Jamin C. Wight, image via Greyfriars Hallmark; Doug Wilson, CC image courtesy of Flickr, speric.
By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Changes to this story were made on 1:30 pm PT on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 and 10:15 pm PT on Thursday, September 10, 2015. See end of story for details.
Content warning: sexual abuse of children, physical and sexual abuse of an animal.
Over the last few days, Doug Wilson and Christ Church have received mounting attention and criticism over the case of Steven Sitler. Sitler, a homeschool alumnus who attended New Saint Andrews College as a student and Christ Church as a parishioner, was sentenced to life on September 26, 2005 for molesting children. Sitler had a long history of sexually abusing and preying on numerous young children, allegedly including children at R.C. Sproul Jr.’s Highlands Study Center in 2003. You can read a comprehensive timeline of events and evidential documentation here, though be warned that the court documents contain detailed descriptions of child sexual abuse.
Despite Sitler’s crimes, Doug Wilson — who served as Sitler’s counselor and petitioned Sitler’s judge for “measured and limited” civil penalties — continued to welcome Sitler in his church after his sentencing. Furthermore, in spite of Wilson becoming aware of Sitler’s history of sexual predation on March 11, 2005, it was not until eight months later in November that Wilson informed the leaders of Christ Church about Sitler’s crimes and not until nine months later in December that he informed the families of Christ Church in general.
On May 8, 2007, Sitler was released on probation. A mere one month later Sitler was arrested again for violating his parole due to using binoculars to spy through an underage girl’s bedroom window. He was again released on probation. Four years later, Doug officiated a wedding between Sitler and a young woman in their community, even though the two became engaged after only their second date. Wilson apparently considered it prudent to bless the union between a serial child molester and a young woman who barely knew a serial child predator — and against the wisdom of a court judge, who determined that it would not be wise for Sitler to “reside with his wife and child in the future if in fact they have children.” Nonetheless, a few short years later, Sitler and his new wife had a child, a young boy.
Tragically, Sitler’s situation resurfaced this last week and the concerns of that judge appear newly justified. A news report by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News revealed that Sitler cannot have unchaperoned contact with his infant child. This is because of new disclosures that, when Sitler had contact with his son, “actual sexual stimulation” occurred. From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
A Latah County 2nd District Court judge ordered Tuesday that a convicted sex offender, Steven Sitler, must continue to have an approved chaperone present, within his direct line of sight, at all times he is around his infant child in the wake of new disclosures of “contact resulting in actual sexual stimulation.” …The incidents in question occurred while Sitler was chaperoned. “In some extent the state’s worst fears appeared to be realized by some of the recent disclosures in the polygraphs,” Thompson said. “The actions that he has engaged in and disclosed are a compelling basis that he cannot have anything close to a normal parental relationship at this time with his child,” Thompson said. “Everybody would love for Mr. Sitler to become a normal person, but the fact is he is not. He is a serial child sexual abuser.
This new information has rightly brought revived attention to the role Doug Wilson and Christ Church played in handling revelations of child molestation within their community. Everyone from GRACE’s Boz Tchividjian to Spiritual Sounding Board’s Julie Anne Smith to Love Joy Feminism’s Libby Anne has raised important points and questions concerning Wilson and Christ Church’s severe and horrific mishandling of abuse (as well as continued refusal to own up to their mistakes). However, while it is important that we revisit and bring new light to the case of Steven Sitler, it also important that we shine new light on a less-known child molester who was similarly aided and abetted by Doug Wilson, Christ Church, and New Saint Andrews College: Jamin C. Wight. This is particularly necessary because one of the Wight’s victims is now an adult and has spoken out publicly about her abuse and how cruelly Wilson and his community treated her as a victim and survivor.
Like Sitler, Jamin C. Wight was a homeschool alumnus. Wight was attending Greyfriars Hall, a ministerial training program founded by Doug Wilson that, according to the program’s website, “consists of approximately three years of study with two colloquia a year under the oversight of the board of elders of Christ Church.” Between the years of 2000 and 2003, Wight — who was 24 years old at the time — groomed and sexually abused a young girl who was only 13 years old when the abuse began. (Wight was only charged for abuse that occurred over 1 year, from 2001 to 2002, but the abuse survivor today says the abuse actually happened over a span of 3 years, from the time she was 13 until she was 16.) Like Wight, the 13 year old girl was also homeschooled. Wight was a boarder at the home where the girl lived, the home being part of Wilson’s student boarding network among Christ Church’s parishioners.
The abuse wrecked havoc on the abused girl. She began experiencing insomnia, stomach ulcers, and panic attacks; she suffered serious behavioral problems, mood swings, and painful flashbacks. In 2004, when she was 17 years old, she confided in a friend about the abuse. That friend convinced her to go to her parents and the police and press charges. This began a long and difficult process for the abuse survivor, a process which reached fruition on August 17, 2005. On that day, after receiving word of the abuse, the girl’s mother filed a criminal complaint against Wight. A warrant for Wight’s arrest was issued the next day. On August 24, 2005, a search warrant was issued the Latah County, Idaho district court for Wight’s personal possessions that provided evidence of the abuse. Court documents show that on October 28, 2005, Wight was arraigned and informed that three charges were being brought against him, one count of Sex Abuse Against a Child and two counts of Lewd Conduct With a Child Under Sixteen Years of Age. Wight pled not guilty to all three charges. Then on May 12, 2006, Wight’s charges were reduced to a Felony Offense of Injury to a Child. Wight pled guilty to that much-reduced charge and was able to made a deal such that he only had to serve 4-6 months in the North Idaho Correctional Institution.
