A Statement Concerning Naked Pastor David Hayward and The Lasting Supper

UPDATE, 07/22/2015: David Hayward, has issued an apology and statement concerning former community members’ accusations: http://goo.gl/mLGWPw. Former members call the apology and statement inadequate: https://goo.gl/yAUCHD.

It pains me greatly to say this, but I cannot in good conscience remain silent any longer:

David Hayward, the satirical religious cartoonist known as the “Naked Pastor,” is not a safe person for abuse survivors. And his online community, The Lasting Supper, is not a safe space for them, either.

It pains me to say that because Hayward was one of several outspoken advocates for Julie McMahon, the ex-wife of Tony Jones who courageously fought earlier this year to make public her allegations of domestic abuse. At that time, Hayward appeared to understand the reality of abuse, the dynamics of abuse, and how to be sensitive and welcoming to abuse survivors in his interactions with McMahon.

But riding on the coattails of abuse survivors for page views and being an advocate and friend to abuse survivors are two very different beasts. They often look the same, and someone skilled at the use, misuse, and abuse of marginalized people groups can easily make one look like the other. More and more individuals and former members of Hayward’s online community, The Lasting Supper, are stepping forward with their stories of being taken advantage of by Hayward, having their stories of heartache and trauma mined for his cartooning business, and gaslit when calling him out for his actions. He has even allegedly stolen stories from abuse survivors and written their stories “for them” without their permission.

I don’t want this to be true. It hurts when someone you thought was safe — someone so skilled at talking the talk — is in fact unsafe. But it hurts far more to those intimately and devastatingly betrayed by Hayward than it does for me. And I believe the words of Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” So I refuse to be silent. I refuse to let my dear friends stand alone in their confrontation of Hayward. I refuse to let Hayward whitewash his actions and pretend abuse survivors are “haters” and “abusers” for speaking up.

I refuse to let Hayward get away with being another progressive leader who only cares about abuse when it furthers his bottom line. I refuse to let him continue making cartoonish mockeries of other progressive leaders when he acts just like those cartoons when confronted with wrongdoing.

Hayward has apparently forgotten what it means to take abuse seriously.

Background

The stories of my friends — survivors of abuse who have also considered Hayward a friend — begin several years ago. They connected with Hayward through other online communities intended to be spaces for survivors of spiritual abuse. They found an ally and protector in Hayward when his post against Tony Jones — the infamous “Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?” post — went viral after Jones’s ex-wife, Julie McMahon, commented on the post with allegations of domestic violence. Hayward positioned himself as someone who understood the dynamics of abuse. People like McMahon — and others who had similar experiences of being alienated from churches due to being abused — saw Hayward and his online community, The Lasting Supper, as a safe person and a safe space. In fact, The Lasting Supper — which charges participants $7 a month to be in a private Facebook group — billed itself as a safe space for survivors (“a safe online community”, “a safe place”, “creating safe spaces for people”).

Many of these people, despite misgivings, paid the money to join Hayward’s safe space — which turned out to be anything but safe. Survivors of abusive homeschooling upbringings were attacked when arguing for the importance of reporting child neglect to the proper authorities. Survivors of spiritual abuse were attacked when trying to communicate they were triggered by a self-proclaimed prophetess who claimed an alien pearl inhabited her body and informed her about the end of times. Some members were sent frightening, threatening messages by other members. Queer members had to experience other members calling their sexuality “repulsive.” In each case, Hayward sided not with the abuse survivors or those harassed but with the ones abusing and harassing. You can read full testimonies from three former members here, here, and here.

In the midst of this, as survivors begged Hayward to make good on his promise of a safe space, Hayward began blocking them, deleting their comments, and ignoring their appeals. They attempted reconciliation; he refused. They tried to build bridges; he burned them as quickly as he could. He used his own failings to make The Lasting Supper safe for survivors to justify his abrupt abandonment of Julie McMahon and online teams assembled to defend her. But he made one promise: “I promise not to remove posts or comments.”

He failed at even that one simple promise.

Changing Tunes

On March 15, 2015, in the midst of Hayward’s defense of Julie McMahon’s right to speak out against her ex-husband Tony Jones, Hayward had no problem with saying abuse survivors have a right to speak up. His cartoon, “Policing Complaints,” came with the blog title, “why abusers police how the abused file complaints.” Hayward wrote,

It never ceases to amaze me how many rules there are for how people who’ve been abused should act. Especially in the church! You’d think the church would be afloat with ethics for how those in power should treat people and what they should do if they violate those ethics.

But no! Instead, we have an endless list of ethics for how the abused should and shouldn’t act, what they should and shouldn’t say, and how long they have to do it in.

You’re too angry. You’re too hysterical. You’re too persistent. When are you going to let it go? You should forgive. You’re being mean. You say they’re trying to silence you but you’re trying to silence them. Turn the other cheek. You’re bitter. Do you have to swear? That’s not very Christian. He hurt you but now you’re hurting him so you’re no better. You’re creating division in the Body of Christ. You’re being vindictive. On and on. The endless list of rules on how the alleged abused should file their complaints is astounding. All to silence the victims and survivors.

Hayward then reiterated his commitment to the right of abuse survivors to speak in a comment, saying,

I do not delete comments. Nor do I edit them. The usual tactic of those who support power is to exit the conversation when it gets too hot, or delete comments, or close comments, or ask others to delete comments or posts. It’s all about the control of information.

Image here:

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Hayward’s alleged dedication to not deleting comments also came with an attack against another blogger who closed down his comments section. In a thread on the Facebook page for the Stuff Christian Culture Likes community, Hayward said closing one’s comments section is “a common tactic of those who protect the insidious practice of silencing victims” (image was sent to me with the blogger’s name redacted)

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Text is,

Well… it seems that [redacted] has closed comments on his blog. This seems to be a common tactic of those who protect the insidious practice of silencing victims. Very frustrating! [redacted] and others can’t seem to grasp the groundswell of frustration that so many people are experiencing with the systems of power… its privileges and abuses. It’s like Wall Street. The protests seemed insanely useless, a sterile hippy attempt to be heard and affect change. Those in power just watch and wait for the frustration to fizzle out or cold weather to set in. Then they send in the police to clean up the mess. Nothing changes and those in power know it. So of course places like SCCL and nakedpastor sound angry and shrill and petty and useless. It’s because we are voices crying in the wilderness to affect change in the city center. Those in power and their protectors, like [redacted], realize that if we just ignore those hysterical voices that it will marginalize them and prevent them from creeping in to the locus of power to disturb their authority and its benefits.

Of course, this was when the target of abuse survivors speaking up was Tony Jones and when Hayward had the chance to portray himself as a “voice crying in the wilderness” against Jones. But when abuse survivors began speaking up about Hayward’s mistreatment of them, suddenly Hayward changed tunes. He began deleting comments and shutting down his comments section on his July 11, 2015 post, “trust is earned, not demanded,” where former members of The Lasting Supper — who are abuse survivors themselves — spoke out against Hayward. Images of those interactions — which Hayward has since deleted — are below:

Hayward also deleted perfectly reasonable dissents from his Facebook page. For example,

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Text is,

To my friends who are still in the Lasting Supper, I wish you all well but I can’t be silent. David has no intention to do what is necessary to create a safe space. I believe posts like this are deceptive and will lure more people in who join with the false impression that is is a safe space. If he wants to advertise an environment where you are free to explore any and all ideas, fine. Just add a disclaimer. I don’t wish David ill will but at this point he is willfully ignorant of what a safe space is and needs to stop suggesting TLS is safe.

All these comments — from his Facebook page and blog — are now deleted. As Hayward himself said, “It’s all about the control of information.”

Gaslighting

But Hayward has not only deleted and silenced the voices of abuse survivors. He has also publicly represented them in dishonest, negative, and gaslighting ways. On July 9, Hayward created a cartoon entitled “Betrayed By Authority.” In the text he revealed there had been unrest in The Lasting Supper, but in true, self-protective, self-serving manner, acted as if there was nothing he could do or could have done about those feeling betrayed by him:

I am passionate about community. I am passionate about leaders having integrity. When I typed the title “Have you been betrayed by your leaders?” I was painfully aware that there are people who feel they have been betrayed by me. This causes a great deal of pain in my heart, and I wish there were ways I could repair those relationships. I’m also aware, because I’ve been on the receiving end of betrayal, that the erosion of trust is completely understandable and should be respected. I have to keep reminding myself, and my good mentors always remind me too, that even though I make mistakes and even though I have my own deep-seated issues, this doesn’t disqualify me from being passionate about healthy leadership and communities.

This is straightforward gaslighting. Hayward says he “wishes there were ways” he could repair relationships with homeschool abuse and sexual abuse survivors from his community who have felt their hearts ripped out of their bodies by him. Yet he rejected their efforts to repair the relationship and he made zero efforts to repair them himself. He blocked those people, deleted their comments, lied about deleting their comments, and refused to engage them. For example, Wende, a former TLS member, messaged the following to Hayward on Facebook:

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Hayward did not respond. Instead he unfriended and blocked the her as well as her spouse. He then sent an email to them saying he was worried about his “safety” and the messages were “aggressively abusive” and he “felt harassed.” He claimed he “only proved myself supportive of you guys over and over again right until the end.” However, Jason, another abuse survivor and former TLS member, says Hayward “never tried to listen to us…. Like the sheepdog in this picture, he refuses to protect the vulnerable members of his group.” Jason adds that, “We have tried to engage David privately and he refused to listen. We tried to engage publicly and he deletes and blocks, calling us abusers. There is no path to resolve any disagreements with David himself.”

Hayward is pulling classic abuser techniques right out of Tony Jones’s backpack, all while claiming he cares about “healthy leadership and communities.” If he cared, he would do better. Caring is not enough. You need to actually do better.

On July 12, Hayward continues to paint those confronting him as “haters” on Twitter. Benner calls Hayward out for twisting the truth, with no reply from Hayward:

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Hayward’s July 13 cartoon, entitled “sheep follow,” shows Hayward effortlessly shifting into a persecution complex, accusing abuse survivors of “attacking” him:

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You’ll notice that he prefaces his claims of persecution with the phrase “while on vacation,” in an attempt to milk pity from his readers. Text is,

While on vacation, I’ve discovered that some people are engaged in attacking me, the nakedpastor, and The Lasting Supper. For the sake of my peace of mind and to respect my wife and family during my vacation, I’m going to stop comments on my blog posts until I return on the 18th of July. 

So now abuse survivors, who were ganged up on, harassed, gaslit, and traumatized by Hayward and members of his community he refused to call out, are “haters.” They are “attackers.” They are “ruiners of vacations.” And oh my goodness it got so bad he had to turn off comments — which he never does because that would be controlling information like an abuser does. Except for those comments he already deleted.

And except for the fact that he used his vacation as an excuse to shut down the conversation.

Falsehoods

He admitted this very thing in The Lasting Supper. In the midst of trying to figure out what to do as former members were speaking up about their experiences in the community, Hayward “came up with a great idea”: use his vacation as a reason to shut it all down.

