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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 153672 times)
Linda
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« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2018, 07:59:35 am »

Pretty sure non-profits canít use donated funds to buy silence. Jim Bakker tried this with Jessica Hahn and when the Charlotte Observer got the story, it went very poorly for Mr. Bakker.

Also, I'm pretty sure the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) would frown on this. Not to mention, as you say, the hard working families who donated to the church.

Just wondering. Are there any others reading this who have a similar story?

« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 09:04:54 am by Linda » Logged

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Huldah
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« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2018, 04:50:05 pm »

So, it's within the realm of possibility that Scout inadvertently saved the Evergreen leadership from itself. If so, then they owe her far more than they realize. Perhaps, to paraphrase David's words to Abigail, they should be saying, "Blessed is the Lord, and blessed are you for preventing us from breaking the law and betraying the trust of our congregation."

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marie
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« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2018, 07:46:21 pm »

I am appalled that an offer of money would be offered for a person's silence.  Praying the Holy Spirit will bring true repentance.
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Scout
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« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2018, 05:31:56 pm »

In regards to Mark Darling's abuse of me.  For a long time I wondered if it was my fault.  Was I to  blame?  Eventually I learned that it was not my fault.  Too many years I had carried and shouldered the guilt and shame that really belongs to Mark Darling. 

I hope that any others abused by Mark Darling will come to know, as I have, that the guilt rests on Mark's shoulders alone.

Scout

« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 04:40:46 am by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2018, 06:37:53 pm »

Dear Scout,

First of all. I want to emphasize that I am so sorry.

I believe you.

I came across this link from the "Faith Trust Institute" about pastoral sexual abuse that really opened my eyes.

http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/learn-the-basics/ce-faqs#What%20is%20it?

Key points that stuck out to me

1. Sexual abuse can be physical and/or verbal (such as sexual talk, suggestive comments, tales of sexual experiences, questions about intimate details of your relationships, looking for sympathy about his partner's sexual inadequacies)

2. In a situation involving a pastor the pastor is ALWAYS wrong because of the difference in power. The member of the congregation is ALWAYS the victim.

From the article: "Sexual contact or sexualized behavior within the ministerial relationship is a violation of professional ethics. There is a difference in power between a person in a ministerial role and a member of his or her congregation or a counselee. Because of this difference in power, you cannot give meaningful consent to the sexual relationship.
Individuals usually seek counseling or support from their religious leader at times of stress or crisis. During these times, you are emotionally vulnerable and can be taken advantage of by a religious leader."

In the GCC system there is the added component of the constant, heavy handed Hebrews 13:17 teaching on obeying elders.

Remember, 2 ECC pastors sit on the national GCC board. One of them, Brent Knox said: "And so even to give the controls over to God, that's hard, but the real kicker here is God is saying, "Give the controls over to people that I work through, and these people are fallible, these people make mistakes, these people are weak at times. You-outta work through it anyway," that's what God says."

Think of how quickly things can go wrong when congregants are told repeatedly that it's Biblical to "give the controls" of their lives over to fallible pastors who consider themselves the people God "works through". Not only is it unbiblical, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

If there are any current or former ECC members who have experienced abuse, I would encourage you to step forward (you can be anonymous as you tell the Truth about your experience). If there are any pastors who have participated in covering up physical or verbal sexual abuse, it's never too late to do the right thing.

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Scout
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« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2018, 04:20:51 pm »

Dear Scout,

First of all. I want to emphasize that I am so sorry.

I believe you.

I came across this link from the "Faith Trust Institute" about pastoral sexual abuse that really opened my eyes.

http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/learn-the-basics/ce-faqs#What%20is%20it?

Key points that stuck out to me

1. Sexual abuse can be physical and/or verbal (such as sexual talk, suggestive comments, tales of sexual experiences, questions about intimate details of your relationships, looking for sympathy about his partner's sexual inadequacies)

2. In a situation involving a pastor the pastor is ALWAYS wrong because of the difference in power. The member of the congregation is ALWAYS the victim.