During his court hearings, documents reveal that Wight and his legal team attempted to argue that the 13 year old girl he had groomed and abused had consented to their sexual activities. Wight also tried to publicly make a case that a conviction for his crimes would put a damper on his plans to become a Christian youth minister. The prosecuting attorney had to file motions to prohibit both of those lines of argumentation.
Joan Opry, a Moscow, Idaho-based reporter for the digital newspaper New West, attended the sentencing hearing. Opry reports that, “The judge spoke at some length about the immaturity of many of the home-schooled young men of his professional acquaintance — men in the loosest sense of the term. Men in age only.” This remark by the judge has more chilling implications, as Wight’s victim, now an adult survivor, puts the remark in a different context:
Sadly, my story did not have a just ending. My abuser, who was originally charged on 3 counts of “child sexual abuse”, “lewd and lascivious acts”, and “forced sexual contact”, was convicted of “injury to child”- the same term that would have been used had he slapped a child on Main Street. We were encouraged to go to mediation rather than to trial, and at the last minute the visiting judge decided the sentence/label of ‘sexual offender’ was too harsh. He equated what had happened to a “homeschool teenage love affair”, despite the fact that my abuser was 10 years older than me. As a result, rather than being labeled as a sex offender (which was the only outcome I desired), his charge was lowered and he was sentenced to 4 months in Cottonwood prison and a few years on probation (which he was released from early a few months ago).
Court documents show that both Doug Wilson and Peter Leithart, New Saint Andrews College’s Dean of Graduate Studies and writer for First Things, were aware of Wight’s crimes no later than August 2005. At the time of the crimes as well as the court hearings, the victim and her family were members of Wilson’s church Christ Church and Wight was a member “in good standing” at Leithart’s church, Trinity Reformed Church. (Yes, even after Wight’s crimes were made public, Wight continued to be “in good standing” at Leithart’s church.) Yet it was not until November or December (at least two months later regarding Wight and eight months later regarding Sitler) that Wilson alerted his congregation about the predators in their midst. Furthermore, court documents also reveal that Wilson and Leithart fought to keep their conversation with Wight about his crimes out of the court records. This is perfect example of what not to do, as Boz Tchividjian points out:
A church that cares will inform its members of the allegations knowing that sexual offenders often have many victims. It will also encourage them to immediately report any suspected abuse to the police. A church that cares will not limit its efforts to only current members. It will reach out to those who previously attended the church and had interactions with the perpetrator and may have been targeted for abuse. A church that cares will not sleep until each and every person victimized by the offender has been found.
In the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s October 19, 2006 Intelligence Report on Doug Wilson and Steve Sitler, entitled “Idaho Pastor a Hard-Liner, With an Exception or Two,” Wight’s case makes a brief appearance. In that article, after describing Wilson’s mishandling of Sitler’s case, SPLC mentions an anonymous father and daughter and the abuse they experienced and how Wilson also mishandled their case:
Five months after Sitler’s confession, another man who had been boarded by a Christ Church family while he studied to become a minister there was arrested and ultimately pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with an underage girl. When details of the matter came up on a local blog run by a disgruntled Wilson follower, part of the pastor’s response was to liken the blogger to “a sucking chest wound.”
The father of the girl in the second incident told the Intelligence Report that church officials tried to keep that quiet as well. At one point, he said, they threatened to bring him under church discipline for failing to protect his daughter. “It would be like me getting robbed and the police coming over and arresting me because I didn’t have five locks on the door, only one,” he said. “It was just bizarre.”
After SPLC wrote about the Wight case, Wilson took to his blog one month later on September 19, 2006, to publicly attack the father of the abused child. Wilson claimed the father was “neglecting” his daughter because the father dared to make public Wilson’s mishandling of Wight’s abuse:
Let’s just say that I have never seen quite so striking an example of a father neglecting his daughter. But this is not one that you have to take my word for. Just look at the previous paragraph. This is a father who was willing to talk to Intelligence Report about this particular incident because he doesn’t believe his daughter has been through enough. And the ghouls at SPLC were willing to print it.
Fortunately, we can easily resolve this question — was the victim’s father or pastor more neglectful? — because the daughter has publicly spoken up about her abuse. And her account is chilling proof that Wilson, not her father, is the one who made truly horrific errors.
The young girl groomed and sexually abused by Jamin C. Wight is now an adult. Her name is Natalie Rose Greenfield (I am using her name with her permission). She began publicly blogging in 2010 about Wight’s abuse and Wilson’s mishandling of that abuse. Her first post was on July 29, 2010. Greenfield writes,
I was molested as a young teen. A man living under my parent’s roof, paying his rent by helping with the remodeling of our home, in training at Greyfriar’s Seminary to become a pastor, groomed me, sexually abused me, and molested me from the time I was 13 until I was 16 years old. He was 10 years older than me. A true monster; I was made to feel worthless, as though no one but he would ever love me… I was forced into sexual acts time and time again that no young girl should ever be subjected to.
