There is a time to speak, after others have spoken. For me, this time is now. I am writing this tonight in response to each new person who has had great courage in sharing the worst of the worst of the human experience that they have been forced to endure.
But…I say this to you…You should NOT have had to have this courage.
That you have spoken and shared and screamed your pain is nothing except honorable, and beautiful, and dignified…
NO MATTER WHAT WORDS YOU’VE USED OR TONE OF VOICE YOU HAVE HAD OR HOW YOU’VE BEEN RECEIVED. Period.
It is us who has failed YOU, as you have told us. Over and over and over and over. If we fail you again, because we willfully do not listen, and then willfully do not speak, and then willfully do not act, you STILL will be only beautiful and whole. It is us only who will be contemptible and worth nothing but to be trampled under the feet of passersby. Not you.
Before I shift to talking to those I feel impelled to address, I want to tell you who I am. I am a person who has been a worker. I am not now a worker. I have chosen not to tell my name. I do this in part because I am your neighbor, your friend, your relative. I am in your meeting. I am in your field. You know me. And when you read my words to you, I do not want you to hear ME or picture ME. I want you to see YOU. I want you to not be distracted by any other thing. But to really hear and begin to understand where we are today.
I am deeply ashamed. With every new letter from every additional overseer I am more and more ashamed. I am not ashamed that I have been a worker. I am not ashamed of my calling. I am not ashamed of Jesus. But I am deeply ashamed of you…men I have trusted.
At first, after this cascade began to unfold, I took hope because there was at least acknowledgment that something was horribly wrong. I thought I could see a hint in the first letters that there might be an earnest and forthright examining. But then, letters continued to come.
Some said only to share locally. Some said to feel free to distribute. But most were not close to the anguished crying out of the heart I was hearing on every side. Words like “double life,” “sexually immoral,” “sorry to have to tell you this,” “it has come to our attention,” began to be seen in letter after letter. And my hopes became disappointments, and then my heart began to hurt. More and more. With each new day.
We began to see news of others. People who had purposefully and intently and with foresight and great planning inflicted wounds. Wounds to the hearts and minds and bodies of children and of women and of men. Grievous wounds. Not once or twice. But repeatedly. Again and again against the same person. Then moved on to inflict horrible wounds again and again against another person. And then moved on to inflict more wounds…wounds reaching back decades and decades, but that fester and weep because cries and pleadings of the wounded were violently and fiercely silenced.
And we learned these were things that were news. But they also were NOT news. We knew of ourselves and the wounds WE had borne, but thought we were the only ones bearing these wounds. We had had ANOTHER tell us in the dark of night, as they wept bitterly, of wounds THEY bore, but we and they thought we had all borne these wounds alone, isolated…”unusual”…”unfortunate”…and even “guilty” of the wounds inflicted ON us.
But they were not alone and we were not alone. Little by little we began to understand…that these events, these stories, these secrets…they were news to many. But to those who have been given great responsibility…of love, and kindness, and gentleness, and protection…to those men? This was not news. These stories were not new to them. They had known. And they had known for months and years. In situation after situation, they had known. And they chose a course, knowing.
To those men, I speak to you now directly. Every single one of you who have been known to be overseers among us. Or who have been at the right and left hand of those we have called overseers. We have loved you. We have borne your foibles and eccentricities and uniquenesses, as you have ours. But today. Even as our hearts find hope in our Shepherd, we weep in anger and fear and the bitter taste of the cries of those you have grievously wounded.
When the children wept to you and told you the wolves were chewing them to pieces, you turned to the wolves with gentleness and intreated them to loosen their jaws and be kinder. As the wolves turned to you with blood on their teeth, you said to the children, “see? They have repented. What they have done to you is regrettable. But we need them and we believe they will be kind and gentle, because they have told us they will.”
When the wolves rent the sheep, and the sheep fled, crying back over their shoulder, “If we stay we will be consumed,” you called after them, “come back, come back, we have moved the wolf and the wolf has told us they are now a sheep.” But as they came back, afraid to trust, but with great trembling, wanting to trust just once more, they heard from the neighboring pasture the screaming bleats of the sheep and the growling glee of the wolf as they set to their life’s purpose all over again.
I say this to you. If you are reading this and you say, “this is not to me. I am not that overseer.” Then please be assured. I am speaking to you most of all.
