common “how could she do that to her oldest daughter?” I thought maybe if I shared my perspective so they can see it is not just my mother’s story, for I’m a BGBC survivor as well.

We started attending BGBC shortly after I celebrated my homeschool high-school graduation with a few other homeschoolers from our old church where I had been a part of most of my middle and high-school years. With many of my friends then going off to other college campuses, my family wanted to find a church that was going a different direction, namely more towards evangelism by door-to-door knocking and conversations with strangers wherever we could find them.  


At first, I enjoyed it. I had been passionate about my beliefs for much of my life, I had taught bible classes in Pioneer Girls and Awanas, been on a couple of overseas missions trips to Honduras and Portugal, and thought that God was calling me to be a missionary to Muslims overseas. My father and I had always had a strong connection with regards to spiritual matters, we went to evangelism and creation seminars together whenever we could. In my growing up years, my mother and I seemed to have a strained relationship, even though we always ended up talking through the issues. I seemed to be generally in and out of trouble, little things constantly. I pushed her buttons, but all in all, I don’t think I was a “bad” child. I was the oldest, and I liked to do my own thing.

Skip forward a couple of years, I had never formally joined BGBC as a member. I was taking classes at the local community college where I met a guy. He challenged me to re-think everything I knew and believed in. He didn’t want me to leave Christianity (he actually still considers me a Christian even though I no longer profess a belief). But through discussions with him, I started to look at my life and realized that I was living in a bubble. That bubble was basically white, middle-class, Christian, homeschooling families. It was a small segment of a much bigger world. I wanted to explore life and see what it meant to me without feeling pressure from anything or anyone else.

So here I was almost 21, working 4 part-time nanny jobs so I could put myself through a full-time school load to finish my degree (and I didn’t have a car due to my finances and wanting to complete school as fast as I could, so I biked or bused my commutes). When I added up the time I was at BGBC, which alone was about 20 hours a week including Friday night evangelizing on the street or at malls. Christianity was such an ingrained part of my family’s life that there was no way that I’d be allowed to live at home and not go to church. Plus I’d still have my family responsibilities and chores. I was honestly suffering burn-out with all the activities I had to do. I loved my family, adored my siblings, and respected my parents, but I knew and they knew that I couldn’t do what I wanted and live with them at the same time.

So I told my parents that I was doubting my faith and I wanted to move out so I could explore my possibilities and figure myself out. I think that tore both of my parents’ hearts in two. We were a close family, we did everything together. I still think I have the best brothers in the world, and how many sisters say that? I have a sister who I adore, and while we had our moments, she was my best friend, and I spoiled her as much as I could.  


Even if my parents had agreed that I didn’t have to go to church and could stay home to be with the family, I still think I would have moved out. I wanted a clean break from everything. I would still have had to work around seeing my Christian friends who would have felt compelled to try to “bring me back”. I would still have had those awkward run-ins at the grocery store. I didn’t want my parents to have to give an answer for my actions if I had been seen drinking an alcoholic beverage, or wearing clothes that didn’t fit the BGBC “dress code”. I wasn’t planning on being irresponsible with my life or my body. I didn’t move out so I could get drunk, go to parties, try drugs, or act like a crazy college girl. I wanted to do it the right way as much as possible, which I think I succeeded. Moving across town was very helpful and aided my healing since I was able to be myself and not have to look over my shoulder to make sure someone I used to know hadn’t seen me drink that beer. (Note, my parents don’t have anything against alcohol, but anyone at the church could have spun it a wrong way.)

My father, in utter disbelief that I could denounce my faith (he was a Calvinist so this was unthinkable and practically an impossibility in his mind) and Chuck arranged a “meeting” with me that truthfully was really coerced.  I did not want to be there. They sat me down in his office and read verse after verse and got me to feel sorry and repentant by pointing out that I respected my elders and so should do what they said.  


Pastor Chuck’s best idea for getting me to “come back to the faith” was to take away my cell phones (I had two, the contract was in my name, that I entirely paid for), forbid me from going on the internet, told me to stop taking classes in a “worldly” school, as well as leave my various jobs, and that I was to stay home all day and basically only leave it to go to church.  


After thinking about that for a day or two, I decided that that was utterly ridiculous and sounded like brain-washing to me. I thought, “If Christianity is that great, shouldn’t it be obvious? Why can’t I go out on my own? If it’s so great, I’ll for sure come back to the faith anyways - following their logic”. I knew I could ask questions, but I had a feeling the answers would be skewed, and hammered down into me like I was treated at that meeting. I wanted to be treated like an adult, to be given the pros and cons, to have the other adults admit that I had valid concerns, and not act like I was stupid and under the influence of a male friend who they thought might be trying to steal me away from the faith, the church, and my family.

I was 21, a legal adult. I could move out and find the answers to my questions if I wanted. As my mother has explained so eloquently before, this was not an easy decision. I had to be willing to give up my family, my siblings, my friends (since they were all Christians), my jobs, and temporarily suspend my college classes. My father (under influence I believe of Chuck) had told me that they weren’t going to help me in any way. I didn’t want them to help. I was going to sink or swim, and damn if I wasn’t going to do it all by myself (which is the story of my life, my mother will tell you). I hoped that they would soften up. I didn’t want to lose my family, but I knew I had to get out or I would go crazy. If nothing else, I would work my hardest so that my siblings would have a place to go if they decided they needed to get out as well. It was definitely going to be harder since I wouldn’t have my home-cooked meals, or even a bed at that time. I would have to work to provide everything I needed, but I could do it. I was determined.

I did leave, about two weeks after my 21st birthday. I remember it well. December 31st, 2008. I went to church one last time, said a quick goodbye to my friends (most of whom only found out that I was leaving at that time), called an LDS lady I had connected with on craigslist and she and her boyfriend picked up me and my belongings. I thought it fitting that I left on Sunday, after church, and that the first day of the new year was the first day of my new life. From that point on, I never referred to myself as a Christian. I don’t hold any judgment on those that do, but I’m tired of the endless debates that go on between and within any type of believer, be it pagan, atheist, mormon, baptist, etc. I’ve realized that we all have our beliefs, and trying to persuade someone who is convinced otherwise is a waste of my valuable time.

With regards to me and my family and particularly my parents. I honestly believe we were in a cult. It’s like a gas that has no smell or taste, you can’t sense it until you are under its effects. Once you are out of its grasp, you can look back and realize that you were under its influence, I’ve heard people say that hindsight is 20/20 vision, I think that is true. I don’t fault my parents for how they reacted to my declaration. They believed and acted in the way they thought best at that time. I can look back and see that they acted differently in the few years they were at BGBC than they had ever acted in the 18 years prior. Since then, we have spent countless hours talking, going over what happened, apologizing to each other, etc. My mother never stopped talking me me, seeking to rebuild a stronger relationship on a foundation of communication and openness. The current bond between my mother and I is stronger than it has ever been in the past. I’m not going to hold what happened in the past over her head, I don’t think like that. It happened, she has felt horrible about it, I could have moved out in a more gracious way, but dwelling on it doesn’t help. Would my parents and I have done it differently at the time if we knew then what we know now? Of course. There were failures and stumbles on both sides.

