When your church pastor goes off the deep end of crazy…..

I have been out of sorts lately because the pastor of the church that my husband and I have attended for six years, has apparently lost his mind. The week before Fathers Day he called my stepdaughter late at night, waking her up, and asked her to do an “important favor” for him. The favor, if she had done it, would have been a federal felony on the military base where she works.

My stepdaughter, whom I have grown to love like my own daughter during the two years that she has lived with us, was devastated, confused, heartbroken, and angry. She came to me with all of this the morning after the pastor’s call, because she did not want to upset her dad. Her dad, my husband, has had three heart attacks in years past, and he recently had an eye hemorrhage, possibly caused by a blood pressure spike.

After my stepdaughter told me what our pastor had asked her to do, I was also devastated, confused, heartbroken, and angry. Over the years, I had come to love this man like a younger brother. Some of his sermons have moved me to tears. Plus he and his wife were a huge help to us after my husband’s motorcycle accident in 2014.

When my stepdaughter came here to live in 2015, her dad and I invited her to our church. At first she was unsure, because it’s nothing like the denomination she was raised in. But she really wanted to worship with us, and eventually she grew to love the people there. For the past several months she has become very active in doing things for the church, getting up before dawn, when she isn’t even a morning person, to cook breakfast for students at the church before she had to go to work. She did this, even during the days after she had major dental surgery, when she was on a liquid diet only and could not eat any of the delicious food she was cooking!

But she did it all voluntarily and very joyfully. She was bubbling over with happiness, because it felt so good to be part of an extended Christian family for the first time since she was a little girl. She had even started to run errands with her truck and physically helping out the pastor and his wife in their construction business, after getting off work from being on her feet all day at her government job. She did all of this without pay, for the sheer joy of serving the Lord, serving the church, and helping out the pastor and her new Christian friends.

But then the pastor calls her up late at night, talking all “hyper,” she said, like someone who is on a manic bipolar high, and he asks her to commit a federal felony for him.

The day after my stepdaughter told me what the pastor had asked her to do, the pastor called my husband’s cell phone while he was still asleep. I answered, and I told the pastor about my husband’s recent eye hemorrhage, and that the doctor’s nurse had said it was probably a blood pressure spike. I reminded the pastor about my husband’s history of three heart attacks, and I told him that he had an appointment with his VA doctor in three days. In the meantime, I said, we were trying to keep my husband calm, which was very hard for us to do, considering that we were so upset about the pastor asking my stepdaughter to commit a federal felony on the military base where she is employed!

I also told the pastor that I had grown to love him like a brother, and I appreciated very much all the help he had given us after my husband was injured in a motorcycle accident. But, I said, none of that makes it OK for him to ask our daughter to commit a federal crime for him!

Then the pastor asked me if I would come outside and talk with him face to face. He was calling from right outside our house! Call me a chicken, but I did NOT feel safe about doing that. You see, what this man had asked my stepdaughter to do was to buy him a gun illegally, a gun without a safety. He wanted her to buy this particular gun at the military exchange store, to buy it in her name, because “someone was probably using his ID or had the same (very rare!) name, so he can’t buy a gun himself, and it would be a felony for his wife to buy it for him, because of some “stupid government law” that prohibits the spouse from buying a gun when you can’t buy it” —

— these are the words that my very distraught stepdaughter swears our pastor said to her, and she is NOT THAT GOOD OF AN ACTRESS to make all this up!! Not even an academy award winner actor could fake something this good. Plus, why would she even want to make something like this up? You could see on her face how much she loved being involved in our church!

Not only did the pastor tell my stepdaughter that he wanted her to buy him this particular gun that he had seen on sale at the military base exchange store (he saw the gun on a sales flyer that my stepdaughter had posted on her FB wall, for the benefit of her military followers) — he told her she could “give it to him as a gift,” and that he would pay her for the gun, plus give her some extra money “for her trouble.” And in addition to this, a few days prior to him calling her late at night to ask her to buy this gun, he had called her at work and asked her to buy him a particular camouflage style military uniform and a matching military camo style backpack — and when she told him that these items are restricted to active duty military personnel only, he said “Well, you work by yourself most of the time, don’t you? You can buy them when no one else is there.”

