Selective Erasing

Soon, I will get back to some of the questionable details of the report, but I would like to address some more thoughts on the response of Dad’s former organization.

Many of those remaining at RZIM, along with some former global leadership, have worked very hard to distance themselves from my dad. They’ve busted out their thesauruses and called him every name they think is appropriate. They’ve damned him, erased him, and expressed regret that they were ever involved with him in what was a very successful ministry. If they feel he should be erased and reduced to only the sum of his sins, then they have some hard questions to answer about their theology given the way God allowed his success while these things were allegedly happening. God sure is lucky to have them here to save Him from allowing Dad’s material to ever positively impact another person.

They can’t even acknowledge the reality that God blessed them (wrongly, it would seem, according to their logic) in their own ministries alongside Dad either. Of course they still benefit from the status that came as a result. 10 years ago, no one would have paid any attention to the statements of many of them. Their audience now is a result of the platform they got from their days at RZIM with Dad.

They want no piece of, him, association with him, or remnant of him. Nothing at all.

Well, almost nothing.

Let’s start on an individual level. In his most recent book(s), Dad split the advance with at least one co-author 50/50. An advance payment is often given based on how well the publisher expects the book to do. Splitting it is actually something Dad didn’t have to do, but it was his choice. Although the co-authors have now denounced Dad and any association with him, I’m going to go out on a limb and say their halves of the advance – amounts that were surely boosted by Dad’s involvement – have not been surrendered.

Next we have the Oxford office, which has since broken off from RZIM. A few years ago, the UK team decided they needed a new building. Despite having just donated money for a new facility at RZIM headquarters in Atlanta, donors stepped up and provided what I think was 13-15 million for the purchase of a historic property in Oxford. Very little of that support came from Europe.

The UK team pressured the headquarters in the months and days leading up to the report, insisting it be released in a certain way. When it was done the way they wanted, they immediately announced they were separating from RZIM. They took the building with them because HQ never took the step of securing it legally to the main organization. Given their pressure and immediate exit you have to wonder if this is perhaps the outcome UK leadership actually wanted. Some of their team regularly had issues with taking direction from the US, but of course always requested and relied on the funding from the US. The report gave them the excuse to leave, and leave quickly, before HQ came calling for that building. I’m sure that step was all planned in the months leading up to the report.

There is no way that the Oxford office would have ever gotten the money for that building without Dad’s efforts on their behalf, his name, or his reputation. They are so virtuous that they immediately rejected and disowned him. But not so virtuous as to relinquish the building that wouldn’t be theirs without him and the donor support he generated.

Finally, you have the headquarters. A lot of that money sitting in the bank was given because of Dad. Most of the rest of it was received from the massive insurance policy they received upon his death. They will say they are using that to help with “restitution” and legal fees. But they most certainly will not need to use all of it for that and they know it.

And while I’ve already mentioned this below I’ll say it again: their future plan is convenient. They claim to not feel at ease with using their resources to support themselves as an apologetic organization anymore. The solution?

1. Change the name.

2. Decide you’re going to be an organization that gives money to apologetics and sexual abuse victims.

3. After announcing that, lay off the staff whose sole job at RZIM was to issue grants to organizations that help sexual abuse victims. (Seems like they would have been helpful given the intended direction).

4. The remaining speakers will likely split off in the near future. They can apply for and will most certainly receive grants from the new organization.

I can’t decide if it’s spiritual money laundering, or spiritual people laundering. Either way they’re essentially going to get paid by RZIM funds to preach. Something they say they can’t do anymore.

In addition, they sit in a building already paid for because of the money Dad raised for it. Might the new RZIM also gift office space to the speakers that split off? And provide use of the media team and facilities? This is actually a pretty sweet setup for that group.

Bob Grinnell, the VP of development, used to constantly say Dad was his best fundraiser. They have that money and those assets because of Dad. He was the one people responded to and gave towards.

They want nothing to do with his ministry legacy. But they’re glad to hold on to his financial legacy.

