Everyone loves a good scandal, but there is something extra icky about a church scandal, especially when it involves sex. When you add the Duggars of TLC’s 19 Kids And Counting and well-known Christian Kirk Cameron into the mix, the story gets even juicier.
Doug Phillips resigned from Vision Forum Ministries last year after fessing up to an affair. Ministry supporters include Christians like the Duggars and Kirk Cameron. So, already the story isn’t off to a good start if a church leader has admitted to having an affair.
But it turns out that his so-called “affair” was much more sordid than he would have liked the public to believe:
Doug Phillips, a married father of eight, is a senior figure in the controversial Quiverfull movement, which preaches that women should keep giving birth until they can’t anymore and that both wives and daughters must live in submission at home.
The movement is followed by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s 19 Kids And Counting, they’ve attributed their 19 children to a Quiverfull belief that God is in control of the womb. Michelle Duggar received a Mother Of The Year award in 2010 from Vision Forum, Phillip’s ministry.
In a civil lawsuit filed against Phillips and Vision Forum on Tuesday, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, now 29, claims that she is the woman that Phillips had previously confessed about. She is suing for more than $1 million in damages over what she alleges was an abusive and manipulative relationship that caused her serious mental harm and distress.
Ick. This poor girl was only 15 years old when she first met Creepy McCreeperson Pastor Phillips—at a homeschooling conference. She alleges that he repeatedly groped and rubbed parts of her body, forced her to watch him masturbate on her, and ejaculated on her, according to the lawsuit. The abusive relationship took place over several years.
Phillips’ attorney denies the allegations, stating: “While it may be true that Mr. Phillips had an intermittent relationship with Mrs. Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, they never had the physical intimacy of touching and/or the exposure of genitalia, nor did the intermittent relationship escalate to sexual intercourse.”
I unfortunately have witnessed my share of church scandals. I had front row seats to the mega church New Life scandal involving Pastor Ted Haggard when I attended the church in Colorado Springs in 2006. The allegations turned into a run-of-the-mill gay sex and drugs scandal, and Haggard ultimately left the church.
In that situation as a “follower,” such crazy allegations were hard to believe, though they turned out to be true. I am in no way saying that the accusations against Phillips are true, but I’m also not saying they are false. Wouldn’t it be nice if a lawsuit like this against a church leader was totally off base and ridiculous? But more often than not, there is truth to the story.