Events of the past week have moved forward rapidly. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office seems to be taking the investigation of alleged sexual and physical abuse in Calvary Temple very seriously. Numerous news reports have been published, and the nationally known blog The Wartburg Watch has picked up the story. Calvary Temple is becoming a national headline. Local news stations are broadcasting every few days and news broke today that Frontline is doing a story even as I am writing this.
During the years Calvary Temple has been in existence, many of us have felt unable to tell our story. Reasons for being silent or unheard are varied. Some felt fearful of retaliation by the Calvary Temple leadership. Speaking out could be frightening, we knew there were consequences. We knew that if we did leave CT our only hope of speaking to family members or friends still inside was to avoid at all costs the heinous sin of "reaching in". None of us quite knew what that meant but we kept quiet in hope that somehow we would be one of the lucky ones. (we never were).
Our families were so relieved that we were finally out of CT, they really didn't want to rehash our stories day in and day out. We felt somewhat ashamed and embarrassed that we had fallen for the cult of Calvary and we were happy to put the whole sordid mess behind us. Years of hurting our families by having very little relationship with them is good enough reason to "just move on". In addition, we often felt we had no avenue to voice our concerns. Blogs were not as commonplace, and many older folks were not accustomed to social media. Some of us just didn't care anymore. After years in a spiritually abusive church there was little or no desire for some to pursue a spiritual life, feeling too wounded to try. Most of us had been labeled "bitter" - a convenient title for any "sin" ranging from telling the truth to warning our families to being angry for having our families destroyed. Character assassination can be a strong motivator to keep quiet.
Others tried to speak out as much as possible - and there were occasional glimpses of a crack in the Calvary Temple fortress. (The Washington Post Article and the blogs Against Calvary Temple, Dear Calvary Temple, and Tactics of Calvary Temple were the most effective). Many tried to speak out when they could, but all were aware there was a price to pay for going against Calvary Temple.
But now we have more than just a voice, we have many voices. The community of Sterling, VA has rallied around the victims of Calvary Temple and the nation is taking notice. The few that had carried the torch of speaking against Calvary Temple now have the support they desperately needed and deserved. People are listening and responding. Is the end near for Calvary Temple and its leadership?
For more information, including links to many protest events, resources and media attention, please see the Expose Calvary Temple website.
As a reminder - if you have anything to report to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, please note the following numbers:
For abuse of a non-sexual crimes please call: 703 777 1021
For abuse of a sexual crime please call: 703 777 0475
Please remember, even if you are not sure if your story qualifies as a "crime" - calling and telling your story contributes to the complete picture that investigators need to have.
And finally, thank you to the many people that have contributed to our cause. We are exceedingly grateful for all the support in ways too numerous to recount. I believe we will soon see the fruit of all our labor.