"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Tom White, Abuse, VOM, and the Power of the Internet

Last Thursday afternoon I received a call while in my office at Emmanuel Enid. One of our secretaries buzzed in and said, "I have a man on the phone who claims to be the father of the young girl abused by Tom White and he wishes to speak to you." My heart skipped a beat. Earlier in the week I had felt impressed to write an open letter on the Internet to the unnamed and unknown girl allegedly abused by Tom White, the Executive Director of Voice of the Marytyrs. The police and press had both reported that Tom White had committed suicide while under investigation for possible abuse of this young girl. When I first heard of Tom's suicide, my immediate thoughts went to his victim. I was not sure if she would ever read the open letter, but I asked the Lord, if possible, to use the letter to bring healing to the girl and her family. For her to understand how important she was to me (and others), I wrote these words: "The first person I thought about when I read the story of your abuser’s death was you. I do not view his death as something more tragic than his abuse of you. Let me say that again in a different way. The abuse perpetrated on you is far more tragic than your abuser’s death. I did not think of his ministry, his reputation, or even his family when I first heard of his death. I thought about you.  Your abuser’s sin and shame and his lack of personal responsibility and courage are the direct causes of his death. Your abuser took his own life and you had nothing to do with it."

Her father was now on the phone. I answered trepidatiously, not knowing what to expect. During the subsequent forty-five minutes I had one of the most moving phone conversations of my life. I cannot go into all the details of the conversation, particularly in regard to the abuse and the circumstances surrounding Tom White's death. These matters will remain confidential out of respect for the victim and her family, as well as the family of Tom White. What I can say is that there is no doubt the abuse occurred. In addition, there is no doubt the open letter helped this young girl's family. Her father told me that he was at work and had Googled "Tom White" and on the third page he found my post "The Sin and Suicide of 'Voice of the Martyrs' Executive Director Tom White: An Open Letter to the Young Girl He Abused." He thought to himself, "What in the world is this about?" He read it at his desk and began to weep. He said that he received a great deal of comfort and healing from the open letter and immediately printed off a copy of it to take home to read to his wife. He said they both cried as he read the letter again to his wife at their house. "The Holy Spirit brought such incredible comfort and healing to us both." The parents of the young girl have saved the letter and will  at the appropriate time read it to their daughter.

The parents' response to the discovery of their daughter's abuse is a textbook case on how parents should handle such a tragic situation. The young girl is doing remarkably well, and credit goes to her father and mother for the forthright, loving and supportive manner in which they responded to their daughter's abuse and her abuser. I have requested that the couple write a guest post of their experiences as a means of comforting other families who have gone through similar difficult situations. They are considering it. Regardless, I know that hundreds of people will be helped in the future by this remarkable family. Their story is gripping. My prayers continue for this family.

Finally, the power of the Internet has been reinforced to me through this experience.  We who write for the cause of Christ always do well when we write words that either bring healing to the wounded or refreshment to the weary; nothing lukewarm for us.  Thanks to my new friend who called last week, I have been encouraged once again that the Lord can use words written and published on the Internet for His glory and the good of His people.

119 comments:

LoudounConservative said...

How kind of God to use you and that hurting dad to encourage each other.

Johnny D. said...

Awesome! Thanks for the follow-up, Wade. I can see His fingerprints all over this. Increase my faith!

Julie Anne said...

Absolutely, God uses the internet and he uses people who have gone through pain to help others go through their experiences. It is great to know that the parents saw your post and the young girl will one day read your beautiful words. It sounds like she is in the perfect place for healing with such loving and supportive parents. I will continue to pray for her.

2 Cor. 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Victorious said...

Thank you so much for sharing that, Wade. You followed the leading of both the Holy Spirit and your heart in extending love and compassion to bring comfort and healing to those in need.

I, too, praise God for the internet as a vehicle for sharing the love of God.

Christopher said...

We have yet to see any proof of the allegations, and you post this as though it is over and done with.

David said...

Wade, I'm crying as I write this. God is doing amazing things through you.

I like what you and other commentators say about the internet being a force for good (so often it is portrayed as the opposite).

Christopher, I'm sorry, you need to change your attitude. For far too long, people have been saying things like you did, and it's caused a lot of problems. Yes, we must guard against false claims, but when Wade, a respected senior pastor said, "there is no doubt the abuse occurred", what more proof could you want?

