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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 153678 times)
Scout
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« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2018, 05:51:19 pm »

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.




****Trigger warning.  You may not want to read if you are a victim of abuse as I share some of the specific ways in which my abuser abused me.****
Linda,

To answer your question, as I was confronting Mark Darling in my therapist's office (with pastor Mark Bowen present), they (Mark and Kathy Darling and Mark Bowen) did not agree that Mark Darling abused me sexually, spiritually, emotionally or psychologically, nor did they disagree.  The only agreement that was made was when Mark Bowen agreed to my therapist's recommendation that Mark Darling not be in ministry for a period of time and he engage in intensive therapy.

Mark Darling's "apology" to me while I read my statement letter to Mark Darling, was interjecting things like, "I am so sorry you took it that way", "I have had nothing but love for you and your family", etc.  His response was textbook "gaslighting" tactics.  I ask, how is a young  (or really whatever age woman, man or child) girl to "take" it when her married pastor drives her to a secluded park (in Bloomington, MN down by the river) to sit and talk for hours.  These car rides and long talks were sexualized; the conversation, the looks, the neediness on his part.   And yes, these car rides happened more than on a rare occasion, and I do know other women who experienced these as well.  I ask, who cares Mark Darling that you "loved" my family and I, when you sexually invaded my life?  When you used the power differential between us to exploit me?  Mark Darling, how was I to "take" it when you hugged me long and so close that your erection was felt?  How were you "loving" me when you asked what I sounded like when I had an orgasm?  Or when you called me to come to your house, then upon arriving told me you and your wife were going into the basement to have sex. You liked knowing I could hear you.   There is no other way to take these and others things you did to me other than what they are, abuse.  To quote Diane Langberg, "It is always the responsibility of the person with power to maintain the integrity of the relationship.  Always." 

Scout






« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 05:53:47 pm by Scout » Logged
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« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2018, 06:49:06 pm »

Scout, I am so, so sorry you experienced these things.  I actually had a physical reaction to reading that (not triggers, just normal human reactions to his atrocious behavior).  How violating.  How abusive.  How sinister. 

I've never met this man but we listen to his teachings on occasion (out of morbid curiosity), and I can't believe the hypocrisy of someone ranting about getting up at 4am to pray for his family because he is just that committed.  I am so sorry you lived this and that it was covered up and he continued as an idol in the movement.

 
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« Reply #62 on: January 25, 2018, 05:12:52 am »

That is absolutely disgusting.

I believe you, Scout. And I applaud you for your courage.

Do you hear this, Hopler?Huh That's a mighty heavy rug to lift up to sweep this under. Can you do it AGAIN this time?
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« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2018, 07:38:42 am »

Scout, I am so, so sorry you experienced these things.  I actually had a physical reaction to reading that (not triggers, just normal human reactions to his atrocious behavior).  How violating.  How abusive.  How sinister. 

I've never met this man but we listen to his teachings on occasion (out of morbid curiosity), and I can't believe the hypocrisy of someone ranting about getting up at 4am to pray for his family because he is just that committed.  I am so sorry you lived this and that it was covered up and he continued as an idol in the movement.

 

Rebel in a Good Way,

Thank you.  It altered my life.  For so many years I carried the shame.  I understand now that I (as well as other women) were groomed and brainwashed into Mark Darling's sickness. 

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #64 on: January 25, 2018, 07:40:29 am »

That is absolutely disgusting.

I believe you, Scout. And I applaud you for your courage.

Do you hear this, Hopler?Huh That's a mighty heavy rug to lift up to sweep this under. Can you do it AGAIN this time?

Margaret,

Thank you for saying out loud that you believe me.

Can you help me understand Hopler's role in sweeping things under the rug? 

Scout
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« Reply #65 on: January 25, 2018, 09:24:23 am »

Scout, I sent you a private message.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2018, 03:07:05 pm »

Scout,

That had to have been very difficult for you to share those details of your sexual abuse by this pastor.  Thank you for your courage to expose and warn about such men, and those that did NOTHING.  There is NO excuse for such reprobate behavior!!  It was cunning, deliberate, and repetitive.  I can't imagine the nightmare to your soul and body.  I am angry that you were not believed, and that this serious abuse was dismissed by those who parade themselves as most godly.  I am so sorry any of this was inflicted upon you.  It must have been soul wrenching.  