Greenfield began to break free from Wight’s grip when she confided in a friend about the abuse. Greenfield explains that,
When I was 17 years old, a friend whom I had confided in (and who I am forever grateful to) convinced me to go to the police and press charges against my abuser. After much persuasion from her, I went to my parents and to the police.
Tragically, while Greenfield received the support of her family, she received little support from her pastor and church: Doug Wilson and Christ Church. In fact, the actions taken by Wilson and his church only added salt to the wound, as they chose to abandon Greenfield and her family and instead stand by Wight. According to Greenfield,
The process that followed was long, painful, traumatic and awful. During this time, I was offered little to no support from the church I attended, in fact, on the day of the sentencing my former pastor and my abuser’s pastor sat on *his* side of the courtroom, successfully compounding my own feelings of guilt and shame. I felt terribly alienated and many times regretted [ever] saying anything about the abuse. Sadly, my story did not have a just ending. My abuser, who was originally charged on 3 counts of “child sexual abuse”, “lewd and lascivious acts”, and “forced sexual contact”, was convicted of “injury to child”- the same term that would have been used had he slapped a child on Main Street. We were encouraged to go to mediation rather than to trial, and at the last minute the visiting judge decided the sentence/label of ‘sexual offender’ was too harsh [emphasis added].
Yes, you read that right. The child abuse survivor’s pastor, Doug Wilson, sat on her abuser’s side of the courtroom during the trial. And Wight’s pastor, Peter Leithart, similarly joined the abuser’s side. I cannot think of a better example of what GRACE’s Boz Tchividjian himself experienced as a sex abuse prosector as described in Kathryn Joyce’s American Prospect article, “The Next Christian Sex-Abuse Scandal”:
“When Tchividjian requested to take on all the district’s child sex-abuse cases, the other prosecutors happily obliged. In time, he established a sex-crimes unit that handled hundreds of cases over eight years. All too often, he says, a pastor would come to court in a supportive role, almost always sitting on the perpetrator’s side of the aisle, not the victim’s. The Wisconsin case made Tchividjian think back on those pastors. He began to realize that he had a calling of his own: to teach the Protestant church to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.”
But Wilson, Christ Church, Leithart, and Trinity Reformed Church didn’t just sit on Wight’s side. They also allowed him to remain in good standing at and continue to attend church. This understandably forced Greenfield (as well as her father) to feel she had to leave. Greenfield tells Homeschoolers Anonymous in a comment that, “My father left the church after everything that had happened. I also left. My mother and younger sister are still active members of the Christ Church.” Despite her mother and sister staying, Greenfield says that she enjoys “a full and loving relationship with both of them.”
Furthermore, Wilson and Christ Church believed that Greenfield was just as much at fault for the sexual relationship as Wight (they believed Greenfield, at 13 years old, consented to the relationship). They consequently placed Greenfield under church discipline. Wilson emailed Greenfield and said he would have to withhold communion from her until she meet with the church elders to discuss why she left the church. However, as Greenfield tells Homeschoolers Anonymous in a comment, “I wouldn’t do so. I was so traumatized and averse to the idea of interacting with the leaders of the church I don’t even think I responded to any of his emails.”
Meanwhile, since Wight “repented,” he was welcome with open arms. Greenfield writes,
In the decade since Wight abused Greenfield, Wight has run into trouble with both his church as well as the law numerous more times. In 2013 Greenfield wrote that,
The criminal [Wight] is now under church discipline for abusing his wife and children. I’ve also recently found out the girl to whom he was engaged when I went to the police about the abuse (2 years after the abuse ended, right before I turned 18), was also abused by him for the duration of their relationship, which ended promptly after I went to the authorities. Who knows who else he’s abused in his life. I once watched him hold a dog by the neck and smash its head repeatedly against a concrete wall because it didn’t lie down when he commanded it. Minutes later he embraced the dog and madly licked its mouth and tongue.
Katie Botkin, cousin to Geoffrey Botkin’s famous “stay-at-home” daughters Anna Sofia and Elizabeth, also makes reference to Wight’s later crimes:
Doug Wilson’s denial of the realities that made such a situation possible [another Christian Patriarchy and homeschooling advocate, Doug Phillips, sexually assaulting his nanny, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel] only ensures that such things will continue to happen, perhaps even in his own community. They already have, of course. I’m thinking specifically of the case where a young teenage girl was molested, and Wilson saw fit to accept the abuser’s “repentance,” and refused the girl communion because, naturally, she wasn’t a victim either; she was a fornicator, and her refusal to admit to such a charge meant she was unrepentant. Unshockingly to probably everyone but Doug Wilson and those who think like him, the same abuser, who for a long time was a member in good standing at Wilson’s church, has now been charged with various domestic violence suits in Latah County, and his own children are being sheltered from him by the courts [emphasis added].
In light of these recent revelations, Greenfield reminds readers that these later crimes could have been prevented. If Wilson and his church had not alienated and traumatized her, if Leithart and his church had listened to her cries and warnings, these other victims could have been protected. Greenfield writes,
I think this might be the part where I say – I told you so. And not to the innocent individuals who trusted and were consequently in a position to be harmed by the criminal, but to those who I so desperately reached out to, those who I begged to protect others from the horrors I suffered, those who told me it was my fault for not saying no, or my father’s fault for not knowing better, or my mother’s fault for not teaching me to be more ladylike. To those who wrote letters to the judge presiding over the case heralding the character of the criminal and requesting leniency in the sentencing, to those who wrote letters on behalf of the criminal and in them criminalized a young girl, to those who welcomed the criminal back into society whilst shunning and scorning the victim, to those who found it more convenient to close their eyes to something they did not want to see rather than face the truth and take a stand, the sad fact of the matter is that you, each of you, perpetuated abuse.
