My sister, Sarah, recently gave a video statement on the situation with my Dad. There was no new information given, and she did not say anything she has not already said in her previous statements over the past few months. It was the same talking points.
She is not speaking for the family. As has been clear, we do not share her take on this situation. A while back she chose the path of doing what she felt was best, strategically, for the organization. We disagree with her opinions and stance very strongly. And we do so for very legitimate reasons.
So I will simply close this response with this: I love my sister, but I stand by my belief in my Dad. I continue to reject the report and narrative put forth for all of the reasons I have already laid out on this blog.
In a few hours after posting this, it will have officially been a year since my family lost Dad. It still feels like it can’t be. I miss him so much every day. As I told him on one the last days he was conscious, he was my compass. He consistently pointed me to what was important and good and right in life. He never wavered in his message and advice. It was as consistent as he was over the years.
He overcame so much pain and trauma in his own youth to amazingly be a dad whose presence I knew I was always safe in, regardless of any disagreement we were in. He taught me how to be a gentleman and a gentle man. He was my Dad. One of two great parental cornerstones given to me by God. He was my example. He was my friend.
The year that has followed his loss has been a hellish experience that I never would have imagined, incurring more trauma that hasn’t even allowed for the time and space to process the impact of his absence.
I’ve said a lot on this subject the last few months. But, today, as I navigate this unwanted anniversary, I will just close with this story.
31 years ago, when we were living in England during Dad’s time studying at Cambridge, our family was out on a shopping trip on a typical rainy day. As we walked out of a store, I stayed with my mom and sisters while Dad was a few paces back. Being only 9, I wasn’t paying any attention to my surroundings and as I went to open my umbrella, I unknowingly hit someone behind me and kept walking.
The person behind me was not amused, and started to approach me in such a way that indicated he was going to shove me or kick me. What he didn’t know was that Dad was behind him. Dad saw what he was about to do, rushed up behind him and knocked the guy off stride so he couldn’t hit me. The guy backed off and left me alone. I was oblivious to all of it at the time.
My Dad loved his family. He always fought for us. He fought for us even when we were oblivious to it.
I don’t know if Dad is aware of what is happening down here. I actually hope he isn’t. But now I will fight for him, even if he’s as unaware as I was during his battles on my behalf.
One year ago, surrounded by his family, he drifted from our arms info the arms of his Savior.
One year ago, I was by his side. And I’m proudly still by his side today.
I love you Dad. I miss you. I can’t wait to see you again one day.
I will continue to defend my Dad with whatever force necessary for these reasons. First, I believe this report to be driven by a predetermined agenda, not actual evidence and truth. I’ve already given examples of that and will continue to do so.
But the second reason is this: even if the report were true, I would strongly disagree with the way RZIM has handled it. Why?
I’ll do my best to explain it.
I worked at RZIM for a total of 15 years, and lived it for nearly 40. I sat through countless messages, then listened to and edited countless more through my work in their media department. It is safe to say my views of the Gospel were formed by listening to the entire team at RZIM; the same team and message that was supported by the board then, some of whom still remain. I say “some“ because those that disagreed with what the majority did have since resigned.
I thought I was on the same page with all of those people for all of those years. I watched them tell people in the audience that they were not defined by their mistakes. I listened as they said that fact was not dependent on their repentance. I heard them say that regardless of what they did, God did not see them as their mistakes, even if consequences were necessary.
And as such these speakers said that’s how they saw those people, because that’s what Jesus commanded. No, that doesn’t mean you ignore possible sin. But it most certainly does mean that you do not condemn someone to a legacy known only as their sin. And they never said there was any fine print to this. They didn’t say you weren’t defined by your sin unless you committed “x.”
But we certainly haven’t heard any of that from them as it relates to Dad. I’ve had one person within RZIM tell me they still love my Dad. But he helped author a statement that wouldn’t even hint at the fact that there could still be love for my Dad. Not only have none of them had the courage to publicly say that they still love my Dad, they’ve embraced words and conclusions they privately doubt, like abuse and rape. They silence the love they supposedly feel, and preach the verdict that privately don’t.
That’s not the Gospel I heard them preach. Either I was wrong, or they have betrayed their message in an effort to preserve their platform. Here are a few examples as to why I believe they departed from the Gospel in their scorched earth response.
Numerous speakers and leadership have gone on record as not just condemning the alleged actions of my Dad, but also condemning the man himself.
Cameron & Stuart McAllister referred to him as a former friend. The context of that comment was not that he is “former” because he is not here, but “former” because they no longer claim him as one.
Vince & Jo Vitale, have distanced themselves from Dad, not just moving forward, but expressed regret for their ministry alongside him even while they were unaware of any alleged behaviors. (As a side note, they can say they failed to ask questions about the LAT matter all they want and say that is why “truth” wasn’t found. But the fact is that the people who have all of the information there is to be had, have interacted with both sides, and know everything about the NDA still to this day believe that my Dad’s account of that situation is 100% accurate.) So had that taken a different approach it wouldn’t have changed a thing. Dad faced plenty of questions from far more key people and he is still believed by those who knew every answer there was to find.
I thought of all those statements made by staff while I was at church last week, when my pastor talked about Jesus’ interaction with Judas. Jesus, knowing what Judas already had done, and would still do, still washed Judas’ feet at the Last Supper. Judas was in the midst of committing the worst betrayal in history, and Jesus still served him in an act of incredible grace. Then, as Judas approached him in the garden to turn him over, Jesus still addressed him as “friend.”
Think of that. Jesus did not distance himself from Judas. He straight up claimed him in that moment. Judas, one of the greatest sinners, came face to face with Jesus, the only one in that garden who knew the true depravity of his heart, and he was still called friend. Jesus claimed him until the very end. And He most certainly did not issue a public statement saying he no longer considered Judas a friend, or regretted doing ministry with him.
