PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress

By | February 7, 2017

My therapist likes to keep thing simple, which is useful for me. She tells me that there is a triangle in abuse: the ‘abuser’, the ‘victims’ and the ‘observers’ (observers are people who knew but never reported appropriately). I personally find it quite easy to think about John Smyth, the abuser. The victims too. But considering the observers is much, much more difficult. Technically speaking, as a victim, I am ‘excused’ from being an observer (no matter how much I feel like one) but the observers in the John Smyth case include my closest family, everyone who has supported me throughout the years.

They also include all the individuals in all the institutions who also know the story but did not report appropriately. Mark Ruston, your friend, in 1982, when he wrote his report in 1982 became an observer because he wrote that he believed that a criminal act had been committed and he was one of the many people, almost 35 years ago, who failed to report to the police. A decision that had terrible consequences. But a particularly well-informed one.

You, archbishop are also an observer. How and when you became one I know that you will want to tell me. And here’s the difficulty about being an observer. You have to ask yourself. “I knew about John Smyth. I become aware about some of the things that this abuser did, I have ‘observed’ them. Can I look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I did everything I could to report to the correct authority all the things that I knew? Did I give the people who might bring the abuser to justice every scrap of information that they might need? And, if I didn’t, then thinking very carefully about this – whose side have I been on, all this time? The side of the victims. Or the side of the abuser?”

It’s a very troubling position to find yourself in. I totally understand this and that was why, when Cathy Newman interviewed me after the showing of Channel 4’s second news report, I said on camera that I wanted to give you some time to reconsider the statements that you’ve made. I’d like to believe that you will find somewhere where you can be alone, without the advice of anyone else other than your own conscience and God. And when you have decided that you would like to talk, I’m now actually thinking that it’s not really important that we meet. In fact, there’s no reason for us to meet at all. Better not to. Because I know that everything that you tell me, you would happily say to the whole world.

Best wishes, and as we victims of John Smyth are always saying to each other – ‘I hope you’re okay’.
The Telegraph (Link)

Dear PJ Smyth: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?

“You, [PJ Smyth]  are also an observer. How and when you became one I know that you will want to tell me. And here’s the difficulty about being an observer. You have to ask yourself. “I knew about John Smyth. I become aware about some of the things that this abuser did, I have ‘observed’ them. Can I look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I did everything I could to report to the correct authority all the things that I knew? Did I give the people who might bring the abuser to justice every scrap of information that they might need? And, if I didn’t, then thinking very carefully about this – whose side have I been on, all this time? The side of the victims. Or the side of the abuser?”

PJ Smyth has now published three “Open Letters.”  He has yet to speak truthfully. You can expect there will be at least one additional “Open Letter,” perhaps more. In due time the truth will be revealed. We shall see just how “firmly committed to reporting any form of child abuse to the authorities” PJ has been.

“If religion cannot tell the truth about itself, it has nothing to say. Hypocrisy – professing one thing and performing the opposite – is the greatest moral violation. In approaching the crisis of clergy abuse, truth must be the preeminent goal. Truth – wherever found, however discovered, whatever it exposes – must be the agenda for any exploration of abuse by clergy. Anything that impedes unflinching directness, honesty, or clear unambiguous communication and confrontation of the facts will perpetuate the secret system in which abuse can continue and flourish.

All concerned citizens have a stake in the honesty of religious leaders. They should be a moral and cultural resource. Religion needs the help of all concerned women and men. Everyone is victimized by a system that fosters or tolerates abuse. It is not unholy or unseemly to be vitally interested in the performance of moral leaders. If religion was taught anything by the German holocaust of the Jews it is that standing by silently does not absolve from guilt. Institutional structures and behaviors are not above question or challenge.”
A.W. Richard Sipe, “Sex, Priests and Power,” page 45

 

 

“I wanted to give you some time to reconsider the statements that you’ve made. I’d like to believe that you will find somewhere where you can be alone, without the advice of anyone else other than your own conscience and God. And when you have decided that you would like to talk, I’m now actually thinking that it’s not really important that we meet. In fact, there’s no reason for us to meet at all. Better not to. Because I know that everything that you tell me, you would happily say to the whole world.