It is sad, and it is a fact. Doug Wilson, Christ Church, Peter Leithart, and Trinity Reformed Church, by failing Greenfield and her family, perpetuated abuse — and consequently failed another woman and another family as well. While Greenfield cannot change what happened to herself or what happened to this other woman and her family, she hopes that by speaking up now, she can save others from future harm:
For speaking out about my abuse I’ve been told that I’m ‘hungry for drama’, ‘living in the past’, ‘sensation seeking’, and a ‘pot stirrer’. I’ll bear each of those labels if it means one hurting girl will read this blog and know that her value is greater than what she’s been made to believe by an abuser and that she, too, can speak out, or if it means that one man in a position of power will look closely at his own motives and make the changes necessary to, insomuch as he is able, ensure the safety and well being of those who look to him for guidance.
What happened to Greenfield is a tragedy. And how Wilson, Leithart, and their churches responded is not only an atrocity; it’s also a sin. It is an atrocity because their response only caused a young woman more pain and trauma, and no justice. And it is a sin because Wilson, Leithart, and their churches refused to follow the path of Jesus by caring for a hurt and wounded sheep. Instead they welcomed a wolf back into their fold and slammed the door on the wolf’s victim. What this communicated to that victim, now a brave survivor, is clear. As Greenfield asks, “How can an army of people turn away a young girl who needs their love more than anything?”
How indeed. That is a question that Doug Wilson, Peter Leithart, and every member in their churches and communities who failed a broken young girl will have to answer before God.
To conclude, I’d like to share Greenfield’s courageous declaration of fearlessness and freedom. I hope her courage in sharing her story can inspire other survivors to bravely speak up, too:
UPDATE, Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 1:30 pm PT:
Several corrections were made this story after Greenfield, the abuse survivor bravely speaking up about Jamin Wight, pointed out inaccuracies. First, we stated that that Doug Wilson and Christ Church refused communion to Greenfield; however, they actually withheld communion until Greenfield was willing to meet with the church elders, something she refused to do as a result of the traumatizing nature of the whole ordeal. Second, we stated that Greenfield and her family left Christ Church. This is only partially true. While Greenfield and her father left the church, her mother and younger sister stayed. Our story has been changed to reflect these clarifications. You can read Greenfield’s comment in full here. Accuracy and truth in reporting is important to us at Homeschoolers Anonymous, so we are grateful to Greenfield for helping us meet these standards.
UPDATE, Thursday, September 10, 2015, 10:15 pm PT:
References to Greenfield’s name as “Natalie Rose” have been changed to “Natalie Rose Greenfield” as she preferred we use her full name.
Thank you for picking up this story. Telling a victim of grooming and molestation to “repent” is not God’s work.
Horrifying. Sickening. I’m relieved that these stories are coming to light and that Homeschoolers Anonymous stands with the victims.
Natalie Rose (Greenfield) here. Thank you for posting about this, the more awareness we can raise about the abuse that happens in churches and how it’s handled, the better chance we have of protecting other innocent would-be victims. Your post is mostly the truth, but there are a few points that aren’t quite factual, so for the sake of the truth and being open and honest about all of this, I thought I’d point them out.
1. I wasn’t exactly barred from communion, nor was my family. After the fallout, I left the church without stating why. I had to get out. Pastor Wilson wrote to me on a number of occasions asking me to come into his office and meet with him and some of the elders to explain why I was leaving. I wouldn’t do so. I was so traumatized and averse to the idea of interacting with the leaders of the church I don’t even think I responded to any of his emails. After several attempts to contact me, Doug told me that while I was welcome to worship with them anytime I wanted, communion would be withheld from me until I was willing to communicate with the leaders of the church and explain my misgivings.
2. My father left the church after everything that had happened. I also left. My mother and younger sister are still active members of the Christ Church, and I enjoy a full and loving relationship with both of them. My parents marriage was falling apart at the time of all the abuse aftermath, which is completely related to my abuse but another story altogether and not mine to tell.
Aside from those two points, you’ve shared the truth and it is appreciated. Hopefully something good will come of an ugly thing.
Thank you very much for commenting and letting us know about these inaccuracies! I have made the requisite changes. (And if you notice any other things that need to be changed, don’t hesitate to let us know!)
Thank YOU for sharing the truth. You have our utmost respect.
Thank you, Ryan. I appreciate you making the changes. May the truth be known and may it conquer the darkness.
I’m sure you know by now, but I will say it again if for no other reason than to ad my voice and further validate you: Nothing that happened to you was your fault. You were the victim of an unspeakably toxic church environment, in addition to the actual crime you suffered. We all love you and we hope the best for you. You are not alone.
You said Steve and Katie immediately had a baby. I thought I had noticed on another website that it was a few years later. I could be wrong, but I wanted to be sure. When speaking out about this stuff it is so important to be inscrutable!
You are totally right. In my mind, considering the circumstances, only a few years later is pretty much immediately. But that’s a jump I made that others wouldn’t, so thanks for raising the issue. 🙂 I just changed it.
