Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wolves in the Music Ministry - Part 2



This will be a continuation of the original Wolves in the Music Ministry post. The comment stream was getting pretty long.

The cover-up of John Langworthy's "indiscretions" and "mistakes" (his words) while at Prestonwood is coming back to bite as evidenced by the lead story by Brett Shipp on WFAA-TV's August 8th 10:00 p.m. broadcast. Thank you, Amy, for your advocacy for victims and for your persistence in bringing this story to light. If it were not for your efforts I have no doubt nothing would have changed.

WFAA-TV >> Disturbing revelations about former Prestonwood minister

Bob Allen has addressed this story:

Associated Baptist Press >> Abuse confession raises questions of cover-up by Baptist mega-church

Associated Baptist Press >> Pastor renews call for database of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse

Associated Baptist Press >> Christa Brown >> Opinion: Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue


It also made the newspapers:

August 9th:

Dallas Morning News >> Former Prestonwood minister admits to 'sexual indiscretions' with students more than 20 years ago

Clarion Ledger >> Clinton music minister confesses to 'sexual indiscretions'

Clarion Ledger >> Clinton minister quits over allegations

August 10th:

The Republic >> Recently resigned music minister admits long-ago sexual misconduct with teen boys

Hattiesburg American >> Ex-music minister admits past sexual misconduct

August 15th:

Clarion Ledger >> Man accuses former Clinton music minister of molestation

Clarion Ledger >> Ex-choir leader in sex probe

August 19th:

Clarion Ledger >> Hinds DA office probes molestation claims against former Clinton music minister

August 20th:

Clarion Ledger >> DA probing sex abuse allegations

The Oklahoman >> Enid pastor renews call for clergy sex abuse database


And Jackson, MS TV:

August 9th:

WAPT-TV >> Former Youth Minister, Teacher Makes Startling Admission

WLBT-TV >> Clinton music minister makes eye-opening confession

August 10th:

WAPT-TV >> No Criminal Complaints Filed Against Former Minister

WJTV-TV >> Former Music Minister Admits To Sexual Indiscretions

WJTV-TV >> Clinton Parents in Shock Over Former Minister's Confession

WJTV-TV >> Ex-Music Minister Admits Past Sexual Misconduct

August 11th:

FOX 40 >> Church Scandal

August 15th:

WAPT-TV >> Clinton Police Investigate Complaint Against Former Minister

WLBT-TV >> Former Clinton church music minister under investigation

WJTV-TV >> Police To Meet With Minister's Alleged Victim

August 16th:

WAPT-TV >> Former Minister's Accuser Expected To Speak To Police

August 19th:

WLBT-TV >> Questions about sexual misconduct continue for music minister


Around the Blogosphere:

Wade Burleson >> Full Circle: Why the SBC Child Predator Database Is Needed Now, Not Later (Comments have been reopened.)

FBC Jax Watchdog >> In the Langworthy/Prestonwood Story, Bloggers Once Again Show They are Sorely Needed to Get Truth Out

Zwinglius Redivivus >> The Catholics Aren’t The Only Ones Who Cover Up Their Clergy’s Evils

The Wartburg Watch >> Does the SBC Fear Women Pastors More Than The Molestation of Children?

Wade Burleson >> The Reason the SBC Will Not Create a Minister Sex Abuse Data Base Is Liability, Not Polity

A now-former teacher at Prestonwood Christian Academy was recently indicted for having an inproper relationship with a 17-year-old female student. Although the student went to his apartment willingly on several occasions, he was 26 at the time. In Texas it's a second-degree felony, regardless of the parties' ages, for an educator to have an improper relationship with a student.

Plano Star >> Former Prestonwood teacher indicted

Then there was Joe Barron.

Barron videos

Apparently Johnson and Barron's cases were handled swiftly by the administration at Prestonwood. However, Barron's story was plastered all over the national news at the time, and Johnson's was covered in the local news, so they really didn't have much choice. With Langworthy it's less clear about the timeline and who knew what when, but apparently the church and school district in Clinton were never warned about him.

If a database of convicted, confessed, and credibly accused sexual predators was available to Baptist churches, and if the churches would avail themselves of it, a lot of these cases could be prevented. When will Baptist leaders wake up, stop covering for their own, and establish some method of accountability within their ranks? I know, I know! Baptist churches are autonomous. Unless, of course, they do something really bad like call a woman preacher. Autonomy is such a relative term in "Baptistland."

TRANSCRIPT of John Langworthy's August 7, 2011 statement to Morrison Heights Baptist Church

VIDEO

264 comments:

1 – 200 of 264   Newer›   Newest»
New BBC Open Forum said...

One thing I want to address after the transcript goes up was that a few things that have been claimed were said really weren't. As we will learn, there were a lot of parsed words in JL's statement. What you think you heard may not have been what was actually said.

Anonymous said...

I do not mean to excuse the 1989 decision of Prestonwood or Jack Graham. However, I do want to share the following from Graham's wikipedia page:

In 1989, Prestonwood Baptist Church, already a landmark Dallas congregation with a membership of approximately 11,000, called Graham as Pastor after its founding Pastor, Bill Weber admitted to an extramarital affair and resigned.

1. He was new on the job. 2. He came in on the heels of a sex scandal. This may shed some light on the decision to cover this up. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

This is all so sad. Its sad for the victims in JLs past and it's also sad for the victims in the present. The present being everyone who has come to know, trust and befriend JL. This blog is sad in the fact that ANYONE can come on here and QUESTION the actions of people at MHBC and have ZERO idea of what has really been done or said in its entirety to try and solve this issue. If anyone one of you found out that your wife,husband,son,daughter or best friend was a serial killer, would you immediately call the local law and have them picked up? NO! Our brains don't work that way! We have something inside all of us called compassion and love. (Our brains must also try and process what is happening) That is a GIFT that God calls the GREATEST GIFT of all. Does it make the Pastor and the Elders at MHBC bad people because they forgot to take a class on "When your Music Minister admits to being a Pedo"?? The administration at MHBC are as SHOCKED and CONFUSED as all are. THEY ARE HUMAN, JUST LIKE YOU!!! How many that have posted the obvious on here have actually been in a similar situation? Probably very few of you! If you HATE the Church because of such things or less than perfect actions, then you really HATE yourself! STOP POINTING FINGERS!!! EVERTHING in this world will let you down. I once confessed my dirty laundry to a pastor and he politley smiled and said, "Son, God will never let you down." When I am in front of God one day, I will not have a leg to stand on to defend myself for my past! But guess what? NEITHER WILL ANY OF YOU!!!

New BBC Open Forum said...

If anyone one of you found out that your wife,husband,son,daughter or best friend was a serial killer, would you immediately call the local law and have them picked up?

As difficult and hard to imagine as that would be, absolutely I would! Not doing so would make me an accessory to the crimes and put others in danger.

Does it make the Pastor and the Elders at MHBC bad people because they forgot to take a class on "When your Music Minister admits to being a Pedo"??

It wouldn't use the word "bad," but it doesn't make them seem very bright as you'll see from the transcript of what they said Sunday morning.

The administration at MHBC are as SHOCKED and CONFUSED as all are.

They've had much longer to process it than you have.

I once confessed my dirty laundry to a pastor and he politley smiled and said, "Son, God will never let you down."

You've just summed up in one sentence how JL and many more like him were allowed to quietly move on to new pastures with no accountability. They don't want to deal with anything "dirty." It might spoil their images.

When I am in front of God one day, I will not have a leg to stand on to defend myself for my past!

You're right. None of us will short of the blood of Jesus Christ.

David said...

Dear Anon: There is a huge difference between "dirty laundry" and being an admitted pedophile. The later is a criminal who has committed very serious sexual crimes on innocent children. As for the staff being human, yes they are but then aren’t they professionals also? Are you telling me those leaders have not been trained on how to deal with this? I was part of a panel presentation a few years ago with Dr. Marie Fortune. When she got up to speak to the pastors in attendance she told them that if they wanted a policy and procedure manual on how to deal with abuse in their Church, just read and follow their Bible; simple as that.

And if I found out someone I love in my family was a serial murderer or rapist because I love them I would report them to the police immediately.

None of us want to tear down any church. That has never been our intent. We too love Christ and want to see His flock safe from harm but to remain silent knowing what we knew would be wrong. Sometimes the truth does hurt.

David Brown

Why the church? said...

to anon 8:56
You have to be kidding?!

Before I even begin to address the "anyone would do the same" part, I will address your thoughts on hating the church....

I've been reading this blog for a couple months now and just recently posted for the first time. I have read NO where that anyone hates the church. Quite the contrary, my heart breaks for the church. I think anyone writing for this blog is heartbroken for the church. It is church staff, that are called to shepherd and guide, choose to cover-up things like this to protect themselves. As stated in an earlier post, I have been in church my entire life, and I have found that we all put on smiles and "Isn't God good?" attitudes. I have found the pastor will spend more hours on a sermon than time on his knees listening to what God has to tell him.
My heart breaks for the church - it's true lack of spiritual leadership (notice I said spiritual) and protecting those Christ taught us to protect.

Now to your other comments:
1. this was brought to light to church staff and elders MONTHS ago. They have had a lloooonnngg time to figure it out.
2. it wasn't just one person in his own judgement that had to "absorb" this and "think" about what needed to be done. It was several - pastor AND elders
3. there was a lawyer involved... pretty sharp guys usually that HAVE dealt with these things
4. JL has been hiding this for 20+ years. Also, plenty of time to think about.
5. you are right that there has probably never been a class on this exact issue, but the pastor has heard and seen a lot of things through the years. I would think he could apply a little judgement and wisdom (of course it appears he displayed very little of this)
6. I don't think most of us are pointing fingers. and I'm not sure how your serial killer example relates.... but yes, I would probably call the authorities b/c I don't want to be the next victim.

Confessing your dirty laundry is what we are asked to do. So you're commended. Yes, we all have sin in our lives. God does ask to confess one to another. God does forgive. God will not let you down. Yet, there is something to this that also has to do with turning from your sin, letting God heal you, seeking counsel, working through the pain that brought you to the point of that sin. God will never let you down, but man protecting themselves will.

Anonymous said...

I expected such responses. It is so easy to say that your actions would be "this or that"...The point I was trying to make on the "if your wife, huisband,etc" is that YOU have NO idea how quickly or in what way you would respond to hearing such news of someone you know and love. Confusion and doubt would cloud your mind. Your brain says this is a wonderful person that you love, but what you find out is that is not the case. This is difficult for everyone involved.
You say, "shouldn't they at least be professional?" The elders of this church are volunteers. They have regular full time jobs outside of their church duties. And I really mean regular people. From being a member of the Church and seeing how they have handled it thus far, I would say they have done a commendable AND very professional job..Nobody is trying to SWEEP anything under the rug as you accuse. If you want to help the healing process, why don't you come to our church and speak of what needs to be done the next time this happens. You can stay at my house free of charge and maybe I could help with gas or airfare.

David said...

Dear Anon we gladly accept your offer to come to your church and address and speak of those needs as to what has to be done and we will do it on our own dime. It is that important to us.

As part of the presentation we will be showing a program we have put on many times at other churches, schools and youth groups all across the state of Tennessee. The program is part of the You Have The Power Group out of Nashville (www.yhtp.org). This is a non-profit group that was started by the former first lady of Tennessee, Andrea Conte. She too was a victim of a violent crime. They produced the DVD, Sacred Secrets which is a 4 part documentary on how to deal with clergy sexual abuse in the faith community; in fact that DVD is required viewing for all DHS workers in Tennessee as well as all Child Advocacy Centers volunteers in Tennessee.

I will also attempt to get Rev. Tim Alexander who is also part of that DVD project to attend. And I am certain we can get the Child Advocacy Center of Jackson to take part of it also. The whole program takes about 2 hours to put on. We start out with the DVD viewing and then a panel discussion with 3 experts and follow that up with a question and answer session from the audience.

We developed this project out of concern when we see so many churches fumbling this issue when it hits them. We hate to see that and if it is not necessary.

I would ask that you have one of your elders and/or your pastor contact me to confirm their approval. Once again thanks for the offer.

David Brown
SNAP Director of Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee
901-569-4500
david@davidbrownpi.com

Why the church? said...

You clearly have not been following this blog from the beginning. Please read from the original post of May 2011 to present.

This has been ongoing for almost a full year. It appears that the pastor and elders, to some extent, have known this for quite a while and are just now dealing with it. What you see as "professional" and "commendable" is what has been presented to the public the last few weeks.

Also, if you have been following this blog, there have been at least 3 advocates trying to get in front of your church or church staff for some time now. All ignored or dismissed.

Anonymous said...

This church (Morrison Heights) had a previous sex scandal a couple of years ago. The college minister, Matthew Harding had an affair with a college student. It was handled appropriately and he was let go. However, he went on to another church in Arkansas and became a college minister there. This is the very reason we need a data base of these offenders. Even if the college girl was "legal" he definitely misused his position of authority. He is now in Texas working on his Doctorate in Theology.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'll save you the cost of airfare and lodging. Next time (and sadly, there will be a next time, somewhere), you get the person away from children immediately (put him on paid leave if necessary) and call the police and let them handle it. There. Isn't that simple? You can conduct an "internal" investigation later, but let the police do their jobs.

Note I didn't say it's always easy. Simple isn't always easy.

Anonymous said...

Or better yet, why don't you write a booked called "How to PROPERLY tar and feather for Pastors and Elders"....The administrations of all churches can teach a class on all your great wisdom. They could teach the class after the Ice Cream parties and Sunday School...Yeah!
I have NOT defended JLs actions in any of my post. But, I will defend the ones that was left with the GRAND oppertunity to deal with this!
Since none of us really know ALL the facts of what has happened, lets look at the RESULTS of the FACTS that we do know. JL IS NO LONGER EMPLOYED AT THE CHURCH AND HE PUBLICLY ADMITTED HIS FAILURES IN THE PULPIT OF THAT CHURCH! JLs previous church didn't even get that far. So, just maybe MH did handle this in the best way they could! Its sad that a blog like this with great intentions has turned this into "STRING'em ALL UP" hate blog! It really makes a good work look petty and misleading of what its true intentions are! So sad!

David said...

NBCOF: A big Amen! Why can't they see that?

I think this about the 3rd or 4th time I have offered to do the Sacred Secret program there. I have made that offer on here as well with the 2 individuals I spoke with. So far no acceptance but just in case I keep the suitcase packed and the gas tank full.

David Brown

Anonymous said...

I find it quite unfortunate that this blog has changed direction from informing a small community of past crimes that needed to be brought to light to condemning the leadership of Morrison Heights Baptist Church. I am not saying things were handled the correct way with John; however, I am not saying they were handled incorrectly. I have no idea how I would have reacted. John is ingrained in our community that much, and it is hard to describe if you have not lived here at least several years. Heck, I’m still trying to process everything and understand this myself. I’m hurt and confused. I will trail off from the main path for a few moments…
I am upset (and will get over it) over the fact that I was ‘deceived’ by John. He played a role in my salvation. The man taught my graduating class in 2nd and 8th grade school music. He sought counseling from school officials when I was bullied as a child. John taught Jr and Sr High church choir in which I participated from 7th-12th grade. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I never once saw this man act or hint towards anything like he confessed this past Sunday. Perhaps, this is why it is so shocking. However, I also find it shocking that nobody seems to believe that Christ can change a man’s heart. I know this entire situation has changed mine for the better. I will also note that God changing a heart does not excuse the past behavior as I have much to answer to God one day myself.
However, he is still my brother in Christ, and I do believe he changed in such a way that he committed himself to God’s work and never participated in such a heinous act of molesting a child again. If I am mistaken, then so be it. Do we know what his thoughts were at times? Nope, and that can be plain scary. However, I would be worried if people could read my thoughts at times too. Should he have been around children? This is something I would say no to. John stumbled, and he took a great fall. One might use the story of Humpty Dumpty. We all know he fell and could not be put together again. However, these were attempts by men to piece him back together. Nothing is out of God’s grasps.
I do not speak for Dr. Greg, the elders, or any other of the leadership or members of Morrison Heights. I am disappointed and sickened by what was done, but he and his family are still loved, nonetheless. After all, loving one another was one of the final commands (final one if I remember correctly) given by Christ. I also have to forgive what he did (notice I’m not saying forget). Many have been hurt by this, both past and present, and my heart truly goes to each of them. I hope that God’s grace will overwhelm each and everyone involved in this situation. I hope God receives glory like none of us could ever imagine from such an incident. I know a lesson for me is the high price and cost of sin. God does not want to see us suffer from giving into sin. Hence, we should constantly refresh ourselves in His word and seek Him.
My prayer is that this blog would not allow attacking of persons’ credibility or character. Although I would not condone it, I will not be surprised if John is continually attacked through words in this blog. However, nobody has the right to judge the actions of Dr. Greg or our church elders. Let’s be honest, not a single one of you has any authority to judge JL. We know what he did was wrong and it is ok for us to say and state that.