Eagle said...

This is an interesting twist. You know what I would find fascinating...if this is not too morbid is the following.

Many people, myself included, have a hard time believing in God due to the problem of evil. I cringe when I read the news and hear about murder, child porn being made, molestations, terrorism, financial fraud, school shootings, etc.. What makes the problem of evil so difficult is the issue of God being omniscient. That is a stumbling block to believing in God that I don't know how to get around.

What would be abolsutetly fascinating is is the parents could address their love and faith in God in the wake of this horriffic news. How do they not let the problem of evil derail what they beleive? How do they deal with the concept of God being omnscient.

I'm not trying to be difficult Wade. But this could an opportunity to show others what a real, vibrant, healthy faith can be. And that would be incredible becuase a number of Christians play down hard questions or hope they will go away.

Just something I am trying to suggest respectfully.

Wade Burleson said...

Christopher,

If you knew what I knew, you would write the same way. The fact you don't should cause you to pause before you write as if you do.

Wade Burleson said...

Eagle,

That is precisely what I asked the couple to do. Frankly, you ask it far more eloquently. I am sure they will read your comment and would ask them to consider your words as an another exhortation to write their story on behalf of others.

alan said...

Amazing that the father was able to read your post and that he and his wife were encouraged and established by it. Such good stuff.

BTW, your pic with the sweater vest. . . are you a Santorum supporter (or relative)?
It's all good. . . oh sweater vest, we have missed you.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, the power of the Internet has been reinforced to me through this experience."
Just would like to ask you to consider this power. I want to say (writing from Eastern Europe)that millions who can read your articles have no way to verify who you are and if what you say is true or not. Your words like "If you knew what I knew" give space to imagination, plot, judgment. I really do not know what you are trying to convey. I am sure there are many people helping both families right now. I honor them for not making this a subject of selfpromotion.

Anonymous said...

Previous anonymous - Writing from western Europe, I can tell you that Wade is pastor of a Southern Baptist church called Emmanuel Enid in the USA. He's very open about this. You can watch some of the sermons that he preaches at this church on a website called Wartburg Watch, where they post his sermons for their readers. There he is, standing there at this church, preaching to a congregation. His identity is easy to 'verify', insofar as the identity of a blogger can be verified.

'I do not know what you are trying to convey'. He isn't trying to convey anything except the knowledge that the abuse certainly did take place.

He wrote that to refute someone who was still calling the abuse 'alleged' and I think it's clear that he does this for the sake of the victim not himself.

'I honor them for not making this a subject of self-promotion'.

Well, I think I really DO know what you're trying to convey, and I think it's an unfair accusation against someone who is trying to help abuse sufferers.

Ken said...

Dear Wade,

And you know for sure that the man on the phone is who he says he is how??

I don't doubt your sincerity, just your knowledge.

Your "I know things I can't disclose" line while perhaps true, is not compelling.

Hate to be picky, but epistemology is a bear.

Wade Burleson said...

Ken,

I have worked as a chaplain for the Tulsa Police Department (1987-1992), the Garfield County Sheriff's Department (1992-2012), the Department of Justice (1995), the FBI and DEA special task forces (1995-2012), and have had training in hostage negotiation, criminal interrogation and the like. You can trust me when I say the man on the phone was who he says he is--though not one ounce of my training is even needed to immediately ascertain the truth. Of course, for me to tell you how I know would give too much information that I have pledged to keep confidential.

Anonymous said...

Why are people so uncomfortable with Wade defending an innocent child and so comfortable with the idea that we should keep our mouths shut and let terrible abuse go unrecognized?

Just saying.

Wendy said...

Wade,

It blesses me to know that these loving parents found your letter to their daughter and that they were encouraged and comforted by your words. I believe it will provide some healing for their little girl, when the time is right for her to read your letter.

When I read it, I wept too. I wept for that precious, innocent, courageous little girl, for her parents, for every little girl or boy who has been sexually harmed, and for all of us who advocate for them but have accusations hurled our way.

I believe your letter will encourage many more abuse victims who stumble across it. I commend you for letting God use you in this way. Thank you for being more concerned for this little girl than her perpetrator's reputation. Thank you for believing her and for believing in her.

Victorious said...

Amen Wendy!