Someone out there will say “Ravi’s son equates his father to Judas.” And Christianity Today might run with that, what with their history of writing for clicks. Hey CT, among a host of other suggestions, next time you do a hit piece you might consider these two little words before you determine the credibility of your initial sources – background check.
But no, I am not comparing my Dad to Judas. What I am saying is that the story of Jesus and Judas is an example of how Jesus did not withdraw from one of the most famous sinners in history. Yet RZIM feels they are evidently more just than Jesus, as they must withdraw from Dad.
Leadership has cited God’s ability to forgive…themselves, that is. Not Dad. They never mention that. They just say that “we serve a God who forgives” in donor communications when they say they are in need of it. God’s ability to forgive Dad is nowhere to be found.
They cite James 3:1 as a reason for their decision to try this in public and to take on their supposedly God given command to be legacy executioners.
For a ministry that was founded on the importance of thought, they haven’t given much of that to their cherry picking of that passage.
First, the way that verse is worded, both in tense and Greek wording, is that it speaks to God’s judgment of teachers when He ultimately judges them later.
Now, while RZIM has taken this opportunity to add the title of God to their list of responsibilities, such a title isn’t a name it and claim it kind of deal. They are not God. This verse speaks to what God will do. Not what He is asking us to do.
Second, the context of that passage talks about stricter judgmentfor whatthey say. In other words, teachers are not being warned that their sins will incur greater judgment. They are being warned that their teachings, specifically their incorrect teachings, will incur stricter judgment because those words stand to influence more people.
But RZIM has abused that verse. They have altered that verse to empower and deify themselves. And they have misrepresented it to indicate stricter judgment (aka we will erase you from the face of this earth kind of judgment) for personal failure, regardless of how good your content was, simply because you were a preacher.
Due to what I know about what they’ve said in private, I can only assume they’ve said it so they can find a home amidst the mob mentality that masquerades as spiritual sensitivity. It’s the best way to protect themselves, which they would see as ultimately protecting the Gospel because of their calling to preach it.
But last I checked, God never said to embrace lies or half truths. or to bow to cultural expectations of judgment just so you could keep your foot in the door of culture. He is in charge of all of our callings. So, scapegoating someone else to preserve your own influence is never a formula He commanded.
They haven’t just reduced Dad to his sins, they’ve ensured that that is all he ever will be in some peoples eyes. Instead of allowing for both good and bad to be attached to a man’s earthly legacy, they have published the bad and erased the good, making sure that his life can never do any more good though his teachings. They have given people no other option but to only remember his alleged sin.
It that verse in James is true, as I believe it to be, then it is RZIM who ought to be worried as their actions against my Dad have been made under the guise of doctrine. They could be pure as the driven snow in their lives, but if they are wrong about how they’ve handled this, they will answer heavily for it when they meet the Lord.
Early on in this process, someone left a very insightful comment on my Instagram post. They referenced Joseph and his handling of Mary, when he had doubts about the spiritual origin of her pregnancy.
Matthew 1:19 says:
“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”
Other translations say he was a “righteous” man. The cause and effect in that description is powerful. Because he was a righteous/just man, he did not want to handle this publicly. He did not want to air her dirty laundry. He wanted to handle it privately.
He was righteous, and his behavior was considered a logical outworking of that righteousness. His intent was the exact opposite of RZIM’s, and the Bible praises him for it.
Last example. And the most important.
Sam Allberry was a speaker at Rzim. A gifted one. And he was one who positioned himself as comforter and pastor for my family when Dad was popular. Once Dad wasn’t, that desire to comfort and pastor us evaporated in an instant. Then he became pastor to twitter and completely abandoned and ignored my family, except when he decided to lie about my sister’s message to him. (That was such a blatant misquote that it has to be intentional. She, being a better person than me, did not respond. But if Sam would like to challenge that accusation he can feel free. I have the letter he misquoted so I’m ready.)
Not too long after Sam’s social media crusade and the report’s release, he tweeted something that was one of the greatest examples of an intellectual disconnect that I’ve ever seen.
Sam is right – that is what Jesus did. But that is not what Sam has done. When I read that I shook my head. How could a man who just spent months working to exclude/redefine my Dad’s presence from history then talk about the example Jesus gave us of embracing and communing with the sinner? The same man (Sam) who doesn’t even want to share a website, bio, etc with my Dad, is suddenly talking about how appreciative he is that Jesus shared a table with sinners – an act that signifies far more in Jesus’ day than it does in our culture today.
Jesus did confront the sinner, no doubt. But He drew as close to them as He could when He did it. He separated their value from their sin. He made it clear that were sinners, but they were not their sin. He condemned their behavior but embraced their soul. He never ostracized them or distanced Himself from them. He went closer.
Sam and RZIM have done none of that.
In fact, the harshest words Jesus had were for those who claimed to know everything about the sinners hearts; what they were and were not worthy of. You might say He condemned those who had a habit of making public statements about someone else’s sin and where they stood in eternity. Those are the people he responded to with great force and anger. They bristled at the fact that a grievous sinner could commune with the Lord. They hated the fact that they were considered on par with themselves in the Lords eyes. Both in equal need of Him. Both with equal access.
Rzim has played the role of those Pharisees. They have gone far beyond condemning actions they only partially believe in. Even if they believed all of it they have gone far beyond condemning sin.
The Bible is full of characters where God shows us the good and the bad of a person. God always used sinners to do mighty things. Some of them weren’t even believers, but God was not afraid to use them or to make it clear that He had done so.
He made them a part of His story to spread his truth, regardless of where their hearts were. He didn’t erase those who would be inconvenient vessels for him. He let their good and bad live on in history.
But RZIM – they must know better than God. There’s no place for a broken vessel to still have done any good or communicated any truth. They feel the right course is to erase any sign that God used my Dad. They have decided for us – and God – who we can choose to learn from.
They can quote a good game. They can use all the right words Twitter wants them to. But the fact is the Gospel they preach from the pulpit doesn’t match the Gospel them demonstrate in their PR statements.