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As Danica, a former TLS member writes,

In short, what David Hayward says and what David Hayward does are two very separate things.

Concluding Thoughts

Like Hayward, I help run an online community. Unlike Hayward, I would never dream of charging money to join it. (He charges $7 a month for participation in a Facebook group!) That alone shocks me. It is a big red flag.

However, like Hayward’s, the community I have the honor of helping to facilitate is a designated safe space for homeschool alumni and abuse survivors — survivors of emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse. It also strives to be a safe space for LGBT* homeschooled alumni. I know it takes a lot of work to make a space safe, and I don’t pretend that my community has achieved perfect safety. While a childhood abuse survivor myself, I am privileged in many ways and I have a lot to learn when it comes to identities I am less familiar with — LGBT* identities and the identities of people of color and what needs to be done to make spaces safe for them. But I am learning. I know I make mistakes. But the best thing I can do is admit and own when I’ve made them, apologize, educate myself on the areas I failed in, and double my efforts to do better in the future.

That’s how a space grows and becomes safer.

Hayward has failed at this most crucial aspect of safe spaces and online communities: humility to admit when he’s messed up. And a commitment to do better. Because of this, he has deeply wounded some of the most prophetic, courageous abuse survivors I have the honor to know. He has taken the trust they so graciously placed in him and he has stepped on that trust over and over. He has gaslit them, lied to and about them, and thrown the one label at them that he knows would hurt them the worst: being “abusive.”

The Naked Pastor is indeed naked — not because of humility or transparency, but because he has no clothes.

And David, if you’re reading this: I don’t hate you. And none of these people hate you, either. We are asking you to do better. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

*****

Addendum 1: Statement by Former TLS Member Danica

Addendum 2: Statements by Former TLS Member Jason

Addendum 3: Statement by Former TLS Member Wende

*****

Trigger warning: Please don’t read the comments section below if you find people attacking abuse survivors speaking out triggering.

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417 thoughts on “A Statement Concerning Naked Pastor David Hayward and The Lasting Supper”

  1. Doug, you said I would abuse people the way I was abused. You said it behind my back. Explain.

    And explain the dynamic there that makes it ok.

      1. Do you fully understand? You just lied. And you just planted a full on hypocritical post in defense of your pastor whom you just met with, and posted selfies with. Are you ready to expose TLS to this degree?

    1. Not would. Have. I personally feel that you and others abused me on your FB page. That’s why I left.

      It appeared to me (and I say appeared because I don’t know your heart and I’m not in your head) that you have become what you are warring against. Which is sad.

  2. I was a part of TLS when this happened and had been for about a month. I saw the homeschool abuse thread go down and, because of it, was able to identify for the first time that I had suffered (unwittingly on the part of my mother) homeschool abuse of my own. I have been triggered and hurt by all of this, and I have greatly benefitted from all of it as well.

    For quite a while, I remained confused about why the “7 or 8 or 9” cared so much and I had to work hard to sort out what had actually happened. This involved remaining in TLS for almost a month afterward, and reading things written there, while also engaging in conversation with Danica, the Benners, and the Mills. The hardest thing I’ve done so far has been to set down all my ideas about what happened to *me* and try to understand what happened to *them*. I asked some questions and seriously spent a lot of time figuring out where I stood in all of it.

    I’ve figured it out.

    David did not handle this situation well at all. It was botched from the very beginning. He sent one brief message that basically asked everyone to just stop arguing until his return, which at that point, was almost a full week later. Did he really expect a group of 250+, many of whom were triggered, to do that? This is your first clue that David has no formal understanding nor training about abuse or triggers.

    Who the admin were was also unclear in the beginning. I remember people continually asking, even halfway through the week, “Are there any admin in this group?” Why were the admin not pointed out to us from the beginning? I had no idea there were admin prior to any of this and I had been there for a full month and already survived one big argument.

    Basically, I’m saying that it became incredibly obvious very quickly, that in all his time spent creating this community, he had never put into place ANY action plans for when arguments arose. I can’t even believe it now as I type it. There was no action plan. There was no knowledge of how to handle abuse victims. There was no knowledge of how to handle triggers. There were no hard and fast rules about how to handle ANY situation in which people became triggered by other people and reacted emotionally. He didn’t have the knowledge himself, he didn’t share any knowledge with his admin, and he did not hire on anyone to hold this knowledge for him or the group.

    He claimed this place was a safe space (something that has a specific meaning in the context of support groups and is not just a mumbo-jumbo term being thrown around) and did absolutely make it seem as though abuse survivors, in particular, were welcome there. I remember this very clearly because, not being a survivor of very heavy abuse, I wasn’t sure if it was a place I could feel comfortable at first. And then ran rough shod right over the abuse survivors. He took the side of the alien pearl, over the triggered and abused. He took the side of those crying that we all needed to be nice and value unity/community over the triggered and abused. I know this because I was one of the people crying that we all needed to be nice and value unity.

    Obviously, I have since changed my mind.

    I don’t think I will ever understand how he could have been this irresponsible. In my mind, this is seriously reprehensible. He invited abuse survivors into a “safe space”, and then allowed them to be triggered, and subsequently dismissed and silenced, then ended up blocking them, some without even responding to their confused messages. This happened. I’m not sure how it can be refuted, but it is.

    I’ve been afraid to say these things. Members of TLS don’t want to hear them, and I get that. If TLS is working for you, that’s great. It was working for me, too, for a while. I remember rolling my eyes at first when Reuben started “bashing” David. Even then, I felt that David had handled things badly, but Reuben’s response seemed over the top to me. Until I started to read and understand what was going on. David is playing the victim. He’s complaining that these “haters” are being mean to him when all he wanted was to settle things peacefully and nicely. He’s saying he just HAD to block people because they were being abusive!

    In my mind, if all that had happened was David creating a space he claimed was safe, and then having it turn out not to be safe, that would be enough for him to lose MAJOR credibility in my eyes. But when he went on to block people, to play the victim, to call abuse victims “haters”, and to refuse to respond to genuinely confused and upset messages from those he was marginalizing.. I just can’t with that. TLS was working for me and I had to leave. I’m still sad about it, and I miss it sometimes, but this isn’t about me. It’s time to start asking some real and serious questions, and being ready for real and serious answers, because what happened here isn’t a bunch of lies made up by “crazy” people. It actually happened, and I was there to see it.

    1. Oh Catie. Catie! You’ve made me cry. Thank you so incredibly much for these words. For you listening heart. For your generous soul. You have turned the light on in my heart.

      Thank you for your courage to say what I know you were scared to say (I know because I was scared when I spoke, too). All the love.

      1. Danica – I literally think every day about you encouraging me and giving me space to have a voice, even when I was scared. Literally every day. My life is so much different now than it was those weeks ago, because I’ve been giving myself space for my own voice. So much has changed. And you encouraged me to do that. So, all the love to you, too. I appreciate you in ways you might not ever know. 🙂

    2. Catie, I cannot thank you enough. The way you have listened, even when you were uncomfortable, through this mess has meant the world to me. Your openness and caring heart are beautiful.

      I admire the bravery and courage it took to say all that. I know that wading into all this is scary. Thank You! ❤

      1. Thank you, Wende. I so appreciate your words and the patience you’ve given in helping me understand all of these things. I imagine it hasn’t been easy on your part to keep speaking up, but it really did help change my perspective and give me a different take on things. ❤

  3. I was there. For the mess. I was there afterwards. I was also on some of the detractors of TLS’s private pages. I think I still am for some.

    There are two sides to this story. To these stories. I will say that I unfriended one particular person because it became obvious to me that all they wanted was for me to jump on they’re “David is a horrible person” bandwagon. I found myself repeating myself over and over and ended up feeling like someone being controlled by a puppetmaster who was going to continue to jerk strings until I moved the way they wanted me to.

    RL Stollar, I am happy to discuss this with you, but I’m not going to here, not because I want to silent anyone, but because I know firsthand how quickly I can become attacked if I disagree with individual perspectives.

  4. First I want to apologize to those I have inadvertently hurt. It was never my intention to hurt anyone in all of this. However I will be the first to admit intentions do not negate the hurt. Molie and Bru especially please accept my apologies if my vocal concerns about the toxicity of the group were triggering to you.

    I want to acknowledge that I am very aware abuse survivors can and often do hurt one another. I have had it happen to me and I have done it unintentionally. Abuse survivors often have varied and ways of dealing with life that can be at odds with how others deal with situations. For a group the size of TLS that has many survivors David should have had significantly more admins than the two he left in charge in his absence. The lack of clear guidelines and training for the admins only further complicated the situation. With David’s revised Table Etiquette guidelines he has made an even less safe environment for those who are marginalized and abused. If TLS admins dealt with the situation promptly and with proper conflict resolution techniques the situation would not have deteriorated like it did. I don’t blame the admins, I blame David.

    I do however feel I need to reiterate that calling out abuse, silencing and marginalization is not abusive. People may have been triggered by my strong reaction to some of the comments made but I do not apologize for speaking up for those who were ganged up on. Not allowing conflict does not make a safe group, quite the contrary, it makes for a group led by mob rule.

    I came to TLS with no false expectations for therapy or to be trigger free. I was however hoping to find a group that would be supportive as I tried to sort out who I am and what I believe. I was looking for a group where safety was more than a word only used for the freedom of all ideas, no matter how harmful. During the blow up I was horrified to see people defending the freedom to make sexist, racist, or homophobic statements and that spiritually abusive theologies of Marc Driscoll, Tony Jones, and Bill Gothard would be all welcome. When it was made clear that all those things were welcomed but not dissent of those ideas, I realized that the group was not safe for me. I believe some ideas by their very nature are dangerous and need to be exposed. When I left the group, it was with the hope that when David came back from his vacation he would sort out what happened and try to restore balance. I was wrong. When he came back he posted his first of many passive aggressive cartoons, privately lied to me and then emailed his letter to the group declaring his silencing verdict.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I came because I did meet some truly wonderful people. I know there are groups who work to make their place safe for those who would otherwise have no voice. We need to notice and listen to those who normally just stand in the corner and quietly listen to horrific things being said about them. We need to listen to the concerns of those who were horribly affected by abusive homeschooling or cult environments. These are people who see things that we normally might not understand.

    I’m reminded of people who watched the Duggars and thought what a quaint wholesome family while my wife was ignored and even harassed for suggesting that they weren’t all that they seemed. No one tried to listen that she was from the same fucked up cult that the Duggars promote. We need to do a better job of listening to those who are normally silenced. And for all David Hayward’s talk about listening to the marginalized, he sure doesn’t like to listen to his own advice.

    I find it horribly ironic how similar these reactions are to followers defending Marc Driscoll or other abusive leaders. Some don’t realize how they have left one messed up leader for another and will defend them to the death. It doesn’t matter how many or how few people are rolled over, as long as you are on the bus you think you are all safe. And we are just the poor shmucks getting run over.