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Anonymous said (5/1, 6:18 am):

"I am sure there are many people helping both families right now. I honor them for not making this a subject of selfpromotion."

Anonymous,

Self-promotion?

What a cold-hearted accusation! How do you know from your perch in Eastern Europe that people are helping the victim?

As far as people not being able to verify Wade's identity, now you are grasping at straws. Anyone with access to the internet can verify that Wade Burleson is who he says he is. Out of respect for the victim, he is keeping the details of his conversation with the father confidential.

Not only do I know Wade Burleson personally, but my colleague and I are are so confident about his character that we feature him every week via our EChurch posts. Why don't you take the time to investigate Wade, rather than making false accusations?

Tim W Callaway said...

Bless you, Wade, for helping to bring beauty from ashes...

RRR said...

Wade,

What an answer to prayer!

I was really scared after reading your initial post concerning this because it addressed issues that were so very personal and sensitive in an open public forum. I was even in the process of writing to express my concern in a “comment” response to that original post when you apparently turned off the "comments" because I couldn't post mine. (I'm guessing that you turned it off because some really weird people were making comments entirely inappropriate.)

Anyway, I am now praising God that "He" turned off the "comments" before I had the opportunity to post mine because, while not meant or written in a negative manner, it might have been less than encouraging to you for having had the boldness to write the letter in the first place! It is often a blessing when God shuts my mouth before I can stick my foot in it!

When I read this post displaying how God's Spirit has worked through it all to bring a measure of healing to this hurting family I thank Him for NOT allowing me to respond in any way that was not supportive.

I’ve since been praying with you and others asking God to minister to them through that letter whether I thought it was appropriate or not. I praise God for working in the hearts of the Mom and Dad so as to result in their receiving it with the compassion and intent for which the open letter was written and will continue to pray for them now that you’ve brought it to my awareness.

Victorious said...

This meeting between Wade and the victim's parents reminds me of the ordained meeting between Cornelius and Peter and the resulting fruit of that meeting.

The only difference is that thanks to the internet, God moves two believers to come together regardless of the distance.

Surely it was a God-ordained meeting and will bear much fruit and bless all parties involved.

Anonymous said...

thanks for caring!

Ken said...

Dear Wade,

I don't want to go back and forth with anyone about your phone call from the girl's father. I have made my point. Frankly, if you "can't say" you should keep your mouth shut.

I'm sure you are a wonderful pastor used by the Lord and with all your police experience you are indeed a "phone whisperer." I'm not - I was once taken to the cleaners by a phone offer that seemed too good to pass up.

But saying the father provided information - that you can't relate - only begs the question of how do you know THAT information is correct? See my problem? Even if you met them and they used all the right "Christian" words and swore on a stack of Bibles and the little girl cried, etc. how does one know it is not a shakedown for money or fame? A court of law without hearsay evidence allowed - like yours, over the phone! - would be necessary.

Even the angels were afraid to bring a charge against the devil, but left it in the hands of the Lord. But Christians on this, and other blogs, are not afraid to bring a charge against Tom. That scares me. I refuse to do so.

But let's spread the news and wring our hands in a pious manner.
Yikes! I think even VOM's statement went too far too soon even if they have "stand up in court" proof.

We may never know the "proof" of what happened. But when I go to the woodshed with Jesus I will not face a charge of rushing to judgment on Tom.

Wade Burleson said...

Ken,

There is no rush to judgment on Tom by me, though one could argue that there is a rush to judgment by you toward me. :)

See how it works?

Pamela E. Bennett said...

I agree this technology is a wonderful tool and I do realize it can be used for evil as well but it reminds me of DNA. Criminals who thought they got away with their crimes can no longer be assured. This I reckon is a good thing indeed. Full stop.

Kate Johnson said...

Wade,

as always you are willing to bring the light of Christ to a shameful evil that has for too long been hidden. When I was a little girl being sexually abused how I longed for someone to believe me, to stand up for me, to say this is wrong.... you have done all those things. And for all those others who have the same experience with abuse, I thank you.

Believe me when I say children do not make this stuff up... too many adults refused to believe "upstanding people" do such things, but they do. All the time.

1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. This statistic in no different in the faith community as it is in the secualr community. Why? Because, just as with domestic abuse of all sorts, the faith community wants to hide their heads in the sand and pretend it does not happen. It does. I pick up the pieces all the time.