But in the end, my parents had raised me right. They had given me the tools to be a productive independent adult. I was able to stand on my own two feet, think for myself, live my life, and make friends. I had a found a job near my apartment within a month, and have been employed ever since, even able to occasionally tutor high schoolers in math. I saved my hard-earned money to buy my first car and paid it off in 5 months. I worked a full-time job and attended school full-time at University of Phoenix to attain my Bachelor’s Degree in Business, attending school during the summer and skipping possible vacations so I could do it by taking as few student loans as possible. I am still to this day involved in various volunteer opportunities. My parents had succeeded with me.

Speed up to last December. My mother had said that she had written a review on BGBC’s website and it wasn’t there anymore. We had already noticed the church members’ tactics of burying the negative google reviews under their positive ones by slightly tweaking their reviews so they’d stay consistently on top. When she said that, I thought that I’d write a review, partly as a way to defend my mother, as well as a way to tell my own story. That church had hurt me. It had caused a rift between me and my parents. So I wrote my review, and it was buried, but it stayed there.

And now here we are today. I don’t think Chuck’s lawsuit was aimed at me, it’s aimed at my mother. I was fuel to add to the fire. Chuck never tried to contact me after I left the church. I never knew if I was shunned or excommunicated, as I didn’t talk or associate with anyone at that church unless they initiated the conversation. I lived a good 45 minutes away on the other side of town purposely so I wouldn’t accidentally run into people I knew from my “old” life. Honestly, I was busy just living my life, finishing up my Bachelor’s degree, building my career, finding new friends. But now I’m involved in a half-a-million dollar lawsuit. Life has a strange way of working. But I’m glad I’m in this . I will stand by my mother every step of the way. It’s her blog, but she, and I, and the other defendants, and EVERYONE has a right to their opinion, especially if they believe it’s the truth. The best defense against defamation is just that - the truth. And the truth is what my mother wrote, and truth is what I wrote.





I'm issuing a Trigger Alert.  This means anything below this point in the comments section may be emotionally upsetting.  I have had enough personal e-mails to know that many of my readers have been affected negatively by Fred Butler's comments.  I urge you to read at your own risk.  

81 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your degree, Hannah. You sound like a very motivated, determined, and resourceful woman.

    One thing in particular struck me about your story, and that was your comparison of being at the church to being in the presence noxious gas that you can't sense until you're under its effects, and even then you're nearly too incapacitated to get away from it. What a good word picture.

    Blessings on your life, Hannah.

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    1. yeah, you're a gifted writer, Hannah.

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    2. I don't know how I came up with that analogy, but it does seem very fitting. I was raised with parables my entire life (Jesus' teachings are full of them), no parable draws perfect similarities, but the gas does seem fitting. The friends of mine that went through the shunning like I did, describe similar things - while you're in it, you're sucked in, you don't realize it... to this day, I'm not 100% sure the exact trigger that made me decide "that's it"... but I know that the meeting with Chuck definitely was a catalyst.

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  2. I just hope you’re drinking good beer, Hannah. Try a Leffe Brown Belgian—it’s what I’m drinking right now for happy hour.

    Wow what strength and maturity I see in you! You’re parents I know must be soooo proud of you.

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  3. Well written Hannah. Thanks for sharing your story.

    You said:

    "With regards to me and my family and particularly my parents. I honestly believe we were in a cult. It’s like a gas that has no smell or taste, you can’t sense it until you are under its effects. Once you are out of its grasp, you can look back and realize that you were under its influence, I’ve heard people say that hindsight is 20/20 vision, I think that is true."

    This is a great way to express it. I have heard and read the question posed "why didn't you just leave?" or "why did you stay so long?". Well, the only answer is that we were deceived. Don and I fully accept the responsibility that we took our family to an unhealthy church with a false teacher. Obviously there were things about the church that our itching ears wanted to hear. Since my husband was hired there as the evangelism coordinator he spent much time with the pastor and listening to sermons. The more he listened and evaluated the more concerned he became. Many people in the body came to Don with their concerns and many left the church over time. Don began asking questions therefore he became the enemy. He had witnesses to go with him to confront the pastor (1 Tim.5:19)but was fired. Praise the Lord for delivering us out of such a place! Like you, we moved on with our life long ago and are so thankful for all the lessons learned. We are not bitter nor do we hate anyone at BGBC. They are under a strong delusion just as we were.

    Hannah, you are welcome to our home anytime, we always enjoy spending time with you.

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  4. Great story Hannah. Learning to lean on yourself is a first step to a productive adulthood. Learning to be in relationship while maintaining that independence is a second step, and that includes (in order of importance and permanence) family, friends, a supportive group of people (what a church really should be). Eventually, a spouse becomes the primary relationship, but some independence is still necessary for a healthy relationship.

    Of course, most Christians, including me, have a primary and intimate relationship with God. I prefer two images, one of Jesus surrounded by children, some in his arm and others on his lap. The other came from seeing a friend kneel beside his crying toddler, pick him up, and wrap his arms around the little one so that all you could see was the Dad. When times get tough, I think of God that way, and pray to be in the lap of the Almighty once again, protected from all that is wrong, including in my own life.

    I hope all is well with you, and that you will continue to find your own way, while building all of those relationships again.

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  5. Friends, I suspect that the Jesus the world so often rejects—you know, the offers of a Jesus peddled by the likes of CON—is a Jesus our own Lord and Savior would reject too.

    . .

    I have a new friend who recently forwarded me an email exchange between herself and Fred Butler. She gave her permission for me to post this.

    My friend had alerted Fred to my comments here concerning my encounter with him on his blog. Well, Fred assumed she was me and came back with a pretty ignorant response. She fired back calling him an arrogant [expletive], telling him that she was not David and to hunt me down where he was first directed.

    Fred answered back: ‘What?! I take it you are a "spiritual abuse victim" too? I can understand why. For someone who likes to throw around the charge of arrogance, you sure have a colorful vocabulary.’

    Seems that only incited her. She responds: ‘entertain whatever fantasy you want about me, but I don't even go to church. and if your the paradigm of a christian I certainly don't want anything to do with your twisted religion. you arrogant [expletive]!’

    Fred counters: ‘Dude. What's with the rage? Seriously?’

    My friend lets him have it: ‘why you so fat? tell me that. seriously, put the twinkies and pepsi down and go take a walk. and why you so pompous and presumptuous? and why you still talking to me? Dude.’

    Certain people would consider what she wrote to be unchristian, right? Well, previously she shared with him that she doesn’t go to church, and that if he were the paradigm of a christian she didn’t want anything to do with his twisted religion.

    Well this is how our professed Christian teacher answers her: ‘You started this first. You sent me an email with no explanation as to who you are and why I should notice this comment thread at that blog. Which means you must troll around those places for some odd reason. And when I misunderstand who it is writing me, you go all postal on me with the venom and hate. Did the nuns smack you growing up?