-GreatCooglyMoogly

Anonymous said...

Somewhat of a view I seem to feel from this blog: ‘Oh but wait, we’re giving a truth about how Dr. Greg and these elders responded to the situation. We know in our heart of hearts that how they responded is wrong, and they should be relieved of their duties.’
If the point of this blog was to inform our unsuspecting community of what happened, I believe it has been achieved. However, with the situation handled, it appears that the focus has shifted towards attacking our church. Surely, this blog will not turn into such things. Oh wait, I forgot, this is a blog. Opinions will be shared, and we can agree to disagree on matters. I for one do not care if you think Britney Spears has her hair braided too tightly, why you think a sponge and star fish make the perfect oceanic friends, or why we should go running down this or that trail to chase the Cadbury bunny (chasing rabbits…). However, I would ask that the focus stays away from how you believe this was handled by the church. If you want to take to the local papers and news about JL, that is your choice. However, do not attack our church. We are wounded as it is.
You do not know Dr. Greg or any of the elders. By no means am I saying they are perfect, but I truly believe their hearts are committed to God’s service. Call me ignorant if you like as it does not hurt me either way. I’m a big boy and can take a few harsh words and criticism thrown my way. We are all each different yet blessed with the commonality of being made in God’s image. For every individual that would have responded one way, there is another who would have responded another, and so on. Undoubtedly, this will be a learning experience for each and every one of us.
I will say thank you for enlightening us of a potential threat (I pray it is nothing more than that from the time here in Clinton). Your dedication is appreciated, but any persistency of attack on God’s church is unwanted whether by mods or allowed by others.

-GreatCooglyMoogly

Anonymous said...

David, you should be commended for your service and good works. But, I have read numerous post on here where have called out the Pastor at MHBC and insinuated a cover up or the situation not being handled properly by the Admin at the Church. Well, its going to be pretty hard for a Pastor to invite you into his Church when you have done this. If this blog expects the Churches to just open up their doors to you when you are doing this, then you will miss many opportunities to do your good work. So, that being said, maybe you are at fault for not handling things properly. See how easily it can happen?

Anonymous said...

David Brown, you owe my church an opology for this blog. Good luck in the future getting into other churhes and teaching what you know about such serious issues as this. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Y'all act like it's great that he got up and "confessed" in front of the church after he resigned. Like its supposed to be all better. He has a vested interest in making things right. His wife is still on staff there and he is now without a job. Also, they gave him a reception when he left. I would not be surprised if he was still on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

"Yall act like its great"?? WE ARE NOT DEFENDING JL! WE ARE DEFENDING GODs CHURCH!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Just a reminder... we're still seeing way too many people with the screen name "Anonymous." If you don't want to log in, please at least choose a unique screen name (and stick with it for subsequent comments) to help alleviate some of the confusion.

Thanks.

David said...

Dear Anon 1:27 you keep up that attitude you will do more to drive people away from your church. Those are your fellow brothers and sisters that are members of your church you are stepping on.

Please you can be angry with me. I am used to it, you don't know me or my ministry but that is ok. But please don't attack those of your own church that may disagree with you.

We ALL are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope we can agree on that.

Once again our only concern is/was protecting children. We do not want to see any church harmed. As long as there was an admitted pedophile in their presence in a position of authority they were at risk.

David Brown

MAD! said...

David Brown, you don't know me either nor do you know the Admin at MHBC. But, that has not stopped the finger pointing and accusations. I'm not speaking for the Church or every member, but I find it awful strange that you wish to get inside said church to speak while trying to beat down the pastor and elders of this church..If you were invited to speak, would you inform the congregation of how the pastor and elders really screwed this up?? If so, then the chances of you getting that oppertunity are pretty slim, but thats just my opinion....

New BBC Open Forum said...

Slightly off topic, but there's some good news coming out of Texas today.

David said...

Dear MAD: No one is pointing fingers, calling anyone out or making accusations. We have simply stated the facts and nothing else. I am sorry you are reading too much into our comments. I know this is very emotional for all concerned.

You claim it is my wish to get “inside” your church while I am beating down your pastor and elders; that simply is not true. An anon earlier made the offer to let us come down and speak to your church; I simply accepted.

As for your last question as to whether given the opportunity I would use it “to inform the congregation of how the pastor and elders really screwed this up”; those are your words, not mine. That would be the very last thing I would do.

The only purpose with the Sacred Secret project was to be an educational tool for those that wanted to be prepared in case this crime visits their church. It was never our intent to use it for anything else. The people that were involved are concerned Christians. It was done in love, not hate. We got tired of seeing churches, leaders, members and other survivors get hurt when it is not handled properly. We have seen way too often more “grace” given the offending minister than their victim. This DVD deals directly with that.

NO ONE deserved what John has done to all of us. Remember he was the one that abused those children , not me. He is the one where the anger should be directed. Lest your forget I am one of those 1 in 6 boys that was raped by a priest in 1961-62.

Please if any of you want to go off on me, let me suggest you either call me, text me or email me. If you want to vent I am ok with it. It can be good for you to get it off your chest. Emotions and hearts are hurting right now and I totally understand. I promise I will listen to you and not cuss you out and whatever you share will not be posted anywhere; it will be just between us. Shoot you might even get to like me, well maybe not. I am here. It is up to you.

David Brown
SNAP Director of Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee
901-569-4500
david@davidbrownpi.com

Former Member said...

Is there any information about when the transcript of John's statement will be available? Also, it seems amazing to me that in a small community like Clinton that this hasn't made the local news.

MAD said...

As for your last question as to whether given the opportunity I would use it “to inform the congregation of how the pastor and elders really screwed this up”; those are your words, not mine. That would be the very last thing I would do.

These words seem to fit the theme of your earlier posts. And, NO, I do not feel as though the Church admin mis-handled any of this. I think Biblically, emotionally and legally, they did what needed to be done for everyone involved. Any partial facts you have will never convince me otherwise. I see your good intent in all of this, but my opinion is that you need to work on your delivery of some of your posts. God knows your heart and good intentions as he knows the heart of MHBC's Administration. I have no idea what your struggles are since your childhood in the 60s, but we are all just people trying to seek God's will for our lives and the ones around us. My heart is broken for everyone in this situation and its time for healing and God will show us his great power in due time! Peace be still!!

JB said...

To David:
No one is pointing fingers, calling anyone out or making accusations. We have simply stated the facts and nothing else. I am sorry you are reading too much into our comments.
It's hard for you to say that with the picture that's at the top of this page.

Former Member said...

Another question people from Clinton should be asking is what are the details surrounding the victim in Mississippi? What year did it occur, what were the circumstances etc.

Mrs. D said...

To hear all of this disturbs me. Even the bickering disturbs me. Our main focus goal, including myself, is to make sure this never happens again.

I agree there needs to be a tighter control, better way of approaching situations & background checks.

Our main focus & concern should be the victims, past and possibly present. Don't fool yourself in thinking there may not be any since 22 years ago. I would be shocked & amazed to find out this has never happened since the original victims of 22 years ago.

Also, MH isn't all to blame here. I'm glad to see the news casts are questioning Prestonwood who covered up the story/situation and allowed John to move back to Clinton & be in a position of working with children.

Maybe our church didn't handle it the way some would see fit. But at least they did follow up on the questions, the phone calls & John is not employed by them and not on their payroll. Also, remember John's daughters - this is something they have to live with daily now in knowing their father has done this to kids younger than them.

I hope John will continue to receive counseling & I hope he can be at peace in knowing all the kids he gave testimony to - they're now doubting so much within, I know - because my kids are in this position.

I do believe God forgives, but I don't believe just reading a simple statement because you got caught gets you off the hook for the hurt you've caused.

I'm a mom, Sunday School teacher, choir member, and I'm angry. I'm also angry in knowing these facts were verified & he wasn't removed from not only his position at church, but also his position at the school.

You would think at least the school would take a tougher stand on this issue but they sure aren't being very vocal about it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

JB,

David has nothing to do with what I choose to post on this blog. I posted that picture, and frankly, I think it fits and stand behind it 100%. You're free to disagree, but that's how I see it, not just MHBC, but here at Bellevue and in the case of JL, beginning with Prestonwood and more recently MHBC and don't forget the Clinton Public School District. They've reportedly known about this since last August, some 6 months longer than MHBC claims they knew about it. Seems to me the school district is flying under the radar right now. If I lived in Clinton I think I'd be asking some hard questions of my school superintendent.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thanks to all for the news links:

WAPT-TV >> Former Youth Minister, Teacher Makes Startling Admission

Clarion Ledger >> Clinton music minister confesses to 'sexual indiscretions'

Associated Baptist Press >> Abuse confession raises questions of cover-up by Baptist mega-church

I fixed 'em.

Here are the instructions for making a link. The first part applies to posting comments in posts (that would be me), but the form is the same as that shown about halfway down the page.

Anonymous said...

JL is not dumb. Actually he is very smart. He knows the difference between "Accused","Convicted" and "Confessed"...NOBODY held a gun to his head to speak last Sunday. Before this he was "ACCUSED" only...Now he has "CONFESSED".....Why did he do this?? He was already unemployed. He put a lot on the line when he stood up there last week. What did he have to gain by doing this? Would a comman man do such? If he asked his lawyer permission, what would have been the lawyers response? DON'T DO IT! JL did this ONLY because he knows that it is commanded by God for him do so, I suspect. Horrible past or not, he did a very difficult thing. I hope he takes this oppertunity to seek help if he has not already. I will be praying for his victims as well as him....

JB said...

To Forum:
I wasn't accusing David of having anything to do with the picture on this page. He said, "NO ONE is pointing fingers...or making accusations" (emphasis mine).

I was only pointing out the irony of his statement. Thank you for helping make my point.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Glad I could help you.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

How this sad sordid story broke into the news is just another example of how bloggers are doing God's will in purifying the church.

Christians, don't let whiny pastors tell you that bloggers are no good, and that you shouldn't read critical blogs.

Just like bloggers kept the heat on Ergun Caner last year until finally Liberty could not keep Ergun Caner's deceit under the rug, so once again it was a blog that led John Langworthy having to admit to his sins, and a bright spotlight being shone on another megachurch acting against the best interests of children.

This blog was cited by the ABP story by Bob Allen as being the place where Amy first got a public airing of this story. When people started reading about this, Langworthy's church got into action, and ultimately Langworthy couldn't hide. Then the press got involved.

Prestonwood Baptist church was apparently unwilling to warn other churches about Langworthy. Certainly Langworthy himself wasn't going to come clean. Even the ABP told Amy that they couldn't do a story on it.

So if the churches won't do their job and protect their little ones from predators, and if the newsmedia can't act on credible reports, then the bloggers will gladly fill the void.

Anybody read Jack Graham's tweets today? He won't talk to Brett Shipp and answer Brett's questions about why Langworthy was not reported to the policy, but sure enough Graham uses social media to make himself and his church the victim:

"Over the years when criticized or accused I have tried to live by this axiom- No attack No defense. Let God fight your battles"

and this one:

"When you are falsely accused trust God and remember that Satan is the source of all lies."

Really? Who was falsely accused Jack? Langworthy? Or your church? Or maybe YOU'RE the victim, Jack! Of course! Newsflash, Jack: the victims here are many, but they aren't you or PWBC. They are the kids this man harmed. You better hope and pray that there aren't a boatload of victims in Mississippi that could have been saved their misery if your church had simply reported Langworthy to the authorities.

Mrs w said...

I know this blog started to bring out the situation in the church. But the school was aware of the situation & still kept him on board & sent him on choir trips. Makes no sense.

JM said...

The story involving the MoM at Morrison Heights is saddening. There were, as some have stated, many missed opportunities. But, I'd like to point to one no one has mentioned then I'll tell you how I know.

In today's youth groups are tomorrow's sex offenders. As they develop sexually some will stumble upon or be forced into defiant thought and behavior. A step or two in the wrong direction could send their development in a direction from which they will never recover.

How do I know? It happened to me. I was not abused but several unfortunate situations led to very perverted sexual thought and later to behavior (self gratification) that reinforced the thought. Before I knew what had happened my sexual interests were distorted and in a word, illegal.

For years I longed for a safe haven in which to disclose the secret with which I lived but that avenue did not exist. Too my knowledge it still does not. No one said, "if you are having anything other than healthy fantasies you need help and here is where you can get it."

Unfortunately, I did act out. I plead guilty and severed time and today I am a register sex offender. I've gone through many, many years of theraphy and today understand healthy boundaries and am blessed with a strong support system. Many in my church including leadership know of my past. I do not work with young people even though I have been asked by those who do not know my past. I do not pat myself on the back, I thank my God and my family.

My point: The church, the community, mental health officials, schools, parents, anyone interested in stopping inappropriate (illegal) sexual behavior should put more and more effort on helping young people develop healthy sexual thought and behavior. And, there needs to be a place where those who fear they dealing with defiant thoughts can go to get help before it leads to illegal actions.

Let's not just stop it after it happens, let put more effort on stopping it BEFORE it happens.

Sickened said...

It finally made the local news today.

As a former Clintonian- I am more upset with the school's handling of the situation than with MH. MH might not have handled it the way they should have, but, they were in uncharted waters with this, and I'm sure it took some time to process and figure out what to do, etc.

But the school was a place where JL was around children constantly. I cannot fathom how the Dr. Burchfield knew about this since last August (2010) (as reported on WAPT today) and allowed JL to continue working there. The CPS released a statement saying after they found out, they never allowed him to be "alone" with children, but still. Teachers who haven't been accused of molestation shouldn't ever be "alone" with students either.

Clinton residents should be more concerned with how the school district handled this, in my opinion.

And, it all falls back on Prestonwood for not reporting the original crimes to the authorities. Since JL was never charged with anything he has nothing about this on his record, so a background check would show nothing.

The ball was dropped a lot with this whole situation.

I do believe God forgives and that people can change, but I also believe that a truly changed pedophile would keep himself away from children.

Anonymous said...

Mrs w said...

"I know this blog started to bring out the situation in the church. But the school was aware of the situation & still kept him on board & sent him on choir trips."

Yes.... Creepy isn't it

=“We just want to come and be a blessing,” said John Langworthy, music minister of Morrison Heights Baptist Church.

="I'm the luckiest teacher in the world," John Langworthy said last week. "This is so special - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us."

="His greatest joys are his family, his faith and the privilege he has to teach such incredible students! "

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mrs w,

Attention has turned almost solely to the church only in the past three days after JL's statement in the MHBC service Sunday morning. It's no secret nor should it be forgotten that the school reportedly knew about the situation before the church.

If you go back and read the original comment from May 27th, you will see that it was stated from the beginning that JL was on staff at MHBC and the local high school. The pastor, school superintendent, and law enforcement were all contacted. The school was reportedly alerted in August 2010 and the church in February 2011.

Worried Mom said...

Greg Belser should absoulutly lose his job. He knew he had a confessed peophile on his hands and did not immediately remove him from his duties. John said in church ""I was not asked to resign by the pastor or the elders."

Read more: http://www.wapt.com/news/28814993/detail.html#ixzz1Uat38FLY

WHAT????? This is the kind of man you want leading your church?? Someone who doesn't ask an ADMITTED PEDOPHILE whose job description is YOUTH choir minister to leave immediately??

I as a parent in Clinton also want to know why he wasn't fired from the school in October when Dr. Burchfield found out the truth about John.

Don't fool yourselves MHBC members. I live here in town with you and were it not for this blog, you would never have known about John. Aslo don't stick your heads in the sand and think he has had no victims in the past 22 years.

New BBC Open Forum said...

For easy reference I have added media links to the front page as they have become available, including that one.

Anonymous said...

How much more tragic this will be if ANYONE from MHBC steps down or is removed due to this...The victimization just goes on and on!This blog has served its purpose in exposing JL. GOOD JOB! But, for this to continue to bash the very people that actually did something about is just plain silly. Please, if you don't know all the facts, which 99% of you don't, then please keep your harsh words about others to yourself! Please! Even a coward can come on here and be bold.