Christians, we must be the voice of the Lord crying out with tears of compassion and to be His voice in the wilderness exposing this evil to the light of Christ. What stays in the darkness festers and continues, what is brought to the Light will cease. If not us, who?

Julie said...

I realize there are two very different ways of looking at this but I was very uncomfortable with your first post due to the lack of concrete knowledge of Tom's guilt or innocence. Maybe God confirmed for you that you were supposed to publicly post the first post but that does not mean that this post needed to be written. Why not just keep that knowledge to yourself and "ponder these things in your heart" so to speak? I am a Christian living in NW Arkansas so I am relativly close to you by the way. This is not something you should have shared publicly. Even if Tom is guilty you are hurting his family by inserting yourself into this situation.

Wade Burleson said...

Julie,

Thanks for your comment. I disagree am thankful you have taken the time to write and appreciate your viewpoint.

Wade Burleson said...

Kate,

I am particularly encouraged by your comment. Thanks.

Kate Johnson said...

Julie,

Tom's family is hurt by what HE has done, not by what Wade has done. There are consequences to our actions and if we thought more about the consequences of our consequences (our loved ones being hurt), then maybe sin would happen less. But whatever happens to his family is a consequence of his consequence, If you are upset with someone, I suggest Tom is a good candidate.

Kate Johnson said...

Be encouraged Wade. I'm thankful for what you do.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful thoughts and comments from all. I would like to address the alleged sin itself, if I may. None of us know how long Tom may have been dealing with this sin that is so deep, dark, and reprehensible. Because of this, there is NO place to turn. I happen to know very well Tom's most trusted friend and mentor who had absolutely no knowledge of this side of him. How many more of our brothers and sisters will fall because we, the church, will continue to deny the incredible power of sexual sin and refuse to allow those to come forth with the hope for a healing. I, myself, have struggled with this since I was 4 years old and can assure you I have been, tried, everything including going to the Lord daily to confess and beg to be purged from the mental nightmare. I urge you to be very careful to cast judgement upon those who struggle with sexual sin; it is absolutely the worst possible mental & physical anguish a believer deals with because of the disgusting nature of the sin. Again, it is so very deep and dark and worse than any drug that has the potential of blocking all self control and can lead to a disaster such as Tom's. Please pray for healing on the young girl that the Lord will erase the events from her mind. And, if you know of someone struggling in this area, please open your hearts to help bear this life threatening burden.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You are to be commended on your efforts to minister to the one who has been hurt as a result of the actions of another... especially a child hurt by an adult.

My concern with your post is this:
First you say, "I cannot go into all the details of the conversation, particularly in regard to the abuse and the circumstances surrounding Tom White's death. These matters will remain confidential out of respect for the victim and her family, as well as the family of Tom White."
But then you immediately do the opposite by saying, "What I can say is that there is no doubt the abuse occurred."

As a pastor, just like you, I will go to the grave knowing things told to me in confidence that are worse than most people can even imagine. Humanity can be more horrific than the mind can conceive.

However, I am concerned that you may have broken your own promise of confidentially as well as betrayed your statement in the immediately proceeding sentence?

Also, when you say, "What I can say is that there is no doubt the abuse occurred," are you saying that you know that Tom White was the abuser? Or are you simply validating that this child was abused and that it would be wrong for anybody not to consider her wounds and turmoil just as great - if not greater - than the abusers.

I am in no position to know whether Tom is guilty or innocent. You certainly may have knowledge which allows you to make that conclusion. Though you implied as much in your post, you did NOT explicitly say TOM WHITE was the one guilty of being the abuser. You even used the word "allegedly" when first referring to the accusations against Tom.

However, from your response to various comments, I gather that you do not doubt Tom is guilty of this abusive act.

Pedophilia has been called the "one disease on earth that cannot be cured." Though I am not sure I agree with this (the power of God is stronger than the power of any "sin"), if Tom is guilty of this particular act (or multiple inappropriate actions with this child), will there be others who have been victimized by Tom?

Of course, if he is not guilty, then his death may lead to a "cover up" - by default since he cannot be tried in a court of law or even allowed to confess - of what really did or did not occur.

My speculation, from what you have written, is that someone saw an inappropriate action taking place between Tom and the girl.