What is this guy planning to do? Does he want to be Rambo now??? He has never been in the military, so he has no rights to anything on sale at the base exchange store.

Considering all of these things, plus the fact that my own father, who was also a church pastor, was arrested when I was twelve years old for trying to murder my mother — I was the only witness, and it involved a gun!! — considering all of that, I Did Not Feel Safe about going outside to talk to the pastor at that moment, all by myself.

Plus I happen to know, because the pastor’s wife has talked at length about these things during the weekly women’s Bible studies, that she and the pastor are being audited for the past several years by the IRS, they are being accused of tax fraud, and in the past year they have been questioned twice by Child Protection Services, because someone has accused them of child abuse! And the pastor’s wife keeps crying about how they are Totally Innocent of tax fraud and child abuse, but Satan is attacking them!

So, because I knew all of these things, after my stepdaughter told me about the pastor wanting her to buy him this gun and the camouflage military uniform and backpack, we did a Google search on his very unique name and found FIVE CRIMINAL ARRESTS in California, in the area where we know they lived prior to them moving here to New Mexico about seven years ago!

I had just finished telling the pastor that I know about their IRS audit and their problems with Child Protection, and I told him that we had searched his name online and found out about his arrests. And I told him, “Look, we all have a past. But maybe CPS and the IRS investigations are not all “Satan attacking” you — maybe, at least some of it, is reaping what you sow!”

I then reminded him of the scriptures which tell us that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual, not carnal, and we need to trust God to protect us. We Christians aren’t supposed to go around shooting our enemies, we are called to LOVE our enemies!

After I said all of these things to this pastor, when he asked me to come outside and talk to him face to face right then and there, and I realized that he was calling from right outside our house — call me a big chicken, but I did NOT feel safe about going outside to talk to him right then!! So I told him no, I was not going to do that, and I ended the call.

OK…. giving this pastor the benefit of the doubt, maybe he did not realize that what he was asking our daughter to do was in fact against federal laws. But even if he did not know this, until I informed him of the fact, can you guess what this man did — this man who has been our pastor for six years — right after I ended our phone conversation?

……he unfriended both my husband and my stepdaughter on Facebook! He did this, although neither of them had said one cross word to him about anything, *I* was the only one who did that! (I am not on Facebook, therefore he could not unfriend me. So I guess he got his petty “revenge” by unfriending my family, instead.)

So now my husband, our daughter, and I are grieving the loss of our church family, the loss of our pastor, and the loss of our Christian friends — one of whom is suddenly ignoring my stepdaughter’s texts, and taking many more hours than usual to answer mine. Who knows what this pastor is telling people. Oh, and the pastor’s wife also unfriended my stepdaughter, so again, we are wondering what the pastor has told her, and what poor pitiful sob story she has brought now to the weekly Bible study. (The woman who is now ignoring my stepdaughter’s texts, rarely misses a Bible study.)

The past three weeks have been very painful, for all of us. But, you know what? People are human, people are imperfect, and people will fail you, yes, even church pastors. However, I am NOT going to lose my faith over this, like I did at the age of twelve after my minister father went crazy and almost murdered my mother. And again thirty years ago, when I worked for a major TV ministry for several years and lost my faith a second time, because of the hypocrisy I saw going on there!

Today, my eyes and my heart and my faith are fixed on the Only One who is perfect and sinless all the time, the One whose Love never fails, and who will never, ever let us down.

Our Heavenly Father will never unfriend, unfollow, or block us. Only we humans do that.

What a Friend we have in Jesus!

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31 thoughts on “When your church pastor goes off the deep end of crazy…..

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 6:48 pm

      Hi, Tony. I agree that he needs to go away…. not sure if a vacation is the answer, though, he vacations a lot.

      This pastor is a cancer survivor. My husband and I are wondering if maybe the cancer has come back, and is affecting his brain somehow? Only God knows. The pastor has gone through a lot of grief in the past couple of years. His dad died about two years ago, a close pastor friend that he went to seminary with died last summer, and in November, our associate pastor died suddenly and unexpectedly. I don’t know if any of this could account for the change in him, but one thing is for sure — this isn’t normal behavior, like you said.