New BBC Open Forum said...

TRANSCRIPT

New BBC Open Forum said...

Working on audio.

Anonymous said...

AND YES, I absolutly want Dr. Greg Belser running my Church!

New BBC Open Forum said...

From the Clarion Ledger article comments:

"When you receive an email stating that there is a history of 'indiscretions'.... Pay attention!"

concernedmom said...

Anon,
How can you possibly want a man running your church who knowingly put your congregation's kids in danger? Maybe you don't have kids of you own. Maybe you just prefer to deny the truth. Fact: your pastor allowed an admitted pedophile to be around kids in a leadership capacity.
How is this OK?

My two cents! said...

If they did an investigation in a "discreet" manner, how did they ask anyone if there had been any sexual contacts during his past 22 years at MH? Sorry this is something that has just bothered me since hearing his spill on Sunday.

I also don't understand how his wife can remain employed at the church. The way I heard the speech, she knew about the prior immoralities the entire time he was at MH. Why would she allow him to be in this position? Why wouldn't she tell the leaders of the church about his past problems? I'd almost bet my next paycheck, if the role was reversed she or any other of the church staff would want him around their children.

I also don't understand why they continued to allow him around the youth. If there was another concern to remove him from the children's choir, why not remove him from all of them until the investigation was complete.

There was a very simple solution to all this, call the Clinton Police Department and have them do the investigation. Isn't that what they are paid to do? Until their investigation was complete, just allow him to do the adult choir.

For those of you that will say, it didn't happen in Mississippi so the local law enforcement couldn't investigate it. YES they can and if something came up local they would handle it. If it was something that happened somewhere else, they just send all the gathered information to that respected agency.

I'm somewhat baffled by the support he has received. I'll take him at his word for now that no other indiscretion has occurred while at MH. I also believe that he will be forgiven by our Lord and savior. There are still consequences for the actions that were committed all those years ago. This isn't some petty crime that people are bringing back up!! This is a crime against young and innocent children.

Support him in his recovery, yes. Pray for him, yes I will because we all need prayer. There is an earthly penalty for this crime and he should face it. If he is truly remorseful for these horrible acts, he should go to the city they were committed in and tell the local authorities. Then they can go straight to the victim and ask them if they wished to have charges filed.

Unfortunately the administration of the church left us with more question than answers.

Mrs D said...

FYI regarding the Transcript. The Elder's name is Tim - not Jim.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thank you, Mrs D. It sounded like Belser said, "Thank you, Jim." I'll correct it.

Mrs W said...

Dear "Worried Mom" - I find it confusing you want Dr. Belser fired but yet mention nothing of having Dr. Burchfiled fired since he's known longer about the incident.

Yes, he still kept his job at the church and as others have said, this was uncharted waters from the church. Also the church’s position in all situations is to hate the sin – love the sinner.

But let's examine the school - there ARE charted waters, procedures that are in place. I would think the School had a higher degree of protocol to follow and they chose to do nothing until John took it upon himself to resign from both jobs only AFTER all this information hit the fan publically. So why not question the school ?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Zwinglius Redivivus >> The Catholics Aren’t The Only Ones Who Cover Up Their Clergy’s Evils

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wade Burleson >> Full Circle: Why the SBC Child Predator Database Is Needed Now, Not Later

(Comments have been reopened.)

Anonymous said...

Dear New BBC, I'm sure you will not post this as you have not posted several of posts. But, for you to allow people to posts lies and false accusations against MHBC without cause or proof, then this blog becomes a danger of having the wrong purpose of what I think you intend it for. But, you are adding to this with you "history of indiscetions" email comments,etc. You have very little info on how any of this was handled. You and your blog is a scam. I'm sure you like to keep the pot stirred because you probably have some weird fettish to whatch the lies and hate against a Church that did the best they could do under the circumstances. For you to not allow some opinions and allow only those YOU see fit is unbelivable. Go ahead, keep posting and allowing the "BURN the CHURCH" attitudes..You yourself needs to be exposed! By the way, who are YOU? You seem to act like you are the end all say all to all peoples and Churches. Maybe Obama should confide in you about the economy since you know how everything goes down even without being a part of the process. But, like I said, I'm sure this post does not fit your agenda, so I doubt it gets posted.

Former Lovett & CJHS Student of Langworthy's said...

@New BBC Open Forum, Thanks for posting the transcript. Hope to hear the audio, here, soon.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 1:47,

There ya go. Wow! That was so much better than your previous comments! You got me good.

Actually I can count on one hand the number of comments that have been rejected. Three of those were duplicates of comments that were posted. I guess the other two were yours. They were both from someone named "Anonymous." But, hey, you're entitled to your opinion. You've expressed it now.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Not that I owe anyone an explanation, but I do want to be accurate. I just checked, and I've deleted 8 comments, not the 5 I remembered. Two people posted about JL's wife after it was already stated that she works for the church. (No further mention of her is relevant.) The other was a link trying to get people to Google a porn flick. I didn't think anyone would be interested in that.

Anonymous said...

"livinginpleasantville"
I would like to respond to the last poster...regarding Clinton Public Schools and our Superintendent Mr Burchfield. Did you know that the Clinton School system is a "ZERO Tolerance" school system? That means no second chances for students when it comes to drugs, alcohol and firearms or violence. In this day and age zero tolerance is very important but what about zero tolerance for the staff, administration and teachers? I believe that there have been many students who have messed up in the past and have been "put out to pasture" for their actions with no consideration of what will become of them or their families...why are the teachers and administration's faults tolerated and just swept aside until exposed at a later date? This is a school system that prides itself on securing and protecting our student's education and futures...it shows commercials about how the Clinton administration cares....that is a bunch of crap....that superintendent is the one who needs to be fired..he is an errogant man with ideas and goals only for himself. This town is a tight "pleasantville" type community and this should have not been hidden for over 1 year not even over 1 day. I personally care so much about JL and his family and this is really killing me inside but the thought of this school system and administration getting away with keeping this hidden for so long when they have no tolerance on the students and their immature actions when the "administration" is suppose to consist of GROWN FOLKS, mature intelligent educated individuals...this is unacceptable. I will continue to support my church but will definitely support the firing of Burchfield and reorganization of the Clinton School System and their practices.

Anonymous said...

This man was my choir teacher and I'm sick of hearing how he is such a great man. Bottom line he is a addmitted child molester who did everything he could to be around children!! So lets get this straight: He molested someone in MS then ran to TX then molested somone in TX and ran to MS and now people want to stand up for him because he's such a nice guy??? I say all of the soccer mom's in clinton need to take there head's out of the sand and think about there children(and think about the fact that this man obviously isnt the John Langworthy you think you all know. He is an addmitted child rapist and molester who chose to spend the last twenty years of his life in a class room with your children everyday) I say lock him up or run him off so he cant teach my kids someday.

My two cents said...

I wonder if any of the parents who's kids went on the trip to New Orleans would have allowed thierry child to go had they known of these accusations. I darn sure know my child wouldn't have attended, no matter how much supervision the adult would have had. Funny how the adult needed the supervision and not the children.

Captain N said...

How many times is he going to be allowed to screw up, royally, just as long as he re-devotes himself? There's gotta be a breaking point. Or a point where it's swept under the rug and everyone forgives/forgets what's happened thus far.

Anonymous said...

This blog is extremely biased... No freedom of speech here. I'd like to see your tally of rejected comments now...

New BBC Open Forum said...

Counting the previous 8 plus the three this afternoon?

Eleven.

Wanna be #12?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Congratulations! That makes 12.

I will not address this again.

Midge said...

Hey Blog Owner- you don't need to worry about posting the # of comments you haven't allowed through- I don't think the majority care. I am glad you had the guts to post this blog. A blog is a privately run entity, the owner can choose what he or she wants posted. If the people complaining care enough, they can start their own blog just like you did, and air their own feelings there freely. Don't sweat it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

WAPT-TV >> No Criminal Complaints Filed Against Former Minister

Please, if you or someone you know was a victim of JL or someone else, contact the police. The victims possess the real power here and only by your willingness to contact the proper authorities will justice be done and healing begin. Please don't let this happen to someone else.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thanks, Midge. Not sweating at all.

M'ssippi Girl said...

I'm still in shock and my mind has been spinning for 2 days, since I heard the news about John Langworthy. Since I no longer live in the Jackson, MS area, I have been "out of the loop" on the recent months' developments at Morrison Heights.

I remember John and Kathy's first Sunday at Morrison Heights -- they were an impressive couple with beautiful, trained voices. They sang a "special" - a duet - their performance was very well rehearsed with choreographed body movements - a moving performance. I remember them as intelligent, articulate, professional, energetic and John was charming and very charismatic. They were quickly swept up into service and in a very short time became very integrated into the Morrison Heights Music and Youth ministries. We were delighted to have them as an active part of our church.

My children and I lived in the Clinton, MS area, and were active members of Morrison Heights for 20 years. John was a part of my children's life several times a week for many of those 20 years as they also were taught choral music by him in the Clinton School System. Some of my daughter's and son's earliest memories of Morrison Heights include John Langworthy. They both looked up to him - he was an icon to the all the kids at the church, and soon by the entire community. It's hard to imagine he was hiding such a secret.

I've gone through the emotions of disbelief, shock, anger, and now sadness, that this bright part of my children's lives has been tarnished forever. I question first what type of vetting was done by the Morrison Heights staff when he was allowed to become involved with our children and youth, to assure that John was who he appeared to be. It seems to me that if someone on staff or from the deacon council, or the personnel committee had made some phone calls to the churches where he had been before, they would have been told all was not well. The other churches may not have shared the allegations, but they surely would have given some indications that he should not be working with our youth for one reason or another.

Then there were the obvious attempts by the current elders to cover up the allegations - to try to make the accusers "go away". I understand that all involved had known and loved John for many years. Maybe they were too close to him and his entire family (wife, children, sisters, nieces, nephews, etc) to have been totally objective about the situation. I understand there were no allegations of problems while he was at Morrison Heights, but that still does not detract from the fact that he shouldn't have been working with children. Being an authority figure in a position of leadership in a large church should have been a good enough reason to send him on his way after the elders had that first conversation with one of his victims. Yes, we as Christians should forgive and we love the man and hate the sin, but he should not have been allowed to continue working in the position as the Worship Leader. Elders should be the wise men of the church -- those decisions were compassionate, but were not based in wisdom.

But most of all I question the man, John Langworthy. Why on earth would he put himself in the precarious position of working once again with young teenager boys, when he knew of his weakness in this area, UNLESS he was so drawn to them that he could not control himself. If his wife and other close friends or family knew of the allegations at the 2 previous churches, why did they not understand and advise him that this was a very unwise choice for not only John, but for them as a family? He was still young at that point - change careers! -- become a banker or something else, but he should have stayed away from children.

I feel betrayed by the entire lot -- John, his family, and the church leadership in 1989 as well as in the past few months. All of these people should have stepped back, examined this situation for what it really was, and acted responsibly.

M'ssippi Girl said...

(continued)

And then there is Phil Burchfield, the Clinton School Superintendent. I remember when he was the principal at Clinton Junior High. John has worked for him for many years, and was probably definitely too close to the situation to be objective. He knew about the allegations a year ago and still allowed John to be involved with children. He has a duty to protect the children of that community, and he took a very large risk in allowing John to stay even 1 day past his knowledge of the situation.

This is all so sad, and my heart aches for all involved. But worst of all, I feel for his own children. Besides the children that were molested, they are the ones that will be the most hurt by all this. I only pray that there are no more victims that have not yet come forward.

The church and community will heal. I would gather that many new policies will be put in place at Morrison Heights to prevent future occurrences of this type situation. The children who were under John's supervision at school and at Morrison Heights who learn of this grand deception will never be the same. As my children are doing, they will forever question the intentions of someone who is so willingly involved with the lives of children.

Heather said...

Dear Mr Blog,
I don't know the people at MHBC but I can see their discontent with what seams to have turned this into a "the problem is the church" slant. I agree with some earlier posts that no one but the Leaders really know the whole outline and most everything that is posted is just feelings opinions or partial facts. It seems this site has a great idea, but maybe is going about it the wrong way. If your opinion is that this needs to start with the church, and thats where the root of the problem is, then why not reach out to the churches in a more positive Christian way? I think you are actually making what you percieve is a wide spread problem even worse. If your blog wants to really be a part of the solution, then figure out another way. I think this is very unhealthy for such a painful situation for everyone, victims included. You are actually defeating your own purpose by having an Anti-church slant. Do you have a plan, here? What is your purpose? And before you anwser, please do not speak of unknown facts that you think you know about of an Administration of any church. You helped expose a bad problem, but could you explain to me how by not being in the situation of all this at MH that you could pass judgement upon these followers of Christ? I see a lot of good here, but I also see a great problem. JMHO

New BBC Open Forum said...

Blogger was down for maintenance tonight. We seem to be back.

Been There said...

Dear Mr Blog,
"You are actually defeating your own purpose by having an Anti-church slant.
Do you have a plan, here? What is your purpose? And before you answer, please do not speak of unknown facts that you think you know about of an Administration of any church. You helped expose a bad problem, but could you explain to me how by not being in the situation of all this at MH that you could pass judgement upon these followers of Christ? I see a lot of good here, but I also see a great problem.
JMHO"

You must realize that the birth of this blog was due the Administration of one church Bellevue Baptist Church, when Steve Gaines took over as Dictator.
He and his henchmen would not hear what anyone would have to say,
that was critical of their Administration.
They would immediately act as Judge and Jury, twisting scripture and turning it on that person and say if you don't like it, than leave. So the wounded came and started sharing their experiences.

So when you read how this church allowed a "STAFF" person stay with all his baggage, it turns one's stomach.

" I continued my counseling and surrounded myself with unwavering accountability from my wife, family, and friends who were aware of the past situations.
Because of this accountability and God's grace, there have been no sexual impropriety while serving here at Morrison Heights Baptist Church."

So how does this "accountability " work here?

A confessional : "Father I have sinned today, but I won't tomorrow." And who is the one that has to listen to John's confessional, do they get their jollies from this, as did Paul Williams at Bellevue?

My two cents said...

I'd like the name of the person that counseled him after the contacts with the children. What counselor in their right mind would advise the offender to go back into working for a church. I don't want this counselor.

New BBC Open Forum said...

" I continued my counseling and surrounded myself with unwavering accountability from my wife, family, and friends who were aware of the past situations.
Because of this accountability and God's grace, there have been no sexual impropriety while serving here at Morrison Heights Baptist Church."

So how does this "accountability " work here?


That's something I wondered about. How does that work? As a high-level staff member in a church, wouldn't it just make sense that said high-level staff member would want to make himself accountable to the senior pastor? And yet, the senior pastor was apparently out of the loop until a few months ago.

Been There said...

"and surrounded myself with unwavering accountability from...." my wife, my family (didn't he just say his wife) and my friends who knew about my previous exploits?

WOW

How many would that be 2 , 3 ?

Sounds so much like Bellevue and Paul Williams , a small circle of people who could be trusted not to report any of this to anyone else including authorities.

Professional said...

Wow! A lot has happened since I have been on vacation!! As for all of the posts regarding timelines, let me clear up one thing. I have been here since the beginning. One year before this blog even started. The staff ( pastor and elders) have known about this for exactly one year, as gas Dr Birchfield. I personally spoke with them about my concerns and DID offer to come down and do a " what to do if a staff member commits a sex crime" training. This is what I do for a living. No one wanted my help. ( for those that are new and want to hear my experience, please read past blog posts).

There are really only a few if us that know the entire timeline. The fact is... He needed to be exposed and now he is. Did the church and school handle it timely and appropriately? No. Will there most likely be consequences for that? It appears there already are. They were asked, even begged to do the right thing from the beginning.. I am just saddened that they did not.

Professional said...

On a second note, I have listened to John's "speech" on Sunday. I am quite interested that he claims to have been in counseling. After talking with all involved, from church staff, elders , attorneys, etc.... No one ever mentioned this to me in the entire last year. The fact is, he is not, nor has he ever been in treatment ( not counseling, treatment) with a registered sex offender provider that knows how to deal with the manipulative behaviors of sex offenders. I know this for a fact because I have been encouraging this for the past year with no luck.