    Anger and using profanity is not the same thing as abuse. It is a great disservice to conflate the two. Pretty much everyone here ignored our concerns and is now attacking us in defense of David. Expressing these concerns are not attacks on any of you or David. Did I unintentionally hurt good people? Yes and for that I am truly sorry. I will not however apologize for calling out the abusive and unsafe culture David has created.

  5. Hey everybody. I consider Ryan Stollar a dear friend. So I have an obvious bias. But I am also somebody who has endured parental abuse, both physical and emotional. I care about social justice and abuse deeply. But although i have spent significant time exploring Christianity and religion, I am now an atheist and never was subject to spiritual abuse. My background is Catholic, but neither of my parents tried to force that on me more than making me go to church most Sundays until I was about 12.

    As an outsider to the specific issuesv here, I hope to try to help open communication and promote peace. I do not think anybody is saying that TLS should not be an open forum. But if that’s the case, it should be presented that way. Like reddit, but with a closed community and a confidentiality agreement.

    But even if that’s the case, community leaders are called to a higher standard. Especially when they charge admission.

    It sounds like a lot of you got hurt by each other on both sides. But none of you have control over the community. There is one person who does, and he expects payment for the privilege of his leadership. Ryan had made substantiated criticisms of his decisions. As of now I agree with Ryan’s analysis. But the focus of this discussion should be about what Ryan presented abut David’s actions. Either the evidence should be challenged directly, point by point, with other substantiated claims, . Or you should argue went David was right. Saying that the evidence does not count because you think the source s a bully provides me with buying, as an outsider. The magnificent 7 could be complete abusive jerks. But if they speak truth, the evidence is still good.

    I think all of you might have a lot in common. It’s hard to call a cease fire w when feelings are legitimately hurt. But I firmly believe Ryan Stollar sees David or TLS in black and white terms. It takes courage to stand up in your own community and talk about the dark side of the systems and people we love and respect. Especially when you know your own slate isn’t clean.

    I do not think Ryan’s goal is to cast stones. I think he is just asking for reform. And I know if his facts are wrong, he’ll reconsider.

    Hmmmm.

    1. Hi, Mike! Many of the people who have spoken up about David Hayward’s bad behaviour are my friends. Annie, Danica, etc., I have known Mike online for close to 15 years, first via a message board and more recently via Facebook. It’s interesting to see people I know from totally different places meeting and interacting.

  6. After reading through the comments as an outsider to the TLS community, but as someone who has put in the blood, sweat and tears of moderating online forums, and who has spent time everywhere from the wild west of 4Chan to intentionally safe spaces, one thing has stood out to me.

    This ended with hurt feelings all around because the nature of the space David created made it inevitable.

    David created a forum where anyone can say what they want but nobody is allowed to disagree. That’s fundamentally unsustainable. It’s a community structure that creates a facade of harmony when hurts are festering beneath the surface. There is no way that a community structured that way can continue long term without either giant blowups or people being banned at the first sign of dissent.

    The fact that you’re all here fighting this out is proof that the structure David set up isn’t working.

    The Benners and Danica aren’t the reason TLS melted down. They’re just the ones who ran into the fundamental flaw in the system. It could have been any one of you who inadvertently ran into that flaw, but make no mistake, as long as the structural problems in community design remain, it’s going to blow up again.

    That brings me to David’s role in all this. If he was handling this in a healthy manner, he’d step back, realize that there are flaws in the way he set up the group, and he’d take steps to fix it. Instead, he’s chosen to blame the people who uncovered the inevitable flaws in the system for problems rooted in the nature of the group. He’s responded by calling people abusers and by gaslighting them, so that none of the hurts can be be dealt with and worked through. Drawing cartoons attacking people and writing passing aggressive blog posts is not a healthy way to handle conflict. It’s toxic and it sets the tone for continuing toxicity and conflict.

    You can’t solve problems by sticking your fingers in your ears, pretending they don’t exist, and lashing out at the people who point out there’s a problem. And you certainly don’t solve them by repeating the same unhealthy patterns that you got famous by criticizing.

  7. I don’t belong to TLS so I didn’t witness any of the interactions mentioned here. But I follow David’s blog and the NP FB page and I am concerned and want answers.

    One thing I notice is people criticizing Stollar for writing this keep trying to minimize the stories people are telling about their own abuse by stressing it’s “only” 7 or 8 or 9 people out of hundreds. I don’t know about you, but I think abuse should be taken seriously even if it only impacts 7 people. Is there a min number of people that must be affected for abuse to be legiti? Plus if you scroll through the comments under Stollar’s post you see the number of people is higher than just 9 people. This could just be the FIRST 7 people of many who end up coming forward.

    I also think it’s sad (and maybe a little sick) to see David who came down so hard on other public figures for promoting books and businesses, turning off comments, silencing etc. to be so obviously engaging in the same behaviors.

    Did anyone see his cartoon today? He offers no apology or explanation or statement, but instead shows a cartoon of a pastor (himself?) “descending into hell” during a meeting with “church people” (TLS participants?). So you feel like having to engage the community you claimed to care about and love is equivalent to “descending into hell”? Very pastoral. Is it just me or do this and other cartoons lately make David seem passive aggressive and like he’s trying to control people?

    http://nakedpastor.com/2015/07/one-thing-i-dont-miss-about-church/

    I also noticed David has refused to engage the actual allegations people are bringing to him and is either ignoring or offering really short non-responses. On David’s FB page, for example, Jay Allen asked him “Will you be seeking peace and reconciliation with RL Stollar and others who are discussing problematic elements within The Lasting Supper?” And David didn’t respond. David has elevated himself to be a public figure and has 9,000+ FB followers who deserve an explanation about this troubling news.

    Also I am wondering when Stephanie and SCCL are going to post on this? I am guessing she’s aware of it because I saw Danica commented on the vacay post. I know Stephanie is probably trying to get more information to be responsible, but I expect her to say something about it today, don’t you? She has been so vocal calling out other leaders for not calling out people IN THEIR OWN CAMP. I can’t see how she could watch David ignore and silence while literally promoting his new book with “gleaming reviews” the same day!! How could SCCL NOT eventually speak against someone charging to participate in a church and profiting off of selling cartoons based on other people’s stories without their permission? Add in that David has dozens of posts inviting abuse victims to TLS and then failed to validate the voices of those who claimed abuse…I just don’t know how this isn’t already on SCCL or Wartburg or some of the Patheos blogs. Is anyone else addressing this that you know of besides Riot?

    I respect a lot of these voices and want to know they’re committed to confronting abuse in our own camp just like they demand of others.

      1. As far as I know, most of the discussion was taking place on individual ex-members’ own Facebook pages until this post went up yesterday. I hope SCCL will say something in the next few days, but I think we can give Stephy a little time to sort through things.

      2. Sorry–the day before yesterday was when this post went up. In any case, two days isn’t that long.

    1. tl/dr- I am not on board with painting broad brushstrokes over TLS or DH or SD or SCCL or anyone/thing else over this particular situation.

      For what it is worth, which may not be much at this point, please consider:

      Re: “Pastor” – DH is no more a pastor of TLS than Stephanie is of SCCL. He used to be a pastor but is no more. He calls himself naked pastor

      Re: “Safe” – TLS is meant to be “safe” in that you can engage in your deconstruction/reconstruction w/ others on that journey, w/o judgement like one might receive from a parent, partner, child or friend who is not on that journey (“what do you mean you’re not sure what you believe any more??” etc). It’s not, and can’t be, safe in any other sense.

      Re: “Church”: It’s a Facebook group. It’s not a church, doesn’t claim to be a church, DH is not its’ pastor, and he is not a trained therapist in any sense. This thing he built can’t be expected to live up to any more than what it was built to be. The NP page describes TLS as “an online resource site and community for the spiritually independent”. Not a place where DH can magically ensure that none of the members will ever say anything triggering to anyone else. How could he or any other admin do that?

      In fact, nearly every post in TLS starts with some form of trigger warning, because most members know that most other members will be triggered by something, by who knows what, so the posts usually start with a TW..don’t read if you might be triggered by, for example, this post which is about sex, or drugs, or poverty, or ministry, or TJ, or RHE, or any number of other triggering things. TLS members join b/c they want a space to work out the deconstruction/reconstruction with other people. Don’t want to cause others’ strife, don’t want to trigger, but do seek insight from others, so post but use the TW preface. Not a perfect system…what other safeguards would you recommend?

      With that said, “safe” means different things to different people. What it means to some people may not be possible to achieve on a relatively public FB page. It isn’t meant to be public, by the way. The $7/mth low barrier is meant to help offset some of that possibility, but clearly is not working. For some, this intrusion is what makes the group unsafe.

      For those who have been abused and are still raw and vulnerable to dependence or co-dependence and need a pastor/leader/mentor for shelter, TLS is not the place they will find that, nor does it claim to be. It may provide something else for them – maybe good friends, new ideas, and/or just some listening ears – but not a church and not licensed therapy.

      For those who have been abused and have some distance from that experience and a sense of wanting to grow in independence from the people and places and ideas that have trapped them in the past, TLS is a breath of fresh air. If it starts to be stale or bad air for someone, they should leave. Stephanie often says this about SCCL. It’s like a weigh station for people at a particular point in a particular journey, and when you don’t need it anymore you don’t need to stick around. People can leave, people can stay, people can go back and forth, people can take time off, etc. This is part of independence.

      As someone wrote on the NP page for TLS, “If you wish to be a leader, or elder, or pastor among us – do not come. We are a community of voices. If you wish to provide argumentation of doctrine, evangelization of religion, and refutation of atheism – do not come.”

      This is not a group that wants to be led. Members come to be heard and supported by some others – even sometimes only one other – who can relate to their experience in a way those around them often cannot (most in deconstruction have a very lonely experience). For those that have left because they felt neither heard nor related to, maybe they were not in the right place. Or, maybe they were and are owed an apology. But, to say this situation makes the whole community and DH and the very idea of TLS inherently and pervasively abusive is, by my view, extremely misguided.

      1. Apologies for the incomplete sentence above. What I had written was, “He calls himself naked pastor because, in his words, he loves ‘helping people undress religion to the core essential of their own unique spirituality’. He does not otherwise position himself as the TLS pastor and I am not aware of any member considering David Hayward their ‘pastor’ in any traditional sense of that word.”

      2. “If you wish to provide … evangelization of religion … do not come”

        So the prophet should *not* have been in the group?

  8. There was another Jason in the group who was very liberal with aggressively cursing members and also was the one who was told by someone that Jason reminded him of their father. Bru, I think you might have gotten me confused with this other Jason. If you want to see the post that confirms this, PM me and I can send it to you. ***(Note- I won’t post screenshots to expose members of the group except for David who specifically told me he had no problems with posting private information if it exposed someone who was using privacy to hide abusive behavior.)*** I have observed other people who confused me with the other Jason during this blow up. I can understand the confusion such hurt can cause.

    1. Both of you did. And I clearly stated it to you in the exchange originally, but it was ignored as irrelevant, much like RL declared my story as not mattering it in this blog.