Miller & Martin History

UPDATE: In the interest of full disclosure, it’s been brought to my attention that eventually the courts dismissed the claims against Miller & Martin in 2020. As of January 2021, representatives of the estate were still appealing the verdict to have their claims reinstated. My original post is listed below.

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Well this sounds familiar.

Someone sent me this headline the other day. Come to find out, RZIM was aware of this and selected them anyways.

I don’t know the details of the case, other than what is listed above. But given what I’ve heard about M&M’s process in Dad’s case, seen in their report, and been told by other people, the claims sound familiar. And it is not at all a surprise to know that other people have complaints about M&M’s ethics.

RZIM 2.0

RZIM announced that their new entity will not be a speaking ministry. Instead, it will issue grants to organizations that match their interests in both evangelism/apologetics and victims of sexual abuse.

I would assume that the remaining speakers, especially those involved in this decision, have not abandoned their calling as speakers. So, when leadership changes happen in the coming months, I would assume that they will be part of those changes. They will likely start their own organization(s).

Starting an organization is not easy. Often times you need the help of significant grants, especially in the early days. I wonder if perhaps they will be the recipients of generous grants from RZIM 2.0, the new grant giving organization whose strong financial situation they know well, having just led its transition into philanthropy.

If so, that’s what I would call, “landing on your feet.” Or perhaps “having your cake and eating it too” would be appropriate, as well.

I guess we’ll find out.

Texts

Since Vicki has made her name public, I’m just going to leave these here without much comment and let you compare. As mentioned when I referenced them a few weeks ago, these were found before my mom lended the phones to RZIM for the investigation.

This was yesterday.

And the text below was in 2016, long after the time she now says she left the business and distanced herself from Dad due to the behavior she alleges took place. (She made the claims in the Christianity Today piece last summer.)

Board Vote

Christianity Today mentioned in yesterday’s article about RZIM that they had no information on if the board votes regarding the report and statement last month were unanimous.

I don’t know what the overall breakdown was. I just know that it was *not* a unanimous decision.

My Process in Responding

Someone on Instagram asked me about my response to some specifics in the report. Since that is likely a thought many will have, I will share their question and answer it here as well.

Question from @taciabf

My answer:

I can’t respond to those in the same way because there is no evidence on which to base my response. It is all “she said.” Most of the report is hearsay with no evidence to back it up. Part of my goal is to show where the report is clearly biased and inaccurate. Because if it is unreliable with the things there is supposed “evidence” for, why should we consider it reliable in the allegations with no evidence?

The things there are “evidence” for, well that is why I want to see the phones to see if it’s accurate/real. But after 3 months of asking, RZIM has not returned them yet.

As for your question about leadership’s transparency (in some areas, but most definitely not all), you answered your own question. You praised them for their apologies and transparency. And that is happening everywhere. Unfortunately, people on staff have lost jobs as a result. But not the leadership team leading the public response. Not a single one of the ones making these decisions has lost their job. And it’s unlikely they will. They will move forward as the smaller group they had already predetermined months ago. They will have a future, they will have jobs, and their reputations will be intact as they receive praise for being so open and apologetic.

It’s people like my mom – someone who doesn’t believe the report – who has lost her job and future and reputation in all of this. In this day and age, you don’t lose by considering someone guilty. You lose by considering them innocent. And that is what I believe RZIM’s mindset was.

No, I don’t think they had evil intent. But they were told for weeks on end leading up to the delivery of the evidence and report that Dad was guilty. For 6-8 weeks the investigators said it was a done deal. Do we really think that wouldn’t impact their discernment when actually seeing everything? That is a ridiculous way to enter into an examination of the evidence. It’s why when we select a jury, the goal is to have people who know as little as possible about the case before they see the evidence. Because if they already think the person is guilty, then that is how they will see the data. RZIM’s leadership team was a jury that was told there was no doubt about Dad’s guilty for weeks before they actually saw anything or could dialogue with the investigators. Does that sound like an unbiased process?