    Fred’

    She didn’t answer him back, but notice, Fred doesn’t know who he’s engaging. After suggesting that she was a ‘”spiritual abuse victim”’ he goes on to ask ‘Did the nuns smack you growing up?’ He doesn’t know her story, he could very well be further victimizing her with his abusiveness, further alienating her from Christ. Why is he allowed the ministry he’s been given if this is the kind of bullying and abuse he dishes out both privately and publicly?

    Grace Community Church! What kind of Abusive Monster do you allow to minister in yours and Christ’s name?

    I want a direct answer from GCC.

    David Johnson

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    1. Very interesting, David. When posting comments at his site, there is a big deal made about profanity in his posting instructions. Check out the instructions here:

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I welcome all comments both favorable or disagreeing. But I ask one thing of you: Please refrain from using profanity and foul language.

      I don't care how smart you may be or how many fancy degrees you may have. My rule of thumb: if you can't articulate yourself with out the use of profanity, you're pretty much an idiot. Any and all messages with profanity will be deleted immediately.



      Profanity is often used in relation to situations. The words can be strong, but many times they are not directed at people. However, in his words on my blog comments, above, and in his blog posts and comments, there are strong and hurtful words used against groups of people and even directed at people as shown above. I find the loose tongue directed towards people who have real feelings to be far more destructive than profanity about a situation. Situations don't have feelings, people do.

      I wonder how an atheist might respond to this paragraph he wrote on his blog:

      First, and at the great risk of receiving a severe wedgie from the readers in the combox, most of the atheist women I've encountered throughout my life ought to be flattered that any guy would want to "harass" them in the first place. They're not known for their womanly femininity, if you know what I mean. As my aunt's brother Kermit use to say, "Someone’s done fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch coming down."

      I'm not feeling the love here and I doubt any passerby (whether atheist or not) would feel it. This is a pathetic example of Christian love.

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    2. The rule of Fred: ‘If you can't articulate yourself with out the use of profanity, you're pretty much an idiot.’

      The rule of our Master: ‘If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court.’ Matt. 5:22b

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    3. ‘Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see...”’ Matt 23:1-5a

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    4. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
      — Brennan Manning

      Some people who call themselves christians are the most cruel people I have ever known. I saw pastors / elders / friends at the church I left all lie, cheat, and steal… Though many have left that church, others who knew and know their character and what they are doing continue to attend that church. You don't have to be a biblical scholar to know the wrong being done by these people, it is evident at the ten commandments.

      How can the people still in these churches keep their blinders on to this?

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  6. Julie Anne, I completely understand if you want to remove this. If you do remove it, you won't have any complaints from me.

    Fred Butler today proved today what a stinking, worthless, lying, gutless, pathetic Satan-glorifying piece of subhuman trash he really is. He wrote this the following item on his blog today. I won't even comment on it; the words speak for themselves:


    Fred Butler said...
    Julie A. writes,
    Me afraid? I don't think so. I think it shows pretty clearly you were evading my question and it makes me wonder what you were trying to hide by not answering my question 5 times (Twitter, my blog, your blog and other blogs).

    and

    Really???? Proof, please. My daughter posted one Google review before she was sued. That Google review was posted late Dec 11 or early Jan '12. I am not aware of any others before that. You sure are coming across like you have info. Provide it here publicly. He accused me and those with me of going from church to church spreading junk. I never spread anything in any church. My daughter didn't go to church. She has no interest in God or church since dealing with Chuck. So, please give me the inside story that even I don't know about, Fred.


    I haven't evaded any questions of yours and like I wrote on the previous occasion, I never had any insider information...

    That is, until as of yesterday evening when I received an email from a church member at Grace Bible with some additional information I did not know before. According to this individual, who is not the pastor or in pastoral leadership to my immediate knowledge, one of the big parts to the back story that you demand proof about is that your daughter was fornicating with a guy.

    Now. Before I continue, is that true or is this person lying? Was your unbelieving daughter involved in an illicit sexual relationship with a guy?

    Perhaps you have discussed this on your blog and I missed it, but if that is true, that places the events involving your daughter and this church into an entirely different context and changes the dynamics of your complaint against them. We can maybe discuss if how the situation was handled was good. Maybe they were overly harsh when they confronted her and dealt with the aftermath, but that hardly makes the pastor a terrible cult leader.

    If an unbelieving daughter of a church member is found out to be fornicating are you seriously suggesting that a pastor is to just "let that go"? Just "let the family take care of it"? And not say anything?

    Do you readers know about this situation if it is true? Again, maybe you have written on it, but I haven't seen anything, so please direct me to a post where you have if that is the case.

    7:05 AM, August 01, 2012

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=13051555&postID=7123822329660144876&isPopup=true

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    1. The Other Tom: Yes, I have been alerted to that disgusting post. That is partly why I posted Hannah's story first today. I'm working on a post to address the above issue. This kind of comment is to be expected considering the character issues we have seen already. Sad, but true.

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    2. I am so sorry anyone would write such a thing on a public blog. How shameful. He's repeating gossip. Is this not like a spiritual abuser to use a woman's sexuality to cast stones? I do believe Jesus had something to say about that.

      I can just imagine Chuck sharing this "back story." He is nuts. And I would say that Fred has proven his status as a spiritual abuser by repeating this in an effort to beat you down. He's part of a sick culture. I feel so sorry for those drawn into it.

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    3. I want to add that I also alerted Hannah to this heinous comment and discussed it with her. She is considering the source.

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    4. I should have clarified that any normal person would consider the source. But just say you had a son who was having a sexual relationship outside of marriage - would I care? No. Would that make Chuck any less abusive? No. Fred doesn't get it and never will if he is so far gone as to post such a story.

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    5. I think this line of questioning is totally uncalled for, and anyone who ever has any questions to ask certainly can contact me to ask me before posting unverified allegations. Especially since I left my parent's home, I have strived to be is available and unafraid to talk about anything. Anyone can contact me if they want to, my mom has my e-mail address, she'll forward e-mails to me if you ask. People will believe what they want, and post what they want, and try to drag my name through the mud. I know my friends and those who want the truth by those who care to talk to me. Why not do what journalists of the "world" do and check your facts, or ask my side of the story?

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    6. I was disgusted when I read Fred's comment. It is gossip, it is unhelpful, it is unnecessary, it is completely irrelevant to the discussion, and I believe he wrote it to throw a barb.

      Julie Anne's question was whether Fred had had previous discussion with Chuck. Fred won't answer it. Instead, he will publicize details of someone's personal life that were shared by someone else who, given the details, probably didn't have first hand knowledge. I thought Fred was big on that.

      His behavior is shameful. However, I doubt he will recognize it, let alone care how he has erred and whom he has hurt.

      For shame.

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    7. Hannah, you and I both know that in that church that if you go to verify with sources, it means that you do not believe/trust your pastor and that would cause problems for you.

      Again, what I stated in my original Google review stands: all will go well with you as long as you do not question the pastor.