      Like

      • Tony Burgess July 4, 2017 / 7:20 pm

        In some churches there is a connection from one church to another and a leadership body that can help resolve issues that come up. If a pastor is unable to fulfill their duties then there is help in removing them from office so a church can begin the work necessary to receive a new pastor. Some pastors stay longer than is healthy for the church or themselves and the firing process can be very messy.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Suzanne July 26, 2017 / 5:06 am

        Did he have chemotherapy? It’s rarely talked about, but chemo can have very serious, deleterious effects on the brain. There is even a name for this-“chemo brain”. I’m not saying that this is the cause of his behavior, but it is a possibility. It’s also possible that his cancer has metastasized to his brain. If so, the incidents with your family wouldn’t be the only manifestation of this condition. Other members of his congregation would see that his mental state is altered. But if your family is the only one to be harmed by him you may just be his most recent target for abuse. In any event, the things he did to your family are reason enough to have him removed. A pastor who attempts to induce someone to commit a felony is no longer fit to lead a congregation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 26, 2017 / 7:52 am

          Thank you so much for your comment, Suzanne.

          Yes, I believe the pastor did have chemotherapy, as well as radiation and surgery. And yes, you are correct about the negative effects of chemotherapy on the brain. Since February, I have been undergoing neurofeedback treatments for my PTSD. The therapist doing the NFT asked about my health history during my intake interview. When I mentioned that I’d had carcinoma in situ almost forty years ago, he asked if I’d had chemotherapy. When I said no, I only had surgery, the therapist said “That’s good, because I won’t do neurofeedback on anyone who has ever had chemo. It completely changes the brain, and neurofeedback does them no good.” Sad, isn’t it?

          However, I believe that we are, like you suggested, simply his latest targets for abuse. People from that church are now openly shunning my sweet stepdaughter, and she hasn’t done anything wrong, nor has she said anything to anyone in the church about what the pastor asked her to do. All she has done is stop going to the services there. But last Saturday, she was walking out of a grocery store when she came face to face with the music director of this church. She looked him right in the eyes, smiled and said “Hello, Rich!” And he completely ignored her. As he walked past her into the store, she loudly called after him “Have a nice weekend!” Still he did not acknowledge her in any way.

          So….. apparently, the pastor has told some sort of made up story about the three of us, to explain why we are no longer going there. And whatever lies he is telling, must be pretty bad.

          Like

  1. atimetoshare.me July 4, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    You need to get out of that church or consult the elders as to what happened so the same behavior doesn’t get in the way of someone else’s faith. Maybe it already has. His actions are irresponsible and certainly not right for a shepherd of an unsuspecting flock. Satan does his best handiwork in the church and if the pastor continues along this path he will lead all the sheep astray. I’ll pray for you, your stepdaughter, husband, your pastor and your church ,

    Liked by 5 people

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you, Kathy. This church has been getting smaller and smaller in the past year or so. There are very few people left. My family and I are now visiting other churches, and doing a lot of praying about what to do and where to go from here.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Sleeping Tiger July 4, 2017 / 7:34 pm

        No disrespect but I’d be more worried about him putting other people’s lives in danger than getting in the way of someone’s faith. Stay safe Lynda and I hope he doesn’t hurt anyone else either. Sounds like a scary situation.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 7:39 pm

          It is a very scary situation, Aurel, I agree. I almost titled this post “No, Pastor Gun Lover, We Won’t Be Drinking Your Toxic Kool-Aid”, because that’s how scary this whole thing seems to me.

          Liked by 3 people

      • atimetoshare.me July 4, 2017 / 8:22 pm

        How very sad. Obviously this man needs help and so does his wife and family. I know we’re all guilty of sin and not supposed to cast stones, but too often church leaders let things slide too much.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      That’s exactly what I have been thinking, Lynette.

      We are praying and looking for another church now. It’s a little scary, though. We don’t want to be so blond again.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      I know, right! The three of us have been trying to figure out what to do. Should we report this pastor to the ATF?

