I am a professing man currently residing in Texas. I wanted to express my appreciation for those responsible for creating and administering the WINGS for Truth website.
Some may ask, why have a website such as this? Why expose these issues? My answer is because these abuses are happening to children in a religion that in a word is unique. Only those of us that are a part of this religion or those that have been in the past can really understand the complexity of dealing with these issues in the Truth.
One objective of this website is to allow a forum for those that are concerned about child sexual abuse or those that have been abused to be able to express themselves freely to others that will fully understand the religious environment they grew up in. Most of us have tried at various times to explain our religion to others who are not a part of it, and know how difficult it is. That difficulty is compounded when abuse is added to the picture. Those of us that are a part of this religion or have been in the past, understand the complete trust that parents in the past put in workers and friends. This was done because of trusting these people as brothers and sisters in Christ. It has become obvious now that there were those that were trusted who took advantage of this trust in their abuse of children.
It is sad to realize that we now live in a day when we must look on our workers and friends at times with suspicion. If we are parents of children, we must make sure we know whom they are with at all times. Our job is to protect them. Hopefully this website will be a catalyst in getting information to parents to be watchful and aware to protect their children.
I encourage those of the workers who visit this website to be a messenger of caution to your fellow workers. Do not put yourselves into situations that would even raise suspicions. I believe some of the reason for continuing sexual abuses of some children in the Truth has been because the workers had no clear understanding of the issue. You cannot equate sexual abuse of a child with sexual contact between consenting adults. Over the years there have been numerous cases where a worker was involved romantically or sexually with another adult worker or friend and admitted the wrong and was transferred to another field or state. I see the wisdom in that, assuming the worker was willing to change and wanted remain in the work.
If it is a child that the worker has sexual contact with, I believe it must be handled much differently. I believe first of all that the authorities must be contacted and let them handle it. Furthermore the worker must be put out of the work until the courts have determined the outcome. Most people who have sexual contact with children do not stop with one occurrence.
Transferring the worker to another field or state will only transfer the problem no matter how much the worker wants to overcome the problem. It would be best if the worker were not a part of the work, if they have a propensity for child sexual abuse. One of the reasons for the continued child sexual abuse by some workers even after it was made known to the overseers, was the overseers lack of understanding of the seriousness of CSA. I believe some of the older overseers thought it was the same as sexual contact between two consenting adults and handled the issue the same way, by transferring the worker to another area.
For workers to go freely into homes of the friends, you have to have some level of trust. It is unfortunate that the day has arrived where you should consider carefully taking walks alone with children of the home. It would be prudent to take another adult with you on the walks. Make sure that you are never in the home alone with the children. It is better to avoid any kind of suspicion. As a society we are more aware of child sexual abuse than at any other time in our history. That awareness now includes the child sexual abuse in the Truth. Just like in our society abuse comes to light that has happened many years before. Trying to ignore this or “sweep it under the rug” will not make it go away. It has to be dealt with properly and that means taking action, contacting the proper authorities, etc. This issue cannot be contained or only fully dealt with in the Truth. This is beyond the scope of an overseer’s authority and knowledge. Websites such as WINGS for Truth can provide assistance on who to contact, and how to deal with these abuses. If you feel uncomfortable contacting this website, at the very least contact professionals or authorities in your area that deal with sexual abuse.
If you are an overseer, one of your responsibilities is to make sure that the families in your area are aware when there are workers or friends accused of child sexual abuse. You would be wise to make sure you contact those families that the person may have been in contact with to make sure they talk with their children to see if anything occurred and inform the authorities. The WINGS for Truth administrator can help you with this. One of the things I’ve been impressed with WINGS for Truth is the wisdom they have used in quietly collecting information, quietly informing those that need to know, and waiting for public information or hard evidence before posting any names. If there are workers in your area that are under suspicion of CSA, at the very least limit their movements. Make 100% sure they are never in the homes of people with young children. If you are unsure, contact some of the friends. You may be quite surprised at what some friends know or even suspect about certain workers. If there is no hard evidence to confirm the suspicions at the very least put them with a companion you trust and have that companion monitor the situation closely. Where is the harm in that? If one child is spared, it will have been worth it.
Workers, extend a hand of mercy and a willingness to hear to those children that have suffered abuse many years before. You may be met with resentment and bitterness, but continue to try to contact them and hear their story. Don’t judge them, don’t preach to them, their pain is real, and they need time to heal their wounds. You may help in the healing process by just listening. May God grant all of us the wisdom, love and mercy to do what we can to right the wrongs of the past and prevent additional wrongs in the future.
By: Professing Texas Man
April 14, 2008
Written 2008 – 15 years ago.
Sound counsel – if only those who are in positions of responsibility had thought and implemented these wise words – we wouldn’t be in the total mess we are in now. Spiritual arrogance sadly.
I wonder if you are still trying to create change, hopefully you are.
Could someone on Wings please send this letter to Rob Erberhardt? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he honestly didn’t truly understand the danger he is putting children in.