Best wishes, and as we victims of John Smyth are always saying to each other – ‘I hope you’re okay’.”

49 thoughts on “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress

  1. Andy Morse

    Many thanks for posting my Open Letter to the Archbishop at the top of this article and writing about the John Smyth abuse and taking part in the discussion. We (John Smyth survivors) think you might be interested to see the messages and short videos we have posted on Twitter @AndyMorseUK which reflect some of our opinions on the Church and Justin Welby’s involvement in our ‘story’.

    Reply
      1. 2samuel127 Post author

        Anonymous – Thanks for the update and the link!

        -Todd

        Reply
    1. JLC

      I think it’s just a work visa, Dee. You normally have to live in the U.S. for 3 years before you can apply for a green card. Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  2. Christian

    “I can think a number of reasons. He is lying to cove his butt. He is lying to protect his father. He is lying because he is now in the States and could be deported if he is found to have covered a crime.
    PJ is sinner just like everyone else, including me and you.”

    I agree. However, if PJ really is lying about what he knew and when, he has placed himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He claims to know nothing about any of his father’s alleged crimes, not now or at any other time. All it takes to disprove this is one person’s testimony to the contrary, or just one photo, or one document of some sort. He would easily be proven to be a liar. It seems to me he would have chosen a response that would allow plenty of room to maneuver if he were in fact lying.

    I grieve deeply for the victims of this abuse and I pray that justice would be served quickly and to the fullest extent. I will continue to pray for the whole truth to be made known and healing for the victims.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      If PJ is guilty and tells the truth by admitting that he’s known about his father’s alleged crimes for a long time, then his career in Ministry in the U.S. is over.

      If he’s guilty and PJ lies about what he knew, he can at least try to discredit any forthcoming evidence indicating that he’s covered up child abuse.

      In other words, perhaps PJ has no good options but lying is better than telling the truth right now.

      Also, some people at CLC appear to have no interest in looking at the facts of the Smyth case. Instead, they’re blaming all PJ’s problems on a Satanic attack.

      PJ himself has called criticisms of Covenant Life Church part of a Satanic plot.

      Do you think it’s responsible for either members of CLC or PJ himself to be blaming all their problems on the devil?

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. Dee

      People lie when they are guilty. They hope that the lie will prevent the truth from being found out. If he said he knew about it, he would have been immediately in trouble. Perhaps sent back to South Africa. If he was a deeply committed Christian, I believe he would have fessed up. Either he knew or did something and covered it up or he is stupid and naive and should never be in charge of a church with children, especially a church with such a wretched history as CLC.

      I believe that PJ is channeling CJ. “I know nothing. I was just a kid at 10 or was it 21?” etc. I believe that he will now function under a cloud, no matter what happens and lots of things will inevitably be happening. This is a major, international story. CLC finds itself back in the hot seat with another pastor who didn’t see or hear anything.

      Reply
  3. Christian

    I have read here on this blog that PJ’s published statements have changed. Can anyone here elaborate on this? Did he change, or did he add further detail, did he clarify? I am not seeing the changes….
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. JLC

      I believe that the open letters reflect different stories. To my knowledge, the letters themselves have not been altered. Specifically, I think that PJ Smyth goes from saying he knew nothing about the crimes his father is accused of committing to claiming that he knew something about them, after the evidence at hand made it dificult to believe that he did not remember an incident in which his father was charged with committing a homicide.

      An honest person would have stated everything he knew upfront, in my view. That is just my opinion. I could be way off. I am often wrong about many things. 😉

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  4. Christian

    I respect the perspectives and opinions of all here and I am only after the truth, as I know you all are as well.

    If PJ’s open letter proves to be false, then he must/will be dismissed and CLC may very well then close doors. That is how critical this moment is. But why would PJ put himself in this position? Why publish a cover-up letter right off the bat? Why not truthfully tell what he saw and heard and then explain his response to what he saw and heard in a way that demonstrates his innocence?

    Sure seems as though a curious, bright 10/12+ year old would have seen and heard something of what was going on in his own backyard. Surely he must have spoken to somebody about it. Later on, he had to have known that his father was arrested in connection to the death of a boy that he knew. It seems so obvious that PJ would have known something. And yet, right away he denies knowing anything about any of it. Why would he do this? What is the truth?