      1. Bru if you could fill me in on the context, I would appreciate it. I might have missed your post directed at me. There were a lot of posts flying. It’s hard to properly apologize without the full context.

      2. I just searched all the comments and the only time I responded to your story was with the following:

        “I am sorry to hear about the abuse you suffered growing up, Bru. No one deserves that. I was sexually abused as a child myself. I still struggle to fight the memories to this day. We obviously disagree about Jason Benner, but I wish you well on your life’s journey and hope for continued healing from your past abuse.”

        I’m not exactly sure how you’d interpret that as saying your story didn’t matter. Care to explain?

    2. Bru, if you are who I think you are, my husband did respond passionately after you used passive-aggression to go after me. You also strongly implied that I am abusive. Being passive-aggressive does sound gentler than a blunt response, but the impact and meaning is the same.

      1. Wende, i assume you are thinking of someone else. As far as I am aware I had almost no interactions with you. Actually both Jason’s are the only people I ever addressed directly or indirectly as having any issue with on TLS . I had not seen Jason’s apology on the 15 or I wouldn’t have later commented. I do realize that it is difficult to communicate when any number of people are commenting on a statement. That being said I could have said something that could be interpreted or maybe intended to be be sarcastic or passive aggressive. If I did, I apologize, but if I did, I can assure you I did not intend to go after you. That is also why I appreciate your husband taking the time to acknowledging the incedent. I find the process of communicating in a rapid fire way very difficult since I like to think through what I’m intending to communicate so that I don’t unintentionally hurt or trigger some one, since I would not want that to happen to me. Thanks for letting a dress that, because again I had no intentions to hurt, dismiss, or be snark to you, but do acknowledge I could have done so in that format of rapid fire, or what seems rapid fire to me. Well I must admit that through this entire process though painful and frustrating at times has led to many of us at TLS reevaluating the idea of a safe place. I think the vast majority of us, myself included didn’t realize that there are groups that have strict protocol about posting and that control content. I think that all of us are acknowledging that TLS does not meet that qualification as a safe place and such wording is going to be removed.

  9. Someone from the group even PM’d me once saying they were sorry about something that happened to my husband. I was so confused till I realized it was the other Jason they were talking about.

  10. Rick, Jason, or Wende, one thing I find bizarre from Riot’s post that no one is mentioning is this line.

    “He used his own failings to make The Lasting Supper safe for survivors to justify his abrupt abandonment of Julie McMahon and online teams assembled to defend her.”

    Can anyone explain why he would abandon Julie’s case?

      1. Ha. 🙂 I didn’t think about how that question could look.

        I just mean (without giving any info about Julie away which would be a huge NO NO), can anyone speak to whether David is abandoning victims he publicly claimed to advocate for? That he even built his platform on? Because if so, it reinforces the behavior alleged in Riot’s statements about David using people’s stories without permission for cartoons if David was willing to go that far using Julie’s story to get clicks and then walk away from her once it was no longer useful. Just saying.

    1. I think the most charitable interpretation would be that he’s no longer comfortable working with the people who have both advocated for Julie and criticized him. However, that interpretation may be overly charitable–I’m not sure.

      1. Okay. I get it. But that’s a lot of people to cut off. I actually, for one, think a lot of people STARTED following David to begin with because of how he blew up Julie’s story. (I was following him several months before then, so it’s unrelated to me.) But I think those people deserve to know if David didn’t turn out to be the Hero he made himself out to be. I know it’s impacted the way I look at him to hear there might be concerns outside of my own experience. I think a lot of us just tend to blame ourselves and maybe there are more people out there like me who already had questions. I hope this article brings that to light if so.

      2. I agree with you, usedupactivist. I think a lot of the people who David has hurt recently were among those who started following him so actively due to his support of Julie. And I absolutely believe everyone who has been involved with David or Julie has the right to know what is going on. I was never in TLS, but I’m on board with the concerns expressed by R.L. Stollar and others. I also believe he should *not* have let his support of Julie be compromised by conflicts with her other supporters. However, I’m uncertain whether he left the groups advocating for Julie because of discomfort with the people who objected to his behaviour or for more sinister reasons.

  11. Here’s why I said I was concerned and want answers. David had a lengthy conversation online with me about a year ago. I shared a lot of my story with him and he said he could really relate. But then there were two specific times I felt like he may have used portions of my story in his work about a month later. One of the details used was VERY specific so it was hard for me to believe it could just be random. Maybe he remembered it in the back of his head, but didn’t even know where he’d heard it by then? Maybe someone else had told him something similar and he just sort of melted our stories together. I don’t know how many people he talks to on a regular basis. I didn’t want to say anything because he was being such a supportive person for me at the time. I really needed that. It maybe replaced some of the other leaders who’d failed me for a minute. Maybe I was stupid to divulge so much, but then over time it seemed like David’s interest in me seemed to dry up.

    I thought maybe I’d done something wrong. I have a lot of baggage and can be off-putting for some. I sent him a couple brief messages, but he really seemed to have “moved on” by then.

    Not being part of TLS, this is the first I’ve heard of other people feeling the same way. But as soon as I read it, things just started clicking and I couldn’t believe that David was really ignoring people and not responding and shutting down comments. Naive again.

    Frustrated.

  12. I cannot speak to many of the attacks in this post but I can to one. I am the man who is falsely accused of making homophobic comments. Let me say this with absolute clarity…this is an outright lie. It is a willful perversion of my participation in order to attack. I was repeatedly attacked by one of your members here even though my comments were strongly in support of the gay community. One of my closest friends in fact is gay as is my nephew and I often find myself speaking out in support of them. Ironic the way deceptions and lies seem perfectly fine to the writer of this blog.

    Stop the bullshit charade of truth Mr.R.L. Stollar…I know first hand that the content of this post is nothing but lies and perversions of truth. The temper tantrum of an immature child who obviously did not get his way. David has never claimed to be perfect, nor does he hold himself up as such. But at least he seeks to speak with the integrity of honesty.

    You sir…not so much.

      1. Clearly you don’t care about truth or you would seek it. Your snide dismissals of my comments and Caryn’s is disgraceful…but then so is this entire piece.

    1. Please, pray tell me, how stating that ‘gay sex is repulsive’ is actually support of the gay community? I’m apart of that community and I did find the statement supportive at all. You say you’re an ally, and the old ‘I have a gay friend/relative’ trick, but I’m sorry Gary, but announcing something like that makes you NOT an ally. Words are often meaningless if actions don’t verify them.

  13. I considered joining TLS multiple times. I admit I didn’t love the idea of an entrance fee. It felt a little like the quiet disapproving stares when you’d pass the collection plate on without dropping something decent in it.

    BUT… if I’m paying for a service as advertised, it damn well better be that for which I paid for.

    I get the sense (I wasn’t there) that David thought something as vital as emotional and psychological safety could somehow be “winged”. Ask any professional therapist worth their salt—it cannot. It requires training and practice.

    A “safe” therapy group I once attended allowed in an abuse survivor (I’ll call her Liz) that admitted on her first meeting that she also had once abused a child. It felt as though she was looking for complete strangers to give her absolution. Without betraying specifics, the group derailed fast.

    The only way, and I mean ONLY way, my therapist was able to recover our individual respect and restored trust is that she did communicate to Liz privately that this was not the right support group for her needs, and that the admission triggered other members and therefore was redirected to other resources for her healing. Again, without betraying confidentialities, my therapist then asked the long-standing group members individually by phone if we would be comfortable to meet again the next week at the same time, but without Liz. Apparently we all agreed to reconvene in hopes to resolve this healthfully.

    Our therapist apologized again for this unwelcome surprise, explained she did not know this information either, so we had all been in the dark. She asked us if we were comfortable voicing the thoughts and feelings this issue raised in us. We shared many things, each in turn. We agreed that this was a painful, but ultimately useful learning that from it came a basic questionnaire that any therapist from that office recommending our support group would need to complete with their client before admission into our group. An important requirement was made that if a client had abused someone, they were directed to seek another support group.

    Yes, our fellow group members were hurt, but ultimately we each felt our needs were heard by our long-time, valued therapist– our voiced concerns were not shut down or vetted, we shed tears and showed emotion, and our therapist faced up to all of it. She did not turn her face away, she did not turn us away. We, individually and collectively, began to experience healing and were then able to reconnect in a healthful way.

    But she did need to make what some might say is a discriminatory decision. She had to ask Liz to leave. Not because we wanted Liz to suffer, not because nobody cared for her well-being, but she was not in the right group for that healing. Someone else’s healing would be in jeopardy for her continued presence. And yes, those painfully tough decisions will need to be made when groups are set up for the expressed purposes of healing and self-discovery.

    A free-for-all doesn’t work in the healing process, at least not in a group setting.

    I have no endgame. I’m still not a member of TLS, nor do I assume that it’s a fully bust endeavor. But those that are running it, managing and maintaining it clearly have some serious learning ahead of them if they want to move forward and, for lack of a better phrase, ‘fix what’s broken’.

    I believe with my whole heart that everybody deserves to be heard fully, and still difficult decisions need to be made for the health and well-being of those involved. The TLS guidelines for behavior or expectations (whatever it’s being called) as I read them are much too vague and does not give the member a sense of how issues or arguments are resolved in this space.

    And I also believe that anyone that hosts a “safe” space, charges rent and publicizes themselves as defender of the oppressed has a vast, self-imposed responsibility on their shoulders.

    And that responsibility never takes vacation.

  14. Regarding the charging of money for membership, what’s the big deal? There’s buying a multi-million dollar jet–as Creflo Dollar attempted to do–and there’s covering costs. Every non-profit, big or small, has an obligation to cover costs. And $1400/month is not even a living wage. So Hayward is not getting rich here…. not like Creflo wanted to..

  15. Okay. I guess I don’t feel like I necessarily have a right to know (I have a hard time asserting my own rights despite advocating for others) what is going down with David, but I do feel like his followers deserve to know if they were recruited under false pretenses. Especially if they’re paying to belong to his community? Maybe that’s just my misgivings though.

    Did anyone see yesterday’s “Separated” cartoon.

    I don’t know what to believe, but it seems like he’s trying to send a message.

    We just aren’t capable of understanding as well as David does. We only “think” we’re separate. We could walk around the corner and be in unity with David if we would just lay down the bars of our free thoughts and self care and admit that he’s allowed to do whatever he wants with what he claimed was “HIS space.”

    When we ask him to create a safe space for the abuse victims he’s recruited, we are really “trashing him” and “coming after him” and unnecessarily separating ourselves.

    Just accept that you are encouraged to think freely and be true to yourself as long as your thoughts or self care don’t lead you to ever ever question David. He pretends to “not be the pastor” and to only be “one of the group”. He just happens to be the only one in the group with power to control the community. He’s the only one who gets to delete comments from anyone who disagrees with him and block people who question him.