You have believed the wolf. You have eaten with the wolf. You have laughed with the wolf. You have encouraged the wolf. You have said to the wolf, “I believe you are a good sheep. You have been a good sheep to me. I do not believe you have done many of the things the little children, and the lambs, and the sheep have told me you did to them. Because you have told me you did not do those things. And I trust you, my brother. When the little children, and the lambs, and the sheep told me about you, they told me screaming, and weeping, and they were unkind about you. They did not have a merciful spirit toward you. But as for me, I see the blood on your jaws. I see the ear hanging from your teeth. But I forgive you. Do you promise you will not act as a wolf, but will now act as a sheep?” And when the wolf told you, “Yes. With all of my heart, yes. I have always been a sheep, but I slipped and have had a momentary lapse into the heart of a wolf. But no more. I am a sheep,” you believed the wolf. Though the wolf told you differently with every new act, with every new scream from a freshly wounded lamb, you still believed the wolf.
Can we take comfort when you share letter after letter with us and tell us that no wolf has access to the little children, and to the lambs, and to the sheep? When we hear the growling of the wolf in the neighboring field? When you just moved the wolf? And we hear them with our own ears? When a freshly wounded child is crying bitterly in our ear, “where were you and why did you not help me when the wolf attacked me yesterday?”
Do not any longer tell us about what you will do. Do not tell us, “we are starting fresh from here…all the past is the past and we can’t deal with all of that…let’s go onward and do better!” Do not tell us these things. It is an abomination. You have not believed the cries of the children. We do not yet believe your entreaties.
You see? You entreat the wolves on the one hand. And you spend much of each of these letters encouraging us to do the same. But all the screams, and cries, and whimpers, and wordless groans you have not just ignored, but gone about silencing by any means you could…we hear them. And we are not alone in hearing them. We have a Father who hears them. And we hear our Father. And our Father is saying to us in our hearts, “Do not believe the wolf. Believe me. Do not pass by on the other side. Stop and hear the cries of the wounded. Let the Pharisees and the Priests pass by, but you must not. You must stop. And you must hear. And you must do what I tell you to do so there are no more screams in the night.”
So to those of you who carry or have carried the title of “those who watch over”, please do not say to us, “but what about the wolf? If we are all sheep who slip, could that make us all wolves too?! Would we not need mercy if we were a wolf?” You have joined with the wolf in not having mercy on the lambs. You have partnered with the wolf and you have not had mercy on the sheep. And to the little children, you have sung a chorus with the wolves, with the refrain, “we have not believed you, because we have believed and loved the wolf.”
Love the lambs. Hear the cries of the sheep. Be tender to the little children. And turn away from the voice of the wolf. The wolf does not care for you…the wolf cares only for access to the ones who cry and are not heard. Do not any longer entreat us to believe the wolf…to trust the wolf…to embrace the wolf.
I do not want to end without also speaking to the wolves. If you do not want the heart and nature of the wolf, tell God alone. If there ever is a time, because of what he alone does in you, that you no longer have the heart of a wolf, do not tell us. Do not ask us to trust you. God himself will know and his work is not hidden. This is between you and God. But we have among us the little lambs who quake when they see you. And when they hear your voice, they shudder. So be content to leave the lambs and let us surround them. Let us hear them. We have heard you for a long, long time. THEY need to hear no more from the wolf. WE need to hear no more from the wolf. There is one, only one, who can hear you when you cry. And he will. But not before he hears his little ones and tends to the soul-rending wounds you have purposely and deliberately inflicted.
Finally, again, as I started, it must also be that I end. Children, women, and men…your anguish is on every side of us. We hear you when we sleep. We see you when we awake. We are not closing our eyes and we are not plugging our ears. And more than that, we are going to do what you need us to do. Please tell us. Please tell us what you find healing…tell of your story, or don’t…but please, keep telling us in some way if we aren’t doing what you need from us. We will listen. I don’t expect you to trust we are listening to YOU now, instead of the wolves who hurt you. But I do expect us to SHOW you we are listening to you and we are listening no longer to the wolf.
Not one more child. Not one more woman. Not one more man. Not one more person harmed.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the courage to stand up and be counted.
May others draw courage from the strength of your righteous conviction and the love you have for the victims of such horrendous abuse. Who have suffered more, compounded by the arrogant, ignorant attitudes of those Overseers and supporters who they went to and cried for help. Shame, shame shame.
Another long sermon designed to make the sermonizer feel better about themselves. Words and more words are useless, just words. Time will reveal the truth and if change is real.
Why are you attacking the messenger and advocate for the wounded?
A professing mother
Ex-worker, I am crying having read every word. You have expressed exactly how I feel about it. I appreciate your Godly love and would like to have more of the same myself. Thank you for your life of service both in and out of the work. Thank you for your clarity, moral fortitude, and wisdom.
It is evident why you are not in the work anymore. The good ones always leave or get pushed out. They have for some time now so we knew that something was very wrong in the ministry, we just never knew it was this horrible. Thank you for your letter.
Thank you for this response to the endless, ridiculous saying that these offenders won’t do it again because they said so. Awful what these workers and overseers have done to whole families!