How can they call themselves good shepherds?!  Disgracefully requesting your silence; then publically twisting facts about finances to your (former) church so they could place blame and shame on you later!  How DARE them!!  Your abuser's non-responsiveness and apparent denial to his evil behavior and his deceitful blameshifting has made it necessary to expose him in this manner, not to mention he is in a position of great trust by other unsuspecting women (and men).

What a web of power and deceit to be caught up in.  As others have said, people in these congregations are repeatedly taught to deny any allegation against an elder.  They are held in such god-like positions that few would dare to attempt to come forward.  In fact, when the victims do follow the biblical process of going to the leaders privately, they are only smiled at, and later twistedly shunned by the church.  Their closed system of communication and isolation make members prime targets for lies and abuse.  

Thank you for warning others in this church/organization who will hopefully read your heart and soul breaking testimony, and finally understand THERE ARE TWO SIDES to every claim and it's HIGH TIME the other is HEARD!!  


TO THOSE IN THIS AND OTHER GCx CHURCHES

No longer should members go along with ignoring, denying, shunning and even slandering innocent people! These practices are brutal and savage.  It is something we have recently gasped at in the Church of Scientology. How can this barbarous custom be part of a church that claims Jesus as their leader!  

ASK QUESTIONS OF THOSE WHO ARE RIDICULED and treated with contempt!  HEAR THEM OUT.  RESPECT THEIR REAL EXPERIENCE.  Open your ears.  There are hundreds of claims from the other side on here.  Many were never allowed to be heard before.  They are not writing to defame the name of Jesus, but to take away the false power of those using his name to abuse.


Janet


« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 02:00:29 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #67 on: January 26, 2018, 04:33:22 am »

Scout,

That had to have been very difficult for you to share those details of your sexual abuse by this pastor.  Thank you for your courage to expose and warn about such men, and those that did NOTHING.  There is NO excuse for such reprobate behavior!!  It was cunning, deliberate, and repetitive.  I can't imagine the nightmare to your soul and body.  I am angry that you were not believed, and that this serious abuse was dismissed by those who parade themselves as most godly.  I am so sorry any of this was inflicted upon you.  It must have been soul wrenching.  

How can they call themselves good shepherds?!  Disgracefully requesting your silence; then publically twisting facts about finances to your (former) church so they could place blame and shame on you later!  How DARE them!!  Your abuser's non-responsiveness and apparent denial to evil behavior and deceitful blameshifting has made it necessary to expose him in this manner, not to mention he is in a position of great trust by other unsuspecting women (and men).

What a web of power and deceit to be caught up in.  As others have said, people in these congregations are repeatedly taught to deny any allegation against an elder.  They are held in such god-like positions that few would dare to attempt to come forward.  In fact, when the victims do follow the biblical process of going to the leaders privately, they are only smiled at, and later twistedly shunned by the church.  Their closed system of communication and isolation make members prime targets for lies and abuse.  

Thank you for warning others in this church/organization who will hopefully read your heart and soul breaking testimony, and finally understand THERE ARE TWO SIDES to every claim and it's HIGH TIME the other is HEARD!!  


TO THOSE IN THIS AND OTHER GCx CHURCHES

No longer should members go along with ignoring, denying, shunning and even slandering innocent people! These practices are brutal and savage.  It is something we have recently gasped at in the Church of Scientology. How can this barbarous custom be part of a church that claims Jesus as their leader!  

ASK QUESTIONS OF THOSE WHO ARE RIDICULED and treated with contempt!  HEAR THEM OUT.  RESPECT THEIR REAL EXPERIENCE.  Open your ears.  There are hundreds of claims from the other side on here.  Many were never allowed to be heard before.  They are not writing to defame the name of Jesus, but to take away the false power of those using his name to abuse.


Janet



Janet,

Thank you.