Even with that predisposition, I think they found themselves in a tough spot where they probably believed some but not all of the accusations. In fact I was told they didn’t believe all of it. But my guess is it was easier to accept it all than have to publicly accept only some and denounce the rest. The path they chose was easiest, despite the emotions they’re putting forth, and it has absolutely won them praise.

Touch of Hope

The M&M (thanks for ruining the candy for me) report makes mention of the Touch of Hope fund that my Dad utilized to help people in need. The description of it basically makes it sound like a slush fund, which it was not. There was an application process, and my Dad was not the only one involved in its operation. Yes, it was up to his discretion, but there were others often involved in the recipient selection process.

Perhaps hindsight may show that more safeguards would have been appropriate if for no other reason than to prevent it from being discussed exactly the way it is now. But I know RZIM ran a tight ship with financials, and they didn’t treat TOH any differently. The organization was annually given some of the highest marks possible for its financial integrity, and even examinations brought about as a result of all this have not uncovered anything to be considered otherwise.

The way M&M references the TOH financials is a blatant misrepresentation. And it’s one of many claims the Board and leadership know to be erroneous, but they have allowed it to be accepted because it’s easier.

TOH was not the shady one man show the report claims it be.

Additionally, in yet another example in the report of narrative dictating motive rather than actual information, they say “significant” amounts of the funding went to four individuals.

As the reader, what do you think when you read that sentence? To me it sounded like this fund was basically used for four people. But then I thought, “what is significant?” Significant is a very subjective word. The percentage of funding is more important than the investigator’s definition of the word significant, but they conveniently don’t give us that number. The amount could have totaled 25% of all grants, which would be “significant,” but that also leaves room for a whole lot of people who received funding and were not massage therapists. And that information would drastically change the readers perception of that sentence. If it was a majority of the funding, I’m guessing they would have said so. Instead, they said “significant” and let our minds do the rest.

That paragraph also uses the context to make the reader think that he was likely involved with all four, though they allude to “evidence” for only one. But by wording it the way they have, they essentially get 4 for 1 – four allegations despite only mentioning “evidence” for one. I put the evidence in quotes because I still haven’t seen the evidence. They continue to find reasons to delay giving the phones back.

So all of that wording is intentionally used to create a picture, using carefully chosen words and little to no evidence.

Finally, I’ll tell you about a conversation that was relayed to me last summer. During a meeting with some staff, the topic of dad’s generosity came up. At that point one person referred to Touch of Hope, and mentioned that they (and others) would often tell Dad that they believed many of the Touch of Hope recipients to be lying to Dad. They said they would tell him they suspected they were lying just to get money from him. Dad’s response was that he knew they were likely lying, but sometimes the long term impact didn’t come from the amount of money; it came from the fact that they knew someone was willing to take a chance on them. In other words, even though the recipients were likely lying, Dad knew the gift of someone believing in them might actually foster a change within.

So one of many MANY questions about the investigation is this: is it relying on information from any of the same people that were once considered completely untrustworthy?

Generosity as “Proof”

On page 5 of the story…oops sorry….on page 5 of the report, there is information given about Dad giving large tips or lavish gifts like a Persian rug and a Louis Vuitton wallet. They use these details as a way to back up that there must have been inappropriate behavior if he was giving gifts like that.

Dad being generous is not news. And the LV wallet is laughable. Because while the writer mentioned the name to try to prove a point, it is a near certainty that the wallet was a knockoff.

Dad loved going to the markets in Asia and getting good deals on all of the knockoff products out there. My sisters and family friends would have him get them all the time. He’d buy watches, purses, accessories and his beloved Mont Blanc pens. All cheap, because they were all fake. It was one of the few times where I didn’t get his logic.

He’d say, “Look at this Mont Blanc pen! It was so cheap.”

I’d say, “Yeah but it’s fake.”

He’d say, “I know but it’s a Mont Blanc for such a good price.”

I’d say, “But it’s not actually a Mont……oh fine. Good deal, Dad.”

There were times in the past where he’d bring back purses, scarves, etc and just leave them out at the office for any of the staff to take. Dad was very generous to anyone. He took an interest in everyone’s life. The assertion that him giving someone a generous was in any way a signal of inappropriate behavior or expectation is absurd.