      There was so much to tell, I forgot to add the part about the pastor telling my stepdaughter, the night he called and woke her up, about all the other guns he already has. This man has been talking a lot in the pulpit lately about Armageddon, and my husband and stepdaughter told me that he had recently started posting on Facebook about needing to arm ourselves against terrorists.

      It’s like he thinks we need to stockpile weapons for the end of the world. Like the Waco, Texas horror, and the Jim Jones poison kool-aid disaster. But I don’t see anything in the Bible about Christians being called to take up weapons against anyone! Much of the New Testament was written when the early church was being severely persecuted, driven out of town, imprisoned, stoned to death, and beheaded, for the “crime” of preaching the gospel. But the apostles wrote in their letters to the early church that the weapons of their warfare were spiritual, not carnal, and that they needed to arm themselves with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit.

      We are commanded to love our enemies, not kill them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nyssa The Hobbit July 4, 2017 / 8:12 pm

        Is there someone in authority over him–church board, regional officials, that sort of thing? They may be better able to sort it out. Failing that, maybe consult a police officer. You don’t have to report him, but get advice on what to do.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. bethanyk July 4, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    Speaking directly from the heart…The pastor knew exactly what he was doing. He had NO right to call your stepdaughter on her personal phone to ask a personal favor at NIGHT no less. There are red flags all over the place. Too many. So then, he didn’t get his way, trying to go through the more fragile (younger naive fragile person) to the father. He knows, of the medical problems if you are that close.so he didn’t get his way and so his intention was to call your husband and try to manipulate him as well.
    You answering the phone was, what I feel, God allowing you to protect your husband and stepdaughter. You had the ability, the strength, the foresight, to set up a boundary and make it clear.
    The proof of the pastor’s ill intention is that he unfriended your husband and stepdaughter. He knows now that you all have knowledge of his impureness so he had to cut ties.
    He has shown you his true colors. Don’t doubt what you know is right and that fact is that he is very wrong. Don’t make excuses for him or think he just didn’t realize. This was calculated. You have protected your family. I am sure of it.
    I’m glad you shared it with me. Thank you.
    I can’t always write coherently. Sometimes I ramble.
    I was given peace yesterday. I was given sunsets and neighbors and a friend.
    The Lord has allowed you to see the truth in this man which is a blessing because who knows the damage he could have done.

    Ok that was my first comment before I read the rest….He was outside your house!!!! And has a criminal record!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your instinct was right all along. God led you to protect your family. Wow.
    A man’s title means zero. You can have your PHD and be a rapist. You can be a Pastor and molest kids and have a horrid criminal background. This is why we do not blindly trust because of a title but we go with what God gives us…good ole instinct.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Thank you Bethany, and AMEN.

      My husband has shared this on his Facebook. Our daughter also posted it on her Facebook page. Several of the few remaining people in this dying church, are among their Facebook friends. So… I’m thinking that this will probably be brought to the pastor’s attention very soon.

      What will happen then? My guess is that he will lie and deny everything. As you and I know only too well, Bethany, that’s what abusers and users do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bethanyk July 4, 2017 / 9:49 pm

        But you know what. That isn’t yours. It is his. He is the liar. He is the one in the wrong. The consequence are HIS of HIS own actions. You and your family have done what is right, and that is warn others so they are not hurt or used by this charlatan. He will deny it. But that is on him. And in time. Others will see the truth in him maybe they already have and that is why it is a dying church. You don’t owe that church to stay anyway. You have done your job to protect others. You can find a new church home that is nurturing and SAFE

        Liked by 2 people

  3. adamjasonp July 5, 2017 / 3:24 am

    It’s always awful to be let down by someone who’s supposed to be supportive. He’s either a bit paranoid or controlling if he’s stockpiling weapons and cutting ties of those who don’t comply with his wishes or ideals. Wants loyalty but doesn’t own up to his errors. Either way, I wouldn’t trust him. Likely doesn’t trust you either. That’s not love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 5, 2017 / 7:03 am

      You’re so right, Jason. That’s not love.

