PJ Smyth’s Convenient Memory Loss

By | February 19, 2017

Covenant Life Church Members – it is your responsibility to determine whether PJ Smyth and CLC leaders are honest and trustworthy.  In your attempt to do so, ask yourself this question – if your father had been arrested for homicide, would you remember it?

“In 1997 he [John Smyth] was arrested over claims that he had killed Nyachuru. He also faced charges of injuring the dignity of five other boys who said they had been subjected to savage beatings.” (Link)

“In 1997, Mr Smyth was charged with culpable homicide after a 16-year-old boy was found at the bottom of a swimming pool in 1992. Several boys then came forward to claim he had beaten them with bats and forced them to swim naked as he watched,” (Link)

“When the leader decides to cover abuse, any value his ministry may have had has been lost, and the ministry will become a hollow shell.”
Tear Down This Wall of Silence: Dealing with Sexual Abuse in Our Churches
By Dale Ingraham and Rebecca Davis

“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.”
Comment on “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress” (Link)

Mark Mitchell – “PJ has been through a thorough examination process.”

PJ Smyth – “I had no knowledge of the specifics.”

 

When I was home I never saw or heard anything that led me to suspect my father was engaged in the activities alleged.

I attended a number of Zambesi Holidays camps and I was never aware of any abuse.

I am firmly committed to reporting any form of child abuse to authorities.

-PJ Smyth, “Open Letter from PJ Smyth” (Link)

 

Several weeks ago, I published an article titled “Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How To Pick’em” (Link). The article included the “video short”  by PJ Smyth, which is embedded above.  I questioned why PJ Smyth only discussed his time in the UK, curiously failing to mention his 17 years in Zimbabwe.

Shortly after I published the article I was made aware of a meeting which took place in Bulawayo,  Zimbabwe in June 1993. This meeting was requested by PJ Smyth. In attendance at the meeting were PJ Smyth, his father John Smyth, and a group of five men, one of whom was a human rights attorney. These five men had conducted an intensive investigation of John Smyth after charges of horrid abuse of young boys, including the drowning death of one boy, came to light.

At this meeting, a lengthy document containing the results of this five-man investigative team was discussed. The document included detailed accounts of alleged crimes perpetrated by John Smyth. Below is a lengthy quote which sheds further light on the matter.

 

“Zimbabwe’s top human rights lawyer David Coltart released details of some of the boys suffering within a 24-page report he released to Independent Newspapers.

More and more of Smyth’s victims have come forward to UK and South African journalists to tell their stories about the beatings and humiliation and sexual confusion they endured at his hands when they were vulnerable teenagers, all of which were in some way linked to his bizarre sexual behavior.

Coltart was asked by a group of churches in Bulawayo to investigate Smyth, his Zambezi Ministries and the holiday camps he established after arriving in Zimbabwe in 1984.

The churches in Bulawayo were approached by parents of some of the boys who had attended Smyth’s holiday camps. The churches then went to Coltart whose human rights work was well known.

His report details incidents the boys endured and interviews with trustees of Zimbabwe ministries.

Coltart’s report says that teenage Zimbabwe boys attending Smyth’s camp were regularly not allowed to wear underwear during the day or night and were forbidden to shut the door when they went to the toilet. Some were beaten and forced to walk around nude or skinny dip and bounce around naked on a trampoline watched by Smyth, who was also nude, but was then a middle-aged man.

Trampoline at Zambesi Holiday camp

The boys reported Smyth kept on talking to them about masterbation and was often around them naked, even when they were showering, or praying with them.

But on one camp, he clearly went too far, and some of the boys were greatly disturbed and confided in their mothers.

“They were miserable when we picked them up from camp near Harare. They told me they had been beaten,” said Stell Leanders, whose older son Rocky, who now lives in the UK, was on the camp that year with his younger brother and cousin.

He was 14 and the other two boys were just 13. She examined the boys at home and took them to a doctor who found bruises on one of their backsides a week after he had been beaten.

Although Smyth used a table tennis bat on these boys and others, he managed to break it on one boy’s backside on one of the camps.

There were five boys from that camp who complained about Smyth’s bizarre behaviour towards them and their parents then laid charges with police in Bulawayo.

The boys were all pupils at Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo. Their parents also went to see their church leaders in Bulawayo. And they in turn approached Coltart who said he was happy to do the report pro amicus.