      Bren obviously is afraid to go beyond her pastor to verify the truth. CON is convincing and conniving. The truth is that if they went to sources, they would find that the story their pastor gives and what they find from sources can be completely different. How sad to blindly follow someone to that degree - to follow someone into a ridiculous lawsuit which is completely against scripture, to believe complete lies without having the decency of verifying.


      *Red Flag

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    8. The Reformation was sparked by "independent thinkers" who were then persecuted by the "higher authorities in Rome". These men stood firm, bound by the Word of God and their conscience and proclaimed "justification by faith alone".

      However, many in the "Reformed Movement" today seem to be resorting to the tactics of the Inquistion (trial of Galileo, trial of Joan of Arc, et. al.)Inquistion

      The current Pope was formerly the head of this part of the church which is now called The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei)

      Men in positions of ecclesiastical authority have, for centuries, been subject to the temptation to control the flock through "informants", punishments and tyrannical rule.

      John 10:14-16 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." One Shepherd - the Lord Jesus Christ.

      "Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ" Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index © Martin H. Manser, 2009.

      All pastor-teachers will be called to give an account one day and should be sober-minded in their submission to the Good Shepherd who has entrusted His flock to their care. Pastor-teachers are entrusted with a God-given stewardship (1 Corinthians 9:16,17; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25; 1 Timothy 1:3-5 vs.5 "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

      James 3:1 (ESV)
      Taming the Tongue

      James 3:1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."

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  7. Um, I don't want to jump into the middle of your discussion about this Fred guy. However, I did want to make a comment, if I may.

    I know very little about the situation with this church but I am a victim of extreme spiritual abuse. I understand the many emotional facets of this kind of wrongdoing. Thank you Hannah for demonstrating amazing maturity. You sound like a wonderful young lady and the fact that you're not bitter and throwing hate back at the perpetrators is very telling. Jesus said we'd know his followers by our love for one another. It's really that simple.

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    1. Thank you, Grace, for jumping in. Your comment is most appreciated.

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    2. Thanks for reading my story, Grace. I don't hate them, even "Big Bren" or whoever wrote that e-mail to Fred Butler. I still love them. I never tried to shut doors, but I do try to be respectful of their feelings (whether or not I feel it's valid). If they didn't want to talk or consider them friends of mine, then that's their prerogative. I didn't want to "push" myself on them, because that was the very aspect that I didn't appreciated being done on myself.

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    3. Anonymous at 6:07, what is your goal? If it is to drive people further away, mission accomplished. Might I add, your exclamation points suggest a certain smug satisfaction that I find inconsistent with someone who wants to point others to Jesus.

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    4. Jess: Thank you for rebuking Anon 6:07. I had to get out of my nice cozy bed to delete that nastiness. Wow, this is a first, deleted two comments in two days. The trolls are out.

      Readers: feel free to contact me by e-mail if you see a comment that may have slipped past me. My e-mail address is beneath my picture on the upper right-hand side of the page.

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  8. Hannah, thank you for telling your story. Congratulations on all you have accomplished. I think the fact that you stayed home until 21 is amazing in and of itself! Kids should grow and want to learn on their own - if they don't, we've failed.

    What I don't get is why was moving out and not wanting to attend that church denouncing your faith? It's so normal to want to explore that aspect of your life on your own, rather than feeling like you are following what others expect of you. It's necessary in fact. You cannot inherit a relationship with God. You have to want it for yourself. Each of my four children has gone through the same struggle. Some still are struggling and probably always will. That doesn't lessen God's love for them. But then I'm a big C.S. Lewis fan and The Last Battle is my favorite in his Narnia Chronicles so there's no worry in my heart.

    Many of us who have an active relationship with God do not feel it is our duty to try to persuade anyone that they are wrong about your faith. I think Chuck burned you on that one, and I could kick him for that. Personally I focus on those two greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor has yourself.

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    1. Good question Jackie. Chuck did burn me in more than one way. I think that even with my missions trips and all the valuable experiences I had as a Christian, it forced me to face the questions I had not only with my beliefs but with how I wanted to live my life. I had differences of opinion, not only with the Christian faith, but with my parents' opinions as well. I realize that denouncing my faith and not wanting to attend that church are two totally different issues.

      If I never attended BGBC, I may still have denounced my faith, but I think it would have taken a longer time to do so. Or I may have married a godly, Christian young man, and had a happy life, but still lived with those doubts, or any number of possible scenarios. So at the time, I figured if I moved out, I'd have freedom - to find my way back into a church, or not... but whatever I did, it would be because I wanted to do it, not because I was influenced by anyone to do it, whether that be Chuck O'Neal, my parents, or whomever. I was open to it, but I refused to be a hypocrite, I didn't want to knowingly go against what the Bible says and still call myself a Christian. Which is why I no longer call myself a Christian, I don't live by those values anymore. I have been to a few of different church services in the last few years, with my parents, with my grandparents, even with an (now) ex-boyfriend, but it no longer felt right. Who knows, I may eventually get over that, and re-find it, but for now, I can't do it.

      Delete
    2. Hannah, wait a minute - my memory is failing me. Please text me what church you went to with us. I don't remember that. I remember you going to a ladies retreat and a fun ladies night out, but that's it.

      Delete
    3. I went to Westside once with you...

      Delete
    4. Christians have such a wide range of values and you may find yours simply differ from others. But as you say, that's something you need the freedom to discover - whether that relationship with God is for you, no matter what your feelings about the organized Christian community. That's a separate issue.

      Delete
    5. "I doubt, therefore I am." ~ Augustine

      Delete
  9. Thank you for sharing your story, Hannah. And, I look forward to hearing more. I am impressed by your maturity and your willingness to take on life! I wish you all of the best as you navigate through this crazy, wonderful world!

    I must say, I also love hearing the side of restored relationships. I'm am so happy that your family has been able to work through the muck to make something beautiful.

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  10. Julie Anne and Hannah,


    I took a look at the Google review site….only for a moment…I just could not bear it. HOWEVER, I ran across Hannah’s entry and read what I think is possibly the smartest, most succinct, most pointedly applicable bit of wisdom I have ever seen written on the whole topic of your former church-pastor-lawsuit-survivor blog phenomenon:

    “Christianity should be able to stand on its own, I Should be able to compare and investigate worldly things and see what the Bible says about it.”

    Julie Anne…your daughter GETS IT, she truly does. While being accountable to other believers is an important part of the Christian walk, in the final analysis, others can merely see our outward behavior, not our hearts. It is in the moments when no one else is looking, in the quiet recesses of our souls that the rubber meets the road…and only God is watching. Ever ready to forgive us when we acknowledge that we have fallen short. BUT...how can a believer learn to wrestle with their conscience when they have this external grip of steel being applied to their outward behavior leaving no room for personal responsibility!!

    Hannah, I am so sorry that your former church tried to convince you by its actions that Christianity can not stand on it’s own; but rather needs constant, invasive, extra-biblical micromanaging. Ugh…such a damnable set of lies that was.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Whoa, Fred! You worship your God with that mouth? Oh wait, no, you worship your god, the one in the mirror.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Did you notice Fred's interests on his blogger profile?