No matter what else people have posted, that would be very strong "evidence" and not something to be revealed in a blog of any kind at this point... at least not until such information became "public record."

Your compassion for the least and the last is commendable and deeply appreciated.

Regardless of Tom's guilt or innocence, we - the church - have a very wounded member who must be taken care of.

And there are thousands upon thousands who are in, or gone through, the same experience as she is going through. Too often the church has simply ignored this issue.

Thanks for your serious compassion, even if there are some ways you might have expressed your knowledge of the "facts" a little differently! :)

Rick

Anonymous said...

Paqstor Burleson, I have never heared of this ministry before, until two days ago i got a package in the mail. It had a book called Tortured for christ and some news letters and a donation envolpe in it. then the next day i got another letter in the mail telling me of this tom white and the ministrey must go on ...something like that. So what do i do? i googel the vom and tom white case. in so doing i came across your letter, i was so touched by your concern for that little girl..thank-you for obeying the lord and writing that letter..for her and for the message i got out of it too,...God bless you..

Anonymous said...

Wade - Referring to Tom White's alleged abuse of a 10 year old girl, you wrote, "What I can say is that there is no doubt the abuse occurred. " I won't pretend to understand all of the laws surrounding this situation, but for the sake of justice and the many thousands who faithfully supported VOM and for Tom's remaining family, you and anyone else who makes matter-of-fact statements about such a matter should be demanded to produce the evidence that supports your accusations.

In amendment VI of the Constitution of the United States of America it reads that "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; TO BE CONFRONTED WITH THE WITNESSES AGAINST HIM, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." Now, Tom is dead, so much of this does not apply. That being said, as stated earlier for the sake of all others who were involved in VOM and Tom's family, you should be (and I hope you will be) demanded to show evidence that supports your accusation. If you have evidence, then you have done well. If not, you have failed yourself and hurt many others.

In closing, it is my opinion you have done us all a disservice. I disagree with your position of accusation without any willingness to bring forth your evidence (to the local authorities and/or Tom's family and/or VOM staff).

Regards,

Bill

Kate Johnson said...

Bill,
When I worked in child welfare I sat through trials where children had to testify against their sexual abuser. And I saw the results that testifying had on them. I for one am ambivalent about not having a trial. I am glad the child was spared that. However I am not glad that people like you will not believe unless there is a trial. Human nature being what it is, even then many would not believe even if he was found guilty. From my observations, if he was innocent, why did he take his life and not depend on God to clear his name? Especially since he was the head of such a well known ministry? He must have known that the allegations and publicity would not die with him. And Wade has pastors priviledges of which he cannot disclose. Would you want your pastor disclosing something you told him? And knowing Wade, he has gotten permission from the father to share what he did share.

I think his suicide speaks volumes, but then again, it is only my opinion being a counselor who deals with peoples sin all the time... and my own.

Anonymous said...

Replying to Kate (who replied to me):

To clarify my earlier note, I referenced the 6th amendment only to point out the law of our land teaches that those accusing a person of a crime must come forward and make their accusation before the accused. In other words, anonymous accusations are not acceptable. Going hand in hand with this is the need for the accuser to support his accusation with evidence. A man is innocent until proven guilty. Again, in the case of Tom White, much of this does not apply as Tom is no longer living. That being said, the premise of accusers coming forward, evidence being examined and diligent inquisition being made, still stands. We cannot accept one man or one woman's statement over another.

My primary point in writing is that until evidence is produced, one cannot know for sure if Tom White took his own life or was framed and murdered. Both are possibilities.

For those on either side of the speculation fence regarding this matter, can you see how important it is that evidence be turned over to the authorities (if there is any) so they can can examine it and make a definitive statement as to what really happened?


I speak with fear and respect knowing that there is a young girl, her family, possible misconduct of great magnitude committed against this young girl and the loss of one's life involved in this situation. This is not an easy situation to say the least.

In closing, if this were my daughter, I would want the evidence (if there was any) to be made known to the local authorities for the purpose of being the authorities being a witness or having factual testimony regarding the crime. In addition to this, I would want a public statement made as to the factual nature of the allegations. I think this would be helpful to my daughter if she were in this situation. The community should know who has done right and who has done wrong so the proper follow up and support can be given, especially to a young person who has been harmed in this way.

Regards,

Bill

Jeannette Altes said...