      Just seeing your name here made me smile, even before I read your comment. Thank you for starting my day off with a smile.

      Like

  4. Prairie Girl July 7, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    Wow, he has such a messy life and soul! All I know is, the more one gets into the life God intends for us the SIMPLER life becomes, not more chaotic! God isn’t the author of chaos. Bad things may happen to us occasionally, but they make sense. What this guy is going through is nonsensical, convoluted and crazy.

    It’s awesome your stepdaughter had you to go to, and what you said to the pastor was perfect. You honoured yourself, your stepdaughter, and husband, and for all the things you know is right. It sounds like his life is imploding so I wouldn’t worry what they’re telling others. The others are going to soon know things are wrong. Like you said, there’s sowing and reaping, and it sounds this man has been sowing into the wind and he will reap a whirlwind.

    How disappointing for you, though. As I was saying to you privately, I haven’t found a good church yet as I think disingenuous pastors are far too common these days and I’m running out of patience to find a good one. I tend to go to online Christian communities and comment sections where Bible-believers tend to congregate more and more these days. Everything is just getting so bad out there. But the Bible warned us these days would come. It’s distressing to watch it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 7, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much, dear friend, for your validating words. I keep asking myself, Did I handle this the right way? Did I use the right words? Did I have the right attitude? I believe I probably should have spoken the truth to him more lovingly, with more humility and less anger. I tried to send him an apologetic text afterward, saying as much, but got no response. So I figure he had already blocked my number.

      Oh well. All I can do now is pray.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 13, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      Thank you, Alexis. You stay safe, too. After reading your riveting memoir, I know that you are as aware as I am, about the wolves masquerading as sheep.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dividinguplife July 20, 2017 / 6:15 am

    Our Pastor went on a rampage one day about how we aren’t tithing correctly. This man that we loved so much, became red-faced and paced and spit all across the stage as he told us we lived in a cursed household if we didn’t tithe correctly. This was from a church that posted how much money they received each week (between two and three hundred thousand dollars a week). That was enough to drive me and my grandmother away. He ended up stepping down or getting fired or something, a few years later. I can’t imagine having a pastor that calls in the middle of the night to ask for the illegal purchase of a gun.

    The first thing I just told my co-worker as I was reading this was “He’s going to shoot up the friggin’ church…”

    I’m a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” believer, myself. I don’t worry about Armageddon, because I’m very hopeful that God will call us to Heaven before the Rapture starts. Though, the co-pastor at this particular church told us that the Revelations Chapter is interpreted both ways – pre and post tribulation. He said it’s just a matter of how you interpret it. I try to keep the glass half-full mindset on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 20, 2017 / 6:59 am

      The way you described that, I can just see it, your pastor’s bully-pulpit rant about tithes. I’ve seen similar rants about tithes and offerings, but none quite that bad.

      Pastors are people and people are not infallible. Both my dad and my uncle were pastors, so I know that truth well! But even so, it hurts when a pastor you’ve grown to love, does something really off.

      I like your glass half full thinking. I try not to worry about pre or post tribulation, because worrying about something like that doesn’t do anybody any good. I prefer to trust the Lord and take life one day at a time, like Jesus said to do.

      I was a little girl when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened — yes, I have been around awhile! — and my dad was in the pulpit, preaching that with a Catholic in the Whitehouse and nuclear armed missiles off the shore of Florida, the world’s end was imminent. I had vivid nightmares about atomic bombs falling on us, and beautiful dreams about Jesus riding down to earth on clouds of glory. But today, more than half a century later, we are still here — and the world is crazier than ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. cathleentownsend July 26, 2017 / 8:59 am

    It’s hard not to take this sort of thing personally, but it really says far more about him than you. This sort of thing happens. It sounds like this guy is struggling with some sort of mental illness, so we can only pray that he comes to his senses and gets help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 26, 2017 / 9:53 am

      I agree, and we are praying for him, his family, and for the remaining people in the church. But yes, you are right, it is very hard not to take it personally! Plus it is a very big loss. We had grown to love them so much. We felt like they had our backs during difficult times. But, no more.

      Like

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