    Interests: Hassling tin-foil hat fundamentalists, annoying King Jimmy Onlyists...

    Hassling and annoying people....really? And this is Christ-like?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Fred, if you read this and are interested in advice, then leave a reply, and I'll email you. We'll get you on the Leptin diet. We'll combine that with weight training, and we'll progressively introduce high interval training. Over the coming months, I bet that you could shed about 50 pounds. You'll feel better. You can learn to be a positive influence. Life will be better.

      (Besides, some of those "tin-foil hat" people you mention, may actually have good insights that you should listen to. You know, Fred, the world is not the same as presented to us by the corporate media. The "tin-foil" people as you call them, are those who look beyond the government/corporate media narrative.)

      Delete
  13. Recovering PhariseeAugust 2, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Hannah, thanks for sharing your story and being so real and open. You seem to have processed a lot of what you experienced and have come through it with a clear mind and a desire to learn from this, even though it's painful.
    I think that many of us who profess to be Christians can learn a lot from your example.

    As for whether you will re-find God again, that is between you and Him. I can empathize with discouragement about Christianity in general, and yet also recgonizing the difference between that and a spiritually abusive environment.

    It has been freeing for me to realize that God can be found in or outside of the four walls of a church building. Hopefully, as more people like you and your mom boldly stand up to spiritual abuse, more churches will value and welcome people being real rather than perfect. Kinda like the Jesus we profess to follow.

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    1. I agree with "Recovering Pharisee". I lost my faith for many years, not because of spiritual abuse, but because of profound disappointments. Through God's help, I regained my faith in Christ. I don't attend church because I don't like them. But I know Who Christ is.

      Delete
    2. Bob, I think that this is how it works for most of us. I was talking with a good friend of mine yesterday. He is a Christian, and he struggles with sin. He definitely gets it, and is still learning, and so am I. He is in his mid 60's. He is one who always wants to please God. But he realizes that there is nothing that he can do (WORKS) that will please him. Nothing at all. The only thing that pleases God is by our own Faith in him alone...God does not give us faith, he can only increase it...we are to LEAN INTO his care. I have a favorite dog that his son has. And every time I go over to his place, that dog LEANS INTO ME for love and affection. That is what God wants us to do, to lean into him. When we finally get to the point in our lives when we finally surrender (relax), and let God direct our life, then we understand that we cannot do it on our own. At some point, we need God's help. This, too, is what I am having a problem with...surrendering to God. I always want to do it my way. It's tough to give that up. We all need an actual testimony, which brought us to Christ, and not a testiphony. Just going to church will not give you that. It is something that you, as an individual, must come to. Knowing that there is a heaven and hell is the first step. What happens when we die? Will I stand at the judgment seat of Christ, or the Great White Throne? Is there a resurrection of the dead? Those who "lose faith" are rejecting the savior. Those who reject the savior are not actually acknowledging their own sins. What really is sin? Is what I am doing really pleasing to God, or is it to please me? Churches need to teach us how to be individuals, to think for our selves by providing us with these questions for ourselves. Hannah is on the same path that I have been on in my youth. This is not unique. We are all learning in this life's journey. And in order to have that testimony, which we must do it on our own first. That testimony should be the sole reason that one will never lose that faith. Some of us that goes to church needs to remove the masks, and show to the world, "HEY, I AM NOT OK...I AM NOT FINE...I STILL HAVE ISSUES THAT EFFECT MY LIFE...UNRESOLVED ISSUES". Many of us enters the church by the doors, putting on a mask that tells everyone that we have peace in our lives, when we really don't. All the worship songs, and the preaching will not resolve those issues. We have to remove the mask, and show our tears, show our anger (and sin not), etc. We have to be real. There are a lot of us recovering Pharisees out there. I am still learning how not to be one.

      Delete
    3. Beautiful, Ed. That reminds me - I was talking with a teen last week at camp who disclosed some deeply personal stuff to me. She was caught in sin and knew she was stuck. I expressed to her that what I saw in her was so beautiful. Not the sin part, but that she had gotten to the end of her rope, that she was real, vulnerable and that was the point at which she could finally surrender.

      She asked me why does she not see this kind of vulnerability in church? Wow, from the mouths of babes. She nailed it. If you think of it, please pray for this young lady. She's going to need a lot of prayers to go through what she's dealing with.

      Delete
    4. I will. I emailed you a further response.

      Delete
    5. Ed writes: He is one who always wants to please God. But he realizes that there is nothing that he can do (WORKS) that will please him. Nothing at all.

      Our works actually can please God, not works alone, but a life lived out in the Spirit. As we cultivate the gift of salvation we’ve been given, it is God Himself who works in us ‘both to will and to do for His good pleasure’ Phil 2:13. We can actually be an expression of God’s good pleasure. We can truly please him with lives of holy service.

      ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ Hebrews 11:6

      Delete
    6. One of those rewards is an inexpressible joy that the world can not know. See John 15:1-17

      Delete
    7. There, however, is a difference between GOOD WORKS which reflect the spirit, and works that we do on our own to please God. They are both unrelated.

      Delete
  14. Hey folks: Let's try not to do any mud-slinging directly at people. Understandably, this gets people's dander up. There are certainly other ways we can express our disgust and disappointment. We're going to take the higher road here.

    thanks!

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    1. There has been a good deal of name calling and personal insults directed at Fred for awhile now. I quickly tire of reading where such insults and personal attacks are allowed and continue.

      Do I like Fred's stance on spiritual abuse or the mannner in which he appraoches those who say they were in an unhealthy church? I sure don't. Not at all.

      My thoughts are that neither things are right.

      The continuing focus on Fred brings him to the attention of more and more people. It changes the focus of some. It puts some in attack 'us versus them' mode. There is so much more to discuss about spiritual abuse than what Fred thinks and it can be done without ever bringing up his name, his blog, or anything he says. You are not going to silence him. And you sure are not going to help him to see that his views on the subject need to be adjusted by calling him all sorts of names, making character attacks and saying things like he is a mess physically because you feel he is overweight, for instance. Instead, he is likely to feel that due to such responses, many here were never really abused, but may have been the abusers themselves. Think about that for awhile.

      This is not the way to educate people on spiritual abuse, in my opinion.

      You cannot run around putting out every "fire" of gossip and false accusations over your church experience with BGBC. There will ALWAYS be those who will say and believe things that they never looked into for themselves, nor verified the veracity thereof. Believe me, I know first hand, with having a former pastor who still caused me hurt and problems years after I had left and had not been bothering him. If you run after all these things, then you will wear yourself out and you will lose your focus- not just on what you are wishing to accomplish with your blog, but perhaps even with your walk with God.

      Fred is simply one of many who do not understand or want to understand what really happens when one is involved in an unhealthy church. I encourage you to lose the focus on him and instead, educate your readers another way about the many aspects and consequences of spiritual abuse.