At the beginning of this I mentioned the audiences who heard RZIM speakers preach of God’s love for them no matter ever, and their worth in the eyes of the Lord no matter what. I would venture to say many of those listeners now would steer clear of ever confiding in one of those speakers. For if they could see their “former friend” as only bad, why would they view anyone else any differently?
In this post I’m sharing some more information in response to my brief appearance on Julie Roys’ blog last week.
In the comment section of Julie’s blog, Vicki Blue tried to give an explanation for the text message I released. Among other things, in her response she says these two things:
“I believe that must have been my last contact”
“if there is any other text, it was before then…”
Those are false statements.
We have texts after that. The text messages I posted were in January, 2016. She then says she would like to help find and train a dog for my parents, and shares at length about two service animals she’s working with (Jeli and Sage). She says she would love to come do massages for both my mom and dad. (It was Dad who constantly brought my mom and the family into the conversations with Vicki.)
In March of 2016, she writes him on his birthday and refers to him as “most precious Mr. Ravi Ji” and “my dear Mr. Ravi Ji.” Ji is a suffix often used in Hindi to convey great respect for the person you are addressing with it. Vicki either got this from hearing Michael Ramsden use it, or more likely from hearing Anurag use it. Anurag regularly used it when addressing Dad (and frequently in the text messages of his that I have released, and in those I haven’t, yet.) Vicki and Dad even exchange messages that August for her birthday.
In all of this communication, Dad does not always respond to all of her messages. She always responds to his. She was clearly the one driving most of the conversation.
PHONES & PHOTOS
Once Julie allowed my comment and wrote back, she expressed disbelief that we could find text messages on his phone and not see photos.
Well, Julie, I don’t know what else to say, but that’s the truth.
Actually, I do know what else to say.
Dad regularly gave his phone to the family for help with one thing or another. He was not technically savvy, so he often needed my help with something on the phone. I never – not ever – saw any inappropriate, questionable, or ill advised photo on his phones or computer.
Despite the report making it look like Dad went out of his way to avoid digital oversight at RZIM and kept them away from his phones, that is just not what happened. Quite often, Dad handed over his phones to get their help with troubleshooting, software updates, backups, syncing to his computer, etc. IT staff regularly had access to his phones and data. They never saw anything.
In Dad’s last weeks, my mom and sister had full access to his phones at all times. They never saw one of these alleged photos, questionable contacts, or anything of the sort.
ABOUT THOSE DAYS
That last paragraph brings another thought to mind. I think I’ve mentioned that at many times in Dad’s final weeks there were times that he was not in his normal mind due to the influence of various pain medications. But not once did he ever mention a concerning behavior, another woman’s name, a strange comment.
In fact, in one of his worst moments of confusion and unfiltered speech, though his understanding of what was going on was impaired, his concern was still for my mom’s well-being and care. In other times during those days, he regularly talked about new ways to spread the Gospel, and he had imaginary (or not, perhaps) conversations with Christian leaders already in heaven.
I find something else interesting about those days. All these messages they say they have, yet there’s not a single questionable communication they can point to in his final months? Keep in mind, in January and February Dad thought his dramatic increase in back pain was fixable. He thought surgery and a couple months off of the road would do the trick. Being off the road meant canceling time in Asia at some point. But there’s no communication with one of these people saying he won’t be able to see them?
The report claims he had history of expressing disappointment when travel was canceled because it limited his ability to see one or more of these therapists. And they say he expressed anticipation of his next trip. But there’s nothing in their report from those final months. There are no messages to any therapists saying he won’t be able to see them because of his surgery and subsequent healing period.
And then when he realized he was facing cancer, there were no messages then, either. All of these women he supposedly had “amorous” contact with over the years and there’s not a single message telling one of them what’s happening? No goodbyes? No message from one of them after they may have heard through other sources?
Even in the times when he was under the influence of medication, he never fired off a quick text or email or WhatsApp message. All of those accounts were continuously logged in on his phone and could have been viewed by any of the family members that were constantly by his side. The report claimed to have gotten some information that had been deleted off of the phones, so the answer can’t be that he sent those messages but just deleted them.
If the things they accuse him of are true, it seems completely unbelievable that he wouldn’t have sent or received a communication to/from any one of these women while these things were happening. But there are no such messages.
FRAMING THE PHOTOS
As with other aspects of the report, there are a lot of holes within their presentation of the photo evidence. At times it seems like they were intentionally manipulating the reader. And many of the details – or lack thereof at times – seem inconsistent with the story they want us to believe.
On key points, they clearly give precedence to the narrative above the actual evidence. The report goes into great detail when it benefits them, then leaves out important detail when it would hurt their case.
First, the introduction of the photos is clearly meant to manipulate the reader. The first paragraph creates shock with the number of photos. They even mention that total twice – once at the beginning of the report and then again when they actually expand on the information. They break down how many photos were of what person, and include Lori Anne Thompson and all of the assumptions her name brings into the scenario. They even blatantly speculate about the ages of the women when they have no idea.
But then after one very long paragraph with a whole bunch of stats and dates, they say this:
In the majority of these photographs the women are fully clothed and posing as anyone would for a selfie.
That’s what you call burying the lede.
The writers knew full well that people would read the first paragraph and mentally determine the photos were all nudes. That was clearly delivered in such a way to have people come away thinking he had 200 nude photos on his phone. They were successful, as evidenced by some of the comments I get and the way the press covered that detail.
But approximately 197 of the 200 photos were clothed. You really think a man who is supposedly sexually aggressive and has a habit of asking for nude pictures would have 197 clothed “normal” photos compared to 3 nude photos?
Another strange detail of the way they describe the photos – they don’t seem to know who most of them are. Only a couple are allegedly linked to other communications, and they don’t seem to know much about any of them. They speculate about their ages, where he saw them, etc.