Dear R.L. Stollar, thank you for caring about all of this, it is so hurtful.
“Wilson and Christ Church believed that Rose was just as much at fault for the sexual relationship as Wight (they believed Rose, at 13 years old, consented to the relationship). They consequently placed Rose under church discipline.”
After the updated clarifications, the causal relationship expressed here seems untrue. The stated cause for church discipline was leaving without explanation.
And I haven’t seen any evidence provided that anyone considered Rose “just as much” at fault. She may have had some agency, but where do we see anyone stating Rose was ‘just as much at fault’? Maybe I missed it.
Also, how could the church have offered her any support if she refused to respond to any emails or meet with the session?
“how could the church have offered her any support if she refused to respond to any emails or meet with the session?”
Oh, I don’t know…maybe the pastor could have not sat on the side of her molester during the court sentencing? Maybe the elders could have written letters to her “weeping with those who weep” instead of writing letters to the court requesting leniency for the perp? Maybe they could have respected the fact that she wasn’t yet ready to talk to a group of all men–who had been responsible for placing the man that molester her into her home? Maybe Doug Wilson could not have publicly chastised her father on his blog? Maybe they could have forbidden her molester from attending church until SHE felt safe there once again? Maybe the women (where are the women of this church, anyway?) could have surrounded her with comfort and prayers outside of official church functions, and told her that she was indeed still loved by them and by Jesus and that being victimized sexually didn’t mean that she was spoiled or dirty or that no one else would ever love her? That she still had a bright future and they would be there for her, cheering her on? Maybe some people from the church could have sat on HER side of the courtroom, or sent a the court a letter pleading for justice on her behalf?
Duh. I can’t imagine what kind of a church you go to where the only way to support someone is to “meet with the session.”
Paul Duggan, do you actually think its reasonable for Christ Church to “discipline” someone for leaving “without explanation”?
Natalie had NO agency in her abuse. A 13 year old GIRL cannot consent to sexual activity with an ADULT because she does not have the cognitive capacity or maturity to do so. Your implication is disgusting and reveals your ignorance in regards to child sexual abuse. I suggest that you educate yourself before making comments like this, which the victim herself is reading. Go sit in a courtroom and watch a child sex abuse case trial. See the terror in the child’s eyes as they recount the abuse in the presence of their abuser.
My name is Gary Greenfield and I’m Natalie’s dad. Many times I have contemplated the events that took place right under my nose in my own house and I’m sickened and sad. I was a broken man married to a broken woman and together we were members of a broken religious organisation with broken leaders and broken followers in a broken community and my dear daughter was one of the unfortunate ones who suffered most from the brokenness that permeated all of our lives. In the end, each of us will stand before our Creator and Judge and each of us will see all the events of our lives play out before us and regardless of how we lived, that day will be a day of awesome soberness and fear. Justice will be meted out as God sees fit, and in the meantime, the Lord teaches us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Without forgiveness, there can be no healing and yet, there is a time and place for justice to be meted out in the here and now and if justice is meted out in the here and now, then glory be to God but if justice isn’t meted out until the Lord returns, then nevertheless, glory be to God in all things. To this very day, I lament the events that led up to Natalie’s abuse, the estrangement from the wife of my youth and the sadness my children must experience because their parents are now divorced. Each of us has our own cross to bear and long suffering and tribulations are really gifts given to us by a loving God and who can understand such things? In the end, all I can say is, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Gary, God bless you and yours. God give you peace.
Your daughter is an amazingly brave woman. I am thankful for her courage.
I don’t think the greater tragedy here is the dissolution of your marriage but rather the horrific abuse that your daughter suffered. Forgiveness – Yes. Justice – Absolutely. Natalie has no justice. God is a just God and while Wight may have escaped justice in this life, he certainly won’t in the next.
Anna, I don’t see where someone suggested that a broken marriage trumps childhood sex abuse. What Gary says makes much sense, his expression of brokenness in the home and marriage and estrangement it brought. This is what Wilson would like to blamd and shame him with but in his holy office he must keep quiet for Jesus… What bullshit!
Gary is not saying that his broken marriage was the worst thing at all but that the broken family affected all involved. A child abuser took advantage of a young girl NOT BECAUSE of marriage problems but because the abuser was a sick man who wanted a child sexually. To focus on the family situation is to point fingers pointlessly away from the perpetrator (as Doug Wilson does in his shame and blame letter)…
Gary, I don’t know where you got the idea that forgiveness must precede healing. That is a load. Forgiveness is a natural outcome of living true to yourself in all things and it is not a requirement or necessary at all in healing. Why forgive sick perpetrators? The very idea that you might forgive the sick fellow who harmed your daughter is rather unbalanced. It sounds like something out of a sick church. Forgiveness begins at home.
Until you can forgive yourself for being human, for not managing your own issues in marriage, your own history that you brought into your marriage, it is pointless to talk of forgiving others. Christianity sure messes with people. It’s okay to flagellate yourself to no end but not okay to let a perpetrator go unforgiven!