      Should you desire to continue bringing all this attention to Fred, then please start removing the insulting commentary, from both sides. For me, my desire to come here will fade should such continue.

      Delete
    2. Lois - I wasn't going to entertain much more from Fred if he was disruptive, but he crossed the line with my daughter and I'm dealing with it publicly as he trashed my daughter publicly. I'm putting up trigger warnings, feel free to not read. Thanks!

      Delete
    3. It doesn't trigger me. I saw what he said and did and definitely do not agree with it. Things like that are going to happen. Been there.

      I am sorry if you don't get what I was attempting to share.

      Delete
    4. I understand what you are saying, Lois. We've talked about this privately before and I understand your side and respect your views. This blog is about spiritual abuse, it's about our case, it's about how this case has been about spiritual abuse. This story illustrates how spiritual abuse is continuing even after the lawsuit. It shows how another man has been blinded and drawn into it by a manipulative man. I believe these are important topics to discuss.

      I'm sorry you are uncomfortable with me bringing them to the blog. Another thing is that this blog is my sounding board. I come here for support, too. Yesterday's comment was shocking to me. My precious daughter was trashed publicly on the internet. There was another troll who left a nasty comment about Emily and her friend yesterday. Her mother told me she was in tears for quite some time. Yea, it hurts. This is emotional. I get support here, too.

      Delete
    5. I am not personally uncomfortable that he was brought to the blog. I do not like the name calling and personal attacks that have been a result. They cause the blog to change.

      I know you were hurt by what he said. Believe me, I well understand. I won't share further about the subject.

      Delete
    6. Yes, I was uncomfortable about the personal attacks and posted a comment requesting that we take the higher road and refrain from personal attacks. I agree completely. I also added a sentence to the posting rules to say that I reserve the right to delete/remove posts that are not supportive or are rude. I don't want this blog to go to that level of behavior. I think we're on the same page there, Lois :)

      Delete
  15. So, you were discussing a creating a forum for spiritual abuse refugees to have more online resources to detox and planning some spiritual battle tactics and then Chuck/Fred/Satan brings up the distraction of focusing on the sins of the wounded instead of on exposing the wolves. Sound familiar? Discredit the messenger so the message will be lost. The enemy will do anything to prevent real spiritual growth from happening. Let's not get distracted. What Fred posted is a hurtful, personal attack but it is gossip. Whether true or not it is a common story for many, Chuck included. It does not change what happened at BGBC to so many who have posted here or what is happening in churches everywhere. Fred is wrong, it does not actually re-frame your story.

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    Replies
    1. Hang tight, sleepy. You are absolutely right. I have not missed this clear distraction and have seen it time and again and will post something shortly. It's being proofread right now.

      Delete
  16. Thank you Hannah for your honesty. I'm confident that your story will be used for good.

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  17. Julie Anne and Hannah,
    Bless you and your family. I am so grateful to see how truth has been revealed in this situation. Trust in the Creator, Savior and His Holy Spirit. The One who gave you your life on earth and in heaven he will supply all you need.
    I am an older woman who has attended and served in church my whole life. My husband and I raised our children in church. We homeschooled our children before homeschooling was cool. We have been members of three churches so far in our married life, the first two 10-12 years each and the last one 20 years. I endured spiritual abuse in all three. My children did as well. I was so brainwashed I did not see it then. I am so heartbroken that I allowed that church to rob us of so much. My husband and I have been “dechurched” for 7 years now.
    THE GOOD NEWS
    The most amazing thing was right away I was hit hard with the realization of how big God is. How alive Jesus is and how much he loves us. One of my fears had been I would be separated and distanced from God if I did not go back. Quite the opposite happened. I felt his presence, I felt his warmth and comfort, I was not sad I was alive. I had a sense of having survived death. I was shocked by this it was so unexpected. Life for me is now in living color with no limits on God’s love living through me. I am able to live my life more fully for Christ than ever before. Every day I am free to serve those who need his love where ever I am. A dark cloud has been removed from my vision. I have been renewed and feel alive in Christ more than ever in my life. Now I am experiencing his love flow through me like electricity.
    There are so many people who love the Lord who are not in a church anymore. We have stepped out of the church box and into the arms of Jesus. Into the arms of people like us who just can’t be part of what passes as church today. I imagine this must be what it would feel like to be let out of prison after the false charges against you were dropped. I have such joy.
    Other thoughts:
    • The guys behind the pulpit do not have God and his son Jesus Christ held hostage in their church (or me any more) (or you anymore).
    • The mega church does not have a bigger piece of God. You do not have to go there to find God. God is bigger. He is way bigger.
    Thanking God that the internet has allowed bloggers to share their stories and expose the unjust and create a community of believers who take a stand in the name of Christ. Push back the darkness. Shine the light. Mend the broken hearts. Love what God loves.

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  18. It is too bad that this situation has gotten to this point. You have to expect that if you throw stones to expect that those stones will get returned with the same velocity and accuracy. Turn about is fair play.

    It seems to me that this is just the beginning. Your opponents are actively looking for dirt.

    Seeking the truth

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    1. No, her opponents are creating dirt whole cloth. They are creating lies and falsehoods to try to get back at Julie Anne because she told the truth about them and they cannot accept the truth.

      Fred Butler is a gossip, spreading lies without checking their truth first. That is the definition of defamation. Fred, is a gossipy liar. And everyone in his town, his church, his family, and his business ought to be told that.

      And his source, who has manipulated him, is also a liar.

      Delete
    2. To Seeking the Truth

      "You have to expect that if you throw stones to expect that those stones will get returned with the same velocity and accuracy. Turn about is fair play."

      If you are truly seeking the Truth, do you have Scripture to back those statements?

      Delete
    3. Seeking the truthAugust 3, 2012 at 3:53 AM

      @10:20 If someone throws a rock at you, throw a flower back at them, but, make sure that the flower is still in the pot!!

      It is an axiom. A figure of speech. Not intended as a Biblical reference or to be taken literally. This whole blog is a case study of human nature.

      Delete
  19. Seeking The TruthAugust 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    ...defamation? Not according to J Fun. BTW - I might have missed it, but I do not see a denial.

    I am a little surprised at your reaction attorney. You are such a proponent of the freedom of speech. Not as much fun now.(no pun intended)

    Seeking the truth

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    1. To Seeking the Truth,

      The Truth is not "pfunny" - you are not Seeking the Truth. You are a "Troll" who is talking about "I do not see a denial." You are not Seeking the Truth, you are "poking at An Attorney" about freedom of speech.

      In my opinion, "An attorney" is a Truth-Seeker. And you? A Troll.

      Delete
    2. Seeking the TruthAugust 3, 2012 at 3:44 AM

      I am having a bit of "fun" with the obvious hypocritical fallacies that go on in this blog.

      It seems that there is more to the story than a pastor that is accused of leading a cult. The church congregants are saying that Hannah was counseled for relations outside of marriage. Hannah is a bit slow to deny the allegation.