Why is that significant? Because it would seem to indicate that none of them are from their witness list. And if you’re claiming a man has a pattern of behavior, it doesn’t make sense that you don’t have any examples of that pattern from any of the twelve massage therapists interviewed.
If these sources were real and telling the truth it seems these pictures would have included their own pictures and proof that he requested them.
(Yes there are supposedly 6 clothed photos of LAT, but his defense against those is already well documented. So I’m talking about the other 194 photos, apparently none of which include their supposed multitude of witnesses. And that is strange.)
There’s an incredible lack of communications surrounding those photos. The investigation likes to quote his own words, supposedly, but when it comes to picture exchanges they don’t use his words. They decide to speak for him at that point and just tell us he asked for them, letting our imaginations do the work of what the tone of those requests were.
200 photos wanted and requested would have a significant communication trail to go with them. But they seemingly have very little of that.
When it comes to nude photos, they offer no evidence for his role in those at all. They cite two anonymous people who say he asked for nude photos but they declined. And there is no proof of that exchange. So we’re back to the “they say” aspects of the report, trying to overcome the massive lack of evidence with unproven verbal information.
The other piece of info conveniently left out is where the photos were found. Were they found in his photos library or in his deleted files? The answer to that makes a big difference, which is why I suspect the report skipped past that detail.
Some or all of these could have been deleted for any number of vindicating reasons: because he didn’t want them, ask for them, or didn’t have have sordid motives with them.
As one attorney told me, it is very easy to get Dad’s information. She told me exactly where I could find Dad’s private phone number online. Anyone could get it and send unsolicited messages…. repeatedly. Ask any public figure out there and I’m sure you’ll find many get contacted with unwanted photos.
That all makes it hard for me to trust in any of the information they are giving.
My Mom recently sent an email to some friends and family that is being circulated. She’s since asked me to post it here to ensure it’s ongoing accuracy.
Good am, Family. I love you all.
I wanted you all to know that I have spent the last week going through every paper and article in Ravi’s desk, closet and drawers. I moved last Monday as RZIM told me I had 90 days to vacate our home, which had been promised to me specifically in the case that Ravi died for as long as I wanted it. Before I left the house I wanted to be certain that nothing was left of Ravi that anyone could take and twist and create a story to use against him. Included in this were the suitcases from his last international trip last Jan, which have stood unemptied in our closet for the past year. Seeing his shoes in it really undid me. I went through every scrap of paper, all his financial documents, letters, cards he had kept etc. In short, everything he valued and needed in life.
Ravi was not very organized. His filing system was to designate a drawer (kind of) and throw everything into it. He threw nothing out, and I mean nothing. I found receipts dating back into the 1980’s, including receipts for every restaurant he ever ate in, I think. I lost track of the garbage bags and the hours spent shredding financial & personal documents, as well as confidential & personal documents relating to RZIM.
I found dozens of cards he had kept from the kids & me. I found family pictures, mostly of the kids & me but also some from your growing up days in India. He had a picture of me with my father on my 16th birthday, another of when I graduated from high school. I found notes I had written to him. I found an anniversary gift for me for last year when we were in Houston and a birthday gift for me for last year when he was in heaven. I found cards he had bought to give me but never had the chance.
I found multiple denominations of money in multiple currencies in multiple boxes. I always wondered that he always had cash in the appropriate currency upon arrival in any country I went with him and never had to visit the exchange booths in any airport to pay porters and cab drivers.
I found drawers and drawers of medications he took for the medical issues he was dealing with, including in no particular order sleep aids, metamucil, pain medications, metamucil, energy boosters, metamucil, prostate medications, metamucil, hair growth tonics.
I found boxes of pens and watches never worn as they were good watches, usually given to him, and he was afraid they would create the wrong impression of him.
I found the bag of crosses he gave to every therapist who helped him and which have been used against him, called expensive gifts used to bribe or “groom”…I’m not even sure what that is. I guess normal, civil discourse is grooming because you want to make a good impression on someone. The bag has clearly marked on it who gave them to him (he did not buy them), a friend who is a jeweler. He gave one to me, to Naomi & Sarah & Sarah Kay, to Elizabeth & Barb one Christmas & described how he used them to open a conversation about the Lord with people he met along the way. He had literally dozens of them and gave them out liberally. They were not intended to convey a special or romantic interest.
I am reminded of when Ravi spoke for Billy Graham at Amsterdam ‘86 on The Lostness of Man. Afterward, Billy told Ravi that he had never heard such a powerful sermon on the subject and asked if he could use it. Ravi was really flattered until someone, either Leighton Ford or Cliff Barrows, told him not to put too much stock in what Billy had said as he said that to everyone who spoke for him.
These crosses were the same. They conveyed no special interest. He gave them to everyone. They were what he said they were, an opportunity for him to open the conversation to be about the Lord.
I found a receipt book from which he issued a receipt for every massage he received at home, with the name of the therapist and a description of the treatment, signed by the therapist and by him.
I found multiple cards from people, including some therapists, thanking him for the blessing he was to them, for his encouragement to them, for leading them into a deeper walk with the Lord or being instrumental in bringing them to the Lord. I found letters from people offering him all kinds of advice in boosting his energy levels, on staying healthy, on making his hair grow, on treating his back.
I would also like to tell you that both Naomi and I have had frequent text messages from the therapist that treated his back most often in recent years, affirming the love and respect for him and for us that she and her family still hold and telling us they continue to pray for us and are here for us. She and her family were present at the dedication of the RZIM building.
All of this is to tell you what I did not find: no suspicious financial documents, no financial or real estate arrangements that I did not know about. No investments that I was not aware of. No suspicious letters or cards of a romantic nature from anyone but me. No suspicious expenditures. No products to treat conditions unknown to me.
In short, I want you, his family, to know beyond a shadow of doubt that I found not one suspicious receipt, letter, card, expenditure…absolutely nothing to support the claims being made or the charges against him.