    Whether his motives are sinister or not, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe with David Hayward again after reading all this. Who is to say if we come forward that he won’t flip on us and start drawing cartoons calling out us alongside everyone else he criticizes? What victim needs the risk of that?

  16. Mr. Stollar, I’m sorry to say I didn’t see or take in the entire statement. I think I was it as a cut and paste in another person’s post. I may have been skimming but think I didn’t take the entire statement in because I had run out of my antidepressant and was going through effexor withdrawal. I’m not sure if your familiar with that one, but it has an incredibly short half life. I think my emotionally charged brain just saw the we disagree about Jason which made me feel dissed which of course not at all what you communicated. I’m sorry I misinterpreted your very clear statement, you in no way brushed me off.

    1. No worries, Bru! I totally understand. I just wanted to make sure you know I do value hearing your story, even if we may disagree. And again, I’m sorry that I made you feel otherwise.

  17. So…all this personal attack full of lies and you block one who has first hand knowledge of the truth? You used the gross perversion of my remarks to attack David shamelessly and you do not even allow me voice. You are a man without honor or integrity. David need not worry about the likes of you. Your kind of hate never lasts…truth will win out in the end.

  18. Thank you for the many posts. I read the statements by the three Former TLS members, and many of the comments.

    My deep apologies for those that were wounded. Entering any community, and paying in disappointment, concern, triggering, and/or fear is a horrible experience I had with some church communities.

    So, I hear you. I wish that such a thing had not happened to you.

    I was involved in the inception of TLS, and joined a bit later. I am not an admin in TLS due to my full-time job. I am, in some ways, a deep part of TLS, and they a deep part of me.

    It does sound like we simply struck out for at least 3 people – Jason, Wende, and Danica, and also struck out for several posters/commenters here.

    I need to sort through several themes that have been presented here, especially in the comments.

    I also need to ponder why some home-school abuse survivors are doing well in TLS… and some sexual abuse survivors are doing well there.

    I am transsexual and bisexual… and am doing well in TLS … however, I am not deconstructing much any more…. I have reconstructed my faith and belief system. So, I am ok with being told that I am repulsive, and that sort of thing. Yet… there was a time when that was crushing….

    So, I am very sorry that any of our marginalized LGBT in TLS (or that left TLS) have felt unprotected from a homo-phobic confrontation or attack. For that, I also deeply apologize.

    It is good to hear these stories. Thank you to many for being so brave, and sharing your hearts.

    Most sincerely; Caryn LeMur

  19. I am an outsider reading this saga with sympathy and interest.

    I have only one observation/caution. Artists shouldn’t run groups, ever. They take stuff from life for their work, that’s how it goes. If there comes a time when they have to choose bet. their art-making and the people to whom they are responsible, they will often choose their art. That’s the nature of it. David should know this.

    David also should know that when he takes material from life for his work, he had better transform it thoroughly, particularly regarding vulnerable people. And let them know about it. AND be willing to let the material go if it still remains too difficult for the vulnerable person. After all, the world is full of material.

    Which is different than the popular Lamott quote, where she speaks about how artists properly treat those who ride roughshod over others: “…If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    Anyway, I wish you all ok.

  20. Interesting the screencaps one can find when perusing the interwebs. Reuben has screencaps, as he says above. Here are some quotes from Reuben’s facebook page:
    May 6: I am fairly certain people left [TLS] because of me. Not cool.
    [comment edited, reason below]
    May 7: I just watch reactions. A lot of people are more concerned with the delivery than the message. A lot of people shut down when someone like me is so loud and angry. A lot of people don’t feel safe around my rants.
    May 8: So anyway. The TLS thing really stressed me out bad. I’m half afraid of what David is going to say when he gets back. And I don’t even know why.
    I want Stephanie Drury here.
    I want my blankie.
    May 8: Some of my friends left. Real friends. I worked at getting them there. Because they are like me. Fire. Passion. Rage. All, seemingly things that only hurt. I don’t know why people [in TLS] want me back. They are me.
    May 9: I know David is not mean. I know David pretty well. It’s just a fear.
    ******************************
    A self-admitted rager and worshipper of vagina, who terrified rape survivors. His wife wants to know why he wasn’t called out. There was a women’s sub-group within TLS where many of the women went to comfort each other after one of Reuben’s many terrifying posts.

    1. Wow! You all are mad that there is one screencap from TLS of David’s words (when David himself said that publicizing and abusive leader’s statements from a private group is acceptable) but you all think it’s super cool to go quote someone’s private FB page without permission.

      Also, I know Reuben pretty well. He says horrible, untrue things about himself when upset. He is brutal towards himself.

      If anyone had told him, or had David tell him that his posts were upsetting he would have stopped immediately. In fact, the minute someone did, he apologized and stopped.

      1. No, we all don’t think that way, Wende. One screencap or a dozen, it is a clear violation of privacy, regardless of who initiated it, sanctions it or repeats it in a blog. For those who claim the sanctity of safe space, it’s astoundingly hypocritical. The misrepresentation of all TLS members as “OK” with racism, homophobia, because of a singular comment, is also disingenuous. Characterizing a group of people as accepting of sexism or misogyny because some creep said something disgusting in a private message that was never made known to the group, is indefensible. You claim that this is about David, but you and your blogger spokesperson have made it about anyone who remembers it differently, or tries to offer another perspective. Remember that this medium is vastly imperfect, and does not ask much in the way of accountability for words tossed about in a fragmented, 50+ person free for all. If your intent is honorable, you should really stop with the sweeping generalizations. Most of the people you include in your condemnations like the ones above are nothing like what you say they are.

      2. Missy I think the real problem here is that Jenna and you and the rest of the women in the TLS women’s page aren’t happy that Annie and I came in actually having the nerve to be friends. You don’t think I felt and understood the mean girl dynamics and cliquishness that was in play in there? I did. I just didn’t really give a crap about reinacting my junior high experiences. I’m sure you guys are all talking about it right now, which is fine. Your welcome for a few weeks’ worth of (doubtlessly enjoyable on your part) hatewatching.

      3. Danica, your response to my comment below is a perfect example of what I am saying. You make a number of wrong assumptions about me, and then state them as fact. Here’s a fact for you: you and I have never met, or engaged, IRL or OL. Your response is just your imagination.

    2. Last I checked, Stollar’s post doesn’t reference Reuben and his perspective on tls at all.

      Toss Reuben’s take out then, if you must, it doesn’t really change much.

      Also, nice dragging his sister into this. By name. That’s shady as hell, Jenna. Maybe try redacting her name next time. Kind of like Ryan didn’t mention any 3rd parties by name in his post. Like I didn’t. Like actually no one else did. Except you.

      Ps- not mocking you with this comment.

      Pps- mocking you a little bit with the ps, tho

    3. I’m really not cool with you publicly identifying/naming someone’s family members who are completely uninvolved with the subject at hand. You do something like that again, I will just remove your comment.

    4. Okay Jenna, Who ever you are. Hide much?

      1. When someone does not like what someone is writing about USE YOUR WORDS! Women who were terrified about my husband’s use of loving the vagina…MY VAGINA BTW.. Not yours not anyone else’s. MINE The words you use are “Stop talking about that I do not like it. It makes me feel whatever” Rape is about control!!! it is not about sex. Rapists do not love vagina…they Hate it. Do you understand.

      2. You do not go after my family. You don’t you just don’t

      3. Reuben and I have been married for over 20yrs. He is not a misogynist. His rage is not RAGE…it is not dangerous. It is words and anger. Anger is not bad, evil, or dangerous. Anger is a normal human emotion. I do not fear my husband. But I do know he loves me more than anyone else.

      4.Terrifying posts! PA..LEESE! Anyone who thought his posts were Terrifying….need a grip on reality. Terrifying is when someone actually, makes a threat at you! Talking about how much he loves my vagina is not threating. Unless you happen to lack any self confidence or perhaps no one loves you in the whole entire world. Then I say Jealous Much?

      5. I wish I new who you really are so I could go to your fb page and post all of your posts publicly. You crossed the line. You crossed the line big time. You were or maybe still are a “friend” of my husbands. You took screen caps of his private page. You are a very vindictive person. Not to mention you have absolutely no conscience.

      6.Remember when pointing the finger at someone there are 3 fingers pointing back at yourself.

      7. Not worth my time. I actually have a life. I suggest you go get one also. Maybe someone will even find you lovable.

      Good luck.

    5. Jenna Patton, I have purposely stayed out of all of this. I have read everything but haven’t commented because I don’t like getting involved in stuff like this. YOU just made this very unsafe for me. Don’t EVER drag my name into something like this without my consent or even knowing who I am. That was a serious breech of MY confidentiality and MY private life that you have no right to be putting out there. My brother is not a bad person and I don’t appreciate you attacking him. I am not a bad person and I don’t appreciate you attacking me and dragging my name through the mud when you don’t know who I am. Keep my name and anything that has to do with me out of your posts. I am not involved in this and I refuse to allow you to put me into it. DONT DO IT AGAIN!!!

    6. Reuben is a passionate person and a dear friend.

      What you have done is against all of the confidentiality ‘rules’ that you TLSers have been hinding behind this entire time.

      I have purposefully not posted any screen shots of people and not testified to anything other than David Hayward’s actions by *name* because I wanted to protect the privacy of individuals.

      What you have done is tantamount to sticking your foot out in the junior high cafeteria and tripping someone as he walks past, and then laughing when he falls and his food splatters everywhere. It’s Mean Girl and it’s ugly.

  21. PS I am no longer a member of TLS. After the terrifying posts in May, left by Reuben and friends, I disappeared. I did not see the “alien pearl” post and thus was spared of that.

    1. There were no terrifying posts in May, except if you are referring to the homeschooling thread where homeschool abuse survivors were told to be quiet and were told that they were abusive. That was terrifying. Or the fuck thread that was started about those homeschool abuse survivors, I guess that was terrifying, too.

      What’s ‘terrifying’ is the thought that you would stalk a person’s facebook page, presumably pretending to still be friends with them, while mining it to post their private words on a public blog, even using the names of their family members.

      Hopefully you’ll at least have the decency to unfriend Reuben now that you’ve betrayed his trust?

  22. Jenna, by your own admission, you left before the Alien Pearl blow up. You have no context as to understand what Reuben said. And if you were so terrified about him, why did you remain Facebook friends? If you ever were a friend of Reuben’s you would know that he takes the blame for everything. Cherry picking comments that show how much Reuben was torn up over the conflict shows how compassionate and devastated he was and shows how detestable your actions are.

  23. So Jenna et al-

    By the official TLS standards, the buffet rule should apply to Reuben’s offensive commentaries on vaginas. You all should have been able to scroll on past and not be bothered. That’s how TLS works, right?

    Except it doesn’t. It doesn’t work. It isn’t okay to feel unsafe and triggered, and to have the rules expressly state that calling that out or critiquing it, or asking for more caution and care with our words, is not okay. It left you and others with literally no recourse to address a painful situation.

