Friday, October 19, 2012

Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit: A Victim's Mom Speaks

For over five months, I have been in personal contact with one of the moms involved in the recent Sovereign Grace lawsuit.   I am going to call her SGMMom here.  Going over my e-mails I was reminded that she had sent me an e-mail right about the time the media exposed my lawsuit.  Here is the first e-mail she sent me:

May 17, 2012 
Julie Anne:

Thank you for standing up for survivors of spiritual abuse everywhere! I admire your strength and courage.  I have read some of your blogposts and I hope that this lawsuit is thrown out by the court soon.
I too am a survivor from SGM.   I am praying for you.

And here is the 2nd e-mail she sent as I was about to go to the first court hearing.  She had been reading the blog and obviously made note of the first court date and time:

Julie Anne:  
You are in my prayers and I will be praying for you tomorrow. You have such a simple, sweet and yet strong spirit about you. I live on the East Coast, but I will be keeping you in my heart at 9:00 a.m. your time. May God richly bless you and keep you in the trial...from what you said today on the blog...obviously He is. 

There have been many more e-mails and also phone calls since then.  At the beginning of our relationship, I was not aware of her family's impending lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries, et al.  

What struck me about SGMMom is that she was able to offer support to me despite the grief she had experienced in her own family.  

The aftermath of the abuse has been going on for years for her.  In many abusive church environments, problems are confined to the church - never shared with outsiders.  Outsiders are considered secular and worldly and against God.  Members are told that outsiders do not handle sin issues the way churches do and outside involvement is seen as inferior to a church's way of handling issues.  Personal issues are kept under wraps and most likely she and her family  were very alone for those first years until the survivor blogs came along.  They may have heard stories here and there, but when the SGM survivor blogs came along, it became apparent that their story was not unique.   They were not imagining things.   They were not alone.  What they had experienced was validated by other stories.

SGMmom and the other moms and families do not have a public blog like I did during my lawsuit.  They can read comments on news articles, but there is not any one place for them to receive support directed to them, especially since their identities are concealed.  I spoke with SGMMom and asked if she would be willing to give updates that I could post here - sharing what is going on emotionally, spiritually as they are going through this journey with their court case.  Her attorney gave the okay and that is what we will be doing here on my blog.  

I will use this blog to share with you how you can specifically pray for these families.  The comments will be open for you to offer words of encouragement, comfort, scripture, etc.  I would love to see the comments filled with encouraging words from readers who are praying for these precious families.

So, below is the first communication from SGMMom expressly for the purpose of sharing here to my blog readers:

SGMMom shares her feelings here:   

calm, firmly resolved, saddened that this drastic step was needed, hopeful that real change and appropriate policies will be implemented, praying that justice will be done for all of the victims

And here is a quote from SGMMom (mom of one of the plaintiff's in the SGM lawsuit):

“For over twenty-five years, pastors in Sovereign Grace Ministries, when faced with sex abuse cases, chose a pattern of cover-up and obstruction of justice, repeatedly treating molestation as if it was only a sin or moral failing and not treating it as a crime. This pastoral negligence has compounded the trauma of the sex abuse victims and their loved ones.”
“When is the reputation of a church ever more important than the safety and well-being of children?"
"By filing this Class Action lawsuit, we are standing up for all of the victims of sex abuse cover-up within SGM. There are other victims not yet mentioned in the legal draft and for a variety of reasons have not come forward yet--we are taking a stand for them as well."

I've noticed something about spiritual abusive survivors over the last several months.  Some of them are the most caring, genuine, loving, grace-filled people I have ever met.  I was fortunate to have media exposure and with that exposure came lots of support.  It was wonderful.  I am hoping that we can extend that same kind of support to SGMMom and the other families in the comment section.  

photo credit: *¦·sindorella·¦* via photopin cc


  1. SGMMom - when Julie Anne suggested we share notes of support and encouragement with you, the very first thing that came to mind was a prayer that someone sent me nearly 25 years ago. That was when I was feeling led to minister to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. At the time, I didn’t even know anyone with the disease, and wondered how I could ever adequately connect with and serve them in the name in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 gave me a touchstone: I needed compassion in general to be wiling to share with them the comfort that I’d received from the Father in my own sufferings -- not empathy that understood their situation exactly. With that, I could breathe easier and move forward with confidence.

    Every so often the Spirit brings this prayer to mind, I hunt it down again in my files, read it, re-absorb it, and thank the Lord that it was written. May you find something of comfort and encouragement therein:


    Be at peace. Do not fear the changes of life, rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them.

    He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in His arms.

    Do not be afraid of what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.

    He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

    Be at peace and put aside all anxious thought and imaginations.

    SGMMom and all the other children, Moms, Dads you represent … thanks for your undaunted courage to challenge wrong and seek right. We don’t yet know the outcome, but we do know the One who has Overcome all things on our behalf. May He each day give you the stamina you need, the tenacity you desire, and moments of joy to puncture any gloom that attempts to descend upon you.

  2. SGMMom....thank you. Although I have never attended an SGM church, I am a survivor of childhood sex abuse and of spiritual abuse. My heart is with you. And I pray for these church leaders what I prayed for those who abused me....Father, let them take themselves down. Let their true selves be manifestly apparent for the court and all to see. Let their true nature show clearly. Let the truth be plainly seen.

    For you and your daughter and all the others who are taking this stand, may God give your what you need: strength, peace, resolve, clarity and the knowledge of His deep affection for you.

  3. Welcome, SGMMom. So glad that you have joined us here! It is good to hear your voice and to have a place where your voice is heard and valued. Those who have been wounded in many ways in the church are able to hear, love, and support you as you take a stand for what is right.

    We look forward to updates through the long haul. Share our love and welcome with the others who also have the courage to stand together and do what is needed at this time.


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