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Statement from NTM

Hello Kari, Bonnie (and all):

We read your recently posted blog with great sadness.  We want to apologize again for the hurts you have experienced and to let you know that we at NTM are committed to constructive dialogue, further preventative actions, and God-honoring organizational change.  In response to your question, here are some of the actions that NTM is committed to taking.  This is not to say that these actions are all that NTM is willing to do, as we are eager to prayerfully consider any ideas presented to us.

First, NTM is committed to a posture of transparency. This is reflected by (among other things) all of the documents we have provided to you – regardless of whether the documents were positive or negative – in response to requests from you or your family members.  (As you know, you posted a number of those documents on your blog.)  One of our primary goals is to help clarify any confusion.

Second, consistent with our desire for transparency, we would support appointing an independent, unbiased, outside individual or group to conduct a review of the abuse allegations and NTM’s leadership style in the 1980’s and 1990’s at the Fanda School.  With so much history, then substantial silence, fragmenting relationships and mistrust, we would be open to appropriate independent review. Obviously both the former MK’s and NTM would have to have confidence in the person or group doing the review.

Third, to be successful, such independent review would require the availability of both NTM personnel and former MK’s.  We understand that this could very well result in NTM paying the reasonable costs of those telling their stories to fly to a location and/or stay in a motel, just as we have done in previous cases including in Tallahassee and Edmonton.  NTM would continue the process of paying those expenses.

Fourth, NTM is committed to pursuing an investigation of any new allegations or further investigating existing allegations and applying its policies and administrative outcomes to those individuals who have violated NTM policies.

Fifth, as discussed with you at our earlier meeting, NTM’s normal process is to assist financially with counseling for victims, offenders, and appropriate family members of those involved.  We will continue to offer that kind of assistance to those who need counseling.

Sixth, we remain strongly committed to preventing future abuse.  Toward that end, we see value in increased networking with supporting churches, other missions, and counselors for the purpose of raising awareness of experiences within NTM, and in continued learning to reinforce prevention. The more we can heighten the awareness of abuse in the missions context and in local churches, the better additional protections can be implemented to decrease the risk of future abuse.  When developing the 2003 Abuse Prevention DVD series, we disclosed the number of cases of which we were aware with the hope of increasing awareness.  We are committed to continued transparency with supporting churches. This Abuse Prevention DVD series is available to any church or organization wanting it; it has been widely disseminated in recent years and is being used by missions and churches across the country.

Seventh, we continue to support the concept of sponsoring a retreat where former MKs can come together with current NTM leadership to share their experiences and to meet with counselors if requested.  We believe that we have a lot to learn from you.  Ideally, an independent group, mutually agreeable to the former MKs and to NTM, would lead such a retreat.

Thank you for your willingness to work through this process with us. Our heart’s desire is to continue to learn from the past, to help heal the hurts that you and others have experienced, and to make NTM the most God-honoring and caring mission organization that it can be. Please continue to share with us your thoughts about how we may do that more effectively.

Sincerely,

NTM US Executive Board & Child Protection Committee

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  1. greg
    August 10th, 2009 at 15:23 | #1

    to ntm
    NTM, you say you want to co-operate. you say all of these things, but you are full of it. your lawyers will not even call us back when they say they will. sound familiar? there are some pretty similar qualities between you’re hired help and yourselves. but i must say it is not too suprising, you’re trends are very predictable. talk to you soon, NTM.

  2. Xavier
    August 3rd, 2009 at 17:00 | #2

    If the New Tribes organization and the Protestant church will do nothing to support you in this, I would contact the Catholic church and organizations such as ReGain. They have experience with multinational religious coverups and seem to be trying to do the right thing finally. I am sure they will give you some support and help get some press on this terrible issue. All true believers in Jesus Christ should be united about bringing light to such a terrible issue like child molestation.

  3. Naomi Cleaves (Quilliam)
    August 2nd, 2009 at 23:31 | #3

    That was Luke 18:1-8

  4. Naomi Cleaves (Quilliam)
    August 2nd, 2009 at 23:29 | #4

    1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

    4″For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”

    6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    -from the online NIV bible

  5. Gene Long
    August 2nd, 2009 at 22:44 | #5

    Anonymous, of course: It is true that NTM cannot repent. As you observe, a legal entity – having no soul, no conscience, no will, no heart – can neither believe, repent or, for that matter, even be “Christian.”

