I have always tried to make it a point to never bring up a specific denomination in my writings, and I tend to lean away from giving any additional ‘advertising’ to wacko cults who picket the world with hate signs, but sometimes justice is demanded and victims need to rise up together and speak up for the greater good.
We know that the Catholic Church has many heinous crimes of pedophiles of it’s own to deal with and I’m not going to get into targeting them, they have enough media covering that as it is. What I do want to go on record as saying is that stories like Tina Anderson’s needs to be listened to. As a Christian community, we can’t hide these stories or dismiss them as lies. As a certified counselor for victims of spiritual abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I can assure you that stories like hers are not rare, they’re just rare in getting the media’s attention.
Tonight on 20/20, Elizabeth Vargas presents her Yearlong Investigation Into The Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. You can view a snippit of tonight’s story where Tina Anderson speaks through tears about her abuse and the cover ups that followed.
It is of an absolutely broken and grieving heart that I say adamantly, that I am relieved this has been brought to light. I do not rejoice in evil..as a matter of fact I think the evil that was committed against Tina and many others like her needs to be brought to justice. I do not believe the victims are doing evil by speaking out. One should never victimize the victim further by attempting to say they are guilty of bitterness or an unforgiving heart.
I am firm in my belief about grace, but God is also just. I don’t believe he is an extremist by any means, but injustices done to the oppressed is always going to reap what it sows. I applaud Tina Anderson for speaking up. It takes GREAT COURAGE to do so!
I was deeply involved with th IFB movement for 15 years and I saw so many missing pieces over the years and many times people were hushed into silence with the accusation that anyone who speaks out is a gossip and should be rebuked. The tactics for “church discipline” are widely misused in the IFB movement. I WISH, I could say that stories like Tina’s are rare and isolated, but they aren’t.
My husband was asked to consider becoming a deacon just days before we left our former church. He declined the position and I am so thankful he did. We saw a series of events and lies snowballing and we just couldn’t continue to support their church.
Leaving was incredibly difficult because we knew that leaving would mean questions. The more people who questioned us the more we would have to explain and the more we knew that no one would believe us. We were right, no one believed us. We were called liars, trouble makers, and lies were spread around about us to discredit us so that others would shun us and be afraid to ask us any more questions.
But those who had left before us, did believe us.
I sought out many of the former members, who at one time were dear friends of mine. When I told them we had left, they finally told us their stories too. My husband sought out help from other local pastors and they also confirmed that they knew that the IFB is a cult. Although we lost the friends who decided to remain, we regained the friends who had left previously.
I began searching the Internet to see if anyone else had ever written about this movement and there were only a few small things mentioned. Over the last two years the collection of stories have increased by leaps and bounds.
The hardest part for me, in speaking out, is that I have a few friends in the blogosphere who attend IFB churches.
I am deeply sorry that these stories are difficult to read. I know the first reaction is denial and anger toward those who are speaking up about the IFB abuse. If it was an isolated case then you wouldn’t be seeing stories from all over the country that span back for decades. The next reaction might be to disconnect from me totally. Should anyone decide to do so I won’t hold it against you. But know this, now that you have heard of these incidents happening you owe it to yourself, your spouse, and your children to investigate further. Keep your eyes opened. Don’t allow your family to become victims.
For those who believe it’s time for you to leave the IFB movement, you have support. There are others who have also left and can offer friendship and encouragement to get out. If you have family members who have always been suspicious of the IFB churches, go to them for help first. They can be your advocate and help you leave. You might think I sound a bit alarming about needing help to leave, and that’s precisely the point. It’s always hard to leave. When we left, we were told by the pastor not to tell people why we left, not to contact any of our friends about it, cease all emails to them, no phone calls, etc. Our family was the first to be contacted so we could have support in leaving.
Many IFB pastors have said that these are isolated incidents, but it keeps happening in their movement. The same scenarios play out. The same way of covering up. The holey cover ups. They are full of holes. They misuse scripture to make you feel like you’re the one doing wrong, they try to justify their accusations against you as ‘discipline’ for your ‘rebellion’. Some IFB leaders have even used information you shared with them in counseling sessions as weaponry against you to keep you quiet.
So, for Tina Anderson and others like her, I stand with you.
I don’t want my blog to become an Anti-IFB resource, but over the next few days I will be sharing just a few more things about this then resume my regular style of writing.
Be safe. Help raise awareness. Offer support to those needing help to leave.
** An additional note: If you are an IFB Pastor you should be proclaiming loudly to your church about such matters and putting yourself and your staff in the hot seat of accountability so your church members know you aren’t hiding these kinds of stories. I don’t want to hear any rebukes from ANY of you for writing this article. If you will stand by these victims by boldly sending a message to all IFB Churches that you will NOT tolerate any kind of abuse or cover ups like this and you take a stand about these matters then I would applaud you. For anyone who tries to silence or belittle the victims, shame on you!
I realize that some from my former church may see this article one day and all I can say is that if you attempt to harm me for speaking up, you are best to leave me alone, but if you want help leaving the IFB Cult, I would be glad to assist you.