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #68 on: January 26, 2018, 04:58:47 am »

When my family and I returned from Berlin, Germany after deciding we would no longer be a part of Evergreen or GCM, Evergreen held a special meeting (read in more detail earlier in this thread) to let people know why John van Dyck would no longer be pastoring there and why we were leaving.

Mark Bowen (Evergreen pastor) said that we were in counseling and should never have let us go in the first place.

We were not in counseling when he made that statement.  John and I had never been in marriage counseling/therapy before leaving to Germany, while in Germany or upon returning.  I know from talking to people that were at that meeting, who no longer attend Evergreen, they were led to believe that John and I were having a lot of problems and were unstable.  Up to that point, the only counseling that I received was from a licensed psychologist that I hired to help me process and heal from being abused by Mark Darling.  And that therapy was prior to leaving for Berlin, Germany for the GCM/Evergreen church plant.

They were unwilling to state the truth at that meeting, that we chose to leave because of the spiritual abuse and the fact (see earlier post about Mark Bowen admitting Mark Darling never followed through and was not made to on engaging in the therapeutic care plan) that my abuser, Mark Darling was still in the pulpit. 

So, they used a mind control technique called gaslighting.  They created a false narrative having inklings that we were unstable and having a lot of problems. 

Prior to, and after confronting my abuser Mark Darling in my therapist's office, was one of the proudest moments of my life up to that point.  To confront an abuser requires clarity of mind and strength. 

Scout

« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 05:45:21 am by Scout » Logged
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« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2018, 07:16:06 am »

Oh, my goodness, Scout. Thank you for bringing this up. That is exactly what we remember being told. Something like John and "Scout" had recently been in counseling (which implied marriage counseling) and they should never have let you go to Berlin. As I recall it was said sort of like, "We are so sorry. It was our fault. We knew they had recently had some difficulties and should never have let them go." Of course, that was followed by, "Don't ask them about this and don't talk to any of their relatives" (paraphrase). A few days ago, when you mentioned counseling to help you confront Mark D., I remembered the counseling mentioned at that meeting and wondered if it was THAT counseling they were referring to which makes this entire thing worse. They tried to paint you as unstable when you, in fact, had HIRED AT YOUR EXPENSE, a counselor to help you understand and process your abuse.

Of course, what they didn't talk about in the meeting was why basically the entire Berlin team returned with you. Perhaps you are not free to talk at this time, but I am curious as to what exactly happened that caused so many to return en masse.

And thank you for being so brave and sharing some of the awful details of your abuse. I am so sorry. I am also horrified and angry. I know from some reading that the grooming process can take months and even years. If you are comfortable, could you give us a sense of how many years this went on. Also, I am fully aware, perhaps many reading this are not, that your husband was a pastor (and excellent preacher) so adding to any conflict you might have had was the fear that if you rocked the boat too much, your husband could lose his job.

God bless you, Scout.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 10:05:14 am by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #70 on: January 26, 2018, 10:10:15 am »


****Trigger warning.  You may not want to read if you are a victim of abuse as I share some of the specific ways in which my abuser abused me.****[/font]
Linda,

To answer your question, as I was confronting Mark Darling in my therapist's office (with pastor Mark Bowen present), they (Mark and Kathy Darling and Mark Bowen) did not agree that Mark Darling abused me sexually, spiritually, emotionally or psychologically, nor did they disagree.  The only agreement that was made was when Mark Bowen agreed to my therapist's recommendation that Mark Darling not be in ministry for a period of time and he engage in intensive therapy.

Mark Darling's "apology" to me while I read my statement letter to Mark Darling, was interjecting things like, "I am so sorry you took it that way", "I have had nothing but love for you and your family", etc.  His response was textbook "gaslighting" tactics.  I ask, how is a young  (or really whatever age woman, man or child) girl to "take" it when her married pastor drives her to a secluded park (in Bloomington, MN down by the river) to sit and talk for hours.  These car rides and long talks were sexualized; the conversation, the looks, the neediness on his part.   And yes, these car rides happened more than on a rare occasion, and I do know other women who experienced these as well.  I ask, who cares Mark Darling that you "loved" my family and I, when you sexually invaded my life?  When you used the power differential between us to exploit me?  Mark Darling, how was I to "take" it when you hugged me long and so close that your erection was felt?  How were you "loving" me when you asked what I sounded like when I had an orgasm?  Or when you called me to come to your house, then upon arriving told me you and your wife were going into the basement to have sex. You liked knowing I could hear you.   There is no other way to take these and others things you did to me other than what they are, abuse.  To quote Diane Langberg, "It is always the responsibility of the person with power to maintain the integrity of the relationship.  Always." 

