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MK forum • View topic - Reflections on conversation with Larry

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:40 pm 
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I recently had a couple of phone conversations with Larry Brown. The first was approximately a month ago in response to my email letter that I posted a copy of on this forum on 9.22.10 called "Dear Mission Boards". In both conversations it was my impression that Larry was professional, respectful, and caring. Please note that there is very little new information from Larry that I have to present here. Also please note that I am being very deliberate to not quote Larry, as any quote will be over analyzed and read into by all the MK "lawyers, Freuds, business analysts, and theologians" including wannabes of all the above like myself. Nor do I want to break trust with Larry. Rather I will give my impressions of those conversations, followed by my recommendations. I understand that I risk critique and potential distrust by my fellow MKs because of my attempts at diplomacy and my recommendations. I am completely OK if you disagree with me. However I feel that it is important to present another approach to working with NTM despite it potentially not being popular on this forum to some or viewed as naive by others. Please show me grace.

1. My impression is that both NTM and GRACE are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the information coming towards them from non FANDA NTM MK schools, at a time when there is still much to finish from the FANDA GRACE REPORT regarding mediation and arbitration as noted on the 10.29 update on NTM.org. Neither NTM nor GRACE are presenting like they have the manpower/resources to adequately handle what they are facing in the upcoming investigations. However they appear to be working hard towards resolving their lack of resources.

2. I felt that there was clear commitment to 3rd party investigations. The dilemma remains that in order to complete all the investigations in a timely manner, which we all want, NTM would need several 3rd party investigation teams. It also sounded like there was resolution coming to this problem.

3. I was impressed with the level of thinking that I heard regarding potential systemic changes coming in how protection of MKs would be implemented, monitored and enforced in MK schools. Although these ideas were merely in the development stage, they are promising from my perspective as an administrator in a human service agency.

My recommendations for your consideration:
1. The intent of the very first post on the VIA thread, "I long to talk..." on 09/13 was to encourage the healing that so desperately needs to happen for many of us MKs. I believe we really need to keep that our first priority for the safety and well being of our fellow MKs. I'm sure many of you will have noticed that most of the MKs that have told their stories of abuse are fairly far along in their recovery. You guys are my heroes, truly. However, I am gravely concerned about those who have not told their stories, who may not be doing well, and there are probably many of them. I just heard recently of another MK whose daily existence is survival. I'm not sure what the answer to that is besides prayer and reaching out to them, and making sure they know they are not alone.

2. I strongly recommend direct communication with NTM and GRACE. Yes post on this forum for information sharing, for your own process and the support of other MKs, but rather than attempting communication on the forum with GRACE and NTM, consider contacting them directly. Posting and reading has been immeasurably helpful for me and that is what I believe should be a primary function of this site.

3. For those of us that are concerned about the named perpetrators further abusing other kids, I do not think that the only way for them to be stopped is for NTM to stop them "with trips to Georgia" (which at this late point in the game, I question the effectiveness anyway). Rather, I think the victims have the real power here. I'm sure Publius and OT could have more understanding of how to proceed in this process. Rather than giving the power to NTM which rightfully belongs to the victims, why not use it to accomplish what is desired in our own timeframe? Please help me understand the errors in my thinking.

4. It goes without saying that cyber terrorism and other passive aggressive tactics will only slow down the process, create distrust, and further, potentially threaten the existence of the forum, which we all need. And at risk of being “preachy”, nor do I think those approaches are of God. I'm not trying to be "high and mighty" or "super spiritual" here, but let's keep the punches above the waist line, and perhaps even reflective of Christ.

5. The investigation, including the assembling of the necessary teams, is going to take time. We just have to deal with that painfully slow reality. We all need those investigations to happen and there are probably ways that GRACE could recommend to us MKs to help speed up the process or even prepare for it. The investigation report is going to be a powerful tool that will accomplish a lot of what we have been communicating about on this forum.

6. Once the investigation is concluded, there is probably going to be a need for a small team of MKs representing their fellow MKs from their school to work with NTM and GRACE on reviewing the report and implementing the recommendations of the report. I do not expect to be included on that team, nor really should be as I am not an NTM MK nor am I a sex abuse survivor of VIA. I have some recommendations of MKs that I think could do that role really well and will be in contact with them to encourage them to step up to that role when the need is made known.

7. Thank you for listening. My name is Duane Miller (VIA '89) and I am here to help. I love MKs and am passionate about seeing them well. Please forgive my long winded “preachiness”, as I know that is a trigger for a lot of us. I work in and understand the counseling field, please email me if you run into a roadblock in that area and need to talk or want to talk about anything else. duane98.6@gmail.com

ViaWings


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:25 pm 
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Thank you for this post, Duane. I too am of the impression that there are so many cases coming forward, so much to be done, it's going to take time. I am also of the impression, from the EB I have heard speak, that they truly desire to do things right this time. Thanks for your recommendations.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:26 am 
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If I can be a bridge-maker (and peace-maker?) here:

I think what Duane is attempting to illustrate is the way forward, constructively working towards implementing procedures to ensure that this never happens again: the level of sweeping under the rug and not dealing with things that occurred in the past.

I don't believe Duane meant to minimize the pain OT and others who've just recently (like in the past 2 months) realized that everything they once believed about NTM people or leadership was a sham a la Prince Hamlet in Denmark.