    Your illustration is apt: The USA often has evil people running the show. But, “we the people” have a method of removing those evil people from office. We are not always successful, but we are not generally punished for trying, or told that we should honor them because they are God given leadership.

    These victims have had no voice before. The power has always been in the hands of those who, by their failure to report these crimes to the authorities, were complicit in these crimes.

  6. August 2nd, 2009 at 22:35 | #6

    Comparing a corporation to a country is sort of a ridiculous way to try to make a point, anonymous of course. How about comparing it to another corporation like Enron?

    Do you see Kenneth Lay “migrating to another infrastructure within which he can continue operating in the same manner”?

  7. August 2nd, 2009 at 22:21 | #7

    NTM itself is not a person. It is an infrastructure consisting of various institutions and macro and micro organizations around the world. Now, to get practical here for a moment. When we say that “NTM has not repented”, what are we saying? NTM is a legal entity that is “deemed” to exist, but NTM itself can do nothing. I really think the focus should be on individuals, and to some extent the “infrastructure” to the extent the relevant persons control the infrastructure, but in reality, the infrastructure cannot speak and act on its own behalf. Destroying the infrastructure does nothing to hold the persons responsible accountable for their actions because those persons can merely migrate to another infrastructure within which they can continue operating in the same manner. To illustrate my point, America has a lot of evil people running the show and it has a lot of evil activity in it, but does that necessarily mean that the entire USA should be destroyed?

  8. Dave Bertelsen
    August 2nd, 2009 at 21:44 | #8

    Rev Philips-
    What a pat answer. Spoken like a true ivory tower
    hypocrite. Maybe if you appeared to think that these
    people’s pain was valid instead of trying to throw verses
    at it, you wouldn’t sound like NTM hired you to do damage control.

  9. August 2nd, 2009 at 20:56 | #9

    I’m going to echo here something I said on another post. People and especially church leaders who encourage abuse victims to “move-on” and “forgive and forget” often have something to hide themselves.

  10. Gene Long
    August 2nd, 2009 at 20:34 | #10

    According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel byGary Taylor, Sentinel Staff Writer, dated March 15, 2008, “The families of five Florida-based missionaries kidnapped and slain by Colombian terrorists filed suit this week against Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International, accusing the well-known banana grower of providing the killers with money, guns and ammunition.”

    I wonder how many people have counseled these victims to “move on”?

  11. August 2nd, 2009 at 19:28 | #11

    It is so sad that this is the voice of the church, yet again. Move on, forgive and forget, etc. Why do we keep allowing uninformed people to pastor our churches and counsel others without the necessary education? How many more must suffer and then be re-victimized later by this inappropriate stance that there is something wrong with seeking justice against crimes. God was mighty concerned with justice, and he used his people to deliver it. Does this pastor not understand scripture?

  12. Shary Hauber
    August 2nd, 2009 at 19:07 | #12

    Phillips said “I have worked with people who have gone through many kinds of things and the ones who get victory are the ones who learn to move on. They do that by deciding”

    That is just what Bonnie, Kari and all the rest of the abused people are doing they are moving on. They are no longer in bondage to their abusers. They are free to expose them. No where in Scripture do you find that someone is to hide another persons sin.

    Did Nathan hid David’s sin because it might hurt his image. No because the only way for David to be a man of God he had to deal with his sin. Hiding the abuser’s sin does not help the abuser face his sin and so he continues to live in sin.

    Just saying he is sorry is not enough. There must be a total turning from sin. True repentance brings the desire to do anything possible to make recommence to the victim. Look at what Zachaeus did, he wanted to pay back four times. I see these abusers running and hiding, blaming the victims, giving a message to the abusers you are a bad Christian because you don’t forgive me. What the abusers really want is to get is affirmation from the church that they are OK and the victim is evil for not approving of what they did.
    I am so sorry Bill Phillips is miss leading so many people.

    Holding a person accountable for their actions is not wrong it is right .