I grew up the son of a Baptist preacher. I know the doctrine, and I know that it is toxic, abusive to women, demeaning to all. There might be as much truth in saying that a Doug Wilson church environment prepared your daughter for assault as saying that your broken family may have brought some opening for the abuser. Churches where women are demeaned and controlled, told to play arbitrary roles and never allowed to be preachers like men: These are toxic things to feed young women. And remember that sexual predators are often fine church leaders, preachers and solid citizens. I am sorry you have been harmed by your church. You sound to me like a man who allows reflection. i trust you will forgive yourself so that you can continue to love your daughter with all the strength you have, to continue to believe and support her and be her dad. My very best wishes…
In response to Doug’s threat to bring further harm to the Greenfield family:
This is Gary Greenfield and I’m going to reminisce a bit here. It’s been a long time since we’ve interacted with each other and it’s been a long time since we first met in 1976 when you were playing guitar in the Christian fellowship we both attended as young men still in college. You advanced quickly from guitarist to teacher after the older teacher/pastor ran off with a young lady in a our very small group and you ended up taking over as our teacher. From the first time I heard you teach, I knew you were going to become a dynamic and renown Christian leader. Why? You were endowed from the very beginning of your ministry with a knack for teaching in a very powerful and compelling manner that was unique, fresh and forceful. Just as Jesus says, the student will be become greater than the teacher, I think the charisma of your father, who was a great teacher and evangelist was passed on to you and you ended up building your ministry on the shoulders of your father.
I still look fondly back on the days when you would faithfully drive down to Lewiston from Moscow every Sunday to teach the small band of converts that met in the living room of our tiny home. That gathering evolved into Port Cities Evangelical Fellowship and our friendship grew as we both led that group as elders for something like ten years. I still remember computers being something of a novelty back then and you talked about how much one of those contraptions could help you to become a more prolific writer and I ended up purchasing your first computer for you. It brought me great joy to know I was helping you to practice your gift of writing and teaching for the benefit of helping more students and young families to become better grounded in the truths of God’s word.
During those early years of living out our faith as zealous and committed followers of Jesus Christ, we were filled with innocence, exuberance, sincerity and a great hope in the power of the gospel to change lives in significant ways first in Moscow and Pullman, then Lewiston and Clarkson and eventually the entire country. Early on, we were just a bunch of folks, young and old who loved Jesus with a desire to live out our lives without hypocrisy or fakery and we were ready to take the world captive for Jesus Christ. I also remember the day I opened up my computer to a message from you asking me to review the formation document for what was then to be called, The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Christians. I opened it, read it, and closed it and I never responded to your request for input.
Something in my heart told me that this was a bandwagon that I was not going to jump onto. I had been adverse to organised religion since I was a little seven year old crying boy who was forced to go to confession to talk to a man I didn’t know who was hidden behind a screen in a dark little closet. Maybe my fears of being alone in a dark closet with a man I didn’t know stemmed from being sexually abused by my uncle when I was two years old. Maybe a lot of problems I encountered in my early years or even perhaps even later years were a result of sexual abuse that was kept a secret for most of my life and when I finally did get up the courage to talk to someone, I was an older man and I told my Mom. Her response was a total emotional shut down, she couldn’t cope and refused to believe it or talk about it and that was the end of it. For all of my life, I’ve lived with traumatising memories that I have found too repulsive and too embarrassing to talk about to anyone, not even my wife of 32 years.
Anyways, I attended mass with my Mom most every Sunday until I was old enough to rebel at which time I refused to spend time in a place I felt was a waste of time. Why did I feel it was a waste of time? Because my heart hungered for truth and I intuitively knew the Church was supposed to be the place where we learned God’s word but it wasn’t being taught there, so I angrily left at the age of thirteen and never went back. When I became a follower of Jesus Christ at the age of twenty-one, I ended up attending a few services of various mainline denominations but even then, something in my heart drove me away from those places.
For all of my life up until the age of fifty, I’ve had an aversion to organised religion institutions and when Doug Wilson sent me sent me a document that would make the church I attended an official religious organisation like all the others I had known, everything in my being told me to flee and to have nothing to do with it, but yet, this was my family, these were my brothers and sisters in Christ, these were the people with which so many rich memories had been created over the years, not bad memories like from my past.
After the formation of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, I began to quietly distance myself from the leadership of the CRE while at the same time seeking to raise my family in the church, develop friendships and to be involved in selective ministry that was not an official part of the church. As time went on, my fears that the CRE would become like all the other religious organisations came to fruition. It’s not that I expected perfection or a problem free environment but because it was what I thought was the Church of Jesus Christ and I expected that problems and challenges that would inevitably arise would be dealt with in loving, honest and sincere ways that reflected the heart of Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
As Christ Church grew to be huge and the CRE grew across the country and around the world, of course problems and challenges became bigger and the wherewithal to deal with those challenges and problems required a great degree of knowledge, wisdom and experience and what I observed time and time again with increasing regularity was a departure from exercising the love of Jesus Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and more of doing what was expedient and necessary to eliminate troublesome situations which oftentimes meant dealing with individuals in hypocritical and even downright evil ways.
During the fifteen or so years of attending Christ Church as a dysfunctional member and not as a full fledged passenger on the bandwagon, I began to come under ever increasing scrutiny to either get on board, conform or suffer the consequences of choosing to remain aloof while keeping arms length between my family and Christ Church elders with whom I found myself increasingly at odds. During this time, my wife and I remained heavily involved in Christian ministry within the Moscow community, not only as owners of Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub but also within our home where the front door was never locked and students were free to come and go as they pleased, to study in our living room or eat at our table. Our house was always full and we always had boarders. All of these activities and more, we were involved in because of our love for Jesus Christ and for our brothers and sisters in Christ and especially for college students who were away from home and family. I can say with all conviction, that my wife and I were 100% committed to being faithful servants for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we both loved with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength.