    If PJ’s open letter proves to be true, then what would be the follow-up here on this blog? I ask this because there is a post in the archives here on this blog regarding a Mr Caffrey, whose case has been dismissed by a judge. There is no mention of this on his post. This does not mean that he is innocent, but maybe it does?

    Reply
    1. JLC

      “If PJ’s open letter proves to be true, then what would be the follow-up here on this blog? I ask this because there is a post in the archives here on this blog regarding a Mr Caffrey, whose case has been dismissed by a judge. There is no mention of this on his post. This does not mean that he is innocent, but maybe it does?”

      Thank you for your inquiry. I will update the posts in question soon to reflect the following information about Mr. Caffery’s case. I haven’t done so earlier because I’ve been hoping to have time to go to the court house in question to find out more details about why the case appears to have been dismissed, as opposed to going to trial. I am not a lawyer, but believe that the dismissal of the charges does not indicate that Mr. Caffery is either innocent or guilty. The evidence against him was never heard by a judge or jury.

      People interested in this case can read about it here:

      https://thouarttheman.org/2016/03/28/another-covenant-life-church-member-arrested-sexual-abuse/

      I would note that the State of Maryland needed to have had a lot of evidence backing up its claims, regarding 11 counts of child sexual abuse and false incarceration against Mr. Caffery, in order to arrest and charge him.

      It initially looked as though the charges against Mr. Caffery were originally dropped in district court so they could be refiled in circuit court. However, it now seems likely that they have been dropped in the long term. Based on the wording of the court records, it sounds as though the reported victim may have been unwilling to continue with the case.

      That doesn’t mean that CLC Pastors or members intimidated this person into becoming silent. However, they could have as CLC Pastors and members have harassed and bullied child sexual abuse victims and their families, into handling child sexual abuse allegations “internally,” rather than going to the police, in the past.

      Further, to my knowledge, Mr. Caffery has never publicly stated that he is innocent of molesting or falsely incarcerating a child. Therefore, one cannot assume he is guilty of the crimes for which he was charged, but a person could wonder why Mr. Caffery is declining to simply publicly state his innocence given that the charges against him appear to have been dropped.

      Mr. Caffery also wrote a Kindle book, that the Covenant Life Pastors reviewed, in which he stated clearly that he did not want to have daughters because he was afraid he would molest them. He then proceeded to work in children’s ministries for several years. To my knowledge, Covenant Life Church has not prohibited Mr. Caffery, as a current member, from continuing to work with children at the Church. Nor has he been disciplined in any way for deliberately closely associating himself with children he was afraid he would molest.

      If Covenant Life Church Pastors believe that Mr. Caffery is innocent and no danger to children, then why aren’t they saying so publicly?

      Covenant Life Church Pastor Mark Mitchell originally published a 13-minute video, which has been removed from the Church’s Vimeo site, in which he claimed that Mr. Caffery was a danger to children at Covenant Life Church generally, but that Mr. Caffery posed no immediate threat to them because he was incarcerated. I made a copy of this video because I expected CLC to erase it, but I am choosing not to publish it at this time.

      Despite CLC’s indication that Mr. Caffery was a danger to children, in Mr. Mitchell’s video, the Church continued to support him behind the scenes. They also did not tell their members or the public that he could pose a danger to children at CLC after he posted bail and was freed from jail.

      I was present at the court hearing in which CLC employee Don Nalle and CLC lay Pastor Bo Lotinsky offered to help Mr. Caffery, financially (regarding assistance with services that require money), on behalf of the Church. I cannot prove it, but based on the nature of their conversation, I also believe that Covenant Life Church was paying for Mr. Caffery’s private attorney.

      Please see my article about what I witnessed here:

      https://thouarttheman.org/2016/04/15/clc-leaders-bo-lotinsky-don-nalle-just-told-larry-caffery-covenant-life-church-supporting/

      Unfortunately, Covenant Life Church has a long history of using Church funds to help accused pedophiles evade the civil and criminal justice systems while kicking child sexual abuse victims to the curb.

