Doug Phillips “Clarifies” His Resignation Statement

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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.

Doug Phillips

(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.


  • I couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t ask people to pray for the girl…

    • Yes, I had noted that as well.
      I just happened upon this site, after typing in about the scandal when I found out about this from a fellow Christian.
      I am a homeschooling father. We have our reasons for homeschooling, and are first generation. We enjoyed Vision Forum for many reasons.
      All I can say is that I hope people will pray for all the people involved in this; Doug, his family, all the people that were deceived, this poor girl, everyone-including the sarcastic critics. We can do our best to judge what is going on, but we will never have all the details. We can only pray for those involved.

  • So, in his original statement he said he did not know this woman in the Biblical way. Now he says there is a physical component, but he ain’t telling what that component actually was.

    I have said all along that there was more to this story. Since this was a long, on going relationship, I suspect that the physical component was something most of us would call sex. (Be it penetration, oral, etc.) Phillips is the Bill Clinton of the patriarchy movement.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      “But he ain’t telling what that component actually was.”

      From the BBC miniseries production of “I, Claudius”:
      “(long Roman aristocrat name). Have you slept with my daughter?”
      “Not slept, Caesar.”
      “Ah! Then did you do it standing up? Or on a couch and not a bed?”

    • And what is the biblical sense anyway? Dare we quote Paul on not touching a woman.

      • Why yes. 🙂 everyone knows if a boy holds a girl’s hand it is a sexual gateway drug that leads to fornication. 🙂 Now, since it is now known that Phillips touched this woman he should be required to marry her. polygamy? No problem. See OT.

        It is any wonder many people raised in Fundamentalism often have a messed up understanding of sexuality? ( and I speak from personal experience)

        Phillips needs to fess up. Most of us understand affairs happen, even to pastors. As long as the woman is not actually a girl or a person he was in a place of power over (in the legal sense) then I would fully understand if he had an affair. It happens. However, as it stands now, it sure looks like he is hiding something. (And there may be a lawyer saying to him, say no more)

  • No word on the women who served for Vision Forum. Man this guy needs some professional help.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    If you know the identity of this girl, please do not post it anywhere on the Internet.

    I suggest using a pseudonym like “Ofdoug”.
    Because it looks like we got a Commander of Gilead and his Handmaid situation.

  • I greatly appreciate your efforts in helping to protect this young lady from having her name plastered all over the internet. That’s the least we can do. Thank you!

  • Those who know who the young lady was – is she still inside the movement? I think the outside world will be more healthy for her now. (Doug Wilson already implied she is a Delilah, I am sure others in her world think it.)

    • I hope Mr. Wilson continues to write publicly about this situation. He’s revealing his true colors for all to see.

      • How completely humiliating for his own family for him to publicly comment again on the situation, the physical contact… It’s time for him to just be quiet instead of doing more emotional harm to his own family. Of course, they might not be allowed on the internet anyway to know what he is or is not doing.

  • Now that mr. “Boys and Men Titanic Society” is on a sinking ship, does he think of women and children first?
    No. His whole talk is about himself, then we should pray for “the Phillips family, the Board, and the men who have made up the staff of Vision Forum Ministries” Not the powerless “other woman”, nor the females who worked for VF, nor disillusioned homeschool mothers, nor children who may have been harmed when kept powerless under sinful men.

    Where is your “women and children first” talk now, Doug?

  • This is not really surprising. The quiverfull movement and the patriarchy movement struck me as terribly wrong-headed to the point of being theologically false. I can see how an atmosphere imbued with that philosophy would open the door to strange goings-on. What I don’t understand is how the affair could have gone on for ten years wtihout anyone knowing or doing anything about it. That’s just crazy. People had to have known. Was this covered up? Did something pivotal occur that finally brought the matter to the forefront of our attention? This man’s behavior arose in a milieu that, perhaps only inadvertantly, promoted it. He advanced the philosophy that created that kind of an environment, and as he has said, is responsible for his actions. It is very tragic.

  • This poor girl, no one seems to care about the trauma she has to face, in a world she was reared in taught her that Eva came more from a “foot bone” when she was created from Adam, so she could be under the rule of man. Which is so far from the truth Eve came from the rib we are to equal with men, but with different roles a help mate. This poor girl life is over in her world since will be called un-pure, she is one who needs prayer and good thoughts towards.

  • Pingback: Doug Wilson Uses Vision Forum Scandal to Defend Patriarchy | H . A

  • His letter is not a “clarification.” It’s a rewrite of his original letter. There is no new information.

    I get the sense he’s telling people to butt out and leave him alone.

    In other words, he is NOT stepping down from leadership. He’s attempting to take control.

    • Precisely – he is telling people how not to react “The local church, not the Internet, is the proper forum for overseeing the details of a man’s repentance” – not stepping down from teaching.

    • Douggie like most who turn a profit from their personal versions of xtianity and the patriarchy is still holding the reigns of the money making component of VF.

  • Pingback: A Closer Look at Doug Phillips’ Clarification Statement | Spiritual Sounding Board

  • i have seen this happen too many times. this movement creates the situation where young girls are vulnerable and kept ignorant of the dangers.

    and the men can prey on them. (using men loosely, because i know *now* not all men are like this).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Shade, I’m curious of the origin of your blog handle. “Shade Ardent” has an exotic ring to it.

      My own blog handle comes from an art piece I did once about a unicorn (classic Western symbol of purity and current American symbol of magic and fantasy) getting chopped during the French Revolution.

      • hi headless unicorn guy,

        my blog handle…. is a nickname plus ardent, meaning staunch and fiery. because I hope to be that in my speaking.

        yours is evocative of lost innocence too. what type of art inspired the name ?

        — shade

  • Pingback: Legalists Make Forgiving Legalistic (But We Still Need to Forgive) | Wide Open Ground

  • As a woman escaping this twisted movement, I cannot agree more! Your summary was dead on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words. I think my girls and BOYS will benefit the collapse of this damaging movement.

  • Thank you for your diligence in finding and exposing the truth. It is painfully heart breaking, but necessary.
    I am one of those moms who homeschools her children (3 precious ones). I feel a need to remind you that unspoken and unaddressed abuse is not
    unique to this arena. I grew up in a feminist, Democrat, abortion supporting, Reagan hating, church resenting, drinking, practicing “safe sex” normal family. I went to public school and was in sports, drama, choir, and national honor society. However, I was molested by a stepfather from age 6 – 11. Until finally my mom decided to give me a break. It was no secret even among my extended family and during my many breakdowns at school early on, never did a teacher follow through to help.
    Talk about being sheltered, I decided to get a degree in opera performance in college and not one of my public school educator aunts, nor my public school principal aunt advised me differently. A lack of guidance and parental supervision was and is the norm. So casual sex and occasional rape were myexperiences.
    I am now a christian, and pretty conservative after plenty of firsthand experience. The figures on public highschool teen pregnancy are almost reason enough to homeschool. The merciless physical bullying encountered by my oldest daughter in2nd grade and the lack of empathy by the teachers on hand cemented our decision.
    I so appreciate your honesty and hope you remember that many homeschool moms take their role very seriously. My family can not afford a co-op, even so all of my children are a grade ahead in math, science and language arts. Also my 13 year old volunteers weekly at the public library. We are trying to give them what we wish we had. Please try to remember that this current tragedy is not indicative of the entire homeschool community or even conservative homeschool families.

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