Coltart’s report for the churches which included professional opinions from medical doctors was then released to all those concerned with Smyth’s activities in Zimbabwe, including principals of schools attended by many of the boys who would want to attend the camps. “We don’t know what happened to the charges against Smyth,” Coltart said.

Leanders said: “The charges just seemed to fade away. We understood that perhaps a deal was done that he would leave Zimbabwe.”

Coltart also met several of the trustees of the Zambesi Ministries and at the end of the report there were recommendations that Smyth cease all work with young people and seek professional help.

One boy who attended one of Smyth’s holiday camps in Zimbabwe died after skinny dipping in the pool at night. Smyth was charged with culpable homicide but the case was dismissed and he then left Zimbabwe in 1998.

…The couple live in Bergvliet but have not been seen outside their home. It is clear from Coltart’s report, that Smyth’s eldest son, PJ Smyth, a former head boy at one of Zimbabwe’s top private schools, knew there was some criticism of his father’s behaviour with teenage boys in Zimbabwe.

Source: Pressreader – The Sunday Independent, 12 Feb 2017 

Please note that Peta Thornycroft, the author of the article above, is a distinguished professional journalist who has written several other articles about the John Smyth case. You can read more information about her background here:

Peta Thornycroft

Peta Thornycroft

 

Guide Nyachuru, who died in mysterious circumstances. The 16-year-old boy was found dead at a Zimbabwean holiday camp.

PJ Smyth released a second statement on the Covenant Life Church website. In this statement he said:

“I was aware that a delegation of pastors and parents insisted that my father and the Board of Zambesi Holidays make adjustments to camp life, which they did. I was not involved with those interactions. I do clearly remember the tragic drowning of a fellow camper one year. It was devastating to his family and to all of us who knew him.”

Note the “I do clearly remember” above.  The importance of these words will be shown later.

Throughout all this, PJ Smyth said that he “attended a number of Zambesi Holiday camps and I was never aware of any abuse.”

When PJ wrote these words, I had highly credible information from my source that he was being deceitful. I then wrote my article titled “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress” and I stated:

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. 

After the June 1993 meeting at which the investigative team revealed to PJ and John Smyth their detailed findings, PJ Smyth wrote a letter to this team. In this letter, written in 1994, PJ Smyth stated he would continue to support his father based on the “Gamaliel principle.”

I must admit I have never heard of this principle, but my brother has written a short article on his blog which explains it. (Link)

 

This same team of five men from Zimbabwe emailed PJ Smyth a few weeks ago, reminding him of their meeting in 1993.

Uh oh.  What to do now? Remember the comment, left by a critic, that I led off this story with?  Please review it now, and you will see the commenter made good sense.

“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.”
Comment on “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress” (Link)

Yes indeed, PJ has placed himself in an extremely vulnerable position.

As I see it, PJ has two options. He can admit he lied in the statements he made and face the likely prospects of being removed from his job, or he can double down and claim some sort of amnesia.

Any guesses as to which option PJ would choose?

As I see it, CLC leadership also has two options. They can admit that their thorough investigation process of PJ wasn’t actually very thorough, demand the resignation of PJ Smyth,  and face the prospects of being removed from their jobs for incompetence, or they can double down and support PJ’s claim of amnesia, stand behind their man and offer their full support while PJ gets some counseling to help him re-process the last 30 years of his life, while reassuring the church members they will do another thorough check to make sure PJ really didn’t know of the problems of his father when they interviewed him for the job.

Any guesses as to which option the CLC elders would choose?

Well, you probably guessed it. Mark Mitchell and PJ Smyth held an informal Q&A session after the church service on both February 5th and 12th.  Mitchell related that Smyth is devastated by the news about his father.  After talking with the pastors from Zimbabwe poor old PJ can’t for the life of him remember the content of those discussions in 1993. Why he can hardly remember what the building looked like! So PJ is now attempting to figure out how to be transparent while realizing, much to his dismay, that he’s forgotten significant things.

Here’s some free advice on how to be transparent – tell the truth!

In the past few weeks, I have patiently waited to see if the truth would come out at Covenant Life Church. I enjoyed reading some hateful comments from those who were quite sure I was slandering their newest celebrity preacher.  Knowing the truth, it was an easy task to put up with the comments from those whom I assume were Covenant Life Church members.

 

Note: PJ Smyth claimed in Q&A meetings held at Covenant Life Church on February 5th and 12th that after recently talking with pastors from Zimbabwe he was devastated by the recent revelations about his father’s alleged horrible actions. He described it as having the wind knocked out of his sails and said he and his siblings failed to connect the dots over the years. He’s going to get some counseling to help re-process the last 30 years of his life.