As I said, he was not an organized person, except in his logical, philosophical & theological thought processes. He had no filing system. He was not complex. He was not duplicitous, he was not an actor. As you recall, he wasn’t hired for the role in that Christian movie as a teenager b/c he cldnt act. I cldnt even tell him about a surprise I was planning as, like an excited child, he couldn’t keep it secret. I could always tell if there was more to a story b/c his nose would do something funny. Like Jack Delany, a friend here, who wasn’t supposed to eat chocolate: his wife could always tell if he had had chocolate as his nose would get red.
He could never have kept a secret like they are alleging (alleging, I say, as there is not one whit of evidence to support what they are saying). At the very least, with all the medication he was on at the end and his hallucinations something would have come out if something were there.
When Ravi learned his cancer had metastasized he said he was ready to meet the Lord. He had no regrets, he said, except that he would have to leave us behind. He had no fear of dying, of meeting the Lord. His conversations at the end when he was seeing things we couldn’t and talking to people we couldn’t see were not filled with angst or fear or guilt. He was talking about strategy for sharing the Gospel with his unseen visitors. So much for Randy Alcorn and John MacArthur.
He never uttered another woman’s name, even in his sleep. His first thoughts every morning were of the Lord, his first words, “Thank you, Lord.” His Bible is marked up and underlined, notes in the margins, interacting with what is written and applying it to himself. I found written in his Bible the following. It has no date. It has no author. But Ravi obviously resonated with it.
Lord, I renounce my desire for human praise,
For the approval of my peers,
The need for public appreciation;
I deliberately put them aside today,
Content to hear you whisper,
“Well done, my faithful servant.” Amen.
More than any other poem I ever heard him quote was this one by Amy Carmichael, Make Me Thy Fuel, Flame of God:
From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, Free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not this are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified,)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the Love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
He was not perfect. He was a man. As his wife of 48 years, I know this more than anyone else. But his failures were not in this area. He was spectacularly self-disciplined in his conduct, especially where it would reflect poorly on the Lord. He denied himself every single day in order to fulfill his calling and be pleasing to the Lord. He trusted me implicitly and I, him. He loved me completely, even the aspects of my personality that he found frustrating. He was fully committed first to his God, then to me and to his children, and finally to those who looked to him as an example.
Such a man could not be guilty of what is being alleged and there is no evidence at all to support those allegations, not in his personal effects, his financial records, his correspondence, his actions observed by all who knew him over 74 yrs. Even the so-called evidence in his emails is phrases, words taken out of context and never confirmed with those who knew him, who could give some context. Anyone of any celebrity status who gives his email to any who ask because he didn’t want to offend them by refusing, always cautioning them to “be careful what they did with it,” receives hundreds of pictures and selfies from fans & admirers, often inappropriate ones. That is pandemic in our society today. And everything you receive on your phone or computer is there for eternity, as we are constantly warned, and can always be “forensically retrieved.” So there are pictures. The investigator never told us their origin, whether he researched them or they were sent to him. Is he responsible for what is sent to him? If he is, then so is everyone else.
There is absolutely no way that Ravi is guilty as charged, convicted, canceled and executed, some even going so far as to claim that he never knew the Lord. I knew him, inside and out. I trust him & believe in him no less than I did on May 18th last year when he called me to him and kissed me as long as he had the strength, his last physical act in his life. It is not because I am in denial. It is because I knew him and because there is absolutely no evidence to support anything contrary.
I have written this because I feel it is important that you, his family, know what I know, know what I have found and not found, so that you may have confidence to continue to love and respect the man you knew, and that you may know that he was the man you knew.
With much love, and confidence in Ravi and in the God he knew and loved and served,
In responding to a piece written by Julie Roys, someone referenced my posting of text messages on here. But they questioned why we had those when we said we didn’t have the phones. I responded with essentially the same wording I’ve used on here to explain:
Julie, being the kind of “journalist” that requires quotation marks around the title, read the line about “But we knew those two were involved…” and thought/hoped it meant the “two” were my Dad and Vicki. That is absurd, false, and not at all what I meant. Given that Anurag and Vicki are the subject of that comment, they are the “two” to which I was referring. As in, we knew Anurag and Vicki were involved in the story put forth by Baughman.
So posted below are Julie’s response, and then my follow up. I’m posting them here since she has so far been selective about what comments of mine she keeps and which ones she deletes. And in case she decides not to share my further explantation I want it to be visible here.
UPDATE: It looks like Julie did initially delete my response, as evidenced by its absence in the photo below. Note the same timestamped comment header from Vicki Blue in both the before and after photo, showing where my comment was and then mysteriously wasn’t.
Just as mysteriously, it reappeared some time after I pointed out it’s departure. She has still withheld other comments I made on her thread.
And this is supposed to be a “transparent” and “unbiased” person providing key witnesses and information to Miller & Martin?
As mentioned before, my mom was not allowed to be a part of the report presentation that was given directly to the board and a number of individuals, some of whom weren’t leadership or even on staff. The reason she was given was that she couldn’t be there because of witness confidentiality reasons.
But page 2 of the report says this:
“The overwhelming majority of those we interviewed requested confidentiality and asked to have their identities kept anonymous. To encourage witnesses to speak candidly, both RZIM management and the committee of the RZIM Board to which we report agreed that they would not have access to witness identities. As a result, and because most witnesses spoke to us in reliance on our assurance of confidentiality, we are not revealing names of any witnesses in this report or otherwise.”
So either the report is lying by saying they withheld witness identities from RZIM, or RZIM is lying in saying my Mom couldn’t be there for the presentation because it contained confidential witness identities.
Given the blatant inaccuracies by the report, and RZIM leadership reportedly trying to strong-arm dissenting board members to secure a unanimous vote (something they failed to get), the answer to which side is lying on the witness anonymity claim is a toss up.
One of the main pillars of the report is Dad’s travel to Asia. So I have a few things to share on that.