I suppose that the level of anger, indeed, rage that is directed at NTM, Duane, is most likely the result of outright lying and establishing "factual records" which are at variance with what the field leadership itself knew, in the day. I cannot overstate for you the level of anger and distrust that NTM MKs now have in NTM when statements that purport to assure them that NTM has always attempted to deal with abuse reports dating back to the early 90s when, in fact, the record does NOT show that. The cultish atmosphere denigrated, punished, and ostracized those who agonized over reporting the shattering of their children's adolescence versus quietly going along in the mission of their parents . . . .

Might I add, that the sheer volume of abuse allegations, stories, histories, however one desires to term it, should be no surprise (and perhaps this is what angers many so much) as IT WAS KNOWN ABOUT ALL ALONG!!!! Many of the cases WERE reported to FC or whatever committee name was then in existence, but the victims were shut-up, ostracized, or demeaned (frankly, not taken very seriously, at all) while the perpetrators were simply moved to another position in the organization, or another field of operation. In Frank Parker's case, merely to another position in the same location, with opportunity for continued contact with children, and that was it. This, despite the fact that for nearly 15 years, there were continued "problems" associated with Frank and the "little dorm". Why in God's name would you repeatedly continue to put someone with problems in a position of authority, and over children, at that!!!!!!??????

This, coupled with the apparent silence on the part of NTM in communicating to anyone gives many pause in desiring to trust the organization. Why wouldn't they simply appoint GRACE to conduct ALL and ANY future abuse allegations with respect to any of the other fields of interest? It is my understanding that GRACE finished the FANDA report. All that is left is for NTM to implement their recommendations. Great. Do so, TODAY! However, there is no reason to delay appointing GRACE to commence investigating the other fields. If they are so doing, why not notify those directly involved, the MKs who suffered on those fields???

I'm sure the above only brushes the surface of the frustration many are feeling towards NTM.

I do not doubt your goodwill, Duane. I have doubts as to NTM, in general. The trip to GA was a good start, but then additional statements on NTM's website a few days later diminished the impact a bit. Again, NTM needs a PR team that is dedicated to disseminating the truth on its website. NTM needs leadership that will ACT. I've no doubt that Larry is overwhelmed. However, the subject matter in which he is overwhelmed is NOT new. It's been known about for some time.

@ OT, I know you are deeply frustrated. You know I'm your friend and love you and yours like they were my own family. I know Duane, I know his character and integrity. He meant no disregard to you and yours. I think he merely is approaching things from a slightly different facet on the same diamond of truth and healing we all so desperately want.


As ever,

PUBLIUS ( Michael Butler, Via Class of '93 - in absentia due to furlough)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:59 am 
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Pubilus

You said the following: [Why wouldn't they simply appoint GRACE to conduct ALL and ANY future abuse allegations with respect to any of the other fields of interest? *]

I think there is a practical reason for not appointing GRACE to do all of the investigations. Here is my thought; I don't believe GRACE consists of a large group of people. Thus, I seriously doubt they have the resources to investigate multiple schools at one time. As OT has pointed out these investigations can't and shouldn't drag out over a number of years. NTM needs to get them all done as fast as possible. Thus we have a need for other investigators. However, an option may be to have GRACE first approve all independent investigators and then to have those investigators first report their findings to GRACE for review before any reports are finalized. These are just my thoughts!!!

Another critical item is NTM needs to update and correct various policies now for the protection of children. As some have pointed out there is no policy that currently states if someone commits a crime of abuse in a foreign country that they will be reported to the local authorities. In my mind this is not only the correct thing to do but it will also act as an extreme deterrent to future abusers. This is just one example of something that needs to be corrected immediately. I believe the longer such policies are not corrected the higher the risk that we repeat the past.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:01 am 
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Sorry spelled your name wrong but I do know that you are male in gender!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:09 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:48 am 
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Publius (correct spelling!!!)

I think we are both agreeing that GRACE should be the head of the independent investigators. I wish this process was going on already. However, it is easy for me to sit and say yeah let's do it that way when I don't have to answer to a number of other people. Larry is the chairman but that does not mean he makes decisions on his own. At the very least given the gravity of this situation he needs the agreement of the EB before he finalizes anything.

Also, I agree actions speak louder than words at this point. There has been way too much failure on the part of NTM in the past. As for how many metaphors you used I will let that count up to the English Majors. English might be my first language but let's just I'm no expert at it. Thus the spelling problem with your name. Forutnately I'm married to a wonderful woman who has a much greater command of the language than I.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:11 am 
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Something HD said made me wonder "Are abusers so common in NTM because they know that they won't end up in jail? Being that they are in a different country and that they can "wipe out their spiritual talk" once they're caught, could that be why they feel safe being in NTM?" If they were in the USA and knew that one incident like that could result in years in prison, would they still act the same?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:29 am 
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Survivor

First, be sure to be clear that child abuse is not just an NTM issue. As you have seen on this sight other mission organizations have been named as well. In addition. others have reported churches who don't handle these issues well either. I think a lot of this issue centers around a lack of knowledge and understanding.

That said, I believe it was on GRACE's web sight that I read that many of these abusers infiltrate mission organizations because they know the organization will be reluctant to report them in the country they perputrate their crimes. The reluctance comes from a fear that the organizations name will be smeared and possibly they could be kicked out of the country all together. I think that is probably a serious fear however, the scriptures call us to fear God more than men and to obey the laws of the government except for when those laws are in conflict with scripture. There is no scriptural conflict with reporting a child abuser to the government plain and simple. Therefore, NTM needs a policy change on that specific issue plain and simple. Finally, I would just like to say if there is fear of reporting to a foreign government simply put this is an opportunity to trust the Lord in faith for the outcomes.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:45 pm 
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