      You can draw your own conclusion, but I believe the truth will eventually get out. I doubt that the congregants that perceive attack are just going to roll over.

      Delete
    3. re: Seeking the Truth

      So, it sounds like you're enjoying making everyone else here into your equivalent of a "Stanford Prison Experiment." Curious ... are you being a guard, warden, perpetrator, or perpetuator?

      And of course the truth will eventually emerge. Perhaps not by the best means, as with Mr. Butler's unchecked "facts" supplied by a congregant source? But the Lord Almighty surely cannot be pleased with Mr. Butler’s-and-source’s actions. Are you?

      By the way, which role do you see yourself playing in this *Absence of Malice* scenario? Would you be having a bit of fun watching the woman in that film whose reputation was ruined by “insider” information, supplied by "a source," put into the public eye for all to see, on the front page of a newspaper ... and when she realizes what’s been said, she goes down the street trying to pick up all the morning newspapers before people start coming out to get them?

      Things will never be as they were before. And you're having a bit of fun at the expense of deep human misery on ALL sides of the situation. This has devastated the Smith family and the other plaintiffs, as it has Pastor O'Neal, his family, and the congregation of Beaverton Grace Bible Church. Now that misery has rippled out to Mr. Butler and his family, and perhaps his zealotry has put his livelihood at risk. And you're having a bit of fun ... truly cruel. Who exactly is it that you serve in your life?

      Delete
    4. @Seeking the Truth or anyone else who doubts... If you have questions, ask me: my e-mail is Hannah.smith1217@gmail.com. Fred doesn't rate enough in my book to categorically deny the gossip. He didn't have the courtesy to verify what he posted publicly. I look forward to your e-mail.

      Delete
    5. Seeking the TruthAugust 5, 2012 at 3:43 AM

      Sorry Hannah - I would love to get everyone's side of the story and I hope that some objective and unbiased reporter get's the full story. I am not a coward, I just cannot afford to get involved in anything that could potentially cost me and my family our wealth and reputation.

      My view is that you injected yourself in an ongoing dispute between your parents and Oneil. Something happened in 2008 that triggered the events. I can only speculate, but it seems to have not much to do with spiritual abuse.

      The spiritual abuse discussion has pretty much changed to "cult like" and "cult." Oneil has been accused of some pretty outrageous things. I think of my own church and the technology and tightening of security that we went through in the last 5 years in our nursery area. I have no doubt that things were laxer in that time frame. However, I cannot imagine or believe that a pastor would blatantly and purposefully disregard that aspect of church management and security. I further believe that JA and company exploited those events to drive home a point and I think that 4 years of attack is utterly ridiculous.

      I think the pervert in the nursery accusation was horrible and I wish J. Fun could have based his ruling on whether Oneil was culpable.


      What you all are doing is more about bringing a man down rather than providing a place to share spiritual abuse concerns. I know it seems that the majority of people share your view. Remember that the people on this blog are only a very thin sliver and many appear to be "activist."

      BTW - Was there a meeting in 2008 between you and Oneil, and did your mom blame the pastor for your departure? If there was a meeting, was it before or after the staff member left?

      Delete
    6. "Seeking,"

      These questions you're asking of Hannah have already been answered on this blog, some several times over. You evidently can't or won't accept them. Please stop pestering her to answer questions that have been already been addressed.

      In addition, your words like "4 years of attack" are silly. Julie Anne posted reviews, which were removed. She then started a blog. How is that 4 years of attack? On the other hand, a pastor who blasts people who leave the church from the pulpit, who directs his congregation to have no contact with them because he says they are under discipline, who shows up at their home with secret recorders, who sues those who would disagree with him in public--well, that is an attack.

      Hear this: Disagreeing with Chuck O'Neal is not attacking him. Just because he thinks it's so does not make it so.

      Ask yourself how much you "know" is from CON and his supporters. Do you not think he controls, or tries to, the message? I ask this because you reject the written testimony of people who are sharing their own experiences.

      Chuck O'Neal does not have the corner on the truth. Just because he thinks it's so does not make it so.

      Delete
    7. Not seeking truth bu purveying lies:

      The facts have already been put forth on this blog and Fred has admitted that his allegation was not truth. You need to crawl back under the rock where creatures like you usually live.

      Delete
    8. ADMIN NOTE: I read a response to Seeking the Truth earlier. It was a great comment. When I checked again, it was gone. I was on my Iphone reading it and I may have deleted it in error. So sorry!

      Seeking the Truth: The intent of this blog is not to debate what happened to us or discredit us. You can read what the intent is on the upper-right side of the screen by my picture.

      I will address a few of your comments and then will be watching every future comment of yours very carefully.

      Regarding whether our former pastor was culpable - let's compare it to the Penn State case. There were a lot of people who knew and covered up and they have lost jobs and have been arrested. He admittedly covered it up for many months. Our pastor allowed the victims to remain in the same house as the perpetrator. Does that show care/concern for the victims? The pastor was against outside counseling. Did he make an exception for these children because of the horrific crimes committed against them? Most likely not since he condoned the perpetrator living in the same home as the victims. Any counselor would have first reported the crime, but also ensured that victims were in a safe place. The pastor would have known that. Did you get that the crimes were rape/sodomy and many counts? I don't understand all this business about "exploitation". Who was exploiting whom?

      And while we're at it, let's discuss this "inappropriate touch" thing that came out in the press and in the mom's court document. Do you not see the pattern of minimizing, not taking proper care to make sure victims are safe, covering up the crime, not telling congregants the true story (inappropriate touch cannot be equated with rape, give me a break), failing to report? I'm seeking that the truth be disclosed which seems to be contrary to your name. You seem to want to protect someone who failed to shepherd and guard his own. Why would you do such a thing?

      Meeting with Hannah/pastor/etc was probably 12/07
      Hannah left home 1/08
      Don was fired 11/8
      We left a few weeks later.

      Lastly, I want to address your first paragraph. You said this: I am not a coward, I just cannot afford to get involved in anything that could potentially cost me and my family our wealth and reputation.

      Not one of the 5 defendants have initiated a lawsuit against anyone (except the anti-SLAPP used in defense). You have no basis for not sending an e-mail to Hannah. How could this cost you wealth and your reputation? The only way this would cost you is if the pastor sued us again and there was discovery done which would mean all e-mails would be confiscated for possible use in court. So even though you do not have anything to do with the church, you seem to be afraid of getting drawn in. Hmm, a pastor who sues people who asks questions. Does that not sound creepy, controlling, and even cult-like? Perhaps you really do get it deep down inside - that our pastor could draw you in - and that's why you don't want to involve yourself.

      You are not willing to risk your wealth/reputation. All of us have been willing to lose our wealth/reputation in order to help others by exposing the truth. Our wealth and reputation is nothing compared to the 13 years of lives that have been destroyed emotionally/spiritually. How can you put a price tag on that?

      Delete
    9. My post was directed at Hannah.