As mentioned in the report, Dad had two apartments that he purchased in Bangkok. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, Dad enjoyed the idea of a good investment. These units were cheap by American standards, and it seemed like a good way to build his investment portfolio. But more importantly, he looked for more opportunities to invest because he was trying to build for retirement.
To give context, during the majority of Dad’s ministry at RZIM, the organization did not pay anything towards his retirement. That decision was made in the early days of the ministry when budgets were tight and never revisited. He was on his own for those things for a long time. It was only in the last fifteen years, or so, that the board realized what had happened and took steps to try and correct that.
Even before the report, people have put out completely absurd, judgmental, and inaccurate information about Dad’s salary at RZIM. Depending on the source, those numbers are straight up lies or a complete manipulation of the data.
If an organization offers benefits to their employees, the cost to an employer is significantly more than what the employee earns. Some people have taken the amount RZIM paid towards Dad’s employee benefits and lumped it together with the salary he received. Adding those numbers together made Dad’s salary look much higher than it was.
Dad and the board always focused on keeping his salary in line with comparable positions at similar ministries. I think his final raise, something he didn’t take often, was meant to help give him more to invest and save for retirement. The salary bump and new retirement fund contributions were RZIM’s way of trying to help correct what had been overlooked for 20 years.
Dad invested to help gain ground, and the apartments were part of that. It was far less expensive to invest in real estate in a place like Thailand and still make a profit on it. Doing so in the United States would have cost far more up front. It also made sense to do it in a place he often traveled to because it would actually save RZIM money.
It was cheaper to reimburse him for time spent there for speaking engagements or writing, instead of paying for a hotel. He got an investment, they got a savings.
Why did he write there? One, invitations from Asia were a huge percentage of his ministry opportunities. While US universities are closing their doors, Asia is opening theirs. So it was easy to add writing time into his itinerary there since he was in the region so much. But secondly, being Indian, Dad felt at home in Asia.
The apartments were not a secret. We knew about them. He offered them to the family if any of us were ever going to be traveling there. And I believe he even offered them to other people who were in need of them at times.
ACCORDING TO THE REPORT
Now, on to what else the report says about the apartments. Actually, first, let me point out what it doesn’t say: all of these supposed “amorous” communications they say they have, and they do not mention a single one inviting one of these people to his apartment. It seems like if he had this double life there would be mentions and uses of this apartment with some of these people. But they don’t seem to have any of that.
All they claim to have, as it relates to the apartment, is that he “housed” his massage therapist in one of them. The evidence presented for this claim is this: in the notes section they found initials that matched hers with the phone number to the second unit. Is that it? Because that seems inexact.
Here are a few arguments against why even that is not compelling.
For one thing, the initials matching a known therapist could be a coincidence.
Even if it was her, the “note” does not prove that they were ever or regularly there at the same time. I already mentioned he offered the accommodations to other people when he wasn’t even going to be there.
Even if he did have a therapist staying there, the scandalous tone with which they mention it is confusing. Wouldn’t that actually be the preferred way of doing it? Wouldn’t this be evidence of putting up a boundary? And wouldn’t this boundary be out of character for a man they say had no boundaries?
DON’T FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE, APPARENTLY
Go where the evidence leads. That’s how the saying goes. Just not in this case.
Lynsey Barron spent a great deal of time using supposed emails/text messages to paint a picture of Dad’s alleged behavior in Asia. Their own report says that the greatest amount of evidence came from his phones. So naturally, when they found all this evidence pointing towards behavior in Asia, they pursued those people to find out what these messages meant and how far this supposed behavior went.
Actually, no. They didn’t do that. And that is very odd. The report says at the beginning,
“we did not not enlist resources on the ground in Asia, where Mr. Zacharias frequently traveled, to locate and interview witnesses there.” (Page 1)
So the most damning “evidence” they had pointed to people and behavior in Asia. He spent a significant time in Asia, as much time there as anywhere else. The evidence they say is so credible pointed to Asia as ground zero of his behavior. And where did they choose to not do interviews, or devote any resources from the investigation? Asia.
Dad spent a significant amount of time in Asia. They could have spoken to hotel staff, doormen from the apartments, security from hotels and the apartments. There are a lot of people who witnessed Dad’s behavior and could tell you whether they saw any signs of anything suspicious. But they didn’t talk to them. Instead, they focused on people sent to them by biased sources: Anurag Sharma, Vicki Blue, Julie Roys, and Steve Baughman.
And before I wrap this post up, there’s one more telling thing from the report. After spending time talking about the frequency of Dad getting back treatments in Asia, they just drop this little gem into the report:
“we have very little insight into whether Mr. Zacharias engaged in inappropriate massage behavior when in Asia.” (Page 6)
And yet the fact that he received back treatments in Asia is included in the same section as allegations of abuse and misconduct in massages, despite their lack of “insight.” The reason is clear: the receiving of back treatments in Asia is meant to look extreme and give weight to the accusations of the people alleging misconduct. The question they want readers to ask is why would someone get a back treatment so often unless there was something else going on?
So they use the accusers’ stories to help “sell” concern about his travel in Asia since they have no proof about his behavior during back treatments there. But they use his travel in Asia to “sell” the accusers stories since they have no proof of the behavior in those either. That’s what you call circular reasoning. (If A, then B. If B, then A).
When it comes to abuse, there is no evidence. However, we do know of evidence that shows accusers changing their stories. So the abuse investigation is definitely incomplete.
When it comes to traveling in Asia there is no testimony, and apparently “no insight” into massage behavior there. There is only an indication of receiving regular back treatments. That component is incomplete.
When it comes to inappropriate communication, the one charge that allegedly does have documented proof was left at that. No further investigation was done; they strangely stopped with what was stored on the phones. They didn’t talk to people and witnesses in Asia who could have shed a lot of light on the subject, not even enough to verify if there was a physical relationship. They had their “strongest” leads in an area where he spent a large percentage of his time and did nothing to get more clarity on them. So that part is incomplete.
