1. In 1993, Jeff D. Seat, a former SBC pastor, had his troubling theses published in the Journal of Pastoral Care shortly before my first-person account of encountering massive collusion in SBC missions in Africa was published. Contact Dee Ann Miller for information on how to locate a copy.

His work, often referred to in academic circles, was hardly mentioned in most SBC state papers — a fact I established myself by a related survey.

2. Seat made several personal visits to the Sunday School Board (now Lifeway) before late 1994, when I received a letter from him, telling me so and noting that “the political climate at this time” was the reason the agency gave for not being pro-active.

To that letter, I replied: “Political climate is no excuse,” before assuring Seat that my efforts would not cease.

3. For anyone old enough to remember, this political climate was one of fierce brutality on the part of Paige Patterson and his followers who had marched into battle like terrorists for the past 15 years, under the banner of “The Conservative Resurgence.”

This takeover was “absolutely necessary,” the vast majority in the SBC insist today. It seems the political climate of the 90s, which was one of hatred toward those of us considered to be “heretics,” has not changed at all.

4. Since early 1993, collusion with abuse in Christian homes and churches has been the topic of several of my articles published by Baptist Peacemaker, one written in collaboration with my husband Ron, giving his pastoral perspectives. About the time Seat completed his research, How Little We Knew, my first book on collusion and confusion with clergy sexual abuse, was published. Though publicized widely through radio talk shows and scores of articles, few Baptists seemed to notice.

5. By 1995, when I accepted Jack Harwell’s invitation to write a series of eight articles to go out by “snail mail” over a six-month span, Harwell had already published two of my letters and come alongside me, personally pointing out the need for education of the laity to prepare for the masses that I knew would someday come, based on the letters coming into my own mailbox.

6. Joe Trull, retired professor of ethics, wrote me during the series about a formal code of ethics he was promoting. I soon followed up on this with one of the articles in the series, saying how important it would be for all congregations to have this signed, especially since the code included a pledge to hold colleagues accountable for unethical behavior as much as to abide by the highest professional standards to which they were pledging to personally follow.

Does anyone know of anything like this ever being adopted anywhere? If so, please inform me or Todd Benkhert, the foremost advocate for survivors in the SBC today. (You can find Todd’s contact information here, along with the video loop several of us made possible for it to run constantly in the halls of SBC-2022.).

7. Midway through the series, the Sunday School Board suddenly followed the leadership of Seat after I prodded them publicly to do so near the end of the series. They agreed to form a committee with one token female out of nine. She was the wife of a Colorado man at Marble Retreat Ministries, who had been providing “troubled pastors” and their wives a three-week treatment program, according to the SBC’s Foreign Mission Board. In fact, “it’s the finest we can offer for stress management,” our area director Davis Saunders had told us after explaining this was where the FMB had sent the Kingsley’s.

8. Randall Weber, a Kentucky reader, had an article of his own published in Baptists Today. First showing appreciation for the series before urging Trull’s proposed Code of Ethics, further recommending it be signed by employees and leaders of every congregation.

9. I made a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1995, for one of the earliest annual meetings of Baptist Women in Ministry, soon after the Baptist Today series finished running. No more than 25 attendees were present.

While some privately told me, between sessions, of their own abuse by clerics, one woman courageously stuck her neck out in a leadership meeting a few days later, pleading for the group to join me to address the serious problem of coverups.

“We’ve come too far to get involved. Doing so will destroy us,” one woman declared. That settled it. I went away sorrowful.

This raises two questions: How far had these women really come in 1995? What might have been accomplished had they made a different decision that year?

The seed-planting paid off years later, however. Out of all the agencies I challenged, Baptist Women in Ministry, which is made up of many SBC outcasts, has taken on the issues in force. Still, the bridge is too far for the SBC to reach across and learn, it seems.

10. Scores of other articles, both for Baptist publications and ecumenical ones – seemed to only make a small puncture in the defiant wall of silence that the secular press has now been working for years to break. Neither a change in polity nor a data base will remedy the misogynistic bias that silences women and children. Nor will it change the theological rigidity that destroyed the “priesthood of the believers. Nor the ideology that is continually reframed as “love.” The dogged “political climate” is stronger than ever in the former denomination of my heritage for which I continually grieve, even as I stand alongside its survivors, hoping for some kind of miracle.

Editor’s note: This article is the third of a three-part series this week. Part one is available here. Part two is available here.

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