Scout


Hi Scout,

I've been reading bits and pieces of this thread on and off for the last few weeks.  I hadn't yet gotten the specific details of the abuse you suffered so thank you for putting the information in a recent post.  I'm very sorry to read all of this and without question, what this man did to you was abusive, shameful, inappropriate, manipulative, adulterous and just plain bizarre.  He should definitely have lost his ministry license over this. 

Please don't give up on seeing justice done on this.  GCx was- and still is- a spiritually abusive, sexist, racist, shame-based legalistic Church that has hurt too many people for far too long.  I know they tried to fix things with the 1991 Weakness Paper but that didn't work.  And I'll never forget reading on this board the comments of someone who said he was floored to read that document because he was born after the paper came out but he experienced some of the spiritual abuse that was highlighted in the paper.  God knows I pray for the day when that Church is nothing but a bad memory. 
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« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2018, 10:18:50 am »

So this is happening.

https://evergreenbloomington.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/103849

"Great marriages are built brick by brick, painstakingly, over a long period of time, with one little act of love at a time. Please join Evergreen’s founding pastors, Brent Knox and Mark Darling, as they share their greatest marriage lessons of love. They have been brick-laying with their wives for over 37 years. Compelling communication projects will be included to practically help you with your brick-laying."
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« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2018, 10:36:24 am »

Scout, if you're interested in speaking with people who write about spiritual abuse and expose abusive leaders/systems, here are some twitter names (or handles or whatever).  Your story is your story but I would certainly also be willing to speak with any of them to help them understand the extent of the abuse in the system.  

@watchkeep (Wartburg Watch)
@wartwatch (Warburg Watch)
@defendthesheep (Spiritual Abuse Sounding Board)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 11:04:57 am by Rebel in a Good Way » Logged
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« Reply #73 on: January 26, 2018, 10:54:58 am »

Excellent sites for exposing spiritual abuse. Also, netgrace.org which is Billy Graham's grandson Boz Tchividjian (Twitter handle: @BozT) And watchkeep.blogspot.com (Twitter handle: @watchkeep)

I'm wondering if tagging these places on your Twitter posts would help you get your story heard. No pressure. Just know that there are a lot of people who are fed up with the hypocrisy of the church (small "c" church), but still love the Church, so they have created sites for those who have been abused to be heard.
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« Reply #74 on: January 26, 2018, 11:50:01 am »

So incredibly in awe at your courage, Scout, for speaking up! It takes guts, and you've got 'em!
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« Reply #75 on: January 26, 2018, 07:42:07 pm »


****Trigger warning.  You may not want to read if you are a victim of abuse as I share some of the specific ways in which my abuser abused me.****[/font]
Linda,

To answer your question, as I was confronting Mark Darling in my therapist's office (with pastor Mark Bowen present), they (Mark and Kathy Darling and Mark Bowen) did not agree that Mark Darling abused me sexually, spiritually, emotionally or psychologically, nor did they disagree.  The only agreement that was made was when Mark Bowen agreed to my therapist's recommendation that Mark Darling not be in ministry for a period of time and he engage in intensive therapy.

Mark Darling's "apology" to me while I read my statement letter to Mark Darling, was interjecting things like, "I am so sorry you took it that way", "I have had nothing but love for you and your family", etc.  His response was textbook "gaslighting" tactics.  I ask, how is a young  (or really whatever age woman, man or child) girl to "take" it when her married pastor drives her to a secluded park (in Bloomington, MN down by the river) to sit and talk for hours.  These car rides and long talks were sexualized; the conversation, the looks, the neediness on his part.   And yes, these car rides happened more than on a rare occasion, and I do know other women who experienced these as well.  I ask, who cares Mark Darling that you "loved" my family and I, when you sexually invaded my life?  When you used the power differential between us to exploit me?  Mark Darling, how was I to "take" it when you hugged me long and so close that your erection was felt?  How were you "loving" me when you asked what I sounded like when I had an orgasm?  Or when you called me to come to your house, then upon arriving told me you and your wife were going into the basement to have sex. You liked knowing I could hear you.   There is no other way to take these and others things you did to me other than what they are, abuse.  To quote Diane Langberg, "It is always the responsibility of the person with power to maintain the integrity of the relationship.  Always." 