In fact according to Julie Roys herself, leads and names of “accusers” came from her. She says she gave Barron the names of the people to talk to.
At the presentation of the report to the boardboat, Ms. Barron was asked if she had investigated the possibility that any of these witnesses had colluded or been coordinated by an outside source. She said no, declaring that her only job was to investigate my dad.
But based on her own report, it doesn’t seem like she even investigated him.
Someone just asked me about the above tweet. Offhand, I don’t know what situation(s) Daniel is talking about. But according to Daniel, let me see if I have this straight.
This person presented claims in 2008. Though the man believed there was reason for concern, leadership rejected the claims. At this point, he remained on the team for FOUR YEARS. In that time he spoke alongside Dad, a man he believed to be engaging in misconduct. And he collected a paycheck from and promoted an organization he thought to be ignoring it.
Then in 2012 he approached leadership again. Since they were not taken seriously for a second time, the man drew a line and quit on principle. Wait, no. That’s not what happened. According to the way this is being framed, he apparently still wanted to stay since it took leadership “pushing him off the team” for his tenure to end.
It would also seem that this person remained silent over the last few years when Christianity Today would have jumped at a chance to hear his thoughts.
All of that makes no sense. At the very least you can’t claim this person’s behavior is consistent with one acting from virtue. If all that’s being said and claimed now is true, Daniel needs to hold this man just as accountable as leadership. After all, he supposedly had concerns yet still helped further Dad’s ministry, and he accepted a paycheck from a organization allegedly ignoring victims. But Daniel is holding him up as a victim in this, which is yet another example of his intellectual inconsistency.
Then again, Daniel didn’t resign either so maybe he doesn’t want to make that argument.
This allegation also contradicts other claims that tried to paint Dad and the organization as vindictive towards anyone who raised questions. Because according to this, a man who accused the beloved founder of inappropriate conduct was retained as a “senior” member for four more years, only bringing an end to the relationship when the person decided to revisit concerns four years later.
Yeah, that patient and generous vindictiveness is the worst.
This post is a lengthy one, so I apologize. But it covers a few different stories that are out there.
Someone on Instagram asked me about allegations that Dad demonized people who had questions about the Thompson case in 2017 and after. I can’t speak to any private conversations with the leadership team. I know what I saw publicly in them was they were very respectful of those who had questions.
Based on the people who have put names to these claims, I can say this: given their personalities, I would have no doubt that they were not exactly calm in their questions. I’m quite sure those questions came with an edge. So if they were passionate and accusatory in a question they believed in, why was the person answering it not allowed to be passionate and even defensive in their answer to it? Even looking at the way things were handled with staff this fall, those accusing Dad were allowed to say whatever they wanted anytime they wanted. Those defending Dad were told not to, because they said doing so would create a hostile work environment for those who questioned him. That’s a ridiculous double standard. So even if senior leadership had tense conversations with people back in 2017, I doubt they were the ones who initially raised the tone, and it is not an indication of hiding things. Of course now they have no use for Dad, so trashing him earns you kumbaya vibes from senior leaders.
Now, as for possible interactions with Dad, I can speak to the ones I observed. What I observed is very different than how many are now claiming it to be. Dad held staff meetings regarding this particular case at least twice. The first meeting allowed for questions and comments. The second meeting was a global staff meeting, again allowing time and space for questions and comments. On the second occasion, Dad allowed for anonymous questions to be submitted from all global staff. Tough questions were asked, and he answered them openly and without hesitation. I never got the impression he wasn’t open to questions. So I feel confident that he did not demonize or ostracize someone just for having a question. And as a side note, the people who know every single detail there is to be known about both the evidence and the personalities, still believe in him today.
Ruth Malhotra, one of the ones alleging such things, has in no way acted like a person who had concerns about Dad the last few years. She invited herself to many of his events and contrary to what she often indicated, it wasn’t necessary for her to be at so many. She always found a way to be near my Dad at occasions/conversations/interactions she didn’t need to be involved with. She invited her family to any of my Dad’s events that she could, often when other staff family members didn’t take that liberty. She even went as far as pressuring organizers at my Dad’s funeral, telling them multiple times that she needed to sit with the immediate family. We found out about the request(s) after the service. Ruth hadn’t spoken to the family about it, making it clear this desire had very little to do with offering support and more about appearing she had a close relationship with my Dad and the family. That is not the kind of relationship she had with him or us, so the organizers didn’t seat her there.
Ruth has given very positive public interviews about him many times since 2017, including after he passed away. These are not the actions of someone who took issue with my Dad or his family.
STRANGE WAY TO HIDE
The fact that so much of that situation is known is because Dad went public by way of the lawsuit. If he hadn’t wanted to answer questions from the staff or anyone else, he wouldn’t have sued and made it public himself. Someone right now is saying “but what about the NDA?” Any reputable attorney knows an NDA is a very regular occurrence. In fact, RZIM (up until now because it would look pretty bad if they did) has essentially had terminated employees sign an NDA in order to get their severance. Most companies do. I would say many people at RZIM and on the board have signed NDAs at previous employers, in business dealings, in previous legal disputes, etc. An NDA is widely used and is often used for more reasons than to “suppress” information. In the context of what we’re talking about here, at its core an NDA is meant to help bring finality to the dispute. To put it in oversimplified terms, it means “let’s agree to disagree, drop it, move on, and if we can do that then there’s no need for further legal action.”
If the purpose and result of the NDA were about hiding information, he wouldn’t have sued to begin with. He released all the information he had and drew more attention to it by filing. His case and arguments are public because of him. There are a lot of decisions in that process that a guilty man would have made differently.