    We could easily find dozens of sketchy as hell posts from TLS, showing racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, whatever. Those are some of the things on the TLS buffet table. The rule is to just scroll on by, but that turned out to be a shitty rule. It left people unable to set safe and healthy limits for themselves, it gave Reuben the false impression that his words were not hurtful, and it gave JL the cover he needed to send angry and aggressive voice messages to female members who disagreed with him.

    You’re pointing fingers at Reuben, but you’re still illuminating the glaring problem at TLS. David sets the tone. David owns the space. He made the rules and they are, by your own description, not good or safe or healthy rules.

  24. In my prior post, I touched upon an LGBTQ incident of which I was a actual participant in TLS.

    I privately contacted David Hayward, and the gentleman that made the ‘repulsive’ and/or ‘gay sex is gross’ remarks to ensure I was recalling the correct event.

    RL Stollar wrote, “Queer members had to experience other members calling their sexuality “repulsive.” In each case, Hayward sided not with the abuse survivors or those harassed but with the ones abusing and harassing.” Also, if this is the case that Danica is also referring to, then I strongly suggest that the above statement by RL should be greatly corrected.

    In the case that I experienced, an LGBTQ ally made a statement that he personally found same sex acts repulsive and/or gross. I was not in the least bit offended, as we allow honest discussion of feelings on TLS. I even placed a joking comment in that particular thread of discussion. The gentleman made it clear before, and after, that it was his personal reaction/opinion.

    A queer gentleman was offended, and went into an on-going attack against the ally. The attack became a rant and employed clear bullying tactics. The queer gentleman was ultimately removed for not allowing others the safety of posting their own personal story.

    TLS does allow the posting of honest (and deep) feelings across the spectrum. TLS does not allow bullying tactics in a discussion.

    Again, the LGBTQ ally is clearly an ally. He was not abusing nor harassing. He is allowed his viewpoint. I reached out to him today, to make sure all was OK between the two of us, to discuss the incident, and to offer any apology to him that was still needed. He assured me that we were OK with each other.

    The queer gentleman was not removed because he was an abuse survivor, but he was indeed removed because he would not cease with his bullying tactics demanding a retraction from the LGBTQ ally.

    Intimidation tactics are not allowed on TLS. No one on TLS is allowed to use the ‘I am an abuse survivor’ card as an excuse for bully tactics… they either cease the bullying, or depart.

    However, given that RL’s statement alludes to multiple cases by using the phrase “In each case”, I am open to more evidence(s) of such events happening on TLS. I am not aware of multiple cases, at all. Please send such evidence to me privately, if you wish, or to Danica. Danica has my email address.

    Also, if a former LGBTQ member of TLS participated in that discussion, and is still wounded, please contact me. You matter.

    I wish to add that unless we allow honesty on TLS (or in any gathering for that matter), we shall not understand each other, nor the depth of our own feelings.

    In my strongest opinion, deconstruction demands vulnerable discussion – and religious deconstruction is a major part of what TLS is about…. but we also allow discussion of many subjects, even those that cause deep semantics.

    Thus, and at this time, I suggest that the statement, “Queer members had to experience other members calling their sexuality “repulsive” is more correctly stated as follows: “In one case, LGBTQ members did experience another member making his personal statement that he found same sex acts personally repulsive.”

    However, the statement, “In each case, Hayward sided not with the abuse survivors or those harassed but with the ones abusing and harassing.” is, based on the single case of which I am aware, quite incorrect.

    Sincerely; Caryn

    1. “An LGBTQ ally made a statement that he personally found same sex acts repulsive and/or gross…. A queer gentleman was offended… The queer gentleman was ultimately removed for not allowing others the safety of posting their own personal story.”

      I mean…

      Gotta protect those “allies”‘s right to tell their “personal stories” about finding queer sex repulsive!

    2. Please don’t send anything to me. I am not a member of TLS anymore. David has been ignoring me for months. Caryn obviously has his ear and would be more effective at sending the information on.

      TLS does not want my input. So I’m not going to assume any role in casting my pearls before anybody.

    3. “However, the statement, “In each case, Hayward sided not with the abuse survivors or those harassed but with the ones abusing and harassing.” is, based on the single case of which I am aware, quite incorrect.”

      Rick tells otherwise. I’m assuming you’re saying that he’s lying.

      1. I can’t speak to any homophobia in TLS, although I do remember the one time that guy said he found same sex repulsive, while speaking in context of supporting the rights of all LGBT people to the same ones he enjoyed. I thought his comment unnecessary to the discussion, which was about equality, not sex acts, and was bothered by his choice of words, until I thought about my own response to imagining straight sex, which I also find to be”repulsive”. That’s when I just decided to let it slide. Does that make me heterophobic? I f there were any other incidences of homophobic convos, I missed them, and would love to know what the outcomes were. I’ve done about a dozen searches in TLS using keywords from the allegations made by this blogger and his testimonials, and can’t find much of anything that resembles what is being put forth as truth. Take from that what you will.

      2. “although I do remember the one time that guy said he found same sex repulsive, while speaking in context of supporting the rights of all LGBT people”

        Do you see any problems with this sentence right here?

        “That’s when I just decided to let it slide. Does that make me heterophobic?”

        No. Because straight people don’t experience the marginalisation and prejudice that LGBT people do. Its like trying to talk about ‘reverse racism’ or some bs.

    4. First of all Caryn, I’m not a ‘gentleman’. Second of all, yes, I do recall your interjection in what happened, I also remember your flippancy towards it. Others, who aren’t queer, felt his language was vastly inappropriate in that discussion. I, and those people, were not listened to at all. I wasn’t bullying anyone. I first of all, politely told Gary why his comment will inappropriate, and then he started the whole ‘free speech’ rhetoric, saying because its TLS he should be allowed to express such views and use of language, and wouldn’t let up, so I stood my ground against him, because his comment, and his adamant defending of it made me, a few other queer people in the group, very uncomfortable. So you weren’t offended by it. Well good for you. I, and others, were. Were we listened to? No. What should I have just ignored it and moved on lest I be referred to as a bully? A bully?! For trying to call out homophobic language? I think you’ve got it the other way around to be honest.

      Oh, and David didn’t just call me a bully. He also said I was delusional. That I was just flat out wrong. He said if he was to side with anyone he would have sided with Gary who made the comment (this coming from the person who apparently never takes sides). And he also said that my avocation for equal rights didn’t fit in with the values of TLS. In other words, homophobia, racism, sexism etc? All a go in your precious community. And in that regard, no, David did not kick me out because I demanded an apology from Gary. He kicked me about because I continually voiced opinions in the name of equality, and stood up for those who felt marginalised within his community. Because, in the name of TLS being a safe place, I advocated for trigger warnings to be used and I wouldn’t back down even when most of the community didn’t like the idea. And, the big nail in the coffin? Its because I wasn’t giving him any money. Money for a Facebook group (which is actually against Facebook rules but that’s another story).

      And don’t you dare refer to Gary as an ‘ally’. Don’t even go there. NO ally of the LGBT community would EVER casually and publicly announce that they find gay sex ‘repulsive’. I don’t care what Gary said or claims, his actions contradict it. I think it is actually unbelievable that you, being queer and trans, can actually stand up for this stuff. Why don’t you try looking outside your own box for a change? In my honest opinion Caryn? I think YOU were one of the most problematic people in that community, because you used your identification as queer and trans as a means to validate those who for instance, liked to use homophobic language casually. Its like when Fox News brings on a black person to talk about how racism doesn’t exist in the US, because hey! This person is black it must be true!

      Quit being David’s mouth piece. Its so obvious. If he wants to talk then he can come here and talk himself. He made this bed after all, its about time he slept in it.

  25. Still don’t care about truth do you. My point, which Caryn touched on very briefly, was that if an individual as far to the straight spectrum as I am can completely accept that what may be unnatural to me, even personally repulsive, is completely natural to others then there is hope we can find common ground and stop the horrific abuse of the gay community. I also clarified that I did not in fact find GLBT individuals repulsive in the least and in fact felt very much the opposite. The point of my comments was that we must recognize and accept our differences openly, rather than seek to change the other. I have been a very vocal supporter of gay rights in many forums. Yet I found myself bullied and slandered repeatedly by this very offensive individual…and now by you. I know you will not post this comment as you have already proven you lack any sense of objective integrity. But at least I hope you read it. You have now been provided the context of the comment which you used deceptively to slander David, who acted in the only way this individual left as an option. If you ever had any decency and/or integrity in you, then you will write a retraction.

    Sadly…I am quite certain you won’t.

    1. My sincerest apologies, Gary. I just read your comments on Hayward’s “Deconstruction” post about not having your comments be approved and I had no idea what you were referring to as I hadn’t seen any comments from you. I just checked WordPress’s “Spam” folder and they were all in there. I’ve moved them out of that folder and approved them all. I honestly had no nefarious intentions towards you. You should be able to post henceforth without any issues. If you have any further problems, you can use the “Contact” form on my blog to email me directly.

    2. Gary, the very fact that you are straight means it is obvious that you would not engage in that act of gay sex. But when you publicly and casually announce that it is ‘repulsive’, then its a different matter. It links to a very long history of straight privilege in the face of the persecuted LGBT community. You think announcing such a thing is not big deal, just highlighting ‘differences’ but unfortunately, I felt vastly uncomfortable by your comment, as did others, queer and not. I tried to explain this to you but you wouldn’t budge. You defended your comment regardless. No one bullied you at all. David came along, sided with you, and closed down the discussion, leaving me the ‘bully’ of the situation, when I was merely standing my ground over something that affected me greatly. And then David proceeded to cement that position, while labeling me other things such as ‘delusional’ via private discussion. You were NOT the victim that day. You were validated by the person who ran TLS while I was shot down. Stop pretending to be. Just because Caryn is siding for you that doesn’t make you right. No ally of the LGBT community that I know would EVER publicly announce such a thing.

  26. Danica: my apology for assuming.

    All and especially Rick: my email address is Caryn_LeMur at Yahoo dot com.

    Rick, please do send me your screenshots and/or evidence. I was there. I watched it all. However, you (Rick) may have screenshots or evidence of which I am unaware.

    Sincerely; Caryn

  27. RL: I actually had hoped for a discussion.

    Your last post shows that you are not willing to hold discussion with those that find my bisexuality or transsexualism ‘repulsive’.

    However, I am willing to hold such discussions.

    As a former enlisted person, and officer, I was willing to fight and die to give you the freedom of speech…. and yes… I was willing to fight and die for those that disagree with me.

    I will hear them all… and work with them all… and seek reconciliation, as much as in me is possible.

    I had hoped to work through a number of your evidences, and some deeper concerns posted on your blog.

    I shall depart.

    You may make your accusations in peace.

    Sincerely; Caryn

    1. Caryn, I definitely believe you have the right to hold such discussions, and I respect that you are able to do so. I am certainly open to discussions with you. However, when an area is designated a “safe space” (a meaning with deep history within the LGBT* movement), I also believe that the queer gentleman you referred to had every right to be upset that the space was not indeed safe as advertised. In fact, the very meaning of a safe space — both within the history of the LGBT* movement and general culture – is that such discussions will not in fact take place. That is not an infringement on anyone’s freedom of speech (and I thank you, of course, for your military service). It is the communal meaning of safe space. Obviously, Hayward appropriated a word and it confused and hurt many people.