No treatment provider would EVER let him work with children. Simple fact. He has placed himself with children his entire life in every capacity he could. That is not a person in any kind of recovery, especially not a sex offender. He has NOT been under supervision, accountability , or anything during his tenure at the church or school. This is not my opinion, I know this for a fact. Maybe slight supervision once these two entities got our call , but not the 10 years prior to that.

And my last fact, not opinion, but fact.... He has more than these two victims. He only " confessed" to the two he has been exposed for , not his actual number of victims. If he is truly wanting to repent, Godly repentance , then clean out the attic and bring all things still hidden to light..

The last comment that I have seen thrown around is that "he is just a gay man"..... Not true. His victims were as young as 10 that I know and one maybe younger, and all that I know were under 16. That is pedophilia not homosexuality. (and that discussion is for another time and day).

I only hope that if there are victims in MS, they will feel free to come forward and not fearful of the Clinton backlash if they do. It appears most in Clinton are supportive of victims
coming forward!!

I apologize for any misspellings or typos, as I am on my phone.

New BBC Open Forum said...

He only " confessed" to the two he has been exposed for , not his actual number of victims.

Publicly, at least, he didn't confess to a specific number. Rather, he said, "Prior to coming to Clinton 22 years ago while serving at a church in Mississippi and then in Texas, I had sexual indiscretions with younger males," thus covering any number from two to ???.

Here's another carefully parsed sentence:

"Because of this accountability and God's grace, there have been no sexual impropriety while serving here at Morrison Heights Baptist Church."

Does that include the school and everywhere else?

Been There said...

Forgiveness:

No one can come forward and charge anyone of anything, as it is a sign of spiritual immaturity.

God has forgiven you of your little sins (Oh, but any sin put Jesus on the cross) so you must forgive any size trespass against you (or your children).

Is it any wounder that pedipliles are allowed to proliferate in this environment.
A small offense, to little people, who don't contribute to the budget.
Now this is the person you need to feel sorry for (a contrite and broken spiritual John):

"I have been under a large amount of stress, and it has taken its toll on my physical and emotional condition. The revelation of this information has been a large part of this stress. "

"My heart is very broken."

Dennis Herrington said...

My name is Dennis Herrington. I served on Staff at Morrison Heights Baptist Church for 20 years, beginning in 1990 and retiring in 2010. During 12 of those years, I was the Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Also during most of those 12 years, John Langworthy was one of my closest friends. We were prayer partners and accountibility partners. Never, in all that time, did I know of, or hear anything about, his problems in Texas. Because I was (am) totally ignorant of anything John did...or is accused of doing...I shall not address those issues. Rather, this post is for a quite different reason.

Greg Belser is a man of honor. He would never....and I repeat, NEVER......hide, or attempt to hide any sin. Especially such an egregious sin as pedophelia. I know the man and served under his able leadership for some six years before my retirment. In all that time, he NEVER delayed handling any task, no matter how unpleasant, promptly and with exacting detail. And, before handling the task, he made sure that his actions were biblically based.

Did Morrison Heights take too long to address the charges against John Langworthy? Let me answer that question with a question:

Suppose that one day your telephone rang and the person on the other end....someone you did not know; know of; knew anything about; had never heard of; and was a total stranger to you.....claimed that your son or brother was a pedophile. What would your response be? Would you gather as much information from the caller as possible? Sure you would. Then what would be your next step? Would you immediately call your son or brother and tell them of the phone call? Of course. Would you ask them if the charges had any merit whatsoever? Absolutely.

With that scenario in mind, who are you most likely to believe......the stranger you never knew or your own family? You know the answer to that one. But knowing Greg Belser as I do, I'm sure he didn't just stop there and think "some crazy is out there trying to ruin my family member." No, he continued to investigate. Although I cannot speak for him (because I was no longer on his staff at this time and can only speak for what I know of the man himself), I am quite sure that Dr. Belser continued to pursue the issue. My suspicion, however, is that he tried to find out more about the "caller" than about John. I mean, after all, John had been his "brother" for almost six years. He had been with John 7 days a week, 12 and 14 hours a day for almost 6 years. The charges made no sense. So, in trying to sort-out the truth from the untruth, I would guess that Dr. Belser took exceptional care in investigating WHO was trying to bring the charges against John and to get to the "bottom of the story", whatever that might be. He did not see himself as investigating a crime. He was investiging, I would guess, THE CALLER. From all accounts in this blog, then, the 2nd Texas victim telephoned Dr. Belser. At that time, the evidence was too overwhelming to ignore and immediate action was taken to remove John from the church staff.

Now, I AM NOT SAYING THAT THE EVENTS HAPPENED EXACTLY LIKE THAT. I WASN'T THERE. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE PASTOR AND ELDERS DID, NOR HOW THEY HANDLED THE SITUATION FROM DAY 1.

What I am telling you is that Greg Belser is as good, and as honest, and as godly, and as genuine as they come. He is a man of God who confronts sin......all sin.....head on and without hesitation or reservation. If that makes him unpopular with some, then so be it in his mind. The Word of God is Truth and Greg Belser is an authority on it. He would never hide any man's sin. Rather, he would call him to biblical and scriptural confession and repentence....publicly if necessary.

Say what you want about the rest. I am not privy to any information about the sins of John Langworthy. But don't attack Greg Belser. He is a man of honor. Dennis Herrington

Curious said...

I have a question.....I was told that the pastor and the elders are offering to answer any questions that MHBC members might have. But you would have to set up a meeting. So if that meeting is set up, what type of questions would you suggest that one would ask?

Dennis Herrington said...

To "Curious": Ask the hard questions. Ask Dr. Belser and the Elders to give you the time-line of the entire series of events. When did they receive the first telephone call? What was their initial response? Did they investigate who the caller was? (Pastors make "enemies" too. Did they believe that one or more persons were out there with the purpose of, for whatever the reason, trying to "ruin the reputation of a minister"?) Did they go to the authorities with the information? If so, what did the authorities tell them? Our Police Chief, Don Byington, is a professional law enforcement officer who takes his job very seriously and is one of the best in the business. If he was included in the conversation, you can bet that he gave informed, professional advice. He doesn't sweep anything "under the carpet" either. This town has one of the best police forces in the state. They would have taken action if it was warrantied. Did Chief Byington know of the charges. If so, what did he say? Greg Belser is an honest man. Ask him honest questions and you'll get honest answers.

Bill said...

Why did you leave MHBC and start up a new church Dennis Herrington?

Original MHBC Youth said...

Thank you, Brother Dennis.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Bill,

That sounds like a fair question, but this isn't the place.

Thanks.

SSmom said...

Regarding Dennis Herrington's comments.

I agree with Dennis, I've known Dennis for many years and it does make sense in knowing Dr. Greg about the steps that were taken.

I hope this situation is a teaching situation for any other situations that may or may not occur to MH or any other church or organization.

As in any situation, you have to be proactive. Maybe people feel MH didn't move fast enough or take the stand they feel MH should have - but MH did what they felt is right based upon their investigation & their conclusion.

Saying what if, should have, could have, doesn't change the events. In reality, things should have never happened the way they did after John left Texas. And in agreement with so many others - no counselor in their right mind, would have allowed John to ever work with children.

Former PBC Youth said...

Thanks for this blog. While I understand everything written herein is not a firm fact, this has helped answer some questions for me.

I was very close to JL when he was at Prestonwood - he was my choir director, my ensemble leader, and he was my friend. This situation has brought up a million questions for me, but one thing it has confirmed is that Prestonwood is not the only group in the wrong. I deeply regret that Prestonwood didn't do more to prevent JL's moving on to another church and committing the same acts with a different congregation of children, but that is a pattern for Prestonwood. I know now it's a pattern for other churches as well.

I was very close to at least one of JL's victims in Dallas, so I am happy that he is finally being held accountable for his actions. This situation has stirred up alot of other emotions, however.

I (a minor youth at the time) was involved in an episode of sexual misconduct with a member of the Prestonwood staff (a man in his mid-twenties) a year before JL left the church. Mine was not the only episode with this particular man, and mine was not the only complaint lodged to the church administrators. But Prestonwood did nothing. The man graduated from SWTS and left without a smudge on his record. To my knowledge this man went on to work at another church after his stint at Prestonwood was over. Ironically, he too was thrown a party and celebrated for his service at Prestonwood.

I have remained angry at Prestonwood all these years for choosing to protect the entire flock (this happened very soon after the founding pastor, Billy Webber, admitted to his extramarital affairs) over protecting some of the individual lambs. I am angry with myself for not being strong enough to pursue the matter further when it happened so that I could rest easy knowing this man wouldn't work in a church again.

The hardest part of this issue with JL has been thinking back on the "counseling" sessions he and I had together after my incident occurred. JL was an integral part of my therapy (such as it was) afterward, and finding out about his indiscretions a year later was wholly disheartening to my then-teenage self.

While I believe Prestonwood has done a lot of good in my community, and while their misdeeds shouldn't detract from the innumerable people they've helped lead to Christ, I remain angry. Angry.

Anonymous said...

What if all of the mentoring and goodness and time and sweat and effort that John has brought to the Morrison Heights youth (and I mean that man has dedicated his life to helping kids and teaching kids and SWEATING for the choir)and so many families is his payback for his sins and God put him there for that reason...Maybe he didn't put himself there to lust or as you are all saying tempt himself..if nothing has ever happened again in 22 years and I can say that in all of the years my son has been in the guidance of JL this has never happened or been a hint of gossip about it (and you know if there was anything ever suspected with kids that it doesn't stay hidden long in groups)then maybe he has gone thru the test from God and proven himself better and the children that have been blessed with his mentoring and Christian example then that is between God and John - to this day I would invite John into my home and totally trust him - my child has been on all the trips and in John's care and I am not a soccer mom or a person with my head in the sand..sometimes the victims groups and the counselors thrive on this stuff and act the authority and make it worse - leave it alone - God will heal all and it is not up to human counselors with all their know all, know nothing antics and education to "make it better" and persecute everyone trying to "make it better".

Anonymous said...

Maybe a simple thing like the church or school system bringing in an educated, outside source that has no ties to this situation to educate parents,children,teachers and anyone else about how to protect our children and ourselves would help ease some fears and tensions. It would be a step in the right direction towards healing for all involved.

M'ssippi Girl said...

To PBC Youth:

I'm so sorry about what happened to you that many years ago and subsequent cover-up that occurred. It seems that history is repeating itself again at MHBC. I pray JL's "outing" gives you some peace, that justice will finally be done for your friend that was victimized. There needs to be a change, from the top down, by the SBC and it's affiliated churches in how they handle these type situations. This entire "mess" has perpetuated itself far too long, and has left too many victims grieving for their pre-mature lost innocence for the rest of their lives.

I pray you find peace and comfort as you continue to deal with the things that happened to you in your youth.

Why the church? said...

anon 11:44
You would really allow your children to be around him again, even after all this has surfaced?

Show me what steps he has done to heal himself. Show me what boundaries he has put in place to "grow" past this. Anyone with a background in addictions (you can gladly include alcohol, drugs, pornography....) that has been healed from their past would never put themselves back in harms way to relapse again. It is not just "counseling" but extensive counseling... and not just a couple months, but years of counsel, accountability, and God's healing strength. And then... the person would still not put themselves in position to relapse.

Doesn't sound like John has done any of this. And yet, you're still ok with placing your kids in that situation?! Even if he has worked past this, there is no way I'd allow my kids..... what if only a 1% chance of something happening to my child. Am I seriously going to put my kids at risk?

I would re-think my position.

A person does not heal from this and grow past it by simply moving on to another state and telling one or two people. If, as Dennis Herrington states, that he and John were close friends and yet John never mentioned this kind of thing from his past, then who DID John talk to? He has been at risk and remains a risk.

I hope he finds help and healing. I hope this removal is his bottom and God is able to use this.

I also pray for the church, the church staff and any involved as you sort through this. Our God will provide strength and wisdom and healing. I pray for the victims as they hopefully heal.

Why the church? said...

thank you "Former PBC Youth"

my heart breaks

Anonymous said...

I want John to be okay and his girls...they do not deserve this, they are just innocent and love their dad, and want their lives to go back to the way they were,I will miss John forever but hope to see him again in some capacity as a productive individual in society, taking care of his family and growing old with his wife. I don't want anything bad to happen to him. I feel like - hate the crime and love the man. That sums it all up for me!

David said...

Folks when I say I am in prayer for you I need to explain a little further. In situations like this there are so many hurting, confused, angry souls for a whole bunch of reasons, nevertheless they are hurting and need prayer and loving support.

But there is a group that will send me flaming emails, texts or phone calls telling what a wicked, evil person I am for speaking out against their close friend and godly man. They accuse me of trying to destroy their church and the Body of Christ. Some of the most vile, hateful emails I receive come from this very group of fellow brothers and sisters. Even in light of an admission by the minister that he is a pedophile. They quickly point out it was so long ago and there aren’t any new allegations as if this resolves the fact that he is still an admitted pedophile. NOTHING WILL CHANGE THAT!

It is also this very group that I pray for the hardest. They think that their BOLD stance is necessary. They often proclaim they don’t fear an admitted pedophile and would gladly leave their children with him anytime. Because their voice is so loud and bold in support of the pedophile what chance does one of their children have if they have been abused by this pedophile? Oh how I fear that is not the case. Those children don’t stand a chance; hence my intense prayer for this group.

The very last thing a pedophile thinks is the fact that their secret life will ever catch up with them. They bank on us survivors being shamed and humiliated into silence and the fact no one would ever believe us if we did speak out. Well thanks to many advocate groups such as SNAP that is not going to happen. If you are a pedophile minister understand this, you will be found out. It is better to confess, get help, man-up to face the consequences of your crime now than to have us OUT you. Trust me we will find you. There is no place you can hide and that goes for a certain music minister in Texas. We are on to you.

David

New BBC Open Forum said...

Ah, yes. I think I know which "certain music minister" that is. If it's the one I'm thinking of, he needs to know that people are onto him and churches where he may be seeking employment have been forewarned. Of course, Texas is a big place. You may be thinking of a different one.

David said...

You mean there could be more than one? Oh my!

Anonymous said...

New BBC,

If you know who this man in TX is and have suspicions of what he has done, have you contacted the police?

If so, great. If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

I posted some comments last night and I don't know if they were not allowed on the site or my computer didn't send them. So i'll make a few of my points again.

I'm hoping and praying no victim of JL's was in the audience that day the bombshell was released. If they were, I don't believe in my heart they would come forward and say they were abused. With all the support people are giving this man I don't even know if I would if I were them. After all the announcments we brought JL up to the front of the church and circled him and supported him in prayer.

I do believe JL needs our prayer, but I don't think that was the time to do it. Potential victims in the audience or anyone in general there was there and had been abused in the past had to feel horrible.

I pray that I am not correct in my interpretation of the situation that I witnessed. My family and I are now considering moving churches due to this situation. This really bother my due to the fact MH is the only church I've ever attended.

I just don't see why we through a celebration at the church celebrating this man when the pastor and Elders knew what they knew. Why do I have to seek out and Elder to get the answer to the questions I have. The administration owes us an explanation in the form of a meeting where we can sit down and ask questions with all of them present.

I do believe the pastor is a good man, I just question our logic on some of the decisions on the events. I can't allow my children to continue to go to the childhood ministry when the wife of the admitted pedophile knew he was there the entire time. Please pray my wife and I can make the best decision for my family.

my two cents said...

My Two cents just left the last comment but accidentially hit enter before entering my name

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 4:18,

The police were notified long before I ever learned about it. So yes, the right thing was done. Not originally and not by people who should have done so, but later when others became aware. There are already police reports from related incidents, and there are "eyes on the ground" where he lives now.

M'ssippi Girl said...

I believe most these people in Clinton are still in denial and are too emotionally close to the situation right now. They are actually enabling John and preventing him from coming to terms with what he has done. If John moves on with his life and leaves the area, people will have time to separate themselves from the emotion of the situation and see him in a different light.

In the past, I've had to separate my life from someone I loved dearly for the safety of my children and myself. It's a very hard step to take, but the only way I was able to do this was through counseling. I learned to step back from the situation, view it from the outside, put my emotions aside and make my decision based on the facts. It was very hard, and I had a good deal of help, but it's possible.

For healing to take place in this church, the denial has to stop -- the church members and his friends MUST look at the act for what it is, and not just at the person they think they know. That person does not exist in it's entirety, because John has deceived everyone. If they take a hard look at the actual type of sins, and attempt to put themselves in the place of the victims, they would look at John differently. I know this sounds cold, but it's how a family has to deal with a loved one with addiction, or any type of abuse. Some call it "tough love", but it's necessary for that person to hit bottom and begin to help themselves.