      So even if Mr. Caffery is innocent, Covenant Life Church is guilty of endangering children by handling his case in a dishonest and irresponsible manner that is inconsistent with protecting children from potential predators.

      “If PJ’s open letter proves to be true, then what would be the follow-up here on this blog?”

      I can’t provide a specific answer to your question because this blog is owned and operated by Todd Wilhelm. I’m just someone who is honored to assist him. However, your comment implies that you are afraid that this blog will be unfair to PJ Smyth even if he is found innocent.

      In that case, I can only encourage you to bring your concerns to Todd or myself via comments on the blog or privately through an e-mail address on this blog’s content page.

      You were right to suggest that I update posts pertaining to Larry Caffery, given that the charges against him appear to have been dropped. Todd and I will do our best to respond to any other issues you bring forward with integrity and honesty.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. Dee

      I can think a number of reasons. He is lying to cove his butt. He is lying to protect his father. He is lying because he is now in the States and could be deported if he is found to have covered a crime.
      PJ is sinner just like everyone else, including me and you.

      Reply
    3. JLC

      Christian, you seem like a person of integrity and genuine faith.

      Thank you for your comments. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  5. Deana Holmes

    John Smyth was acting in uncomfortable/borderline unacceptable ways up until quite recently:

    (quote from “Church-on-Main” in South Africa)
    In a statement given to Channel 4 News, which originally broke the story about Smyth’s alleged sadism, the church said some members of its congregation had raised “worrying concerns” about Smyth last September.

    It said Smyth made a practice of meeting young men at a local sports club for a game of squash, which was “followed by a shower in a common shower, then lunch over which we were told [Smyth] would make generally unsolicited enquiries about the young men’s experience of pornography, masturbation and other sexual matters.”

    Smyth was “offering his advice regarding sexual matters that left the person feeling uncomfortable,” the church added.

    Complaints had also been made about Smyth’s “heavy-handed style of leadership”.

    (end quote, from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/09/john-smyth-accused-of-heavy-handed-leadership-at-cape-town-church )

    There’s more at the link.

    Reply
  6. anonymous

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/04/exclusive-archbishop-canterburys-friend-admitted-parents-showered/

    “To this end we use Christian names all round, the younger leaders sleep in the dormitories with their campers, and we all (including myself from time to time) have our showers with the boys.”

    “We must, however, have good discipline and experience has shown that with so many high-spirited boys we need some form of sanction. I never cane the boys, but I do whack them with a table tennis bat when necessary.

    “Such are the opportunities for pranks that I sometimes have to use this fairly liberally to deter high-spirited naughtiness and to ensure obedience and reasonable standards of tidiness.” John Smyth

    see
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2017/02/04/smyth1-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqZavxgBVD_I8nuYCoxkvuzOrHQjaV1PGSyr8UABGEmME.jpg

    Reply
  7. christian

    “So, I guess you could call it all incredible coincidence? He gets out of Africa and runs to the US and suddenly everything is getting international attention?”

    As far as timing is concerned, PJ Smyth had no control over the length of time it took to obtain his visa.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      That’s true but PJ Smyth did have control over when he started looking for a job in the U.S.

      According to a statement he made about a year ago, PJ Smyth had been looking into becoming Covenant Life Church’s lead Pastor, at that time, for two years.

      Based on what I’ve read, it became obvious that the allegations of abuse against PJ Smyth’s father were finally going to be made public about 3 years ago.

      I imagine we can agree that PJ Smyth has a vested interest in not being in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the United Kingdom right now.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  8. Dee

    Now I know where the song is coming from. I had your post opening a tab all day and whenever I turned on the sound I kept hearing this song. I kept shutting all my tabs and it kept playing. Boy, am I slow. Perfect song, BTW.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Ha! Glad you liked it. It seems to have annoyed a few who came here to defend the latest pastor/enabler from CLC.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        And those of us who are despised bloggers :-), trying to advocate for victims of CLC, are usually volunteers with day jobs or lots of other pressing professional or family responsibilities.

        We’re at a disadvantage in that sense because,by contrast, PJ Smyth now has full-time employees at Covenant Life Church helping him with his current public relations nightmare.