From the article: "Sexual contact or sexualized behavior within the ministerial relationship is a violation of professional ethics. There is a difference in power between a person in a ministerial role and a member of his or her congregation or a counselee. Because of this difference in power, you cannot give meaningful consent to the sexual relationship.
Individuals usually seek counseling or support from their religious leader at times of stress or crisis. During these times, you are emotionally vulnerable and can be taken advantage of by a religious leader."

In the GCC system there is the added component of the constant, heavy handed Hebrews 13:17 teaching on obeying elders.

Remember, 2 ECC pastors sit on the national GCC board. One of them, Brent Knox said: "And so even to give the controls over to God, that's hard, but the real kicker here is God is saying, "Give the controls over to people that I work through, and these people are fallible, these people make mistakes, these people are weak at times. You-outta work through it anyway," that's what God says."

Think of how quickly things can go wrong when congregants are told repeatedly that it's Biblical to "give the controls" of their lives over to fallible pastors who consider themselves the people God "works through". Not only is it unbiblical, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

If there are any current or former ECC members who have experienced abuse, I would encourage you to step forward (you can be anonymous as you tell the Truth about your experience). If there are any pastors who have participated in covering up physical or verbal sexual abuse, it's never too late to do the right thing.



Linda,

Thank you.  As a victim, being believed is comforting.

As I wrote earlier, when I confronted my abuser Mark Darling in the presence of another Evergreen Church pastor, Mark Bowen;  I was made out to be the problem.  I was not believed. 

A different Evergreen Church pastor, Doug Patterson, said I was slandering Mark Darling and in sin.  When is a victim of abuse ever slandering their abuser when they finally have the courage to speak out?  At this same time a pastor's wife said to me, "How could you do this to Mark [Darling] after all he has done for you and your family?".  A victim does not "do" anything to the abuser by speaking out. The abuse was "done" to me.

I have wondered about these other pastors at Evergreen Church who have enabled an abuser to remain in a position of authority at Evergreen. What would they say to their daughter or son if they told them they had been sexually abused?  Would they say, "Be quiet, you're being slanderous?  Would they believe them?  Would they make their child out to be the problem?  Would they demand they apologize to their abuser for making it public knowledge?

Again, thank you, Linda.

Scout

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marie
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« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2018, 09:13:56 pm »

I believe you-

The cover up, and the vow to loyalty above truth has stained God's Church.
  God cares more for his children, then any leader in any church.  The Pastors within Evergreen and GCM will give and account for overlooking the sins of Mark Darling and his abuse of authority as a pastor is grievous to the Lord.
God is opposed to the proud.  We do reap what we sow.  The idols will fall.
Thank you for coming forward with your story.   The story is not over yet. 

Marie
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marie
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« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2018, 09:24:54 pm »


I knew some of the story from the van Dyck's and what they worked through before going to Berlin.  I did not know the details of what Scout shared and the sexual abuse she confronted Mark Darling with before going to Berlin.  Things are making more sense.

There are two sides to every story.  To hide part to the story is deceptive. 
The Spirit of God can help God's children discern the truth.  We do not need Pastors to share one side of the story , and then tell the congregation to not ask any questions of the other party.
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Linda
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« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2018, 10:07:53 am »

Scout,

Again, so sorry.

In reference to the time you, your husband, and your counselor met to confront your abuser, you mentioned that they did not believe you and made you out to be the problem. In addition, they passed that confidential information on to another pastor who, in turn, used his authority as a "pastor" to rebuke you and call you a slanderer.

In an earlier post, you mentioned that prior to the meeting, several ECC pastors required that you submit a written copy of what you were going to say and it was returned to you with items crossed off in an attempt to control the narrative (eliminating, as I understand, the use of the word "abuser" and any references to sexual abuse), yet in spite of this, you brought up the abuse and confronted your abuser.

When you say you were not believed, I'm curious, did they seem to agree those events happened and those words were said, but you misinterpreted them. Or, did they accuse you of flat out making up lies. If asked about it now, do you think they would they deny agreeing to a therapeutic plan? Or, do you think they just agreed with the plan to get out of there knowing full well that they would not implement the plan.