Yes, John is still the same man they always knew, but he has had a part of him that he's hidden from even those closest to him. The John he showed me I loved, trusted, and admired also. He has not yet reached his "bottom" if he is not willing to truthfully tell people he can never safely work with children again. That means he is still in denial and has not done anywhere near the amount of work he needs to do to move towards recovery. If you did not know him personally, listed all the good he has done on a piece of paper and then this crimes next to it, most people would say, "no way my kids could hang out with him". Come on folks, look at this situation objectively. It's a no brainer to me.

David said...

Dear Two Cents: I know the struggle you are going thru. I pray God's Wisdom on you and your family. Whatever you decide please don't stop attending wherever that maybe.

David

M'ssippi Girl said...

My two cents:

I have had the same thoughts about victims coming forward after the congregation so emotionally "embraced" John and his wife. In fact, I'm not sure anyone would feel safe in coming out in a community where they feel they may be tarred and feathered for admitting to something this beloved man may have done. It's almost like there is a core of people who would support him even if he had killed someone. There is something very wrong with this picture. This is NOT called forgiveness. It's called enabling the abuser. Maybe it's ignorance about the severity of the crimes he committed, or the inability to empathize with the victims, or the huge possibility that he HAS and WILL offend again.

Yes, I think compassion towards John is warranted, but in a way that moves him towards the type of therapy and recovery that he needs. He will never fully get there if everyone rallies around him, telling him what a "wonderful" guy he his. It just doesn't work that way.

Why the church? said...

to my two cents...

my prayers are with you and your family as decisions are made. I would say it is safe to say that others are praying too.

I would say too that you are not the only one with similar thoughts.

while I do not belong to your church, my thoughts will be kept to myself. I do believe that if you earnestly seek an answer and listen, God our Father will guide you to what is best for you.

I do pray for you and the body.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I posted some comments last night and I don't know if they were not allowed on the site or my computer didn't send them.

Must have been a glitch. Blogger was down for maintenance for an hour or so last evening. I didn't delete any comments last night.

Been There said...

My two cents said:

"In fact, I'm not sure anyone would feel safe in coming out in a community where they feel they may be tarred and feathered for admitting to something this beloved man may have done. It's almost like there is a core of people who would support him even if he had killed someone. "

wadeburleson.org said...

"Philip Gunn is now John Langworthy's attorney. I consider Phillip Gunn one of the finest Christian men I've ever met. He is a member of Morrison Heights and served as chairman of the Pulpit Committee when they called their current pastor. I am sure Philip Gunn would much rather be working at the state capital of Mississippi, or volunteering his services at Morrison Heights, or going out to dinner with his wife Lisa rather than being called upon to publicly defend his former worship pastor."

Anonymous said...
"And how do you know this? In that case he would be a ineffective Lawyer for the defendant.
His Job, if he continues with this case , is to get the defendant off, with what ever means in his power, including intimidating witnesses (in this case victims) so no one will come forward. How much better a lawyer for the defendant, than a highly regarded Christian and member of the church. Lets see if someone dare come forward now. This is the good old boys circling the wagons."

wadeburleson.org said...

" I personally believe you can be an effective lawyer, even though you do not like the actions of your defendant.

It's not easy, but it can be done."

Anonymous said...
"My point exactly, If this lawyer was a Good Christian Lawyer he would be more concerned for the victims and assisting them in prosecuting John , not defending him (except by doing so, limiting monetary damage to the church).
But then who in the Southern Baptist Establishment listens to Jesus when he said :"

"but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better
for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

"Doesn't sound like someone who would need a "Christian" defense attorney."

New BBC Open Forum said...

It would be interesting to know if Gunn is personally defending JL or the church on behalf of (because of) JL, if either one. In either scenario, if he's an "elder" of the church it seems like it would be a conflict of interest. And if nothing has happened in the 22 years since JL was at Prestonwood (the statute of limitations has expired in Texas), why would JL need a defense attorney at all? 'Tis curious.

disappointed in MS said...

Sounds like you guys are just on a witch hunt now. In all fairness, calling John out is understandable but you've called out the church, the senior pastor, and now an attorney. How many more people must be attacked?
I wonder how many of you posting actually know these people in real life? It's been a real eye opener to see how quickly Christian brothers and sisters can turn on one another. If anything, I've learned through this entire experience that I can't trust any of you.

My two cents said...

Does Texas have a statute on child cases such as these? Just wanted to get it correctly, becasue I know Mississippi does not.

I really do apprecciate all the kind words and advise on what my family and I should do. I'll continue to pray about the situation, but no matter what we decide we not stop attending a church. If we do deccide to change churches, we will venture and find the one we believe will help continue our walk with our lord.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know Phillip Gunn personally here? I do, I believe if he is defending JL, he is doing so from the heart maybe and not the head...maybe JL needs a non-bias, neutral person defending him? Gunn can't be all things to all parties...but I am sure he will try...I am all over the place with this situation...I don't know how to feel...love, anger, sadness, defending, scared, grateful....I feel confused, two-faced and not sure what I feel.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Does anyone know Phillip Gunn personally here?

Wade Burleson claims to. He's here.

Been There said...

disappointed in MS said...
"If anything, I've learned through this entire experience that I can't trust any of you."


How about that. Someone shines a light and all the cockroaches start scurrying and all "disappointed" has learned is not to trust the people on the blog??

You are seeing this for the first time, others here see this as a pattern, as they have seen this scenario before (some, many times)

.

disappointed in MS said...

To Been There Done That:
I realize that YOU may have seen these situations before but I personally have not. I've also never seen my community turn on one another so quickly - and this is not just based on what I've read on this blog. I'm seeing EVERYWHERE.
How dare you.
You don't even know me. You are obviously not from the community either.
Since you have "been there and done that" can you think back to the moment you learned someone you loved and trusted betrayed you?
It sucked, didn't it.


I'm sorry I'm not as jaded as you.

Anonymous said...

I just saw one of the posts saying that the Baptists are now covering up like the Catholics. Whatever, the Catholic religion does not hide their social or occasional glass of wine with dinner or at a family function. Who ever came up with this "perfect" Baptist religion anyway, Jesus drank wine. You think we believe that none of you fine Baptists don't drink, cuss or dance? Your kids don't do anything wrong, premarital sex and drinking??? I DON'T think so. Now your religious leaders can be spotted and exposed. Catholics don't think they don't have this problem why do you baptists? You baptists aren't fooling anyone. I never knew so many divorced adults until i got involved with baptist adults. sorry, just saying

Heather said...

I hate the actions, but I love and support John Langwothy. I love and support his victims.

MR New BBC,
Its almost like you are praying for this to be a cover up by the church. Its like you are on the edge of your seat foaming at the mouth to hear of a great conspiracy that went on at the church. Well guess what, thats NOT going to happen. Would you admit here on your own blog that you know only about 1/100th of the facts about how all this was handled? Would you post and say "Hey, I don't really know what happened, so I could think the best of everyone involved unless proven otherwise(which you won't be)? You seem so eager to condem. Its not healthy to hate, my brother. It has brought many a good man down. I know you are a good man, so don't fall victim to that. You also seem to have SOME logical thoughts. Dr Belser is a man that runs from nothing, I can ASSURE you of that. If you knew him, you would not even question weather he did the right things or not. It is proven that there have been cover ups in churches with these situations, but I assure YOU and MR David Brown that this was not the case. But, I also know for the sake of your blog, you probably wouldn't dare admit it. Unless you know all the facts, and for YOUR sake I pray that someday you do have them, think positive of others that you know VERY LITTLE about. Just a thought..

i ought to know said...

At first I couldn't remember if this happened BEFORE or AFTER the pastor (Billy Weber) was caught in an affair with one of the angels from the Christmas pageant! Jack Graham inherited a big old mess--he knew what he was getting into-- and did nothing but help sweep things under the rug to protect the mega-church's image. Being that I am a former P'wood youth group member at the time JL was on staff and committing such horrific acts, I feel compelled to comment. The youth pastor at the time (Neal Jeffrey) and all of senior staff should be held accountable as well since they assisted in the cover-up. I DO remember the reading of John O's resignation letter to the youth group, citing "personal improprieties" rather than calling it what it is: sex abuse with multiple, innocent victims. The parents of the victims were pressured by church staff (and volunteer youth workers) to not talk about what happened, and that spilled over into silencing the victims. Disturbing, sad, and all around pathetic way to handle the situation. You will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER convince me that he did not re-offend once he escaped penalty in Texas.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Heather,

Think whatever you want.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"i ought to know,"

Sounds like he saved the letter and changed "Prestonwood" to "Morrison Heights."

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am understanding from numerous posts that, upon admitting he is a pedophile and resigning from MHBC, JL was given a celebratory sendoff by the church. If that is truly the case, then I have to ask my God in heaven, how has His church come to point where we would rather celebrate a pedophile and surround him in prayer than weep for his victims and protect other children from the danger he is. To those of you from MHBC who will want to reply to my comments that I do not know all the facts, what I do know is this: John Langworthy is an admitted criminal sex offender who has NEVER been held accountable for the vile offenses he committed against defenseless children. You people want to rant against this blog for outing JL. I say thanks be to God for the revelations. I am so sick and tired of American society's mindset that there should be no personal accountability for one's actions. John Langworthy KNEW what he was and made the arrogant decision to place himself in constant contact with children. The speculation by a previous poster that God perhaps placed him in ministry at MHBC as payback for his sins is about as ludicrous as it gets. To all of you who don't believe there are any victims from the last 22 years, why don't you research exactly what pedophilia is and then ask yourselves if this man has been so strong as to have not acted since TX. I want this man to pay for his crimes.

New BBC Open Forum said...

To those of you from MHBC who will want to reply to my comments that I do not know all the facts, what I do know is this: John Langworthy is an admitted criminal sex offender who has NEVER been held accountable for the vile offenses he committed against defenseless children.

And that, Heather, is really all I need to know.

RT said...

If there are any victims in MS who have been molested by JL in the past 22 years, oh please, please, please have the courage to come forward. You, precious one(s), have done NOTHING WRONG. You may feel, in light of the actions by MHBC staff and Clinton Public School officials, that their welfare and reputations, as well as that of John Langworthy, were of more concern than you. God forgive anyone who might stand in the way of your healing and wholeness. I promise you that the first step toward this healing will be to identify this monster for what he is.

Greg Belser, perhaps you can undo at least some of the damage your emotional pampering of John Langworthy has done by standing right back up in God's pulpit and offering this same encouragement to any victims to come forward. STOP CODDLING A CRIMINAL.

How many of you at MHBC who are angry at this blog's purpose ranted about the Catholic church in the midst of the horrific sex abuse scandal it faced? What some of their priests did is the same thing your beloved JL has done.

JL, tell me, if you were actually convicted of your offenses and sentenced to prison, how could you handle being sexually attacked in the same way that you violated these precious ones?

Been There said...

Heather said...
"Dr Belser is a man that runs from nothing, I can ASSURE you of that. If you knew him, you would not even question weather he did the right things or not. It is proven that there have been cover ups in churches with these situations, but I assure YOU and MR David Brown that this was not the case."

Your religious belief system has you so blinded that when it happens in your camp you go in the denial and attack others who would ask questions

Anonymous said...
"To those of you from MHBC who will want to reply to my comments that I do not know all the facts, what I do know is this: John Langworthy is an admitted criminal sex offender who has NEVER been held accountable for the vile offenses he committed against defenseless children."

RT Said....
"Greg Belser, perhaps you can undo at least some of the damage your emotional pampering of John Langworthy has done by standing right back up in God's pulpit and offering this same encouragement to any victims to come forward. STOP CODDLING A CRIMINAL."

Heather?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen one post where anyone has defended JLs actions. I have seen plenty of posts in the defense of how this was handled by the church. I agree with this defense because NONE of you have all the facts. AND THAT WE DO KNOW.

People of MHBC,
For every one individual on this blog that has condemned you for what they THINK happened, there is hundreds more in support and praying for you!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Video is now up. Please excuse the ads.

You can follow along with the transcript.

New BBC Open Forum said...

FOX 40 >> Church Scandal

Curious said...

In the "confession" video, JL admitted to sexual indiscretions in MS as well. Do we know where in MS???? If so, can the authorities call him in and question him about the MS abuse? Especially since he confessed to it????

Former PBC Youth said...

i ought to know said: "The youth pastor at the time (Neal Jeffrey) and all of senior staff should be held accountable as well since they assisted in the cover-up."

You are so right...when I think of ALL the things Neal helped to cover up, he is at the top of my list of colluders. Neville Leverett, too. My mother, who still supports Neal despite the decisions he made back in the day regarding my personal situation, blames his inaction on naievete and lack of experience with this type of sexual deviance (JL's and others'). Just because it isn't Neal's personal demon doesn't mean he gets off scott-free and doesn't have to accept responsibility for the children in his care.

Sounds like some of the people at MHBC are dealing with the same kind of ineffectual/unwhole leadership that we dealt with at PBC. I think most of these leaders' decisions (both in TX and MS)have been based in fear, which is very human and understandable. Fear of what telling the truth might do to their jobs, their church and their families, etc. But lack of experience with a certain issue doesn't negate the responsibility to do what is right, legal and moral.

Clinton High Graduate said...

I am a Clinton High School graduate. Though I was not born in Clinton, I was in the Clinton Public School system for my entire life. I know Clinton like the back of my hand; I know how it works, how conservative and tight-knit a community it is, and how difficult this particular "revelation" is for the majority of the people in this town to cope with.

I would like to preface this comment by saying that I have no doubt John Langworthy has done great things through his ministry. He has had a genuine impact on children and adults alike in this town, some I know personally. But just because everyone is not jumping the gun to speak out on possible abuses does not mean that they did not happen. As this point has been reiterated time and time again, Clinton is so tightly wound around its conservative ideals that no one, and I emphasize NO ONE, would be comfortable going up against such a highly revered man. For this unfortunate fact alone, any victims, whether they are actually in this community or not, will most likely never admit it.

My biggest issue with this entire matter is not necessarily JL's indiscretions; as I said earlier, whether or not there are victims in this community, JL has developed genuine connections with people. The real issue here is the fact that I have absolutely no doubt from reading the evidence, the actual evidence, regarding who has known about this in the community and for how long, that Clinton Public Schools as well as Morrison Heights have done everything to cover this particular situation up. For this reason alone, I understand the frustration the original author of this post has. I have no doubt that if anyone else with the same history, who moved here and lead a completely decent and repentant life, and who WAS NOT such a highly esteemed member of the MH congregation and the CPSD would have been IMMEDIATELY condemned and crucified by this community (not just the MH community, for the ignorance, prejudice, and vicious conservatism I speak of runs rampant throughout this entire town).

I've never believed myself to be perfect, and though I find it irresponsible on JL's part to throw himself into the exact situation and occupation where he can tempt his demons, I wholeheartedly believe in forgiveness and repentance. What I DON'T believe in is the "honesty" of this community in regards to handling this situation. I have heard other speculation in the matter that I received from credible and reliable sources which I will not post simply because they are still hearsay regardless of how much I trust the person who told me; however, even prior to recently receiving this information regarding MH and CPSD's attempts to cover up this information, I smelled something fishy. To quote the original post, "I have been trying now for about 9 months to warn about a predator...I know that the local law enforcement is very concerned and has advised the minister be fired, yet he still remains on staff." The very fact that it has been so difficult for this person to be able to make the community take this matter seriously only further proves my point.

If JL has prayed and repented and made himself right with God, that is a personal matter. Only he knows his journey with God. However, when will MHBC and CPSD make themselves and their actions right with the community? When will this town reach the understanding that everyone commits evil deeds, whether large or small, and that you can not simply ignore the fact that even one of your most esteemed members is not perfect? When will they truly act honestly, be truly forgiving, and feel true compassion for ALL of God's children and ALL members of the community, not just the ones who they revere most highly?

Unfortunately, probably never.

Anonymous said...