      And I do honor your attempts at reconciliation. But it is important to note that, like the queer gentleman in TLS, that is not everyone’s gift and that is ok.

    2. Caryn, thank you for your efforts. If we are to put this prejudice behind us, it will be people like you (and me) leading the charge.

      One point of clarification I believe is in order however. I do not in fact find YOUR bisexuality or transexualism repulsive. I completely recognize and accept that it is in fact natural for you and millions like you. I do not believe it is an issue of right or wrong, but simply a matter of what is. When I used the term repulsive, it was very much describing what is and is not natural to me. There is no judgment here. I made the point that even an extremely polar heterosexual like myself should be able to openly accept that not everyone is like me, and in fact I do. Sadly, my efforts were hindered by a very vocal bully who did not believe I had the right to even acknowledge our differences. It is sad when one who has been bullied engages in extreme bullying tactics as I found myself the victim of…but that was indeed the case.

      Caryn I know you know my feelings as we have shared openly with each other. Of course I write this more for the benefit of others who may need to hear, know the truth.

      Mr. Stollar…if you intend to simply dismiss my comments with mockery again then please don’t bother.

      1. Your efforts were hindered by a “bully” who had very big problems with your public views that gay sex is ‘unnatural’ to you???? Are you.. are you for real? There isn’t a gay community ANYWHERE I can think of that would find your views appropriate. TLS is not a gay community by any stretch. One queer person validating your remarks does not make you right.

  28. How is David charging people for access to a Facebook group? How is the information at all private if it’s being shared with the giant information vacuum known as Facebook? My first thought was “Does Facebook really allow people to charge for a private group run on its website?” Answer (after a quick Google search): No. See http://just-ask-kim.com/facebook-groups-terms-of-service/ and https://m.facebook.com/legal/terms Apparently, you can get deleted and banned.

    If you are charging for access to a “community” at least do it on your own dime and server space with its own security measures or through a third party service that pay for that specializes in this stuff. Otherwise, calling it “private,” let alone “safe” is comical.

    1. Karen- to be fair- he runs a community on his own server and dime, and the Facebook group is an offshoot of it.

      1. But he’s the only admin of the Facebook group, and he won’t add you to the group unless you pay the $7 first.

      2. There’s practically nothing on the TLS page anymore. He closed down the forums. About the only thing left there are the letters that he emails out weekly anyway.

  29. Now that you know the truth behind my comments (though I was not directly identified) you used in your attack piece…I will wait for the retraction of your statements concerning my bullying abuse of other members. As you should be able to see…nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. Thank you Gary for confirmation of what we were saying. What you said was offensive whether or not Caryn was okay with it. I would have thought Caryn should know better than to speak for others in the LGBTQ community but she seems to like speaking for others. Just because you didn’t intend to harm, doesn’t mean your words magically have no negative impact.

      Caryn, just because you are trans and bisexual doesn’t make you THE arbitrator of whether something is offensive to another. That’s not how advocacy works. I’m glad Gary didn’t offend you but it doesn’t give you the right to dismiss and try to silence Rick’s hurt.

    2. It doesn’t sound like you dispute Caryn’s account of the situation, which was…

      “An LGBTQ ally made a statement that he personally found same sex acts repulsive and/or gross…. A queer gentleman was offended… The queer gentleman was ultimately removed for not allowing others the safety of posting their own personal story.”

      …do you dispute that or not?

      If it didn’t happen like that, feel free to say how it actually did go down.

      If it did go down like that, then I don’t care how many gay friends you have, or that you arrogantly think that “it will be people like…me…leading the charge” in making the world better for LGBT* people. The fact is, you contributed to the marginalization of a queer person and then have the gall to say that queer person was bullying you. How the account stands, and how you’re trying to minimize and/or justify it, only goes to further prove the original testimonies shared here.

  30. Caryn, while I believe you probably mean well, it’s really not your place to speak for anyone else. No matter how good your intentions may be, it only makes matters worse. You take away others agency by presuming to speak for them.

  31. Jason, the fact that you believe my comments were offensive proves my point…not yours. I am a straight man who has every bit as much right to be straight as you do to be gay. (If in fact you are gay…I do not know)

    And no Mr. Stollar…I most certainly DID NOT marginalize a gay person…I was bullied by them relentlessly. (Yes…a gay man can be every bit as much of a bully as a straight one) My conversation was supportive and honest and talking about ways we can accept each other in spite of our differences. I clarified Caryn’s statement already in that I completely accept that same sex acts are not gross to individuals who are gay or bi. My point is plain…if a fully heterosexual person like myself can recognize this then there is hope more and more can. I do not believe for a moment that you are unable to see this point and understand it and your statements to the contrary are disingenuous at best. Clearly you have an agenda and no amount rational discussion will dissuade you from seeking to smear and destroy a good man.

    And I flatly refuse to allow you to portray me as one who marginalizes “queer” people. If the mere fact of being heterosexual marginalizes the homosexual, then there truly is no hope for change. And you mocking me for sharing my personal experience with gay friends and acquaintances as if I am playing some sort of “gay friend” card is offensive and childish. It is simply my personal experience and naturally I draw from it. For the record, this gay friend told me one time not long ago that he finds the things we straight guys do with women to be “repulsive”. We actually shared a good laugh about it. Did he marginalize me Mr. Stollar? Of course not. And of course he would feel this way because he is completely homosexual in orientation so what I find natural is quite unnatural to him. This is healthy and normal for us both. What you are doing and promoting here is destructive to the core. And your attacks against me and the false characterization of my remarks is absolutely becoming bullying behavior.

    I believe the path to acceptance lies in seeking to understand and accept our differences…not to play some ignorant game of lets all pretend there are none. And the more individuals like Rick try to dictate and control every element of the conversation for both sides, and BULLY those who don’t fall in line with his demands, the more he will set back the cause he fights for. In spite of the insults and mockery I have received by some here, I have been and remain a staunch ally to the gay community within my circle of influence. .

    1. Gary- I think I get it about the value of being able to acknowledge that it is okay to be socially and legally supportive of something that you are not, personally, into. That said, insisting it’s important and necessary to talk to gay folks about how your dick feels about gay sex is…weird. And it’s certainly not necessary for advocacy. Maybe there’s a place for it in a room full of actually homophobic straight guys who are using those dick-feels as a means to justify anti-gay social policy? But even then, tread lightly, you know? People have literally used their personal discomfort with gay sex as a justification for awful social policy.

      Think about it like this- would you say something similar to/about people in an interracial relationships? No of course not, because hello it’s rude as fuck and also makes you look like an entitled bigot who thinks he’s being honest by letting everyone know that his dick is not on board with their partner.

      Now I’m just picturing having an honest convo with my mom: mom, I personally am repulsed by the thought of having sex with my dad. I cannot understand why you can get excited about that. But I just want you to know that I fully support old people rights to get and stay married and have sexy times.

      Sorry, I digress- tl;dr the only reason it feels reasonable to you to talk to a gay person that way is because gay people are still marginalized enough that we don’t consider them deserving of basic human fucking courtesy and good manners. Insisting on your right to keep doing it anyway is what contributes to their marginalization. If you are, as I try to be also, an ally, then understand it’s imperative that we keep learning to recognize the sneaky ways our own cis/het privilege colors our thinking and actions.

      And when we fuck up it’s okay. It happens. We listen and try to understand. We do better next time. But we don’t fucking double down.

  32. AnniBanannie,

    I get what you are saying completely, though your rather crass characterization of my communication totally misses the mark. I DO NOT insist it is necessary to talk to gay folks about my discomfort. In fact of all my gay acquaintances and conversations, there is only one with whom the topic ox sexuality has come up. We are very good friends and this is something we feel free to discuss within the healthy boundaries of our friendship the same as anyone might discuss their sex life with a close and trusted friend. You need not make my conversations into something sinister. I DO NOT talk to gay people that way…I talk to them in the same manner I talk to all people. Your statement about what you believe I insist upon (how my “dick feels about gay sex”) is 100% false and clearly based on bias rather than fact. If you would make any effort whatsoever to know me, or at least objectively listen to what I am saying, you would recognize this yourself.

    As for the conversation where I confessed my personal discomfort with imagining myself in a gay relationship, that was something different entirely. In an online forum where the issue of gay rights and gay oppression is being discussed, a healthy conversation about finding ways to improve the situation is completely appropriate. And in fact it becomes counter productive when one of the parties is told they are not allowed to share their circumstance. My remarks were extremely gracious, supportive and yet honest about my personal circumstance. I’m not sure where as a society we have come to the conclusion that we have some sort of right to not be offended anyway, and in fact people become offended at the silliest things all the time. I can’t control that. Hell I should be offended by your characterization of my position. It was attacking, demeaning, and grossly false in its representations of my behavior. In other words, it was a personal attack on my character. But the conversation for which I have been repeatedly attacked was in a completely appropriate setting for it to take place. And even still, my remarks about how a person like myself overcoming my discomfort and fully accepting the homosexual community as healthy and normal in society, are a positive statement of reconciliation. Ironic that you seem to believe you can attack me in any way your little heart desires, yet I am not allowed to even examine myself.

    Like it or not…sexuality will always carry with it the icky factor when discussing that which is unnatural to us. Pretending otherwise is naive. Mature people seek to rise above personal discomfort in how they evaluate others. That is exactly what I was and continue to try to communicate. And no amount of slanderous and completely false characterizations of my comments (like the one you just posted) will change that.

  33. Okay but you are insisting it’s groovy to continually express your discomfort with gay sex. You did at the time and you are now. You’re doing it in pursuit of a higher goal, but you’re still doing it.

    I’m neither slandering you, nor lying about you. I am reading your actual words that you are actually saying and reporting back to you on their content.

    Note- I’m scrolling back through your comments here and can’t find where you used a phrase like “your little heart” in response to any of the men/male presenting people who you also claim are slandering you. It’s a thing mansplainers say to women as a dismissive. So, like insisting on the value of continuing to talk about the fact that you’re uncomfortable with gay sex, helps to reveal that you are a well meaning guy who doesn’t like being crossed or having his benevolent image of himself countered in any way.

    News flash- I’m not in service to your self image, buddy. And neither is anyone else. It’s great your gay friends don’t mind, keep it for those convos, and when another queer person tells you that then apologize and move on. Don’t, for the love of all that is holy, double down.

    (I apologize for my crass language above. Please note how I avoided all crass language and descriptions in this comment. I did so because you expressed distaste/discomfort with that language . This is how respectful individuals interact, especially when they truly mean no harm. They. Don’t. Double. Down.)

  34. So now I am a “mansplainer” too? Wow. You just insist on piling on the slanders don’t you? I’m sure I could come up with some sort of slander about your character based upon your use of the term “buddy”, but I really don’t see how that is going to be productive.

