HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on November 14, 2013.
The following was posted today on Vision Forum Ministries’ web site:
Clarification on Resignation
by Douglas Phillips, Esq., November 14, 2013
I would like to express my gratitude for the great kindness so many have shown to my family in the wake of my stepping down as president of Vision Forum Ministries. My family has been greatly encouraged by many loving notes we have received. With that in mind, I want to be so very clear about the rightness of this transition, and I want to clear up some matters which have been brought to my attention. My sin has resulted in great pain within the Body of Christ, some confusion, and has given the enemies of God reason to rejoice. This is heartbreaking to me. Some have suggested that my sin was not sufficiently serious to step down. Let me be clear: it absolutely does merit my resignation. My resignation is sincere and necessary given the weightiness of my sin. Some reading the words of my resignation have questioned if there was an inappropriate physical component with an unmarried woman. There was, and it was intermittent over a period of years. The local church, not the Internet, is the proper forum for overseeing the details of a man’s repentance, but I just want to be clear for the sake of peace within the Body of Christ, that the tragic events we are experiencing, including the closing of Vision Forum Ministries are my fault, and that I am sincere that I should not be in leadership, but must spend this season of my life quietly walking a path of proven repentance. Please pray for the Phillips family, the Board, and the men who have made up the staff of Vision Forum Ministries.
(HA note: we have archived a PDF of the above statement here.)
Also, Spiritual Sounding Board has more information on what we know about what happened. Apparently this was ongoing for 10 years, the woman, well, I hesitate to use the word “woman,” “girl” is more accurate, worked closely with the Phillips family and Doug initiated a relationship. It’s not clear whether she was underage when this began but she was young.
If you know the identity of this girl, please do not post it anywhere on the Internet.
She deserves her privacy, she’s absolutely the victim in all of this. There are not enough words in the universe that could convince me that a relationship between Doug Phillips and a stay-at-home daughter who had been indoctrinated into Vision Forum’s ideology all her life is one where she is capable of giving consent.
I’m not talking about the legal age of consent or whether Phillips committed a crime that could be proven in a court of law. No matter what the laws on the books may say, the girls who grow up in that world have the emotional and mental maturity of a child even into their twenties. Their parents deliberately keep them as sheltered children because that way they’re able to control them into being stay-at-home daughters who follow and obey their father’s and other male authority figures’ every word. Girls in that world can appear mature and capable to outside observers because they’ve been taught to run an entire household from the time they were small children. But it’s a world that squashes all sense of autonomous self and produces sheltered, emotionally immature woman-children.
Doug Phillips, one of the most powerful men in fundamentalist quiverfull homeschooling, a lawyer/pastor/leader, took advantage of a girl who had been taught all her life to submit to her father and to male leadership. This was not a relationship between two consenting equals.
The power imbalance is staggeringly huge.
Don’t blame her, don’t go around trying to discover her identity, and if you know who it is, by all means keep it off of the Internet. Allow her the chance to disappear and rebuild her life away from the oppression and abuse.
If you’re looking for someone to blame, blame Doug Phillips and blame the system that does this to women. That system needs to be destroyed.