Scout


Hi Scout,

I've been reading bits and pieces of this thread on and off for the last few weeks.  I hadn't yet gotten the specific details of the abuse you suffered so thank you for putting the information in a recent post.  I'm very sorry to read all of this and without question, what this man did to you was abusive, shameful, inappropriate, manipulative, adulterous and just plain bizarre.  He should definitely have lost his ministry license over this. 

Please don't give up on seeing justice done on this.  GCx was- and still is- a spiritually abusive, sexist, racist, shame-based legalistic Church that has hurt too many people for far too long.  I know they tried to fix things with the 1991 Weakness Paper but that didn't work.  And I'll never forget reading on this board the comments of someone who said he was floored to read that document because he was born after the paper came out but he experienced some of the spiritual abuse that was highlighted in the paper.  God knows I pray for the day when that Church is nothing but a bad memory. 
Ned_Flanders,

Calling it what is was, "abusive, shameful, inappropriate, manipulative, adulterous and just plain bizarre", is validating.  Thank you.

Though my abuse is possibly more startling, I think of so many on this forum that were manipulated, coerced and brainwashed.  Whether the abuse was more overt or covert, it can have the same life altering effects.  I remember at times "wishing" Mark Darling had abused me physically so I could present "evidence" of his abuse. 

To those of you that have been physically abused, I understand the faultiness of that thinking.  That your "evidence"  many times did not end the abuse.  At the time, it was my sad way of wishing someone would believe me.

Scout

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« Reply #76 on: January 27, 2018, 08:24:50 am »

For the record, my opinion is that if a pastor with a mentoring relationship with you holds you so close that you can tell he is very happy to do that, he has already physically abused you. That is a big deal and I am so sorry you had to endure that.

In reading your disturbing account, the thing that strikes me is the total lack of accountability on the part of the ECC leadership over many years that would think it wise for one of the head honcho pastors to “counsel” young women alone for hours. Two other people have told me they had private “mentoring” sessions with Mark D. in his basement so if I knew, clearly ECC leadership knew. Also, what’s with all the private counseling of young women?

It is not lost on me that a point of pride the leaders have about their organization is that they choose pastors based on “character” and how there is accountability among the leaders so nothing bad gets covered up like in other churches (always putting down other churches). What a pathetic joke.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 09:56:23 am by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2018, 07:56:57 pm »

Pretty sure non-profits can’t 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.

MidnightRider,

Possibly I was not clear in my post. 

The first offer of payment we received from Evergreen Church was not a severance payment.  It was 60K to be given to us upon signing a document stating we would not speak ill of Evergreen Church or its pastors.  In that email there was no mention of the money being used to help us start our new life as you wrote above.

Upon declining this agreement of silence, Evergeen Church did give us 15K with it's stated purpose to help us start our new life.

Two different letters sent at different times with two very different purposes.

Scout

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« Reply #78 on: January 28, 2018, 12:05:50 pm »

I want to specify that there's likely
1) More than one victim
2) No statute of limitations on sexual abuse in your state
3) Laws governing the use of donated funds that were broken.

This isn't going to go away, especially w/ Dee involved. You can trust her, and Amy from Watchkeep. They went toe-to-toe w/ the largest Baptist church in the country for covering up sexual abuse, and they'll do the same for you.

And I'll be here as a signal booster. <3
Sincerely,
XianJaneway
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« Reply #79 on: January 29, 2018, 10:54:16 am »

I'm not sure what a signal booster is but if it means to lend my voice to you in support, advocacy, or to share the story, count me in too.  I'm not a big Twitter person but am on FB a lot.
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