The people at his favorite restaurants, stores, etc, all loved him. They would welcome him in as soon as they saw him coming. He knew their family’s names, and he asked them about their lives. If it was an Indian restaurant he would speak Hindi to the guys (assuming they did too, of course). He knew what they studied and what they wanted to do. He treated them as a person.

That personal interest in their lives often led to financial assistance as well. Sometimes he helped a new friend. Sometimes it was an old friend. There are staff members he helped with financial needs personally. One year with the organization’s budget was tight, he and mom gave the staff Christmas bonuses out of their own pockets so that the staff could still have a year end gift.

Side note: Now his organization has removed his pictures and is painting over his vision statements. Of course this is all done by people who benefited from Dad’s efforts in their behalf. He worked to do his part in giving them a platform and a presence on a global scale. So if we’re doing away with every idea or initiative he created/backed, perhaps we need to apply that cancelation to each speaker with which he shared a stage. He backed their presence on the global stage. So, perhaps they should be removed now.

But back to his generosity, there are plenty of people who can (and wanted to) speak on record about how he helped them by giving them money to put towards car purchases, tuition, family needs, etc. All out of his own pocket. And we knew about. Because it wasn’t sketchy. It was kind.

The people he helped spanned many walks in life. Some of them are massage therapists, who said that he helped them all while being perfectly professional and ethical in every interaction. Interesting that people we know of who stand by his professional behavior in every way were not included in the report, and in some cases not even the interview process. The only stories of people who didn’t accuse him of anything that they included were ones that still contained elements meant to portray him in a negative light. But the stories clearly defending him? They didn’t make the cut.

Dad believed that everyone should be treated with dignity, and he felt called to treat them that way through both personal conversation and financial assistance, when possible. Here’s an example that shows both. It’s one we just became aware of last year.

Every year, RZIM held an annual event for donors. That is where the most significant financial pledges for the ministry came from each year. It was used as an event to minister to the donor and to help determine what the support for the year ahead might look like. Part of this ministry to the donor, was that their accommodations and food were paid for – underwritten by both RZIM and the Davis Foundation. They just had to pay their airfare. They could listen to the updates and messages, interact with the team, and then give if they felt led by the Lord to do so.

One year, there was a friend of Dad’s that really wanted to go. He said he couldn’t make a pledge, but that he wanted to be there. Dad said he would give him money – enough to cover the cost of the accommodations and meals so that he in turn could give it to RZIM even if he couldn’t make a pledge on top of that. Why? 1) It would cover RZIMs cost so they weren’t spending more than necessary. And 2) because Dad knew how the man might feel having to go to the RZIM staff and say my Dad was paying his way, he gave him the money to pay for it so that the man could write the check himself and have the dignity of telling the organizers that he could at least cover his cost of being there.

Oh, that man was Anurag Sharma. The one who helped kicked off this whole nightmare.

February 23, 2021

This is a line used to convey Dad as not only having a problem, but being a theological reprobate, as well. Only one problem: its not at all the context in which he said it.

Dad was in debilitating pain at one point, which Miller & Martin was kind enough to “accept” as real. I’m still waiting to find out if they consider his cancer real too. But the pain was so bad that Dad had thoughts of coming off the road. The ministry was not thrilled with that idea and kept encouraging him to keep going. The only way he knew how was with the back treatments. They were the only thing that were providing relief. So when those proved helpful he told my mom himself that the therapist was “God’s reward” to help him keep going in ministry.

Miller & Martin and RZIM could have found that out had they bothered to interview my mom or involve her in the presentation by the investigators. But they didn’t. Why be thorough when a man’s legacy is on the line?

And one more fact, the investigation started with one investigator. Then that person was replaced (I don’t know why) and they started all over. When they went to interview people, they told some people they believed my Dad to be guilty and had the evidence to prove it before they asked them any questions. That means every person they spoke to that way was framing their answers and their experience with the idea of guilt in mind rather than objective observations.

In meantime, still waiting on the phones.