I can also say with all conviction of heart that my wife and I did the very best we knew how to raise up our children in the ways of the Lord. Were we perfect in doing so, of course not, but I can say with all confidence that we gave our hearts, minds and souls to taking care of our children, to giving them childhoods with rich and fun memories while making every effort to protect them from the pitfalls and dangers of this broken world. We even homeschooled our kids because we wanted to protect them from the evils of the world, yet ironically, the evils of the world found their way into the bedroom of my teenage daughter. Even now as I contemplate what took place only feet from our bedroom, the tears flow from my eyes and my breaths become gasps of grief and I mourn and lament, knowing that my daughter will have to live with such filthy memories from her youth. I know what she’s going through because I’ve been there and I’ve lived through it. It was different though for her, because when she finally told us what had been occurring within our home, we believed her, we embraced her, we loved her, we supported and we grieved with her. That was something I never experienced as a little boy who was sexually abused. Nobody comforted me, no body helped me work through the trauma, nobody believed me and now as I share what I’ve never shared with anyone, the tears flow and my heart is sad, yet, I know with all confidence that ever since I was a little innocent boy, even though my own parents couldn’t care for the wounds inflicted by my perverted uncle, I know God did and has and will continue to heal my wounds and take care of me until the day I pass from this life to next and even into all eternity and He will make all things new again.
I’m sure many of you may be thinking, what really happened to cause the breakup of our marriage of thirty-two years? It’s been ten years now since Pat and I separated and eventually divorced. I’ve never talked about what happened between us in a public forum and I’m not quite sure how far to go with this but I do think its important to talk about for the sake of the greater good of perhaps helping others gain clarity and even perhaps comfort from knowing that perhaps their concerns and intuitions are indeed valid.
Troubles began to escalate to an intermittently intolerable level between me, Doug and the church elders shortly after moving to Moscow from Lewiston in the year 2000 to be closer to the Moscow Christ Church community of believers and to our business, Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub. Sometime around early 2004, we made a decision to quietly begin extracting ourselves from the Moscow community to begin a new life in the Couer d Alene, Idaho area. I was a serial entrepreneur and figured we would start a new life and new business there. My primary goal in moving was to get out from the under constant pressure from Doug to get with the program and join the club, lock, stock and barrel but that was something I wasn’t about to do. Given the circumstances, it would have been like giving up my masculinity and the authority of my home to a person who had gone from being someone I respected and was proud to call my friend to being a meglomaniac and control freak.
So, by the grace of God, we were able to secretly sell our mansion in the historic section of Moscow for significantly more money than we paid for it and it was accomplished without listing it or anyone even knowing that we sold it. The family that purchased it even agreed to allow us to live in the home for year while we worked out the rest of the details of our move. The next step was to quietly sell Bucer’s without listing it and without any public fanfare. It was at this stage of the plan that Pat began to act rather oddly in that whenever we would find a buyer which wasn’t all that difficult, she would find excuses not to sell.
Eventually, she confessed to me that she didn’t want to sell Bucer’s and she wanted to figure out a way to move to CDA while also keeping an apartment in Moscow so that we could run Bucer’s, while also starting a new business up North. So, because both our names were on the business papers as partners, I couldn’t sell without her consent, so, I put money down for the purchase of an office/apartment building downtown to live in, so that we could commute between CDA and Moscow. For me, this was a compromise because I really wanted to get out of Moscow but Pat was now coming out of the closet with her adamancy to remain in Moscow and I was between a rock and hard place.
In the meantime, having been a part of the Christ Church/Wilson community in one capacity or another since 1976, I was always searching and studying the scriptures as a check and balance in regards to the Wilson teachings. As concerns and conflicts began to become increasingly apparent over the years and so much more so as the CRE grew, I began to come to the conclusion that perhaps this Christian movement had evolved into a cult like religious organisation that claimed the name of Christ but was gradually drifting away from tenants of faith as they had been preserved and passed down through the centuries. It all became clear to me as I was sitting in church one Sunday and I asked myself if the Holy Spirit was really here with us. I am a man who follows my heart and my intuition and I’ve been that way since I was a little boy, so I couldn’t ignore what my heart was telling me.
In the meantime, we were somewhere in the midst of dealing with the fallout of our daughter’s sexual abuse. ‘I’m not going to discuss the details of how that stress contributed to our breakup. Why? Because to do so at this time would in no way be loving, kind, gentle or considerate of the wife of my youth from whom I am now estranged.
Shortly after I came to the realisation that Christ Church was what I would consider to be a cult and not the true Church that Jesus Christ founded on the earth two thousand years ago, I met a professor of ancient Christianity from Oxford who was hanging out in the Bucer’s cigar room enjoying a dessert. I was enjoying a cigar and a beer and I struck up a conversation with the man and after he told me he was a professor of ancient Christianity at Oxford, I asked the question, “What is ancient Christianity?”