Bill,

Having followed this story for the past week, including news reports, it is clearly stated that this child's parents DID take their evidence to the authorities. Mr. White took his life when the investigation by the authorities began.

Sam Rico said...

The initial post by Wade almost seemed to be cheery, to quick to move to a happy ending. I think Psalm 88 is more apt to this situation--"my only companion is darkness." The Father is certainly calling us to be full of fear and trembling, just as the early church was when God the Holy Spirit executed Ananias and Sapphira.

Anonymous said...

I’m not trying to insult you Wade but its going to look that way (I’ve made a comment on christianpost.com you might not enjoy also). VOM has enemies. You may think us fools for questioning this incident, but how are we to know that you are not a dupe for accepting it ? Are you saying they have DNA evidence ? If indeed you had a desire to communicate a comforting letter to this girl, why didn’t you just contact VOM directly and asked them to deliver it to the family. Being a pastor, I’m sure they would have lowered the firewall for a moment, just for you. But instead you sought to drop this upon the internet for every atheist vulture to snag and spread all the more (and amazing also that the girls father found it). The atheists do just fine vilifying us, all on their own. But you only succeeded in adding your voice to theirs and for some reason felt the need to post a yet a second, as if the first hadn’t done enough damage. Because of you, VOM may see millions less in donations to help their cause. I’ve seen this sort of thing before. I’ve seen righteous people, priests and pastors cheer with God-haters when a good man was railroaded. I’m just not sure at all if I’ll ever understand your mind in this, much less your lack of discretion ?

Gct

Anonymous said...

...Anonymous...it make sense !!!

Holly said...

I agree with those who say you should not have revealed that you spoke with the father, Wade. I feel that by writing about something said in confidence, you are exhibiting a type of grand-standing. Who is served by this? Who is exalted by it?

Pretty much....you.

Even in your letter to the young girl, something did not ring proper. It seemed to me that you set yourself up as the lone "good" man in the Christian world, someone who had her best interest at heart. That seemed kind of strange - as there is a huge contingent of good men and women who would support and love this family and this little girl. To point a victim to help, to healing, to the Lord - that is proper. But to point them to Wade Burleson? A little strange, I think. Then to broadcast it on the internet?

And you may have a wide experience in information gathering and working with victims and in counseling, etc. It is, however, very amateurish to talk about a case and about your "insider" information. It's not even ethical, nor necessarily legal.

I know this seems harsh - and I am usually not a vocally harsh person. I have thought about your article a lot over the last few days - it just didn't sit well with me, and I wondered why. As I've discerned why, I felt I should tell you. You have chosen a vocal role, which opens you up to vocal, online criticism

Rex Ray said...

Julie,

I’ve been commenting on Wade’s post for six years and am one of the first to contradict any false comment made against him.

I’m jealous of the reply you received from Wade; saying “Thanks for your comment. I disagree am thankful you have taken the time to write and appreciate your viewpoint.”

Note:
When words are put in quotes, it is impossible to put a spin on them,

I’ve made several comments on this post saying some of the same things you said, but mine have been deleted.

By omitting my word “IF” Wade made HIS conclusion WITHOUT quoting my words and said, “Your comments that this little girl brought this sordid affair on herself are what are inappropriate.”

His final comment to me was:

“Your remarks sabatoged a very good comment stream on the first post, and I overlooked them and said nothing to you that remained on the Internet. This time, I am publicly rebuking you and trust that God will bring you the shame you deserve. Wed May 02, 10:07:00 AM 2012”

You see, Julie, Wade became the jury, judge, and executioner. The ‘trial’ cannot be appealed because the ‘evidence’ is gone except what I’ve copy/past in my files.

I thought someone might contradict him. I noticed several of the regular commenters have been absent. To me, their silence speaks volumes.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Your comments are, and will be deleted, when you imply sexual abuse of children is brought on and encouraged by the child.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Burleson,
I speak as a victim of the same type of abuse as this kid. I found your comments to smack of someone that never went through it. The people who really did, they shut up. You are not a hero, neither is the kid, and if Tom White was guilty, neither is he. The only hero in these situations is Satan, because he was the clear winner. I hate sanctimonious comments by self-righteous people. You said "the abuse happened." Did anyone prove it or see it happen? I say that as a victim. Was there proof and if so, why can't that be published. i am so hurt by the hypocrisy in this because VOM was a ministry my limited capacity for trust had actually trusted. I make a decision today: never trust anyone. Yes, the guy that hurt me was a youth ministry worker. Why don't you just shut up, Wade? Other people managed to not comment. What makes you so special? You think it couldn't happen?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Well, well, you did it again didn’t you? You didn’t copy/paste my comment.