PJ also said that even after recently talking with the Zimbabwe pastors he only remembers what the building looked like where the discussions were held, not the content of the discussions. He stated further that to his dismay he’s forgotten significant things.

Smyth’s words and actions appear problematic to me.  He asks us to believe that he can’t remember the content of the discussions in 1993 and that he and his siblings failed to connect the dots over the years.  Yet he wrote a letter to the 5-man investigative team in 1994, a minimum of seven months after the June 1993 meeting, defending his father based on the “Gamaliel principle.”

The 5-man investigative team responded with a letter to PJ Smyth written in February, 1994. Among other things, they asked PJ Smyth if he believed their report was accurate. PJ Smyth never responded.

Are we also to believe that PJ cannot remember that his father’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jonathan and Janet Brooks, both resigned from the Zambesi Trust that oversaw John Smyth’s mission in Zimbabwe in protest at his refusal to stop working with children? Indeed, the entire Board of Trustees resigned en masse! (Link)

Are we also to believe that PJ cannot remember that his father was arrested in 1997, charged with culpable homicide in the 1992 death of Guide Nyachuru, whose body was found in the camp swimming pool? (Link)

Please also remember that PJ wrote in his open letter on the CLC website that “I am firmly committed to reporting any form of child abuse to authorities.” A minimum of seven months after learning of the horrific abuse his father had committed PJ still remembered to write a letter in support of his father! It doesn’t appear he reported the abuse to authorities.

Do you remember the last Covenant Life employee who had memory problems?

“Shortly after police filed charges against Morales in July 2011, the self-proclaimed “man of God” told investigators he suffered from severe memory loss. The 56-year-old said his medical disability prevented him from recalling the period of time when the abuse occurred.
“I find that to be utterly unthinkable,” said Pam Plaisted, who had a short engagement to Morales during the late 1980s. “All of us who were there [in court] wanted to say, ‘Come on! You really are not faking this!’”
Judge McGann didn’t buy what the former minister was preaching either, saying:
“You can’t even bring your despicable self to admit your crime. So, you hide behind your phony self-diagnosis of amnesia. Mr. Morales, you are one pathetic human being.””


Update 2-22-2017:  Mark Mitchell just released a statement to CLC members on behalf of the elders. It is classic damage control, a technique in which Mark and his colleagues have a wealth of experience to draw from.  One wonders if these guys will ever be honest!

Other questions in this sordid affair, besides PJ Smyth’s claim to having no knowledge of the abusive ways of his father, deserve some looking into. I urge you to watch this five minute video of Cathy Newman from News 4 in the UK. (Link) Newman and her colleagues are largely  responsible for breaking the John Smyth abuse story. At around the 2:50 mark Newman interviews the former Zimbabwean prosecutor who was assigned to the John Smyth case. This prosecutor was questioned informally by a “friend” about whether he thought Smyth was guilty. It was a setup. His “friend” recorded the conversation and the prosecutor was quickly removed from the case for bias.

My source told me that the press erroneously has reported that the Smyth case was dismissed.  It has never been dismissed; the case was just allowed to “lapse.” Such is the state of the legal system in Zimbabwe. The question that should be asked is who was behind the efforts to set up the prosecutor and get him dismissed?

Additionally, John Smyth went to court in an attempt to have the case against him dismissed. The Attorneys General refused to do so, reportedly stating the case against Smyth was very strong.

The Govenor was then planning on deporting John Smyth to the UK. At this point Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, stepped in and squashed this attempt. It would appear John Smyth had some friends in high places.

I would recommend those interested in understanding how Zimbabwe works read a book titled “The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe” by  Peter Godwin. (Link)

In Matthew 16, Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. It is a wonderful pronouncement of God’s plan to always have a remnant of people on the earth through which he will work.

Yet too often we confuse God’s promise to always have a people with whatever local congregation we attend. It’s a dangerous misunderstanding.

Local congregations have life spans. They are born; they live; they die. It’s life. Like people, some live longer than others. Few things impress me more than a vibrant congregation that is 80, 90, or 100 years old. Most congregations do not have the ability to be effective for that long. Some do, and they should be commended. Most do not, and they should be closed.

While no church should be quick to close its doors, every church should feel the freedom to know its life is temporary. A day will come in which more can be done for the kingdom by closing than staying open. It’s true for most churches and it’s true for the church I pastor.