The reason I am posting and reading this blog site is b/c this is the only place in town ( and I mean in town, Clinton) that you can talk about and I don't mean gossip but talk about, vent and understand more without being accused of gossiping or going against someone or some place or being of evil nature or nosey b/c you are concerned b/c you have or have had children taught by this man and in that SCHOOL....It is like taboo to even mention this subject right now, people say "Just pray about it" okay I get that but we also being humans need to talk and vent and ask questions and understand this especially if we have been one of the many that have freely handed our sons and daughters over to this school system, church and man. And I did, trustingly hand my child over to JL for 6 years of his life. My child has many fond memories of trips, concerts and church with JL and has a SOLID foundation b/c of this church and this man. So that is why I signed on here and read and posted not b/c this blog is evil or a gossip column but b/c this is "the only place in town" that I can get information which I believe CONCERNS ME! So all of you people and I am also one that are leery about EVERYTHING right now b/c you have respected and befriended JL you are not being nosey or bad by posting on here and reading this information, you are just being an information seeking person. I think maybe there should be town meeting? or another informative session in church or just somewhere we can all talk about everything. This has effected more lives that anyone can even imagine. Just saying...

Thy Peace said...

ABP News > Pastor renews call for database of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse

pointing fingers said...

It seems that people keep pointing fingers to blame in this situation. I see one person who seems to be taken out of the blame of a so called "cover-up." This is Amy Smith. If Amy Smith, as a paid staff youth intern,knew of these indiscretions, why is she just now coming forward 22 years later. Why is she exempt from not reporting to the authorities what she saw and investigated. JL was on staff with the Clinton School System and Morrison Heights Baptist Church for approx. 15+ years. If Amy was a "family friend" as she has said, and in JL's wedding, you know that she knew where he lived and what he has been doing for the past 22 years. Maybe Amy Smith is to blame for not reporting these indiscretions. It seems easy for her to point fingers at Graham, the staff and leadership of Prestonwood and Morrison Heights, Belser, or the Elders. She doesn't seem to take any responsibility for her part in not speaking out sooner. She seems so "proud of herself" for breaking the "story" when she is as much to blame for keeping silent herself.

sad memories said...

I found this site after seeing this story break in the Dallas area. JL was my Youth Minister at Prestonwood in the late 80's. His leaving our church was extremely abrupt and very disruptive in many of our lives. At the time, my parents found out through the parental grapevine that JL had sexual relations/contact with some of the boys in our ministry. I never knew who it was or the details, but when my parents found out they told me about it and discussed it with me to process the whole situation.

Although I was not directly a victim, all these years later, I can still say that JL's actions hurt many others besides the boys he directly molested. Coming to terms with a person of authority, who spoke to you about God, morals, right/wrong who could have done something like this was very damaging. It to ME years to process, much less anyone who could have been more deeply damaged.

I spoke to my mother about this once the story broke, and she told me how my response on my parents telling me was "I will never believe that. John helped lead me to the Lord." I see that this may be the same reaction many of you have right now. However, I did come to understand and accept it, and the fact that JL had such a powerful spiritual position in my life left some pretty bad scars that I have had to deal with the past 20 years.

I am sure many of you in Clinton are having some of the same feelings we did at the time -- shock, disbelief, confusion, anger, sadness, loss and more. I pray that you may all have healing. I was a bit disappointed in John being held up in front of the church with the leadership. I think that must make anyone who could have been victimized feel horrible. I do understand though, that being in the state of shock they are inclined to believe him who they know over others who they don't. I would just like you to know that I am another person who can say that this story is true and it still deeply saddens me and affects me all these years later, even though I am not one of his victims.

I was so disappointed to learn that JL's church was not informed of what happened at Prestonwood. The story my parents heard was that he was "seeking treatment." When our Prestonwood Facebook group started communicating a few years ago, I googled JL and found him at the church. I honestly assumed that the church knew of the situation and that it was maybe a church for those who had struggled with sex addictions.

Anyway, it never even occurred to me that his current employer would not know about what happened. It was so shocking, and I want to commend Amy for having the courage to come forward as she did. I can assure you it was not an easy thing to do.

I will be praying for you all and hope that you can have your own healing soon. God bless.

Thy Peace said...

The Wartburg Watch > Does the SBC Fear Women Pastors More Than The Molestation of Children?

Marie said...

I have read through this blog and am alarmed at the events that have occurred. I believe I have a unique perspective on these things. In September of last year, my daughter (who is adopted) revealed to me that my husband (her adoptive father), a music minister in our church, was sexually abusing her. I called our pastor, who spoke with my daughter and believed her story. He went with me to report the situation to DFCS. My husband was subsequently arrested and confessed and later committed suicide while out on bond awaiting trial. My pastor also called an immediate meeting to inform the church of what had happened. He immediately terminated my husband's employment with the church, though the church did give me my husband's pay for a couple of months to help us out financially. He also supported me fully in filling for divorce (even recommended an attorney). He visited my husband in jail to minister to him, but he never excused his behavior.

I felt compelled to make a few points as someone who has been in a very similar situation. First of all, when dealing with a minister, you tread carefully. Even a false accusation can destroy a minister's career. If my husband had not confessed, we would be dealing with a he said/she said situation, which probably would have split the church due to some taking my daughter's side and others taking my husband's side. I can understand why the ministers at the church proceeded with caution, though they should have removed this man from any tasks that involved him working with children until it could be investigated, just as I removed my children and myself from our home until things could be investigated (thankfully, he confessed, so we were only gone from our home for one night, but if he hadn't confessed, we could have been gone from our home for quite some time). You should always err on the side of caution when dealing with the safety and protection of children.

Second, I understand the need for forgiveness. I am working on forgiving my husband, but not so much for his sake but my own. I don't want his betrayal and his crime to turn me into a bitter, angry person. However, forgiveness does not mean freedom from consequences. I forgive my kids when they disobey, but they still get grounded. A more extreme and biblical example is King David. David committed adultery and then murder to cover it up. God forgave him when he repented, but there were still very serious consequences (the death of the child conceived during the adulterous relationship). While I, my daughter, and our church family will eventually forgive my husband, it would not have freed him from the legal consequences of his actions (in fact, I'm still angry that he took the coward's way out and killed himself instead of "manning up" and taking the consequences). In fact, I would have planned to give a victim impact statement at his sentencing and would have asked for the maximum penalty. This has nothing to do with forgiveness, but everything to do with protecting any potential future victims and giving my daughter peace of mind that her abuser could not hurt her again.

It's important to remember that victims have a hard time speaking up. This is a crime that violates, humiliates, and devastates. Think about how violated you'd feel if someone robbed your home, then magnify it thousands of times over. My daughter took months to tell me because she didn't want to hurt ME. There is also a fear of not being believed. After our situation came to light, it was shocking the number of people I knew REALLY well who told me the same thing had happened to them as children, and their own mother didn't believe them (if MOM won't believe you, who will?). This is not an easy thing to report to others.

Marie said...

I guess my point is that this is a crime that devastates the victim as well as anyone and everyone who cares about the victim and the perpetrator. There is no easy solution to this, but it seems in this case, mistakes were made on the part of his current church. I hope that other churches can learn from their mistakes so that when (unfortunately, not if) this happens to another church, they can handle it in a better fashion. As to Prestonwood, they need to be held legally responsible for the fact that they did not report this man to authorities. They only did part of what should have happened (firing him), and they neglected the most important part, which was to report it to law enforcement. The lesson here is that any of us, church staff or not, has a responsibility to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities.

My hope and prayer is that this man's victims can find peace and healing and not let him continue to have a stronghold in their lives. I think that's the saddest aspect of this crime...the perpetrator often remains in the victim's head long after the abuse is over.

wadeburleson.org said...

Marie,

Your comment is powerful.

Thanks being open and transparent.

professional said...

@pointing fingers,
I know that you feel the need to blame someone responsible for bringing this out and Amy is your person. She was not responsible for how Prestonwood handled the situation, she did not receive forwarding addresses or information about John when he left, as things were not so "friendly" at that time. She and I found John at the same time one year ago and begin making phone calls once we found him. It was not that easy 20 years ago to find someone. The only finger pointing that needs to be done is to John himself. Period.

professional said...

I feel the need to respond to some of these attacks against the church, elders and pastor at MH. Dennis Herrington had an excellent comment and I completely agree with him.

I was in touch with the church, pastor and elders from the beginning. Do I wish things had happened more quickly? Yes.....but you have to remember that they were receiving information from random people that they did not know and receiving very devastating information. I do know this...once they heard from actual victims, they did remove John from any position he held at the church that included children.

I believe that Greg Belser is a good man. I believe he is a Godly man and he wants the best for the church and for any victims.. I think some of these attacks against him are unfair and unjust and he ultimately did everything we asked of him, or encouraged him to do. He is dealing with a devastating situation, has had a lot to process through, and is doing the right thing. I think he was most likely acting in caution, but he did do the right thing for the church and for children. You need to remember that! He could have had him move on and move out just like the other churches, and no one would have known. He did not do that and I commend him for that. Yes, some things were handled slowly, but they were handled, and that is HUGE.

I do know that police were and are involved and have been informed of all of this.

I have worked and spoken with Phillip Gunn on numerous occassions during this entire year and he has been nothing but professional and has done everything that I have spoken with him about. Yes, he is an attorney and he acknowledged that the second we spoke. We worked through trying to encourage John to get into counseling and treatment but to no avail.
He has worked diligently with the church, elders and pastor to help resolve this issue and I have the utmost respect for him. Any attack against him is wrong.
Morrison Heights handled this situation much better than Prestonwood, who is still protecting the church over victims. I commend them to get to this level and all of the backlash that they have received is wrong.
I pray for them, the leadership, Greg Belser and anyone else who is trying now to work through the healing process of the church. They were lied to, as everyone else has been, and need to begin to heal.

The focus of this entire issue, as I have tried to state over and over, is John. He is the ultimate cause of all of this, everyone else was just dragged along for the journey. He has lived this lie for 30 years and needs to be held accountable. Forgiveness, yes...but still needs to be held accountable for his actions. The person who posted about King David is exactly right. David was forgiven, yet still held accountable and had consequences for his behavior and choices (not mistakes, but choices).

Anonymous said...

First of all, Gunn is JL's lawyer, an elder of MHBC and a friend of JL's and his family. How can that be right? How can Gunn have worked with the elders when he is one of the elders? The elders by the way have just been elected in the last year and have no experience with anything yet. That seems to be a conflict of interest. Gunn has children who were taught and mentored by JL too, how can he represent him especially if more come out and they are also friends of Gunn and his family. This is a thick mess. Gunn needs to quit acting like all to everyone and choose his position, he can't do everything in this case. How can he be a state rep of the people and represent the people while he is representing the criminal here? Not the people. Something seems off balance here. Can you imagine the pressure on any victims that are facing the thought of telling someone and knowing they have to come up against someone so involved in this case but supposedly someone in the church that they are suppose to be able to go to? An elder should be neutral.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Does anyone know if Gunn is actually representing JL personally or if he's representing the church because of JL? I agree either would seem to be a conflict of interest, but I wonder if their relationship is actually what it's been reported to be.

MHBC mom said...

MHBC MOM,
I agree that what JL confessed to is horrible in fact crimminal. That being said we at MH or CPS have not had any allegations come forth. My 3 children spent a lot of time with JL and I have asked them all if they every witnessed any inappropriate behavior from JL . They all 3 have said no in fact they all 3 thought JL was the best church leader they ever had. I understand why this info was made public because apparently the people who made it public just found out this info about a year ago.
Now to the purpose of my letter. I truly believe Dr.Belser, Phillip Gunn, Tim Rowan, & Dan Modisette (Pastor and elders all mentioned on this blog)are all the most honest honoranable men you will ever find. They have all done an excellent job of dealing with a very bad situation. The most recent info I have is that the church not only wants to know if anyone has a problem with this(including victims of abuse) and needs counseling they will pay for it. MHBC is a great church and we are doing our best to deal with a terrible situation so please leave us alone and let us deal with this . God can handle this so leave us alone. Thank You

New BBC Open Forum said...

It seems to me Clintonians need to be turning their attention to the CPSD now. I'm hearing rumblings that the signs were clearly there. You might ask your kids who JL regularly surrounded himself with.

mbhs Mom said...

mom MHBC
I also wanted to respond to the comments about victims not being able to come foward. I think that is a lot of garbage. Any kid who grew up at MHBC would feel free to come foward I beleive and my children have confirmed that idea. MHBC is a truly loving church. That is why JL and Kathy were surrounded in prayer. You don't know what is going on in our church you are not a part of our family so like I said before leave us alone. Like I said before I do not condone any of JL's actions but he has confessed his sins and MHBC is dealing with it. It is in God's hands now so let it go. You are truly doing more harm than good now.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Well, it took over 22 years for the known Mississippi victim to come forward, and to my knowledge he still has not chosen to press charges. Wonder why that is, if MHBC and your community are so open and receptive to victims? (I'm not saying most Clintonians wouldn't be receptive. We've seen comments from many who would be.)

How do you think any victims of CSA who witnessed the love fest around JL Sunday morning felt seeing people "loving on" a man who may have been their abuser? Or at least a man who confessed to doing the same things to children their own abuser did to them? What do you think was running through their minds at that moment? Bet they didn't think what happened to them was any "mistake" or "indiscretion."

I saw the unedited video. There wasn't exactly a mass dash from the congregation to the stage. The overwhelming majority of people who were within the frame of the camera remained glued to their seats.

Anonymous said...

Please as I have said MHBC has done everthing they can to offer help to any possible victims of JL. We really are good people. So like I said before leave us alone . go back to dealing with your own church.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Trust me, I wish I'd never heard this story or the hundreds of similar stories I've read the past few years. It gives me no pleasure writing about it other than the realization that maybe it helped wake up a few thousand people in Clinton and Dallas. Perhaps if MHBC, but even more importantly Prestonwood, had taken care of business in a timely manner I wouldn't be "bothering" you now. I'm glad MHBC did finally take decisive action.

I never said you were bad people. I think many of you, much like the people of Bellevue, simply needed a wake-up call. It's still amazing to me that from the time the original comment was posted on May 27th until last week when the national media picked it up that there was not one Google hit for this story besides this blog. What took so long?

ChoirMember said...

I've been following this blog for several weeks. When I heard about it, I didn't believe it. Even after reading it, I still had doubts. I wanted to believe a different story, I wanted to hear it from John himself.

I've known John a long time, never knew of the situation at his other churches.

I was there last Sunday when John read his statement, I was in the
2nd service. I didn't go down when people went to pray. I thought about it, but it was just a lot to process.

Yes, I believe in forgiveness, I believe in God's mercy, but knowing this was acts done against children - it's just hard to understand.

I just have one question for those that are immediate to jump on the John forgiveness wagon & honestly answer this question. If you knew without a shadow of a doubt that your child was molested by someone you knew or didn't know, what would you do? 1. seek their forgiveness? 2. seek revenge?
3. want to harm them?

I think I know how the majority would answer. We'd either want revenge or we would want to harm them. Regardless whether it happened 6 months ago or 22 years ago.

Forget about who John is ... what if it was a stranger? would you feel different?

I'm still on the fence... I know what the bible says about forgiveness, but also what the bible says about "suffer not the little children & do not forbid them come upto me." Matt 19:14. This scripture to me means, do not keep the children from me. Also it could mean - do not take their innocence, do not stand between them and God.

There are statements on what a man John is, has been and was - does being "John" make this a different situation? Just ask yourself this & look at your children & ask how you would feel if it was your kids.

Anger? hurt? Misguided? Betrayed? Yes, I feel we all would feel this. Right now, I'm numb because I have no idea what to feel about the situation. I am hurt - I'm confused & maybe even a little mad.

David said...

Dear MBHS Mom: Sometimes I am accused of being strong or forceful in what I have to say. Well this is one of those times. I will not even attempt to explain the hurt and harm done to those victims of child sexual abuse that were at worship last Sunday, you wouldn’t understand. But I have been in touch with several survivors from MBHS that were present Sunday. I just wish you could hear their hurt, tears and feelings of betrayal. Aren’t they part of your “family” too? I guess not. And NO they aren’t victims of JL.

As to our delay in reporting our abuse you are a classic example why we remain silent. Enough said. There has been much posted on this blog from several other survivors why it takes so long, no need to explain; however it seems to me you are now blaming the victim. Please tell me I am wrong.

As for JL’s sins, please let me remind you he is not only an admitted pedophile that caused great harm to innocent children but he also committed criminal acts on innocent children. Please never forget the criminal aspect that is a big difference from your “sin” version.

As for going away and leave your “family” alone, not sure what you mean by that. I take it you are talking about your church “family” or it could even be the Clinton “community”. I am not sure which one but that isn’t going to happen. And I am not sure I would want to be part of that “family” you are talking about. How confident are we you would give the proper support and aid to a survivor if they came forward to your “family”? Well I give that chance a zero.