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wisemind
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« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2018, 12:03:59 pm »

Evergreen looks pretty good on the outside. Their ministries and worship look inviting and appealing and there are many kind, caring people who truly want to follow God that attend that church. Despite the outward appearance, however, the inner workings of the church  are warped and tainted. The Great Commission pastors seem to have given themselves ultimate control. They have formed a brotherhood in which they have each others' backs and have no accountability to anyone. Image is so very important. Pride trumps integrity. They seem to believe they are the most important people in the church because God gave them that status. To me they are more like kings of the church and the church members are their subjects to be ruled or banished as they see fit...very different image than the sheep and shepherd in my opinion. Scout, I am so sorry for what you have experienced as a result of this trauma. Thank you for having the strength and courage to share your story. It matters. I believe you as well.
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Scout
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« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2018, 12:47:58 pm »

I believe you-

The cover up, and the vow to loyalty above truth has stained God's Church.
  God cares more for his children, then any leader in any church.  The Pastors within Evergreen and GCM will give and account for overlooking the sins of Mark Darling and his abuse of authority as a pastor is grievous to the Lord.
God is opposed to the proud.  We do reap what we sow.  The idols will fall.
Thank you for coming forward with your story.   The story is not over yet. 

Marie

Marie,

Thank you. 

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2018, 01:02:13 pm »

Evergreen looks pretty good on the outside. Their ministries and worship look inviting and appealing and there are many kind, caring people who truly want to follow God that attend that church. Despite the outward appearance, however, the inner workings of the church  are warped and tainted. The Great Commission pastors seem to have given themselves ultimate control. They have formed a brotherhood in which they have each others' backs and have no accountability to anyone. Image is so very important. Pride trumps integrity. They seem to believe they are the most important people in the church because God gave them that status. To me they are more like kings of the church and the church members are their subjects to be ruled or banished as they see fit...very different image than the sheep and shepherd in my opinion. Scout, I am so sorry for what you have experienced as a result of this trauma. Thank you for having the strength and courage to share your story. It matters. I believe you as well.
Wisemind,

As a result of therapy and much research, I understand how I/we joined and stayed in places like Evergreen Church and other GCM churches.  As you wrote, they are "appealing and inviting".  According to Steve Hassan, an expert on cults, this is called "love bombing". They give newcomers much time and attention.   For if an abusive organization showed their true nature on the outset, many of us would not have joined.  It would have been too obvious.  In one of Hassan's books he wrote, that we do not join abusive groups, but are recruited into them.

And in my particular experience with Mark Darling, I was recruited which is another way to say I was groomed.   I was used to fulfill him.  I was used and trapped.  If I successfully pleased Mark Darling, my abuser, then all was well (for him).  What I sadly learned over this time was that I did not matter.  I was nothing more than an object.

Thank you for believing me.

Scout
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 01:42:36 pm by Scout » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: January 19, 2018, 07:52:41 pm »

I haven't been on this forum for a few weeks so this was a lot to catch up on.  Scout, to be honest my first reaction was "YES!, I am so happy that you went public and named your abuser on Twitter!"  The more appropriate first response would be that I am so sorry you experienced any of this in the first place.  But I know so people who have suffered at Mark Darling's hand that who would never speak publicly, so I'm so glad that you did.  You represent many people and thanks for lending them your voice. 

As soon as I can get in to my Twitter account, I will be retweeting your tweets.  Thank you!
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Linda
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« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2018, 08:00:16 pm »

I was reminded through all this of a time shortly after we began attending (mid 90s) ECC when Mark Darling took a leave of absence of some sort from preaching. It seems as if this was maybe for a 9 month period and a vague reason was given. We had only been attending a short time so didn't pursue the reason. Does anyone know what that was all about? Looking back, it seems odd that a pastor stepped down from preaching and the congregation was not given specifics as to why.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 09:35:20 pm by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: January 19, 2018, 08:08:22 pm »

Also, if you're interested in reporting the gag offer of $60,000 since you have it in an e-mail, this is the IRS tax exempt complaint form.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf

Although, through my bad experience with another church (GCM was my first cult but primed me for being duped again), churches have a lot of leeway when donors give to the general fund.  Even money raised for a church plant could possibly be justified as paying your husband out his salary or whatever. I only mention this because I was surprised at how much an unethical church could get away with.  