Churches are at their best when they are creating, building, fighting for a purpose. Churches are not effective when they are trying to sustain, pay the bills, or attempting to exist. In those moments too much energy is expended for the name of the church instead of for the name of Jesus. In those cases it may be better to close, to begin a new work, to redirect our energy.
“Some Churches Need To Die.” (Link) by Kevin A. Thompson

It’s time CLC.

27 thoughts on “PJ Smyth’s Convenient Memory Loss

    1. JLC

      Then there’s something wrong with you, dear. Churches and Pastors, like CLC and PJ Smyth, that harbor pedophile rings, are an embarrassment to Christianity and society in general.

      There’s no grey area on this subject for responsible adults.

      PJ Smyth should probably be facing criminal charges in the U.K. instead of being harbored as a “Pastor” in the U.S.

      In 10 years,I hope that Covenant Life Church, which is not really a Church but a for-profit entity masquerading as one, is long gone.

      How many kids have to be raped before you folks quit enabling these guys?

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  1. JLC

    Please see concrete proof that PJ Smyth has known, for many years, that his father was credibly accused of violently abusing boys placed in his care.

    Proof That PJ Is Lying

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

    Reply
  2. Velour

    Slight-off topic. But here’s the latest article by Jonathan Leeman at 9 Marks supporting Church Discipline, again.

    https://www.imb.org/2017/02/28/why-healthy-churches-in-every-context-practice-church-discipline/

    I say this as someone who was excommunicated and shunned from a 9 Marks/John MacArthur-ite church on some trumped up charge, like the good doctor before me in his 70’s and the godly woman in finance before the good doctor. Critical thinking skills = kicked out

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Hi Velour,
      Thanks for the link to yet another article by Jonathan Leeman on church discipline. The article is on the IMB website. The International Mission Board (IMB) is the Southern Baptist Convention’s mission board.

      Speaking of church discipline, I wonder if IMB president David Platt was ever disciplined for lying about his “Secret Church Simulcast” in Dubai?

      He stated that they would be broadcasting live (they were not live) from an undisclosed location (Redeemer Church of Dubai published a flyer promoting the event held in a Marriott Hotel in Dubai), and that in this place (Dubai) proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life. (Not true either literally or figuratively.)

      https://thouarttheman.org/2013/08/17/630/

      Oh well, as Pilate said, “What is truth?” Our celebrity Christian leaders have proven time after time that truth takes a back seat to making money. Platt’s lies made for an exciting, radical broadcast that served its purpose well – boosting sales of Platt’s latest book amongst his target audience of high school and college age American Christians.

      Reply
      1. Velour

        Wow, I did not know about Platt’s connections to Dubai. He really did exaggerate the dangers, didn’t he? Manipulative.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          In my experience, missionaries who work in genuinely dangerous areas seldom feel the need to brag about the hardships they face. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
    1. JLC

      Very true, yet often the cover-up of embarrassing situations wouldn’t seem necessary if people had prevented an underlying problem from happening by showing good judgment in the first place.

      The members of Covenant Life Church seem to want a good looking and charismatic lead Pastor, as opposed to one with character and substance.

      Yes, a person could meet all four of those criteria but that doesn’t happen often, in my experience.

      There’s usually a trade-off between finding someone who gets by doing little more than giving sermons because he’s charismatic, vs. someone who is serious about running a Church with integrity because he really feels called to be a Pastor.

      Mahaney, Harris, and Smyth have all turned out to be duds. If CLC does survive the PJ Smyth scandal, I hope they consider hiring a lead Pastor who is actually a grown-up, as opposed to being a corrupt goofball like the three men mentioned above.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. Lea

      Sometimes. But if your congregation is willing to accept obvious lies? You can just do that. Problem solved.

      Because there is no way PJ just couldn’t remember this conversation about how his own father was a total creeper unless they happened so frequently they just all blended together.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        The real question/hole in PJ’s defense of himself is as follows:

        Why didn’t PJ Smyth tell the civil authorities, whose authority he claims to respect, about the allegations against his father when he first heard them in 1993?

        Presumably, PJ didn’t immediately forget about a formal meeting in which he was told that his father was brutally beating kids.

        So why didn’t he quickly act to protect children if PJ wasn’t worried about covering for his father?

        Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
        1. Christian

          I have more questions:
          How much attention was PJ giving this meeting?

          He has heard his father’s name mentioned/talked about in public and at meetings all of his life – perhaps this wasn’t so unusual to PJ, assuming he was paying attention.