Let me assure you we will continue to hunt down pedophile ministers. We will find them. As I spoke of one earlier that is Texas. It is just a matter of time. Oh for the person that questioned us if we had reported him to the authorities trust me that was the first thing we did. We know what to do.

For everyone one of these “defender” comments, emails, texts or phone calls we have receive at least 25 or more in support and encouragement. The "defenders" are a very small minority. I pray that MHBC does not suffer the same thing that hit my former home church, Bellevue Baptist Church when Steve Gaines mishandled the PW pedophile matter. The only winner in that scenario was the pedophile. He is now an elder and trustee of another SBC church. I pray history does not repeat itself.

Well I gues you will be in Sunday School tomorrow boasting about how you told us off and told us to go away. How effective were you? Did it work? Just think I just might even be at your church tomorrow. Maybe even sitting beside you, singing hymns celebrating our Risen Saviour. I hope you do allow visitors to your "family". You just never know.

David Brown

David said...

Choir Member: Those are very honest questions. Remember this all this is because of one man, John Langworthy. Not your pastor or anyone else. He brought this on himself when he decided so many years to start abusing innocent children. He also made your church as well as you his victims.

The blog, David Brown, Amy Smith, Professional and especially Christa Brown are only guilty of one thing: trying to protect children.

I ask that when all this settles down let your voice be heard in DEMANDING the SBC implement the database. That would be a START.
David Brown

Marie said...

I feel compelled to reply to MHBC Mom. You state that you want everyone to leave your church alone and that victims will feel right at home reporting any abuse they've experienced at the hands of this man. Let me first say that unless you have experienced abuse, you have no idea how difficult it is to report. My daughter took months to tell me for fear of hurting me or not being believed. After witnessing the church's embracing of John Langworthy, any current victims will be very hesitant to come forward. This is a crime that is not easy to report to begin with, and if you add to that the love, support, and encouragement the church gave to the perpetrator, any victims that witnessed that will be terrified to come forward. I pray there weren't any victims, but if there were, I doubt they'll come forward to you. I would encourage all parents at MHBC to watch their children's behavior carefully. Do some research on the warning signs (though they aren't always displayed--my daughter's only behavior change was that she just wanted to spend more time with me and less with her dad). Any parent that sees even minor changes in their child's behavior should sit down and talk to their child (cautiously, so as not to bring out any false allegations). If you're not sure how to talk to your child, find a reputable, licensed counselor who can.

I don't think the purpose of this blog has been to attack your church. What I do think is important is that other churches and MHBC all look at what was done right and what was done wrong. All churches can learn some valuable lessons about what to do or not do. My pastor had been in ministry over 30 years when he had to deal with our situation, and it was uncharted territory for him, too. He knew the law, though, and knew he had to report to authorities. He also immediately removed my husband from his ministry position, which is what should have happened here. I understand that your church is hurting greatly over this; my church experienced great heartache over what my husband did. It's natural; everyone loved my husband, including our pastor. In fact, my pastor said my husband was the best staff member he'd ever had. He was heartbroken over what happened, as I'm sure your church staff is. It's important to examine their own actions though, and determine what should have been done differently so that if, God forbid, this situation ever arises again, they'll be more prepared. I also hope they institute some new hiring policies concerning background checks (still no guarantee, but at least a step in the right direction) and thorough discussions with previous employers.

I know you are hurting right now and want to defend your church and its leaders. I certainly understand that, but be careful about saying victims won't have a problem coming forward. It's not as easy as you might think, no matter how loving your church may be.

Marie said...

Choir Member:
I understand those feelings all too well. You can read my story if you go back a little bit and read the comments by Marie (that's me). Our church went through all of this almost a year ago. I remember the night our pastor told the church what my husband had done. It was like someone took a huge vacuum and sucked all the air out of the room. Then you heard the weeping begin. I think all of us went through the 5 stages of grief, to a degree. And I don't think God has a problem with you being angry about it... the Bible says in your anger, do not sin (which is, of course, the hard part!).

As to forgiveness, I mentioned in my other comment that forgiving my husband is more about my own peace of mind. If I don't forgive him, it won't make one iota of difference to him. However, it will to me. If I don't forgive him, I will become a bitter, angry, nasty person. I've known people like this, and they are never pleasant to be around. Also, forgiving him does NOT free him from the consequences. Think of many of the stories of sin in the Bible. God forgave them, but there were still consequences. I think specifically of the story of David and Bathsheba. When David was confronted with his sin, he repented, and God forgave him. However, the child he conceived with Bathsheba died as a consequence for David's sin. I think you can forgive someone and still ask that they receive the maximum penalty allowed by law.

Please know my prayers are with your church. This is such a hard thing to digest, and it's made all the more difficult when the person involved was so loved by everyone.

SS said...

David, what is the best way to get in the ear of the SBC re: a database? I don't think going to the local pastor will get me anywhere. The MS state Baptist newspaper, The Baptist Record, did not breathe one word about this in the current issue. I called and left a voice message for the editor, Willliam Perkins, and he never returned my call. The irony of his lack of coverage on this issue is that his weekly editorial was a rant about how the national media treats Christians. How hypocritical is that?

I can honestly tell you that this JL situation has upset me more than anything I have encountered in a long time. I am so weary and yes, angry even, at Baptist politics and patriarchal control. When will being believers become more important than being Baptist?

To MHBC, I admit that I am frustrated with the handling of this matter by your staff. I do not question their hearts or ministry. What I just cannot understand is the voice they gave JL to stand in that pulpit and speak of HIS stress and mental state. How dare he. He also said that he was not asked to resign. I believe I read in other posts that Greg Belsor stated that he and the elders STRONGLY ADVISED JL to resign. So did JL betray the church leaders with his statement? This is the point I am trying to make: to give JL a voice in that pulpit allowed him the chance to play victim himself.

I know many people in Clinton, including family. I eagerly await an opportunity to talk with them about this. Perhaps they can give insight that will bring a little more understanding.

I am on my way to church, where I work in the preschool department. When I see those precious little ones arrive in all of their innocence, I will again have to wonder: How in GOD'S name can the SBC not do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING to protect these gifts from God himself?

To MHBC and any victims of JL, I offer you this beautiful prayer from
Numbers 6, "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may he make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you PEACE."

4given said...

To the victims, my heart breaks for you. I am so very sorry for your pain. Please stay strong, if you have not reported any abuse, please call the police. If abuse is not reported justice can not be done. I am a member of MHBC, I can assure you that this has ripped our church up. Dr. Greg is doing a wonderful job of dealing with a horrible situation. To those who are sending nasty comments, declaring he should be fired, you do not know him and you have no right. Clean around your own backdoor, then clean around someone else's. I do not condone what JL has done, it makes me sick to think about it. But, here is the bottom line, no charges have been filed, in the past or now. until that happens, then there is nothing and I repeat nothing else that can be done. I have known JL for over 16 years, my children have had him in choir in church and school, and I have never seen anything to suggest a problem. That is not to say one does not exist, but if you have not seen a problem you can not do anything. You can not make claims without knowledge.

To those who have had ugly negative comments, you are suppose to be Christians, if you are act like it.

If you are not from Prestwood or Clinton, my suggestion is leave it alone, let our community handle this situation. Would any of you like for me to post all of your nasty sins on the web. Some of you have had abortions, driven drunk, had affairs, stolen things, etc...God says sin is sin. Lets divulge all your dirty laundry in front of the church. They can call you baby killers, adulterers, thiefs....we can take ads in the paper, call your bosses, tell your spouse. My bet is that you would not allow this, you would freak. So in the words of our Lord, take the log out of your eye before removing the speck in ours.

Anonymous said...

To 4given:
You mention "affairs" in your list of "dirty laundry." Affairs, while immoral and ungodly, are not crimes. Sexual abuse of children is a crime that must be exposed, reported to law enforcement and prosecuted in order to protect children from predators like John Langworthy. This is a public mandate to protect children not just in your community of Clinton, MS but wherever the perpetrator may go. Failure to report the sexual abuse of a child is also a crime.

Dee said...

Dennis Harrington

You said " I am quite sure that Dr. Belser continued to pursue the issue. My suspicion, however, is that he tried to find out more about the "caller" than about John. I mean, after all, John had been his "brother" for almost six years. He had been with John 7 days a week, 12 and 14 hours a day for almost 6 years. The charges made no sense."

This is where I think you misunderstand the Gospel. All people are sinners and are capable of great sin. Anyone who is a Christian, and especially a pastor, should be aware of that fact. Every Sunday we put on our happy faces and attempt to bluff our way through the day with our fellow Christians, pretending that we are not really "that bad." Yet, deep down inside, we know it is a bit of a facade.

Today I heard the story of a well known Christian scholar who is involved in a terrible situation. Yet everyone who "knows"him cannot believe it is true. My question is this. Why can't it be true? He is a sinner in spite of being a great Biblical scholar. Scholarly work does not give you a vaccination against sin.

So, if I received a call that a friend was involved in pedophilia, you can bet i would investigate the claim immediately because the lives of children are at stake and I know that all men are capable of terrible things.

Dennis Herrington said...

To Bill; I agree with David that this is not the place to discuss why I left Morrison Heights and then started a church. But, to satisfy your curosity, I will answer your question. First, let me say that your qestion, simple as it might be, rings with cynicism and seems to say lot more than it says, if I can read beween the lines. For that reason ALONE, I shall answer. When I retired from Morrison Heights, it was for that reason alone.....retirement. After 44 years in the ministry; being on-call and on-duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; having little time with my own family; and being an absentee father had taken its toll. I was worn-out and burned-out. My last day on the job at Morrison Heights was December 31, 2010. I remained retired for eight months, and thought I was totally retired. However, it seems that God had other plans. The new church-start was begun under His sure leadersip. And let it be known that I DID NOT "take anyone with me when I left Morrison Heights." Others had already left the church. Some over theological issues and some because of the election of Elders, (who are good, godly men, all, but this is Baptist church. Traditionally, Baptist churches do not have Elders who make deicisions for, and on behalf of, the church. A few of those folks joined me in starting the new church. They were godly people who had alredy left Morrison Heights and were searching for other church homes BEFORE I felt led to start this new work. Pastors are called to preach. And the book of Romans says that "the gifts and callings of God are without repentence." That means two things: (1) God gives gifts and CALLINGS to His children (2) He never takes them back and He's never sorry He gave them. So, I was called of the Lord to begin this work. It's that simple. No more. No less. If you are the "Bill" I think you are, there will be an article in this week's Clinton Courier. It will explain more about the new church.

Anonymous said...

To members of MHBC: If I were you, I would leave this blog and never come back. In no way are you going to talk sense into these people. I think we all agree that this blog did a great service in the exposing of a horrible crime by someone in a position to do it again undetected. But, the easy thing to do is to continue to stir the pot by pointing fingers at the other victims here, you the church members and the ones left to deal with the mess. The blog claims to be honorable in their quest to save the world, but they obviously need to read some books on salesmanship if they think they can FORCE anyone into their way of thinking. By bashing you, they defeat their own purpose which is to start some database which is easier said than done. Just leave here and never look back. It is a den of vipers and unfortunately they are to shallow to see any of this. Hopefully they will see the light and look for a more positive/EFFECTIVE way to reach out to the churches, because obviously, there is a need for it. MHBC, you are being prayed for!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mr. Herrington,

It was actually I, not David, who told Bill this isn't the place to discuss this. I almost didn't publish his comment (I'd forgotten about it by now), but unless someone pushes the envelope too much or crosses the line, I generally let comments through. I assumed by now you hadn't seen it or had chosen to ignore it.

Thank you for your kind response.

One thing you said in an earlier comment:

Also during most of those 12 years, John Langworthy was one of my closest friends. We were prayer partners and accountibility partners. Never, in all that time, did I know of, or hear anything about, his problems in Texas.

I think this illustrates a couple of things. One is that JL's August 7th statement to the church about surrounding himself with people he was "accountable to" was a smoke screen. If you were "one of his closest friends" and you didn't know, who did?

Two, the whole idea of "accountability partners" just seems silly. If someone wants to be responsible and accountable he will be. If he has something to hide he will, regardless of how many "accountability partners" he surrounds himself with. You may think you know somebody, but in reality you know him only as well as he wants you to know him.

I've learned observation of his actions is a much better gauge of a person's character than his words. What I observed of JL last week was a man who was doing the bare minimum to get out of an uncomfortable situation, repeatedly referring to his CRIMES as "indiscretions" and "mistakes" and what seemed to be a lot more concern over himself and his family than his victims. In fact, I made this same observation about Belser. When he said (of people not getting all the details right), "But it's okay. I'm okay. The church is okay. The elders are okay. Are you okay? {laughs} Yeah," I wanted to scream, "But are the victims okay?!" You forgot the victims.

John's statement that, "I have sought the Lord's forgiveness and the forgiveness of others involved," seemed to imply that he'd sought the forgiveness of his victims. To my knowledge and the knowledge of those who've spoken with some of his victims, this is not the case. That was just another parsed statement intended to place him in as favorable a light as possible. "Others involved" could mean nothing more than his wife and daughters who were, sadly, very much involved because of his conscious choices, not "mistakes."

I would repeat to those who were around JL at school (and maybe in church, too)... who did he surround himself with? Did he have "favorites" or "pets" who were often around him at school or outside of school? Think.

There's a popular movement today for people, especially men, to choose "accountability partners." It's interesting that one of the signs of a cult (I am not implying here that MHBC or any other particular church is a cult or even has cult-like qualities) is the cult of confession. Members are encouraged to "confess their sins" to each other. Leaders encourage this practice, and if a member crosses the leadership later, his "secrets" can be used against him. I intend to do a post on this phenomenon sometime to flesh out my thoughts, but what may start out as something healthy can turn into something sinister very quickly. Somehow the thought of a bunch of men sitting around "confessing" their every "sin" and struggle to each other is creepy to me and could, in certain cases, lead to unintended consequences.

To Bill... I'll repeat, this isn't the place to discuss Mr. Herrington's career decisions, but I hope he has satisfactorily answered your questions.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Oooh, "den of vipers" is one of my favorites!

For future reference you might want to incorporate:

troublemakers
recalcitrants
haters
so-called "Christians"
mentally unstable
Tobias and Sanballat
sociopaths
garbage/trash (referring to people as well as the blog)
witches (practicing witchcraft)

Hissssssss!!!

:-)

Choir Member said...

It seems there are those from the church that feel we can handle things on our own, if that be truth, then we wouldn't be in this situation - right?

I am still on the fence about things, I have that right. But the truth of the matter is, without formal charges, there's really nothing anyone can do.

I do agree with a system to list people in this same type of situation so other churches won't make the same mistake we made in hiring John. Yes, I say mistake, despite of my relationship with him, John should never put himself in a position to be a mentor to children.

I know in God's eyes, all sin is sin. But I just feel in my heart if someone harms a child, hurts someone elderly or torments someone with a learning disability - I feel that is a little higher on the scale of sin.

Children are innocent, elderly are easy to be victims, & those with learning disabilities are easy targets as well.

As a mom, I'm pretty easy going, takes a lot to make me irritated, but harm one of my children or a relative's child, you'll see me react faster than a lioness - my claws will come out.

I'm sorry for the victims, you're in my thoughts & prayers as well as those of your family. I am thankful to God my children haven't been harmed, because I'm not sure if I would be at peace to forgive John.

I do hope in time, our church can heal, move on & regroup.

In the meantime, we covent your prayers & support despite some of the comments on this site.

Houston SNAP said...

Dear Choir Member,
Thank you for your comment. You do have my prayers, your church does and most of all anyone harmed at any time by John Langworthy. Help is available. You are not alone. You are not to blame. You are innocent. We hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes by clergy will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
Amy Smith
Houston Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

skyvoyager said...

Tragic situation but a few things don't add up.
1)who was in the close circle of friends that held JL accountable?
Several posters who claim to have known JL for years have not knowledge of this

2)where has amy smith been for the last 20 years?

3)the prepared statement claimed JL was in therapy or was in conseling, yet another poster claims Gunn urged JL to seek conseling to but was not successful
... what is the story there?

Anonymous said...

A friend just messaged me -- WAPT news in Jackson, MS has reported that Clinton police have a report of someone from MS who has come forward. It's indeed posted on their web-site.......

Anonymous said...

http://www.wapt.com/news/28872803/detail.html

Anonymous said...