      I can see that you are convinced that you are absolutely right and Oneil is absolutely wrong. I will leave you with this thought though. In every dispute and in every two party accident both parties are somewhat at fault. Do you really think that what you did was 100% right? Could you have handled the matter differently? You realize that there are absolutely innocent victims, namely the pastors children, and the family and victims of the perpetrator.

      No matter what you might think, you are not without sin and you handled this matter wrong.

      My work is complete here. Perhaps I will visit your blog again one day.

      Delete
    10. I know your post was directed to Hannah, however, it's my blog and as moderator I wanted to point out that I find your comments not in line with what we are trying to do here.

      The pastor is responsible for his own actions. If his own actions cause harm to his family, that is not my responsibility.

      What you consistently leave out of the picture is the scores of people who are former members, some no longer going to church because of their disdain for pastors/church/God. Do those precious people not count?

      Delete
    11. @ Seeking the Truth.

      You suggest each party has some *relative* responsibility and then immediately you state that "you [i.e., Julie Anne] ... handled this matter wrong" - using the language of *absolutism.* Your statement may demonstrate how clever you are at supposed forms of logic, but also demonstrates lack of critical thinking skills.

      There is a difference between raising reasonable doubt versus implanting twisted reasonings and calling them "truth."

      In my opinion, the language and content of your comments on Julie Anne's posts from July 31st and onward demonstrate little to no indication that your commenting has anything to do with "seeking the truth" - but instead with distorting and hiding truth. After reviewing all your comments of the past week, I have concluded you came to this blog with NO CONSTRUCTIVE PURPOSES in mind for your own edification, for the readers here, or for the Kingdom. I hope my opinion is wrong and that some seeds of truth were planted in your heart and mind that may eventually take root ...

      Delete
    12. Thank you, Brad. I completely agree with your assessment of the posts.

      Even the name "Seeking the Truth" seems to be missing the boat. After looking over the posts, I'd say a better name choice would be "Stirring the Pot" - but having a name like that would surely have got this moderator's attention.

      Delete
    13. Ben: Your post was the one I saw on my phone and then "disappeared" when I looked for it later. I just found it in the spam folder. I'm glad it was recovered because your comment is GREAT! Thanks :)

      Delete
    14. Who exactly is it that you serve in your life?

      Delete
    15. Wow! Seeking... has made himself the judge and finds her in sin.

      Yes! Seeking... myopically draws things in blacks and whites (“the language of *absolutism*” a la brad), and the presentation of his own heart here, as expressed through his twisted words, demonstrates that he does not share in the mind of Christ.

      “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” ((Jesus in Matthew 12:33-37))

      Delete
    16. Seeking

      I am glad you have finished your evil behavior on this blog. It is evident that you know absolutely nothing or what you "know" came from Chuck O'Neal or one of his deceived church members.

      The only reason that the information about the failure to report and the failure to warn the congregation was made public is because O'Neal, falsely and with evil intent, accused Julie Anne of reporting him to the authorities for child abuse. It was not she who reported him, and it was not for child abuse. So she had to reveal the truth to counteract his lies.

      Seeker, as long as you keep believing the lies and repeating them, you are as guilty the sin of rumor mongering, aka gossip, because you are spreading falsehood. Jesus suggested if your tongue is causing you to sin, you should cut it out. Perhaps you need to abstain from the computer until you get right with the one who died to redeem you from your sins.

      Delete
  20. Hannah, I do not doubt your word. And I am so sorry that you have been treated the way you have. It is and has been WRONG. I am so sorry.

    What I do know is this. Years ago I was physically hurt and betrayed by some men who were supposed to be my heroes. Their secrets, lies and mistakes mounted and then they quickly reversed their tactics and blamed me, trying to remove their responsibility. Boy, I did not understand why God allowed this to happen to me. It was painful. I struggled. I doubted. I lost trust and faith in people. I was angry.

    You know, no Sunday school lesson I had ever sat through addressed what to do with righteous anger, or any anger for that matter. I counseled with Norman Wright. He shared with me that anger was an okay feeling to feel and that God created the emotion for a reason. What I did with this anger was going to be my gift to God. Ummm.
    Norm also told me that I was to allow myself to grieve. (Never had grieving lessons either.) I literally asked him what this meant and how I was to do it. Basically it came down to me allowing myself to feel the sadness, loss, and hurt that I had experienced. Hannah, you have forgiven Fred and those who have hurt you. It took me awhile to figure out that forgiveness wasn’t an emotion but an act of obedience to God.

    Through my journey to healing I have met countless wonderful people. Yes, two men hurt me and they were held accountable. No, they never said they were sorry. Yet the law in California was changed due to their actions and what they did to me. God has used my story to encourage many and give others hope.

    Today, I can say that I am thankful that God trusted me with pain.
    Hannah, God does not waste a thing. It’s my prayer that you will experience His love, meet countless wonderful people on your road to healing and grasp how much God loves you.

    God promises to bring good out of the bad. Good out of the harm the doctors had created. I had no idea what good this could be. Yet, I met my husband in a hospital 3,000 miles away from home, the night of my tenth surgery, while in a cast from the waist down. Months later he checked me out of the hospital to take me on a date. The first time he saw me walk was down the aisle at our wedding.

    Girl, the good is coming to you as well! I don’t know what it will be. I don’t know how it will come. But God promises that it will.
    Hannah, you have been gracious, and you are beautiful. I hope to one day get to meet you. Yet tonight I pray that rest knowing that you have done your best and that you can even trust God with your reputation.

    Hugs from someone who admires you, JLM

    Ps I am mailing your mom a copy of my book with this story in it. You might find it a fun read.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sad: Your posts were deleted because they were duplicate posts from May (as you mentioned).

    I can respect your opinion that this blog is not necessary, but do not agree with your assessment. When God tells me to shut it down, I will. If you only read my e-mails from today, you would see that it is meeting needs. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Certainly your perrogative . . .your blog after all. Second post was not a duplicate . .written in response to the court ruling.

    I apologize if my post was threatening . . .not my intent. Appears that two kinds of posts are allowed: 1.) fully supportive or 2.) completely outrageous posts that are sure to get blasted.

    I didn't really think that you would agree with my assessment . . but do believe that it was genuine and not disrutive or rude (worthy of deletion).

    Isn't a deleted post or comment (yours) where this whole twisted tale originated?

    In any event. Be blessed and serve well. Someday we will celebrate together at the Kings table and none of this will matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry. I understood both to be duplicates. Please forgive me. Feel free and repost the 2nd one.

      I don't agree with your assessment the two kinds of posts allowed. I allow all kinds of posts - even negative posts directed towards me. This weekend, I had too many disruptive troll comments and I don't want to encourage that.

      Yes, deleted posts certainly was part of this" twisted tale:. I only deleted yours because you mentioned it was duplicate (and as I said, I mistakenly deleted the 2nd thinking it, too, was part of the duplication). My Google reviews weren't deleted because they were duplicate. They were deleted because he didn't like them period. Your original post remains and will remain.

      I hope you will come back and see that there is good being accomplished here, that it's not all negative.

      Delete

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