          Did PJ confer with his father after the meeting? What did his father say? Did his father lie/cover-up/downplay/deny the allegations? If so, what was PJ to believe of his own father?

          Who here would have run to the police at the conclusion of this meeting to report their own father? As a victim of child sexual abuse myself, I would hope that I would run to the police – but for my own father? (In fact, it was my own mother who sexually abused me. When the reality of what she did was no longer suppressed, she was bed-ridden and no danger to anyone. I did not call the police.)

          Did he think that others in authority at that meeting would follow up on this matter more adequately? Was he told this? How did this meeting conclude? It appears that changes were suggested to the camps. Did PJ think this would solve the problem?

          Is there not room to consider PJ, a soon-to-be married young man, pre-occupied with his own life, biased towards his own father, influenced by him, too close to be objective? He attends the meeting, in and out, no follow-up, and forgets about it…

          All of this and more……..I believe it is entirely possible that PJ is telling the truth.

          Reply
          1. JLC

            First of all, I’m sorry to hear about the abuse you suffered.

            Second, I’m confused, Christian. The excuses you’re making for PJ seem to have nothing to with whether or not he’s lying, which is what we discussed before.

            PJ has said publicly that he believes child abuse should be reported to the civil authorities.

            He didn’t add the disclaimer, “unless the alleged perpetrator is a member of your family.”

            Or the disclaimer, “unless reporting it is inconvenient for you.”

            Lastly, there’s no question that PJ and the other CLC Pastors are enabling child sexual abuse at the Church right now whether you’re willing to accept that fact or not.

            I’m not comfortable having a Church that harbors a pedophile ring in my community.

            Therefore, I will continue to do my best to warn people that CLC is a menace to children.

            End of story. Thanks.

            Janna L. Chan ( blog team member)

          2. JLC

            Why are you addressing these questions to me instead of PJ, Christian? Is PJ unwilling to answer them?

            Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

          3. 2samuel127 Post author

            Christian,

            I believe it was a previous comment of yours which I featured in this article. You stated:

            “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.”

            PJ must love you.

            “It is possible that victim advocacy is inherently impossible in a culture like SGM’s.”
            -T.F. Charlton, March 6, 2013
            A Church Group, A Lawsuit and A Culture of Abuse
            Religion Dispatches http://religiondispatches.org/a-church-group-a-lawsuit-and-a-culture-of-abuse/

      2. JLC

        Yes, and given that PJ Smyth is indisputably enabling child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church now in many ways, that include implying that victims and their advocates are part of a Satanic attack, it’s not hard to believe that he has no moral problem with covering up his father’s crimes.

        I think that PJ’s father trained him well.

        Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
  3. Steve240

    Well if CLC is really on hard times financially what business are they doing renting space from Sovereign Grace Church (the part of the CLC building that SGC owns)? According to the SGC financial statement CLC paid around $20K in 2015 and 2016 for that use.

    I don’t think I have seen a CLC statement recently but are they really in that bad of financial trouble?

    Reply
    1. JLC

      CLC was paid 1.8 milion dollars by SGM in advance for that space, Steve. I think that the rental money they collect and distribute to SGM is an informal way of compensating SGM for that pre-paid lease money, so it doesn’t terminate the agreement.

      CLC could also be renting the space to someone else and giving SGM the cash it collects from that agreement.

      CLC cannot formally terminate its lease agreement with SGM unless it agrees to pay a penalty fee in excess of 1.3 million dollars. It probably doesn’t have that much cash on hand right now.

      I haven’t seen any formal financial statements from CLC either, and I wouldn’t trust what’s in one even if I had.

      Based on what I’ve pieced together using other sources, it looks like CLC has borrowed 5 million dollars against the value of its Church building since 2011.

      At one point, the CLC Pastors released a statement indicating that the Church only had two months worth of operating resources on reserve. But as I said, I don’t trust the CLC Pastors to be honest about anything.

      As for unwise expenditures, it probably cost at least $100,000 to move PJ Smyth from South Africa to the U.S.

      Smyth appears to have been a risky investment that is not paying off very well.

      So yes, I think that Covenant Life Church is in bad financial shape.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Steve240

        Janna

        The money that SGM paid CLC was basically a condo type arrangement where SGM owns a certain part of the space. SGM then has to pay CLC a portion of the building maintenance costs including utilities for the portion SGM owns.