For the rest of the story of my conversion to the Eastern Orthodox faith, you can go to http://joypeacehope.blogspot.in
It was after my decision to leave Christ Church and attend the Eastern Orthodox Church that the #$%@ hit the fan big time. Again, I’m not going to go into the details other than to say things literally got crazy, insane and intolerable. Meeting with Doug and Peter which I did solely to pacify my wife to try to mend what was quickly falling apart was a last ditch effort out of desperation to try to win my wife back and fix the brokenness. Ultimately meeting with Doug and Peter did just the opposite in that they securely hammered the final nails into the coffin suffocating what life was left in our marriage.
In the end, that which I feared most occurred and my authority as the head of my household was snatched away. My wife’s allegiance was transferred to the church and to the pastor and that is where it remains to this day and enough has been said. Lord have mercy on us all.
Gary, I am praying for you & your daughter. She is a true hero & a beautiful person. This hits close to home, though the people who molested me when I was a child were not, so called, Christians. I am not trying to be a trouble maker, I feel for you, that said, I had a pastor who insisted that I would be healed from my abuse if I would give God thanks for being molested.
First, he preached in a sermon, that the bible tells us to give thanks for everything, including sexual abuse. He was a drama queen & closed his sermon by spitting across the pulpit and ending with, but some of you will not give God thanks for your abuse and in not doing so, you are spitting on the authority of the scriptures.
I was a raw, open wound & very naive, sadly, I had him on a pedestal, so I set up a counseling session to try and reason with him why I thought it was odd that God wanted me to thank him. In that session, I mustered up the courage to ask him if a woman who had an abortion or a affair should they give thanks for that? That made him very angry.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that God wanted me to give thanks for being groomed & violated, I told him that made God in my eyes, complicit in my nightmare. So in all kindness I respectfully share that when you wrote this I felt sick:
“Each of us has our own cross to bear and long suffering and tribulations are really gifts given to us by a loving God and who can understand such things?”
I disagree. Perhaps, I am misunderstanding you and you are not talking about what happened to Natalie. I am in my 60s now and am convinced that it was evil that was perpetrated on me, people with free will made that choice, and it was outside the will of God, He had nothing to do with it. Other than He wept over my shame & all the fall out that happened inside of my body, mind & spirit for years on end. My suffering & tribulations were not gifts from a loving God. If I have misunderstood you, please forgive me, obviously, I was triggered.
I too was sexually assaulted as a young boy and I’ve had to live with those memories for all of my life. No one believed my story so I suppressed it and life went on. So, my choice was to either embrace the long suffering and tribulations that were brought about because of that event I could not control or I could become embittered and angry at my abuser, my parents and God. God saw it all and allowed it happen so does that make Him some kind of a sick and perverted god? I don’t think so and I don’t have time right now to work through that statement. What happened to me and probably millions of young people through out history is the consequence of sinners exercising free will in the presence of a loving God who allows us to do whatever we want, sometimes intervening and sometimes not. I’m sure the holy angels, the Saints and the Lord all grieve over the evil and violence that the human race embraces. He destroyed everything on the earth once already because of this evil and He’s going to do it again. In the meantime, I just want to love Him and my neighbour whom He created.
Regarding this statement, “Each of us has our own cross to bear and long suffering and tribulations are really gifts given to us by a loving God and who can understand such things?” In saying this, I didn’t mean to say that that God is the author of evil and that evil events are somehow a gift from Him. I think that is a very sick and perverted perspective of God’s character. What I did mean by this statement is that long sufferings and tribulations can be used by God to build our character and make us stronger, humble and more compassionate as human beings. What men mean for evil, God can and will work out for good in our lives. I could go on in trying to justify or further clarify my statement but I think I’ve said enough for now.
Absolutely, very well said… peace to you, gm370.
“Stegner also said Sitler must go through relapse prevention therapy and complete and pass another polygraph test. Thompson said it is troubling that Sitler has yet to successfully compete a polygraph test and it is concerning that there may still be more that hasn’t been disclosed.”
I disagree. Thank goodness he hasn’t figured out how to circumvent the polygraph. Which is ridiculously easy to do but he’s too arrogant and entitled to bother with it. I am sorry that this very likely means he’s hurt more than one child, or has hurt one child more than once since his release.
I don’t know what to say about his wife except to hope she divorces him and runs the heck away from her family and this entire mind-set.
I just searched for Jamin Wight on the sex offender website. He is not listed there. I also looked on Idaho repository there is not a case there? I’m confused
Note to potential commenters: We do not publish comments that include the names of other abuse survivors who have not chosen to come forward publicly about their abuse. We also refuse to publish comments that insinuate a child is to any extent complicit in or guilty for sexual abuse perpetrated by an adult. These are direct violations of our comment policy, which you can view here: https://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/forum/
And to the commenter who violated our comment policy and also tried to claim Wight was not found guilty of domestic violence, here you go…
For anyone interested: To view Jamin C. Wight’s case history, go to: https://www.idcourts.us/repository/mainpublic_id.do?forward=mainpublic_id. Click “Name search,” then type in his first and last name.
“it was not until eight months later in November that Wilson informed the leaders of Christ Church about Sitler’s crimes and not until nine months later in December that he informed the families of Christ Church in general.” Doug Wilson hates it when people say he engaged in a pedophile coverup remarkably similar to the pedophile scandals in the Catholic church.
You mentioned RC Sproul Jr. He too actively engaged in a coverup, and his coverup lasted years longer than Wilson’s coverup. He almost got away with too. But recently RC Jr is being exposed:
RC Sproul Jr’s Steven Sitler Pedophile Coverup