        He doesn’t have to create or pay for a website of his own through which he can defend himself.

        I really don’t think that Pastor PJ is a victimized under-dog right now, as some members of CLC seem to think.

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
  9. Christian

    “I also don’t think that PJ Smyth had any serious interest in running a disreputable Church in the United States until he realized that he might face charges for allegedly helping his father cover up child abuse in the United Kingdom.”

    I believe that you have no facts to support this claim.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      My thoughts are clearly framed to reflect an opinion, not a fact.

      PJ Smyth seems to have started lobbying to run Covenant Life Church around the time the allegations against his father were gaining steam.

      Why do you think PJ Smyth agreed to be employed by a dying, disreputable Church in the U.S.?

      Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Concerned

        Hey,

        Checked back in here to see how the comments section was shaping up. Firstly, I’m not a CLC member. I am someone very similar to you in fact who is skeptical of, and highly interested in the leadership structures of the evangelical church. I have been disappointed to witness things like ‘grooming’ and ‘inner circling’ within the Church, things I naively hoped would be constrained to the secular world, and have gradually come to accept as men, we are all subject to similar trappings of driven ness, pride and personal agenda.

        These are serious allegations that you have chosen to level at a man whose leadership I don’t think you’ve personally experienced, and whom you don’t know personally.

        As someone who has, I’m qualified to provide you with a few certain facts:-

        – He is a man who loves his wife and children, in a manner akin to the way Jesus loves the Church.
        – He is highly motivated to help people to put God first in their lives.
        – He values a platform. Research some of the ‘stunts’ he pulled in Johannesburg to help everyday people hear the word of God. From provocative billboards, to setting up a church branch in a casino, to presenting the president of the country with a real sword, as an encouragement and respect of ‘those God has put into authority.’
        – He loves a challenge, to take on ‘the big’ problems.

        To answer your question:
        > Why do you think PJ Smyth agreed to be employed by a dying, disreputable Church in the U.S.?
        Here is my answer. Which, as you request – is a factual one.
        1. His eldest children are near / of university going age. You only need to read South African news to know that if you have recourse to get your kids educated outside of SA, you take that chance, boy.
        2. He set up a network of Churches in South Africa and installed leadership second to none, and could quite certainly have considered his work there done.
        3. What greater challenge could be next? Maybe fixing a broken church in what is essentially the capital city of the world? What greater epi-centre of the world than Washington DC? Joburg was his target city in SA, why? Because it is the place to influence South Africa from. This is 100% in step with his style and ambition to spread the gospel. Wouldn’t be surprised if he daydreamed at the idea of being able to get some Godly wisdom to Trump’s ear.

        Now – this is all very defensive of him – but an important perspective which I haven’t seen anyone else bring. Does is remove valid questions regarding ‘what he knew’ or ‘what he hid?’ Not at all. But give the man some time to process the fact that his Dad’s actions are causing seismic waves through the global Church.

        Hope this post represents a better contribution to this blog.

        Best.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Thank you for your thoughts. They do seem more considered.

          I do apologize for being grouchy in my initial comments. Please forgive me.

          To clarify, I did not assume or even think that you were a member of Covenant Life Church. You simply appeared to be a good friend of Mr. Smyth.

          I actually have heard many positive things about PJ Smyth’s ministry in South Africa, and am happy if his work has blessed you and others.

          Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that he is enabling child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church now, as well as treating its pre-existing victims abominably.

          I have worked with victims of the Church for more than five years and if you knew what I know, I think you would agree that the entity should be shut down, not reformed by PJ Smyth or anyone else.

          Todd, the owner of this blog, intends to continue investigating whether or not PJ Smyth is guilty of covering up child abuse to protect his father.

          I think that is the right thing to do, as PJ Smyth is presently responsible for the welfare of children in a Church with a proven sordid history of covering up child sexual abuse.

          I do understand your perspective and wish that giving PJ Smyth some time to reflect did not put children in danger, from my perspective.

          If PJ Smyth has covered up horrific child abuse in the past, then he is not qualified to lead any Church in the U.S. now.