People have rewritten the narrative to say he made up his side and his approach was meant to intimidate the other side through legal shock and awe. But keep in mind this was federal court. So if I’ve done my homework correctly, to have survived dismissal and progressed to mediation means it met the requirements of this rule:
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a district court may dismiss a complaint, or any part of it, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if the plaintiff has not set forth factual allegations in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”17
That means his legal argument was not just smoke and mirrors. That means the court saw that at least on the surface, there was enough evidence to sustain his argument. And that would have taken more than his say so. You don’t get several hundreds of thousands of dollars into a federal RICO lawsuit with an “I know you are but what am I” defense.
WHAT ABOUT SIBERIA?
The report also says this: “Several RZIM staff reported to us that they were concerned about Mr. Zacharias travelling with a personal masseuse, not because they feared actual impropriety but because they feared the appearance of impropriety.”
These comments are meant to give examples of people’s concern, but seems like they give examples of people’s concern that Dad’s massage treatments could be misrepresented and misunderstood. Someone could accuse him of inappropriate behavior even if he was innocent. Someone could misrepresent his medically needed massages and say he was using them for other reasons. Someone, somewhere could spend a lot of time and money digging up hearsay accusations of abuse and misconduct and give the illusion of proof with the fact that he received frequent back treatments while traveling.
Well, that sounds familiar.
Seems like those people were right. And the report has kindly documented their belief that there were reasons to believe that Dad could be totally innocent but still have his massage treatments used as “evidence” for wrong doing. Which is exactly what the report has done. Thanks for marginalizing and discrediting a huge chunk of your own report M&M. I appreciate it.
(Now before some of my critics say “but they have emails too,” none of the emails prove a physical relationship. By the report’s own admission, they had some that at most “implied” a physical relationship, though not explicitly sexual. So they don’t even have concrete proof of any physical relationships at all. In short they’re using emails that “imply” a consensual nondescript physical relationship and frequent back massage treatments as evidence to support accusations of abuse and rape. That’s…….logically ambitious. And thats if this digital evidence is even legit – something we’re working to find out.)
Now, in regards to the report saying he sent one person to “Siberia” for being concerned about the appearance of impropriety, I believe I know which story they are referring to. And I believe it is being retrofitted to fit the new narrative. The staff member didn’t have any concern as to Dad’s intentions, as the report does say. And they were truly just trying to look out for him. But they believed one of the therapists to be dishonest, and believed they put on an act around Dad. The staff member believed this person was not honest in her behavior, and he was worried that one day she would say or do something that would reflect poorly on Dad. The irony of that concern is obvious considering where we’re at now with unverifiable accusations by anonymous sources.
Dad’s reaction to the individual concerned on his behalf can be attributed to two things. One, Dad had not seen any red flags in this person, and he thought this was simply a matter of something lost in translation. He thought the accusations were mean spirited. As evidenced by the people we do know to be involved with this, one of Dad’s strengths was also his weakness. He always fought for the underdog. He always wanted to believe the best in people. And as such he was not always the best judge of character in a person. As people like Anurag Sharma, Vicki Blue and others have shown, his faith was very often misplaced. People like them ended up using him in life and are now using him in death through their newfound “celebrity” in all of this. And if you think I’ve already used all of the evidence we have discrediting the two I’ve mentioned, you are mistaken.
The second reason for his reaction is one I’ve made mention of already. When Dad started receiving consistent back treatments, he was in excruciating pain. We know because we were there with him every day. We know how much it drastically diminished Dad’s ability to do even every day tasks, let alone get on a plane and take the platform. He felt he could not endure the additional physical pain brought on by extensive travel without help. His medicinal options were limited because he did not want to take strong medication. (Even in his final days battling cancer, doctor’s struggled to get his pain managed because Dad so desperately didn’t want to take strong medicine.) He didn’t want pills. That left him with back treatments, which the doctors themselves recommended. Anyone who has dealt with chronic pain will understand that.
When he told leadership he felt he could not travel without the benefit of regular back treatments, leadership objected to the idea of coming off the road. Dad had to keep going for the sake of the ministry and the team, according to them. Many people depended on him. The pressure to keep going was huge. Then he had this conversation I’ve just referred to. It didn’t matter that the staff member was looking out for Dad, which they were. To my exhausted Dad, it felt like he was being told he shouldn’t do the one thing that kept the pain manageable and kept him on the road. So there he was, at a major crossroads and weary, being told he shouldn’t stop traveling but also shouldn’t get treatment. That was how he saw the options being presented. Of course he was frustrated. Because he felt like he was being given no option. How many of us would interpret the situation any differently under that kind of strain?
At the end of the day, despite their disagreement on whether there were reasons to distrust this therapist, the staff member was not hindered in their path at RZIM one bit. They were not silenced. They continued to be promoted and be successful. Certainly doesn’t sound like a case of retaliation, does it?
Everything I’ve said about my Dad is true. But despite the many compliments he deserves, that doesn’t mean my Dad was perfect. He was human. He got frustrated. He got impatient. He got tired. And when he was feeling those things, there were times where he didn’t handle a disagreement as well as he should have, regardless of the subject. There were times in life where he and I disagreed over things and you could say I was “sent to Siberia” too. There were disagreements we had that took some working through, like all people. And in those times, his reaction had nothing to do with compensating for being wrong on the subject or hiding something. It was simply the fact that Dad believed in what he was saying and was sometimes frustrated that I didn’t see it the same way, especially in an issue he felt to be important.
Of course I can’t speak to every conversation he may have had that I wasn’t privy to. And I don’t have perfect knowledge of Dad. But I do have a whole lot more than those investigators. Their limited witness list and prepping of some of those witnesses helped ensure that. I have a lot more knowledge of him than Steve Baughman, who has spent years of his life watching my Dad live his. And I certainly know more than anyone who is relying solely on the words of a report that presents more bias and speculation than evidence. They can’t even assure the integrity of the little evidence they have by way of a declared chain of custody. Documentation like that is considered standard procedure for these things. But not in this case.
That’s what you get when you get a hit piece. This was about an agenda instead of an actual thorough investigation.