Thank you for stating what I‘ve thought all along. These overseers have gaslighted entire families, generations. So horrific!
Wolves and sheep do not mix. And wolves in sheep clothing do not mix with sheep. How do you tell the difference? They all dress the same, they all say the same things and they all act the same, until they don’t. Then it is too late. Way to late! My daughter was abused by a long time worker and then later backed up by a long time head worker. Both went on their merry way and are STILL well thought of “sheep”. The abuse of my daughter nearly destroyed our family and my two younger daughters, now in their twenties are still in a hole dealing with the abuse sustained to their older sister. The one that was abused is now a strong Christian and his helping many escape the clutches of the ” truth ” cult. God bless her for that. She is very active getting the younger generation out and is very successful pointing them Chief Jesus. Trying to separate the lambs from wolves dressed like lambs will happen, but not on this earth. The cult was started by an egotistical, creep that is very similar to head workers today. The “truth” cult offers community, “friends” and a sense of belonging, but don’t all cults? That is the appeal. And, that their way is the ONLY way to salvation. Why leave with all these factors? ANSWERS: the wolves and sheep look the same and the head wolves protect the other wolves.
Sadfriend says, “Who have suffered more, compounded by the arrogant, ignorant attitudes of those Overseers and supporters who they went to and cried for help. Shame, shame shame”. Sad friend does not get it that wolves have no shame. And don’t think you can ever cause them to have that emotion. Wolves do what wolves do. Wolves kill, consume and that is
to consume whoever. Wolves care only about wolves. Trying to separate wolves from sheep in the ” truth” cult is like trying to separate a bowl of red and blue Jello mixed together in a bowl. It can’t be done!
To the writer of this letter, thank you, thank you, thank you! It brought tears and a feeling that you truly understand. I would say amen to all of it.
William, I’m sorry you felt it was a sermon. I felt like it was a heartfelt communication.
Kim, there are still some good workers. I have experience of that. We need to make sure their voices are not silenced.
Professing father, like you, this brought tears. I echo what you said. I am a survivor of abuse.
This is very well written. I agree with all of this.
This letter is the same message in my heart for years but I felt mostly alone in advocating for the wounded lambs and sheep. Thank you for helping my heart to heal a little from the depth of understanding regarding this type of suffering that so many do not seem to understand in polite conversation but is more widespread than people want to admit.
How about reporting those wolves you saw with blood on their teeth, and others who stood by and watched it happen
Thank you!! So many stories of abuse from years ago and so many promises of how things are going to be different, but we are in an active situation right now where the workers are handling it the same way, negotiating with the wolf. We were placed in a meeting last September with a child molester. In March, before news of DB came out we asked for a meeting change, the wolf was showing his teeth and had begun grooming my children. But, we were met with resistance and unwillingness from our overseer. The elder who stood up for my children has now had the meeting taken out of his home. I am fighting in court to get a protective order against this child molester and the workers have turned a deaf ear to me. This man was a worker in Minnesota and abused children while he was in the work, moved to WA and married then molested his daughter, was in jail for child molestation and is now in Alaska still preying on children. The pattern is scary and so incredibly hard to understand why preference is being given to keeping the child molester in meeting instead of keeping our little lambs safe??? Thank you so much for speaking up, it is refreshing that there are workers, even former ones, that do have the understanding that the lambs need protection, not the wolves. We are still part of this fellowship, but I am so strongly feeling that I cannot trust ANY worker unless they take action and make a clear stand. Not just words but action and supporting the victims.
I feel your pain! He married my aunt…My story is also on wings.
Please know that you are not alone… The sadness is he could’ve been taken care of in the 60s!
SHAME on all that knew and did nothing!!!
There is a lot of profound truth here. Yes, we are all wolves and need mercy, but some wolves must be alone as a consequence of what they have done to others. The same blood covers us all, but we are not yet free from the presence of sin. The penalty, yes, but not the presence.
Yes we have all sinned, but we are not all wolves. Wolves prey on the weaker ones in order to satisfy a sinful desire without any regard for the suffering and damage they are inflicting , while pretending to be benevolent, caring. They are psychopaths, with seared conscience.
Repentance is also a requirement for receiving the cleansing of the blood.
Who is the overseer who is protecting the convicted child abuser and demoting the elder for speaking out against it?
A heart felt thank you and a big TX hug. I too cried, it has been a hard road to walk, thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for the clarity, we all need it. This letter brings healing. Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…. Thank you for still sharing the gospel of love and doing God’s work.
I am in agreement, the overseer that is protecting the child molester and removing meeting from an Elders home needs to be named and removed. If we as God’s people are expecting to see change, we must demand the change necessary in the Ministry. We no longer trust these self titled “Overseers” and need them removed.
This needs to be sent to every worker, world wide!
Very well written.