          Best, Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
          1. Concerned

            > If PJ Smyth has covered up horrific child abuse in the past, then he is not qualified to lead any Church in the U.S. now.

            Fully agree.

            Perhaps the words ‘covered up’ are a bit conclusive / judgmental?
            I see more of a spectrum:

            Extreme 1: PJ was downright deceitful: “I knew about it and made a conscious decision to keep it from the authorities” –> action: prosecute.

            Middle Ground: PJ was tortured: “I have been grappling with this for my whole life, I’m glad it has come out. I am so sorry. Please accept my resignation.” –> action: atone, forgive

            Extreme 2: PJ was truly shocked: “I didn’t see the wood for the trees. I am gutted by the news which has surfaced, although this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me it has. Yes, the signs were there but as a son I was blind to them and groomed to not question these things” –> action: counsel, support – probably take a break from ministry too – but because you realise that you are no longer a master of self, and therefore are not suitable as a master of others.

            These things will play out, Extreme 1 is highly improbable. Middle / Extreme 2 more likely. His open letters leave room for Extreme 2 only.

          2. JLC

            Hello Concerned:

            This will likely be my final comment to you, as you have demonstrated that you are not willing to have a serious conversation about the factual evidence indicating that your friend PJ Smyth has covered up child abuse in past countries he’s lived in and is enabling it in the United States now.

            Specifically, while the tone of your comments is more friendly toward people on this blog, you are still declining to base your comments on truths, backed up by quality research, even though others have asked you direct questions about the facts in pertaining to the case against PJ Smyth’s father and any role PJ may have had in helping his dad out.

            If you want to keep commenting here, and I do think that your perspective could be valuable, please rebut the factual information in question, by citing credible sources, indicating that PJ Smyth may be guilty of covering up horrific instances of child abuse and may even have participated in abusing others himself.

            I will now put forth the following idea which I will not repeat:

            PJ Smyth is facing credible allegations of covering up horrific child abuse that are being investigated by the international media, not just this blog. He has changed his story regarding what he knew about his father’s alleged crimes several times, which detracts from your position that he’s largely just an innocent naive victim of his father.

            PJ Smyth cannot possibly focus all his energy on his job as the lead Pastor of Covenant Life Church right now, and the Church is expending a lot of resources, that could instead be used to help the victims of child sexual abuse that it has created, defending him. He should therefore be fired by Covenant Life Church and asked to return to the United Kingdom to directly face the allegations, whether he has been formally charged or not, that he has committed criminal acts.

            If more information comes out proving that PJ Smyth is lying about what he knew regarding his father’s alleged crimes, then the U.S. State Department should revoke his visa, as someone likely fleeing from crimes he has committed in his own countries should not be casually harbored in the United States of America.

            Thank you. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          3. 2samuel127 Post author

            Thanks for your comment, Concerned. You have put some thought into it.

            In the future, it will be revealed that PJ has been employing your “Extreme 1” option for years.

            Currently, due to the recent revelations concerning John Smyth surfacing, PJ is employing your “Extreme 2” option.

            Your “Middle Ground” option will be PJ’s fallback selection. Once he comes to the realization that the gig is up it’s really his only choice. However, I do not believe he will resign. He will count on his charisma to save his bacon. Covenant Life leadership has already proven that they are either unwilling or unable to terminate corrupt pastors. They are even so gullible/charitable (pick your option) that they have refused to accept the resignation of a senior pastor who has been caught lying to the congregation. Their actions will be the same with PJ. Look for PJ to make an impassioned plea for forgiveness in front of the congregation. Mark Mitchell, as the representative of the elders, will back his play and the pliable sheeple will, with emotional tears of forgiveness, overwhelmingly consent to allow their corrupt leader to continue to “rule over them.”

            (Remember how Mitchell spoke on PJ’s inaugural Sunday? How he stated that PJ eminently meets all the biblical requirements of elder/pastor? Above reproach, etc.? You will see those requirements only matter until such time as it’s obvious that “dearest leader” doesn’t quite measure up, at which time they will be jettisoned.)

            Prosecution? Ha! I am sure that will take place right after CJ’s prosecution.

            At least you and I agree on one thing, PJ should be removed from his position.