  13. Gene Long
    August 2nd, 2009 at 15:02 | #13

    Rev Bill Phillips, you make a very good point about the need for affirmation. I was in NTM for 25 years, and from time to time would have liked to have a little affirmation from my leaders, those who told me they were there to look after my spiritual well being. Please read some correspondence between me and the chairman of NTM here: http://ntmabuse.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/gene-long-on-homeschooling/

    You said affirmation sometimes keeps people “enmeshed in a situation by having us seek continued affirmation.” That’s true. It kept me in NTM for 25 years.

    I will comment on these letters soon, although they really do speak for themselves.

  14. anonymous
    August 2nd, 2009 at 14:35 | #14

    Rev. -

    I hate the term “move on.” It is a dismissal of the pain and the process and it is a form of abusing the victim all over again.

    I hope you will re-think that. You are silencing the voice of the victim. NOT OK!

  15. Joel C.
    August 2nd, 2009 at 12:27 | #15

    In response to Rev. Bill:

    WHY DO WE LOOK AT THE DAMAGE? (Taken from the Survivors of Abuse Leadership training manual)

    A young woman called to tell me that she needed to talk to someone. She proceeded to say that five years earlier she had been raped by a man in her church. She hid the abuse for years, but at last she decided she needed to tell someone. She chose her pastor.

    I asked her what he had told her. She said he gave her two verses, Philippians 3:13 and 1 John 1:9. The first was that she needed to “forgive and forget” … forgetting those things which are behind…

    The next thing he told her was that she was forgiven.

    I asked if that helped her. She said, “No, I really need some help.”

    What was wrong with this advice? This is very typical of what an uninformed Christian might say to a victim. It is also re-abusive. Let me explain why.

    Philippians 3:13 is being used out of context. Paul had just listed the ways he had had confidence in right family, circumcision, lawkeeping, and zeal in persecuting the church. He said that now he counted these things as loss because righteousness comes through faith and not through doing the right things. He said he was to forget those ways of obtaining righteousness, and to live by faith. He did not forget the past. He had just rehearsed it. He often gave his testimony of his past and the way he persecuted the church. God does not have amnesia about our past. He was present with us. To “forget” sin means He will not put it on our account. It is forgiven. The debt is paid.

    The issue of forgiving the abuser is an important and often misunderstood part of recovery. Has the abuser confessed and repented? Have you confronted the sin? (Read Luke 17:3,4.) Moreover, full forgiveness cannot be offered until the victim is able to comprehend the full extent of the damage that occurred. Forgiveness offered too quickly is often used to deny the long-range, damaging effects of the abuse. It takes time for memories to come back and denied emotions to come alive. We will look at this again in Session 10 (on forgiveness).

    The use of 1 John 1:9, which is about confessing our sin, is not appropriate for an abuse victim. It implies that the victim is the guilty one. The blame needs to be placed where it belongs, and this is on the perpetrator.

    My caller and I discussed the fact that her pastor’s advice was not appropriate and what it might look like to someday go to him and help him understand how to minister to others who may come to him. He could encourage a victim to look at the damage in order to
    begin the work of rebuilding. This process is found in the book of Nehemiah.

    (Taken from the Survivors of Abuse Leadership training manual pages 25-26)

  16. Rev. Bill Phillips
    August 2nd, 2009 at 03:20 | #16

    I have worked with people who have gone through many kinds of things and the ones who get victory are the ones who learn to move on. They do that by deciding. That is often a process. At the end of the day – your ability to have victory does not depend on what other people think or believe – it matters what you think and believe. Your validation is between you and God based on His Word. We all think we know what that means, but the mind finds true strength, peace and victory when it learns to stand alone in that. You may be in that place. Too many believers seek affirmation from others for validation. while affirmation feels good and we all need it from time to time – it all too often becomes the measure of our “success” in a situation. Affirmation is support – it is not victory. It does not necessarily provide the ability to move on. Sometimes it keeps one enmeshed in a situation by having us seek continued affirmation. My prayer is that you will look for people who can help you find the tools needed to get to that place of victory. The personal decisions each of you make on how to handle the issues this blog seeks to address will in fact determine your enmeshment or your victory. They are not the same. I trust the Lord Jesus Christ to nourish each of your souls and spirits as only He knows how.

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