April 5, 2021

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.

Was Dad Open to Questions?

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. 

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.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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?