            As to your reference about Extreme 1 being highly improbable – the thought occurs to me that we currently have a President whose election was highly improbable.

          4. JLC

            “As to your reference about Extreme 1 being highly improbable – the thought occurs to me that we currently have a President whose election was highly improbable.”

            Most people would also find the idea that PJ Smyth would be advising this President highly improbable, but “Concerned” does not.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          5. JLC

            ” action: prosecute”

            How can PJ Smyth be prosecuted for allegedly committing crimes in the U.K., South Africa, or Zimbabwe while he’s hiding out in the U.S.? This question reveals the perils of insisting that a Pastor’s integrity cannot be questioned unless he has been found guilty of committing a crime by a fallible secular criminal justice system.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        2. Dee

          Unless you are his wife or his children, you cannot be sure of your Point #1 As Christ love the church…really? he sounds like a saint.

          Point 2: Which pastor looking for a job isn’t?

          His children would have been accepted into some top colleges in the US if applying from South Africa so moving here may actually limit their chances.

          He is going to be whispering in Trump’s ear? Good night! He’ll need to get in line,

          Your comment appears to be a canned “talking points” treatise but it is curiously devoid of concern. All you have done is told us that he is up there with Jesus when it comes to his family, he will advise Donald Trump, and we might get a church in a casino out of him. Now that is something Trump might help him with….

          No corner for his upbringing with his dad. No mention of victims. And for a comment with all sorts of talking points, no guarantee that he didn’t work at those camps when dad was doing nude prayer meetings.

          Reply
          1. JLC

            Lots of good points, Dee. There are certainly many excellent universities in South Africa.

            If PJ aspires to work with Trump, then Covenant Life Church is merely a stepping stone for him.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    2. Dee

      So, I guess you could call it all incredible coincidence? He gets out of Africa and runs to the US and suddenly everything is getting international attention? Maybe the hand of the Almighty is in this. I have to admit his name PJ, given the history of CLC, is rather amusing.

      Reply
      1. 2samuel127 Post author

        Indeed, while PJ Smyth and CLC members are quick to claim they are being attacked by Satan, it seems at least probable that it may be closer to the truth to claim the Almighty is judging their church.

        Reply
      2. JLC

        Thanks for working so hard to protect victims, Dee.

        Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
  10. Deana Holmes

    Channel 4 (UK) news had another story about John Smyth tonight, with more evidence garnered from his stay in Zimbabwe. There was also an interview with the Zimbabwean prosecutor who would have brought John Smyth up on charges, but for some (what I would call) shenanigans. And, finally, the report ends with an unnamed daughter of John Smyth stating that her father should leave Cape Town and face the charges piling up against him in Zimbabwe and the UK.

    Funny how we’re not hearing anything from PJ in the press.

    https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-more-church-abuse-revelations

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks for the link Deana. Cathy Newman of channel 4 news has done a great job.

      Reply
  11. Concerned

    I find it hard to observe bloggers brutally circling ‘observers.’ On a scale, you will probably find that observers in this context are also ‘victims’ albeit to a lesser degree. It is likely that ‘to have observed’ was a traumatic enough event in its own right to have caused denial, psychological blocking. Especially in the case of a son / father. Your line toward Pete Smyth risks more damage to a good man’s life and exceptional ministry than it does good to society. By all means, let the weight of the law take its course against perpetrators of horrific abuse, but the inferences you are seemingly intent on drawing are rather brutal.

    The juvenile song at the end – a small window into where your heart truly lies – sensation and stirring.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Hello Concerned:

      I approved your comment because you appear to be a first-time commenter. However, please note that the comment policy of this blog is to publish only comments that reflect intelligent reasoning or quality research.

      Your convoluted personal attack against the people who run this blog and comment on it fails miserably on both counts. Please intellectually up your game or go elsewhere if you just want to write lazy personal attacks against others.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. JLC

      ” On a scale, you will probably find that observers in this context are also ‘victims’ albeit to a lesser degree. It is likely that ‘to have observed’ was a traumatic enough event in its own right to have caused denial, psychological blocking. Especially in the case of a son / father. ”

      Wow, that certainly sounds like an unsubstantiated questionable “inference” about PJ Smyth’s guilt or innocence, my friend. 😉 In my experience, most “observers” are enablers, not victims, although you’ve provided quite a “get of jail free card” for those who would argue otherwise.