Look on www.wapttv.com looks like someone has come out from 20 years ago in the Clinton area...here we go.

M'ssippi Girl said...

Well folks, here is the start.... my stomach is sick! If it wasn't all ready....

New BBC Open Forum said...

the prepared statement claimed JL was in therapy or was in conseling, yet another poster claims Gunn urged JL to seek conseling to but was not successful
... what is the story there?


No, it didn't. Read it again.

When these indiscretions came to light, I had to leave my church in Texas and chose to relocate here in Clinton. I have sought the forgiveness of my precious wife and family. I sought and received extensive counseling and sought restoration for my family.

Continuing in my process of restoration I began my work here at Morrison Heights 21 years ago in a part-time position. I continued my counseling and surrounded myself with unwavering accountability from my wife, family, and friends who were aware of the past situations.

Because of this accountability and God's grace, there have been no sexual impropriety
(sic) while serving here at Morrison Heights Baptist Church.

He did NOT say he is still receiving counseling or even that he's received counseling anytime recently. In fact, he made it sound like whatever counseling he received took place before and soon after coming to MHBC.

He also said "there have been no sexual impropriety (sic) while serving here at Morrison Heights Baptist Church."

Could that be a loophole in case it's later discovered there was "impropriety" outside the church?

Watch the video and follow along with the transcript and really listen to what was said. And perhaps more importantly, what wasn't said.

Sickened said...

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20110815/NEWS/110815023/Man-accuses-former-Clinton-music-minister-molestation

Charges to be filed against JL.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Clarion Ledger >> Man accuses former Clinton music minister of molestation

Sickened said...

I hope now that one former Clintonian is coming forward that any others who have been molested will have the courage to come forward also.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Charges to be filed against JL.

We don't know that yet.

New BBC Open Forum said...

WAPT-TV >> Clinton Police Investigate Complaint Against Former Minister

Video is up.

M'ssippi Girl said...

I feel for the Clinton Community, especially the members of MHBC in light of this new accusation. I pray they can find peace soon.

skyvoyager said...

Thanks for some clarification 'new bbc open forum' but questions remain.

I guess that is the problem with these prepared statements. Each word of each sentence has to be dissected.

From the transcript....
"Continuing in my process of restoration I began my work here at Morrison Heights 21 years ago in a part-time position. I continued my counseling and surrounded myself with unwavering accountability from my wife, family, and friends who were aware of the past situations."

Professional said "We worked through trying to encourage John to get into counseling and treatment but to no avail"

My question was and still is, if someone received 'extensive conseling' why when ecouraged now end with 'no avail'?

and still no accountablity friends coming forward that surrounded him that were 'aware of past situations'

again, doesn't add up

Been There said...

New BBC Open Forum said...
"Video is up."

How come the clips of the church meeting is so clear on the TV stations and even with the words, but yours have these black binoculars on it?

New BBC Open Forum said...

I guess whoever recorded the version I received was sitting farther away.

;-)

My two cents said...

I'm ready to see how many continue to support JL now that someone has come forward. I also hate to think that people will start to attack the ones that were abused. Great video!

professional said...

@skyvoyager,
I have not been told by anyone that I have had contact with over the last year, that John has received extensive counseling. His words are the first I have heard of this. My question to him would be....what counselor in their right mind and ethical restrictions, would allow a man who has been honest about his deviancy, to continue in any kind of capacity to work with children
.
Either he has been lying to a counselor this entire time (which I doubt, because I still have no indication or proof that he has been to any kind of sexual offender counseling)....or he is just lying about being in counseling. My guess is that the second is probably more accurate.

He desperately needs counseling. He needs extensive, intense sexual offender counseling with a registered sex offender provider, who knows how to deal with this type of deviancy. I am still praying that he is able to obtain that through all of this.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Notice: I will not publish any comment which speculates about the identity of any victim or "which" victim this is.

Anonymous said...

I'm not speculating. I bet you didn't even know John worked at FBC Jackson while attending MC.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Nope, didn't know that. I knew he went to Mississippi College.

iought2know said...

The first of many has come forward--such a hard thing to do, but will pave the way for others.

To those from PWood or anywhere else who think coming forward now is pointless due to statute of limitations running out...PLEASE do so anyway!! Did any inappropriate contact happen while out of the state on choir tour or at camp...while visiting JL in Mississippi...or threats/intimidation made?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not be afraid to tell the police what was done to you!

skyvoyager said...

professional said, "I have not been told by anyone that I have had contact with over the last year, that John has received extensive counseling. His words are the first I have heard of this. My question to him would be....what counselor in their right mind and ethical restrictions, would allow a man who has been honest about his deviancy, to continue in any kind of capacity to work with children"

thanks professional, that was my point from the beginning

ministers wife said...

As a ministers wife, this news story caught my eye when first reported in the Clarion Ledger. I followed leads to this blog purely for informational purposes. While my prayers go out to all of his victims, thy MHBC family, JL and his family and all of those who feel deceived by this man, don't you feel this blog has served it purpose? What good is it doing now? Do you feel that attacking the church and minister, as well as school officials will accomplish any good? As you see from other posts, this is already causing discourse in the church and I feel further gossip and speculation here is only adding fuel to the fire (for gossip and speculation is mostly what I've seen.).

I guess what I really want to say is that I have a problem with the fact that Amy Smith chose this as the avenue to bring this to light. Couldn't there have been better means to this same goal?

ministers wife said...

To Marie,

Thank you for sharing your story. Your words said much.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I just love how attempting to uncover the truth and daring to write about it is considered by some to be "gossip" and "attacks." All this blog did was tip the first domino.

Former PBC Youth said...

To ministers wife...

Our church (Prestonwood)new about this and didn't act within the bounds of the law or in the best interest of the victims. Who should we all have told and when? We were children living in an adult world, with adult rules. Now an alleged victim has come forward from Clinton. I bet that particular individual is thanking his lucky stars for Amy Smith right now. Those of us abused in some way while at Prestonwood certainly are. She has ended the silence we all knew was wrong but felt powerless to overcome.

M'ssippi Girl said...

To Pastor's Wife:

Have you ever thought that a blog such as this 22 years ago might have stopped JL back then, and there would not have been another victim?

For many, this has also been a safe, anonymous place to share, vent, and support one another in our shock and grief. Maybe you just want all this to " go away", but remembet, this situation was not started by anyone on this blog. If you don't like this forum, you have the freedom choose to no longer read this blog. Out of sight, out of mind -- isn't that the same thing you're proposing to those of us who choose to read and post here? Isn't that the same avenue that allowed JL to continue to offend in MS after leaving TX? - out of sight, out of mind, right?

Salt and light said...

This is to the comment made by "pastor's wife". Amy Smith tried every way possible to bring John Langworthy's crimes to the public eye. She went through all the "proper" channels she could think of. Each one was shut down and contained by people who choose to call themselves men of God and law-abiding citizens. The only people criticizing her and her courageous actions are those who are not thinking in a unbiased manner. I STAND UP AND APPLAUD EVERYTHING AMY SMITH HAS DONE TO BRING THIS VILE MAN AND HIS ACTIONS INTO THE SPOLIGHT. SHE IS A HERO IN MY OPINION. THANK YOU AMY SMITH!! I can only imagine this was incredibly hard for her to do. We should all take note and be so brave to stand up for what is right.

Salt and light said...

Sorry, the above comment should be addresses to "minister's wife".

Anonymous said...

Amen, MS Girl...I am with you...this blog has helped me to vent, learn and know I am not alone with my feelings about all of this and JL ... Narrow-minded people need not post or read!

Anonymous said...

I am an older Pastor who years ago attended Prestonwood while Jack Graham was there. To me the main point is being missed. This is a question of sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible has clearly told Prestonwood what to do. Their training in church growth, psychology, sociology gave them human wisdom to think they knew better. Now they refuse to admit this sin. They should have immediately followed Scripture and announced from the Prestonwood pulpit, “John Langworthy has admitted to sexually abusing children in this congregation. H e has been fired and we have contacted the police and CPS to thoroughly investigate this matter as to possible criminal charges.”
I would encourage readers to listen to or read the following sermon which is case on point. Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite-Excerpts from last half of Restoring Biblical Eldership, Part 2 by Pastor John MacArthur
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/54-41_Restoring-Biblical-Eldership-Part-2
I Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
We need to be supportive of our Pastor and not entertain or even listen to gossip, slander, hearsay accusing him of any wrongdoing. The evident exception to this is when there is corroborating testimony from another witness or two. At that point the church and Christians are obligated Scripturally to investigate and see whether or not it is true. If untrue stand with him and defend him. If true, go to verse 20. (I would personally add-If the sin involves criminal activity such as sexual abuse of children the obligation is increased. We are to consider government as God’s ministry of justice. We are to obey all laws. The only exception is a law that forces you to disobey God’s Word. Are laws regarding abuse of defenseless children good laws? You should go immediately to the police and if they are negligent get the media involved to force them to do their duty. Further the church doing the defrocking has an obligation to follow the abuser and warn other churches and communities.)

I Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Them here in verse 20 refers to an elder in verse 19. A Pastor or Associate who is found to be in sin loses protection. There are no steps listed as a process. Once it is ascertained that sin has occurred that Pastor is to be immediately fired and publicly rebuked (exposed, reproved, brought to conviction) before all-the whole church, nothing here confines this to a board of the church. The sin of one in that position is more serious and to be punished more severely because its implications are greater. If you're the model of spiritual life, if you're the model of godliness, if you're supposed to be the example and you do not live the example that pleases God,.. 99.9 chances out of a hundred the man would instantly repent, say, "I'll never do it again," if he thought that would let him stay where he is and nobody would ever find out publicly. But that serves no good at all. If the man has been found to be in a pattern of sin, then he is disqualified by 1 Timothy chapter 3, he's no longer blameless so he's out of the ministry anyway and he is to be publicly rebuked for his sin because there has to be some explanation about why he's out. … you put a man of dubious character in a continuing ministry because you're afraid to say the truth about the man because you're more concerned to protect the man than you are to protect the name of the Lord God whom he says he serves.

. said...

I guess what I really want to say is that I have a problem with the fact that Amy Smith chose this as the avenue to bring this to light. Couldn't there have been better means to this same goal?

From what I understand, Mrs. Smith tried all avenues, including the Associated Baptist Press, the churches at Prestonwood and Morrison Heights and the school system.

What's wrong with a blogger bringing attention to the heinous acts when the churches and school in question REFUSED to act???

BTW, I'm a blogger who's religion in the news blog was cased by the Sheriff in Jacksonville when I carried a post about Mac Brunson. I don't believe in cover ups and the Southern Baptist and indeed all religions would be better served to realize that these cover ups do not please God.

What did we forget? said...

I am from Clinton; born, raised there and now raising my family there. I am a mom of 2 children in the Clinton Public Schools. I heard "rumor" of the allegations 2 weeks ago and found them hard to believe. I knew John Langworthy,in the early days, and I know of his previous reputation in the Clinton Community and MHBC, and I use previous because I hope that reputation has/is changing. I have to say the Clinton Community certainly kept tight wraps on this one. I came upon this blog after the media brought the story out to the public. I have read it beginning to end. Sure I got angry and wanted answers why he was left in the school system and church staff but that seems it should be in a different blog. I don't pretend to know it all and I assume there are different stages of dealing with something of this magnitude just as there are different stages of mourning.I guess that equals the "processing" that is going on in everyone's mind. This is is an admitted CRIME he committed and I hope that is not in question. With that being said it will take criminal charges being filed to make this an actual case against him that can be prosecuted and that cannot be done by the community, the school or the church, only any victims. You can pray for who YOU want to. I will be praying for anyone, of any age, that found themselves violated in any way, at anytime, that they can have the strength and the faith to come forward. That is what this is about, helping those that are victimized. I have the utmost respect for those that have used this blog to come forward with their stories and hope that if they are in need of resources for help they will find that here.That is why all this was started, someone wanted to help others. I would ask that all parents be concerened for their children, not their teachers, not the youth music ministers, not the good friend of 20 years. These are your children, not some third party that you happen to think highly of. You gave birth to these kids, raised or are raising them, teaching or taught them their morals and beliefs. I cannot imagine being that child who feels they have no one, not even a parent to turn to. Not even a member or pastor of their church to turn to.
I "hear" alot of finger pointing in this blog....I hear others begging for everyone to leave the churches and the pastor alone, they did no wrong.Point and beg all you want to or use this blog for some good. All I can say is I am glad there is a voice now to speak for those who could not or felt unable to. Each person involved in this case took the time they needed to do what they felt needed to be done and only each individual knows in his or her heart if they did justice for those who needed it. Everyone is going to have their opinion as to who is to blame but there is only one person to hold accountable for the actions of John Langworthy. He is on the same road we all are and that road ends at the house of the Lord, our maker.

sad memories said...

I posted here a few days ago and have been following the blog. First of all, I am so very sad (but not surprised) that an alleged victim has come forward who was victimized since JL left PBC 22 years ago. The more I think about it, the angrier I get at PBC. PBC Youth is right -- we were all children at the time and really didn't have the resources available to us that adults have. At the time, I trusted the adults at the church to handle the problem appropriately and for the parents of the children to also do so. It seems that these adults failed so many of us.

Today, as an adult who understands more about the world and has learned to call the "sexual indiscretions" of 1989 what it really is -- pedophilia -- I am very concerned that PBC did not seek guidance from experts in this field. Today we know that this is a mental sickness that for all practical purposes is extremely difficult to cure, if not impossible. More likely, it is treated as an addiction that is very hard wired into someone. As an adult, I now understand this, as a young teenager, I was basically just trying to understand how to put one foot in front of the other!

I am not sure what kind of counseling JL may have sought, but PBC at a minimum should have made certain that he would no longer be minister to children. Is there no way in the Baptist church to strip a minister of his rights?

Amy has had great courage to come forward in whatever manner she could. I think those of us who were there at the time have found some sense of resolution to all of this. We had no idea where he was and really had no idea what to do. It was like he disappeared from the planet. It has been so disappointing to find out that he has been so deeply imbedded in the lives of so many children and teenagers who may have been harmed.

I just want to say for myself that this is not really a source of gossip. We never spoke about this much at Prestonwood, and that was a big problem., Many of us were damaged by not being able to go through the healing process together. For myself, I have completely abandoned the Baptist church as an adult because of many of the things that happened at PBC. These situations (JL and Billy Weber and more) were damaging to me personally and spirituality, and I hope more blogs like this can help people where our churches will not.

It is sad that the PBC cared more for their image in the community than for the victims in their body. If you ask yourself, "Is this what the bride of Christ would do?" you get your answer. I commend the older Pastor for your wisdom, and I wish there had been more wisdom at PBC at the time.

To the people of Clinton, you all are continually in my prayers. It deeply saddens me that this has also happened in your community.

Why the church? said...

to MHBC, to Clinton community, and most of all to JL's victims:

My heart hurts for you and my prayers are with you. Do not let blame and fear drive you. JL was a deceitful man with a double life that has caused a lot of pain because of his deviancy and his sin. He deceived many but that is on him, not on you.

This is a time to seek our Father's heart! It is a time to put away blaming others. It is a time to stop covering your "assets". It is time to seek God. It doesn't matter if you appreciate this blog or are telling people to leave the blog. It is time to stop calling names and pointing fingers.

It is time to ask God what He desires for you and to listen. Only through Him is real healing. It is time to help each other heal and to love.

It is time for churches that hide and cover these things to step up, follow the law, protect the flock that God has given you. Stop protecting your empire and your backside. Be the person/pastor that God has called you to be. I am TIRED of watching church "pastors" put their programs, their numbers, their agenda ahead of anything that God is crying for them to do. (I am on my soapbox talking here about ANY church; this is not directed at Belser or MHBC).

I cry for the victims that this man has hurt. My continued prayers.....

Why the church? said...

amen to What did we forget?
thank you!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Amen to several of the comments today! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say this, if I find out JL has bothered my son in all years of choir trips and church outings I will work along with Amy Smith and any advocate group and the police to press charges to the fullest. I am so tired of these meely whiney people around town who want us to just let it blow over...it isn't over until ALL the truth comes out. This is not a rumor or something that can be looked over b/c it might hurt "the church" or "the school". I loved JL as much as anyone and trusted him with my son, if you don't have anything productive to say other than whine then stay off this blog! I mean it the parents who have concerns want to be able to keep their eyes open for the coming weeks and months.

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