I never spoke up about GCM, but I did speak publicly in regards to our second abusive church, and I just want you to know that I understand the bravery it takes and the consequences that might come.  We had people stalk us at our new church, send us messages laden with F-bombs, threaten legal action, and a bunch of people (including other area pastors) called our pastor to say that by us discussing abuse publicly we were "ruining the witness of the church."  I pray that the tide is changing with #metoo and #churchtoo that people can finally speak out about abuse of all kinds.  And regardless of what abusers/supporters may say, IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO for those who are able and have any sort of platform.  So again, thank you.
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« Reply #55 on: January 20, 2018, 11:33:40 am »

Pretty sure non-profits canít use donated funds to buy silence.

My non-lawyer opinion:

They were clear that the offer was to help you start your new life. It is a severeance payment.

At every job I left in recent years, I was given a severance payment. As a condition of receiving the payment, I had to sign a severance agreement. That agreement included statements that I would not sue the company and not disparage the company.

IMHO they covered their bases and other things that might need coverage. Not to excuse any of the behavior.
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Linda
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« Reply #56 on: January 20, 2018, 12:12:19 pm »

I'm just curious as to what you mean by this statement, Rebel:

"But I know so [many] people who have suffered at Mark Darling's hand that who would never speak publicly, so I'm so glad that you did.  You represent many people and thanks for lending them your voice."

Do you have a sense as to why they would never speak publicly? Do you think that people might not speak out because of perceived shame, embarrassment, guilt, or something like that? Are you aware of any signed agreements accompanied by actual payouts that would prevent people from speaking?



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« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2018, 02:44:52 pm »

Linda, I am unaware of any signed agreements.   I was referring to the emotional ability to stand up publicly to the abusive system.

As a note, our church was east of Mark Darling, but he was brought in for big events like excommunications and staff issues. He also influenced the authoritarian culture.

People in my area were so emotionally/spiritually/psychologically abused that they feared going out in public on the chance they would meet someone from their former church.  Others have entered counseling.  Some have never been able to walk through the doors of another church and have no fellowship (not saying church is the only place to find fellowship, but in their case it's not a choice), one has left the faith, another moved from the area to get away from the whole group.  They don't have the emotional reserve to speak out.

Another note, I do not know anyone who was sexually abused/assaulted/harrassed by Mark Darling or any other pastor.  However, we did have a youth group leader who was in a physical relationship with one of the youth. 

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Huldah
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« Reply #58 on: January 20, 2018, 09:50:53 pm »

I hadn't considered the issue of possible severance pay. Scout, were you and/or your husband ever actual employees of Evergreen or GC? To be specific, did you ever receive a W2 from them? You mentioned on Twitter that you had to raise your own support for living expenses. That doesn't sound like you were employees but perhaps I'm wrong.

Forgive my ignorance, but can a non-profit offer severance pay to non-employees? (This question is directed to anyone here who knows the answer, not just to Scout.)

I don't doubt for one minute that Evergreen was hoping to buy your silence. I'm just wondering if they could have legitimately called the money severance pay and gotten away with it, had you chosen to play along.
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« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2018, 01:44:57 pm »

This may help with a legal remedy and to go after the Mark Darling organization:

https://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/Business/SearchDetails?filingGuid=f2a8ae4d-b3d4-e011-a886-001ec94ffe7f

https://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/Business/SearchDetails?filingGuid=70c9d76f-7589-e111-b001-001ec94ffe7f

Basically, the first link shows that Evergreen Community Church started, and the

Registered Agent(s)

President
    Mark Bowen
    2300 E 88th Street
    Bloomington, MN 55425
    USA
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