      So, basically, you can infer that PJ Smyth is innocent based on a bunch of psycho-babble you’ve privately constructed, but others cannot infer, given the evidence at hand, such as the fact that he keeps changing his story, that PJ Smyth is guilty of covering for his father and just doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions?

      Also, whether he knew what his father was allegedly up to or not, PJ Smyth is enabling child sexual abuse at his new Church in Maryland, Covenant Life Church. The comments on this article provide lots of evidence to that effect should you care to read them. 😉

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Lea

        >In my experience, most “observers” are enablers, not victims

        I don’t know enough about PJ Smyth to say one way or the other. Where a father is “disciplining” children in a clearly abusive (and beyond!) manner, one has to wonder if the children were victims. I could speculate further one way or the other.

        It does seem clear, though, that saying he knew something was wrong but didn’t know the details, given the fact that his father was apparently actually arrested, means he is either lying or has purposefully stayed away from information. I know if my father were arrested I would know all the details.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          I agree. I would remember if my father had been arrested on a charge of homicide, as PJ Smyth’s father was.

          Also, my suggestion that most observers are enablers rather than victims was broad, because I was responding to an over-the-top (in my view) blanket defense of PJ Smyth.

          I agree that the subject in question is nuanced.

          Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
          1. Concerned

            I do apologise for not familiarising myself with the posting conventions of this blog community – and can quite clearly see how it is not a place for ‘blanket defenses’.

            Having now done so however, it is quite clear to me how the John Smyth situation represents delectable fodder for a sophisticated narrative spanning multiple posts which seeks to undermine the selection of Pete Smyth as the leader of CLC.

            Strength to you all – leading a Church with a story like CLC out of its pain and into it’s future is going to be a scrutinised, nuanced and sensitive quest for any leader. I pray that similar (if not more) levels of effort spent on analysis are spent on being positively hands-on – re-building a Church Paul would be proud of – transparent, open, honest, respectful, acknowledging of our human frailty – made whole by Jesus alone.

            Best.

          2. JLC

            Thank you for your comment. I hope you will familiarize yourself with PJ Smyth’s history of enabling child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church instead of blindly defending him, but I’m not expecting you to reference facts instead of personally attacking people you disagree with.

            If you’d like your comments to be approved in the future, please do not rely on personal attacks to make your points.

            So far, Mr. Smyth has done nothing but slander and undermine the victims of child sexual abuse that was facilitated by his current Church. He even went so far as to suggest that criticisms of Covenant Life Church were part of a Satanic attack.

            I also don’t think that PJ Smyth had any serious interest in running a disreputable Church in the United States until he realized that he might face charges for allegedly helping his father cover up child abuse in the United Kingdom.

            If PJ Smyth is a Godly leader who respects the secular legal system, as you suggest, then he should quit hiding out in the U.S. and return to the U.K to face allegations that he enabled crimes there directly.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    3. Dee Parsons

      Question: How in the world do you know that PJ Smyth is a good man” who has had an “exceptional ministry?” If you know what went on behind closed camp doors, please let us know.

      If not, then allow those of us who are more experienced with this sort of things ask some serious questions. As for the *inference being brutal* child sex abuse is brutal and there are many out there who turn their eyes away from the allegations because there are “nice people” involved.

      I personally find it difficult that John Smyth successfully hid this from his family. It kind of reminds of Mrs Sandusky who claimed that no abuse happened in her home, ever and claimed that her husband was a great man.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        “Concerned’s” lack of concern for child sexual abuse victims is interesting.

        The whininess in his or her comments is not. PJ Smyth knew he was accepting a job at a Church with a proven sordid history of covering up child sexual abuse.

        Therefore, as a professional,he should have been prepared to face extensive critique and criticism regarding his new job.

        Portraying him as a helpless victim of meanie bloggers is pretty lame.

        Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
    4. Shy1

      By all means, let’s all forget that victims exist! Let’s forget that it’s our job to protect the next guy.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.