        CLC doesn’t have to pay SGM this rent but for whatever reason chose to do so. With CLC’s declining numbers I wonder why they need to rent this space. I am sure the lease amount CLC pays is relatively small compared to the church’s overall budget.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Hi Steve,

          I agree with what you’ve said. The arrangement is complicated but SGM, the former parent denomination of Covenant Life Church, paid about $1.8 million dollars to lease space in CLC’s building for a 99-year term. SGM vacated the building without providing the notice it appears to have been required to submit per the contract it signed, but that issue is fuzzy.

          The short answer is that CLC does not appear to be contractually obligated to pay give SGM approximately $20,000 a year for any reason. I agree that $20,000 is likely not a significant portion of CLC’s business, but it would feed a lot of needy people in Haiti. Therefore, Covenant Life Church members should probably ask their Pastors why a portion of their tithe money is being given to Sovereign Grace Ministries.

          Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
  4. LInn

    A large charismatic church in my area in the 90s (I shall keep it anonymous because they have made so many policy improvements) weathered a major abuse scandal of the youth pastor involving boys and sleep-overs. The church was upfront, offered counseling, cooperated with authorities, and one of the perpetrators is still in jail. Because the church faced the situation head-on and dealt with the hard questions as well as making important policy changes, it is still active and doing God’s redemptive work in my area. Facing the truth is so much healthier, although not necessarily easier. But, people recognize efforts that a church or organization takes to rectify the situation, and they usually won’t permanently abandon them.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, Linn. I agree. In this Church’s case, it would need to start by publicly apologizing to all the child sexual victims it has helped create over the past 40 years.

      Right now it appears to be claiming they’re all liars involved in a Satanic plot to destroy the Church’s ministry in general, and its new Pastor in particular.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team members)

      Reply
  5. Bill M

    “As I see it, PJ has two options.

    As I see it, CLC leadership also has two options.”
    I would add a third option, stonewall, both will likely attempt it first. Unless called to account by members, the stonewall option usually works. All that is needed is to survive six month and the allegations can then be dismissed as “old news” and ignored. Is there anyone remaining at CLC that can break the pattern?

    Reply
    1. JLC

      You have a good point, Bill. The problem, in my view, is that CLC may not have six months of resources left, and PJ Smyth is now a permanent liability, not an asset, to the Church.

      CLC was expecting PJ Smyth to bring in new members because they think he’s more charismatic than their other current Pastors. The Church has been heading toward bankruptcy at least since uber-charismatic Pastor Josh Harris abandoned it abruptly.

      Unfortunately for CLC, the John Smyth case is both disgusting and unlikely to go away anytime soon, as he appears to be hiding in South Africa to avoid facing justice in the U.K. At some point, I think that the U.K. will try to have John Smyth extradited and Interpol may even get involved with his case.

      So this scandal will not blow over soon.

      In addition, PJ Smyth’s convenient and highly questionable claim that he can’t remember a formal meeting in which he was told that his father was brutally beating children, along with his childish assertion that all criticisms of Covenant Life Church can only be attributed to a Satanic attack, make him seem unfit to be a responsible Pastor of any Church right now, in my view.

      How can anyone trust PJ Smyth to protect their children from abuse until he resolves the credible allegations he faces of covering up his father’s brutal beating of young people?

      PJ Smyth needs to return to the U.K. and tell the police there everything he knows about his father’s alleged crimes.

      PJ Smyth’s visa can be easily revoked for any reason. If he appears to be hiding in the U.S. to avoid being held responsible for crimes he’s credibly accused of committing in other countries, then he should not be allowed to remain in the U.S., in my view.

      All this ickiness and uncertainty makes CLC a very unappealing Church to attend right now. There are at least 15 more reputable Evangelical Churches in the Washington D.C. area.

      Todd is right. It’s time for CLC to close its doors and encourage people to attend other Churches. Its Pastors and members can do that now with some dignity, or they can acknowledge that their Church is defunct when it goes bankrupt in six months.

      Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    1. JLC

      Hi Joel, thanks for commenting. I don’t know why PJ Smyth, in the video above, does not call his father’s alleged horrific abuse of children “child abuse.”

      In my view, any reasonable and responsible person would conclude that the brutal beatings in question could not constitute a legitimate form of discipline, as PJ Smyth suggests.

      PJ Smyth also refrains from addressing the allegations of sexual abuse, facing his father, in the video above.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  6. JLC

    Hello Readers:

    This site has revised its comment policies. Please review them prior to submitting comments. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    Comment Policy

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.