    “News flash” – I don’t ask for or desire your affirmation. I speak for and represent myself honestly…nothing more. The fact is you are still misrepresenting me and I can only assume it is deliberate. You stated that I am “insisting it’s groovy to continually express” my “discomfort with gay sex.” Of course this statement is a lie as I have already clarified for you where I DID make such a statement and in what context, and made it abundantly clear I DO NOT continually express such discomfort. I have and will continue to defend that my use of that statement was appropriate for the context in which it was used. But you do not seem interested in truth or you would not continue to make such false statements as I quoted above.

    For the record…it is not the “language” I find offensive but rather your repeated insistence on portraying my remarks in the most demeaning way possible. You have continued that same type of assault in full force in this comment as well. Perhaps you need a little more practice in how “respectful individuals interact,”

    1. Annie would you stop thinking with your brain and start thinking with your fallopian tubes like the good lord intended?

    1. Wow, just wow. I will never understand how some can not fathom that their words could possibly be understood differently than what they intended. It seems fairly obvious though no matter what your what your acceptance of homosexuality is, if you proclaim the act of gay sex personally repulsive in a diverse forum, you will offend people.

  35. Wow is right. I am amazed that this still persists. Of course my words, like any other’s, can be understood differently than what I intended. That does not necessarily mean that they were inappropriate, abusive, or even insensitive. No matter how carefully and respectfully we present ourselves…there will be someone who claims offense. This is a fact of life, especially in online discussion groups. I am extremely aware of this and it is part of the reason why I believe the discussion is so important.

    1. Sooooo let me just get this straight. When, say, a man, leaves a voice message to, say, a woman, saying “Who the fuck do you think you are”, in a low and gravelly tone … it does not necessarily mean he was being inappropriate, abusive or even insensitive?

      1. Because TLS is harboring someone who did that. The group you’re defending. How the hell would that not pertain to you?

      2. I have no knowledge of such an incident and it does not pertain to my points in any way. I will not be drawn into an effort to judge me now by association.

  36. Bru – Why do you assume I never have? What I am not apologizing for or changing my opinion of is believing that there was nothing inappropriate in my comments.

    1. But there was something inappropriate in your comments, Gary. You said, in a forum in which LGBT people thought they were “safe”, that you found homosexual sex to be repulsive. You didn’t have to say anything else. That, entirely unto itself, is totally inappropriate and I can’t fathom why you still haven’t apologized!

      1. I don’t think I was in TLS when this happened, or if I was I didn’t see it. I would have been bothered by the use of the word repulsive if I had read it though.

    2. I don’t believe I accused you of never apologizing before, it just seems in the situation described it would be appropriate to apologize for offending someone.

    3. It would be super easy to say: while my close gay friend didn’t mind a frank discussion of our sexual differences, I can now see that distant acquaintance gay people in an open forum may not appreciate hearing/reading those thoughts. I apologize and will be more context aware in the future.

      Or something like that.

      You know, instead of doubling-thefuck-down on how it’s totally okay to talk publicly about how you talk privately with your gay friends about the repulsiveness of gay sex.

  37. And to get past the inevitable, “How do you know I haven’t apologized?”… Well, I don’t. But if you did, it certainly got lost somewhere in all your defensiveness and mansplaining, so I don’t blame any offended parties for not accepting it, or for missing it entirely. You’ve been a huge jerk here. Why would anyone assume you’re any different under even more stressful circumstances (i.e. a heated argument in TLS in which you made an inflammatory statement)?

    I know I wouldn’t assume that. I just wouldn’t.

  38. Catie I could not disagree with you more. In fact most of the GLBT people in that forum not only took no offense, but understood my point and agreed with it. The mere fact that a single person takes offense to a comment does not in turn automatically mean it is then by default inappropriate. And your characterization of my comment is once again false and misleading.

    I support gay marriage. I support gay rights. I do not believe homosexuality is sinful. I do not believe homosexuals should be discriminated against in any way whatsoever. But NONE of that changes what it means to be heterosexual and for me that includes recognition that same sex attraction is unnatural to my orientation. (Duh!) Not only is this part of the discussion…it SHOULD be part of the discussion. Much of the criticism towards the gay community has to do with heterosexual bigots believing that because someone is different than they are it means they need to be oppressed. I am stating that same sex orientation is just as foreign to me as to any heterosexual and it should not matter one iota. (And it does not to me) This was my point then and it is my point now. Who the fuck should care whether or not the gay lifestyle would work for me? It certainly works for those who are gay. My very point is that the “icky factor” should not even play a part of how society responds to the gay community.

    No Catie…there was absolutely nothing inappropriate in my comments…unless you believe it is inappropriate to be heterosexual. The context of the discussion for which I am repeatedly being attacked was a perfectly appropriate place to acknowledge this. My personal preferences for women are no more right than my friend’s are for men…it is simply who we are. To continue to try to make something sinister out of simply discussing these differences and demonize me for having the maturity to acknowledge it and seek to help us all move past it is ridiculous. This discussion long ago ceased being about honest communication and became instead a thinly veiled witch hunt.

    1. Gary, I’m glad you support gay rights. I do, too! And, in a safe place, I support the rights of LGBT people not to hear the words, “gay sex is repulsive to me,” in ANY way, shape or form. The fact that this was allowed and that you were not the party ousted from the group really isn’t your fault, that’s on David for grossly misunderstanding what a safe space should be. I hold him personally responsible for that.

      What IS on you is the fact that you continually try to defend yourself by saying, “But I support the gays!”

      And I just couldn’t care less. You need to stop explaining your position and start getting real with yourself. The way that YOU feel about gay sex DOES NOT MATTER. In any context. Whether you support gay rights or not. I don’t care if you think it’s gross and I don’t care if you think it’s amazing. You’re a heterosexual man. That means you don’t get to have an opinion! Especially not in a space that is supposed to be safe for the LGBT community. And the fact that you keep defending your right to have an opinion on the way other people use their dicks in the privacy of their own homes is part of the problem. The fact that TLS gave you a place to do that is a part of the problem.

      This is not a witch hunt. You just won’t shut up about how you should be able to say whatever you want about the way other people have sex and it got tiresome to me, so I commented. The way you’re acting out in these comments makes you, personally, a very easy target.

      I’m really done having this conversation with you now because you’re kind of like a broken record and I just don’t have it in me to care anymore. You are a very hard person.

      And yeah, that was condescending. I’ll own it.

  39. And it was not in the context of a heated argument in TLS. I have apologized many times when my comments were insensitive. But I will not apologize for believing that this is an appropriate conversation to have in the right context. You have judged me and, like the others, are seeking to bully and/or badger me into changing that belief.

    1. It sure sounds like it turned into the context of a heated argument, because one party was kicked out of TLS. So. It seems like what you mostly want to do is play semantics. I’m not down with that.

      Done.

    2. “You have judged me and, like the others, are seeking to bully and/or badger me into changing that belief.”

      Bullying is a real, devastating phenomenon. Stop appropriating the word to refer to people disagreeing with you. You insult the victims of bullying everywhere by doing so.

  40. And I’m “not down with” any more of the unreasonable bias I find here. There is not even the slightest effort being made to be objective with my comments. That is ok, as I didn’t expect that there would be. Yes one party was finally removed…after repeatedly engaging in extreme bullying of other members…not just myself. But I have stated my beliefs with fairness and challenged the clear evidence of deliberate misleading that seems to have taken place with this post. (A nicer way to say lies) I am confident that those who are here with an open mind will read my comments and take them in the positive and constructive nature in which they were intended. As for those of you intent on judging me regardless of what I say, the floor is yours. I know your words will ring as hollow after I leave as they do now.

    1. So we’ve gone from me being a bully, to me being an ‘extreme bully’ now? It was you who was silenced and put down by David was it? And for all the times I stood up for equality, and I was continually put down by the majority of TLS. So the fact that you can consider me a bully is quite incredible.

      1. And you have an ‘intriguing’ understanding of what bullying is:

        From the Oxford dictionary:
        “A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker”

        Do you really think that’s what was going on? You know full well that I engaged with what you said politely at first, that I told you your comment was uncalled for and that it made me uncomfortable. I, and others on there, agreed that it was. You just flipped out because I called it a homophobic comment. All you had to do was apologise before any of it escalated, but no, you had to defend your use of it, and David came and validated it and you, and then suddenly I was a ‘bully’. It just became more and more problematic just because of your straight privileged and egotistical entitlement to say whatever the hell you like. That just because you ‘think’ you’re an ally you can casually and publicly announce on a forum where queer people reside, that you think gay sex is repulsive and ‘unnatural’ to you. No ally would say those things! I talked to four TLS members who are queer since that episode, three of whom are still in TLS. All of them agreed that what you said was wrong. And my being treated like a ‘bully’ for standing up to it was wrong.

        But you know what? David is most to blame for this. First of all, for allowing such terminology to used in the first place when he is meant to be a staunch ally of the LGBT community. But second of all, for taking sides at the time. For not even once considering that I was upset by what you said. He just saw me as an aggressor, or how he actually put it in PM, that anger was my “default state”, and other manipulative bs. And apparently, according to his latest cartoon, and ‘apology’ in regards to all this, he said he spoke to you and agreed that your terminology and use of the word ‘repulsive’ was brash, and that a better explanation would have been preferred. And yet, on the public forum where it happened, where all the eyes of the community can see, such things were not said. I was simply silenced and shut down by David, who labelled by an agitator, and then he closed the discussion (and proceeded on that tact via private messages).

        The man is a social coward, a liar, and a hypocrite, who simply cannot deal with conflict of any form. This entire blow up is only absolute proof of that. He absolutely should not be running any ‘self-help’ communities because he simply lacks to the tools to moderate them effectively.

  41. It is very interesting that Gary is doing the very thing that he has been accusing me of with whining and cry baby behaviour on Haywards blog. It must be very difficult for him to have brought judgement on himself for being like that. Being flipped out won’t work without Haywards support, it just looks silly here.

  42. As a survivor of heinous spiritual abuse I have to say that reading this comment thread makes me think of one thing: there is not enough bubble wrap in the world for a “safe place” as it is being presented here. We have become a nation of censored speech in order to protect ourselves from what? Thinking? Analyzing? It has become ridiculous. How about we all grow up? How about some room for freedom of conscious and being able to discuss such things? Go ahead and tell off the Neanderthals.

    I would hang with Caryn Lamur any day. She seems to get it as far as having real discussions with people coming from places we disagree with.

  43. I was abused more by the so called “victims” of TLS than I had been in a long time. There is nothing that will satisfy them other than a blanket “hang David” mentality…. If you don’t give them that, you will be labeled and abused.

    David apoligized, I agreed with several of their points, but what most of them (think one in particular) wanted was blood…… Our blood, for not fawning over their every word. David didn’t roll on cut glass, so his apology wasn’t enough. Safe places need to be safe for everyone, not just you and your peeps…..

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