You first said, “Your comments that this little girl brought this sordid affair on herself are what are inappropriate.”

But now you’ve added “children”.

Anonymous said...

I was sexually abused when I was 8 yrs. old, and I find your position of judge and jury appalling!! Has anyone stopped for a minute and thought: Tom White has not yet been found guilty!! Am I wrong or not?? Many years ago my niece was angry at my brother because he and her mom were getting a divorce. In her childish anger my niece accused my brother of molesting her, then later told a social worker she did it just because she was bitter. (She is now 38 yrs. old and is sorry for the hurt she caused my brother.) You have nothing to substantiate your claims and shame on you for exalting yourself over this country's "innocent until proven guilty" stance. I wonder how you will react when YOU are the next one to be accused??

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Just curious, do you or God have any compassion for the wife and children of Tom, who are obviously devastated? Or are they just collateral damage?

Rex Ray said...

Anonymous,

You’ve made a good point. I’d guess their hurt is ten times greater than the parents of the little girl.

Kate Johnson said...

To the latest anon writer,

isn't the fact that this stuff occurs in part BECAUSE of those who shut up? I was sexually abused. I did not speak up because I was too young and had no one to go to. Because the sins of this person were not confronted, he was left to abuse others...

God calls us to speak up for the abused, oppressed and vulnerable. God calls us to speak up and be truthful. You may question whether this sexual abuse occurred. I, on the other hand, do not.

I am amazed at all the people who want this to be kept quiet for the "sake of the ministry." Do you really believe God would bless a ministry that did not confront and ackowledge evil in their midst?

And Rex, no their hurt is NOT 10x worse... you have no idea! I am not dimishing their hurt. It is there. But I would never say they hurt more. They all hurt.

Rwetmore said...

Sexual molestation is one of the worst agonies that a human can undergo, a wound that tortures again and again, year after year. Something has got to happen in our Christian community that we leaders deal with our own sexual sin in a drastic manner to make sure that we do not inflict that kind of suffering on others. There is no such thing as a secret sexual sin, at least not for Christians and especially not for Christian leaders. How is it that we Christian leaders do not create the kind of accountability with godly believers to make sure that we keep ourselves in the light?
After all, from a statistical point of view (as the blog points out), the chances of this being the first offense are not super great (assuming for the moment that the accusations are true). So, what could be done for all Christians, and especially Christian leaders, to make sure that they bring their sexual sins out into the light immediately, so that the body can stand with them?
The very first step would be accounts in Covenant Eyes. This is a great ministry. Every church and ministry should require this for all pastors and elders and leaders. Then, it's time to stop lying about the struggles out there and own up to the reality of what's really happening. Pure Life Ministries has a great book, "At the Altar of Spiritual Idolatry," which deals with precisely these kinds of things. We evangelicals have to stop living in the 50's and realize that sexual sin is strangling the churches and ministries of America.

Linda said...

I am a supporter of VOM and am so thankful for their ministry. I have appreciated Tom White’s perspective shared through many columns in the ministry’s magazine. I was stunned this week to receive a letter from VOM with the news about Tom’s suicide and the allegations against him. I went on the web to look for more information and found your beautiful letter to “Tabitha”. I thought it was very touching and a wonderful model of compassion for someone in this heartbreaking situation.



This second post on the subject made me uneasy with the way you said “there’s no doubt” the abuse occurred and the father was on the phone. I’m thankful to Ken for articulating my questions and discomfort about this.



If you wanted to write this second post on the subject I think it would have been better to say something like, “I believe that…(the abuse occurred and I spoke to the father), but in any case, I pray my open letter will comfort victims like Tabitha.” To be more general would avoid discussion of what you know, how you know, how much you can say, etc.--topics which are proving quite distracting.


To respond with just "trust me” makes me uneasy again, even though you list excellent credentials. My church recently experienced a very painful situation where our well respected pastor terribly mismanaged the church, while he wanted us to just trust him. I'm not suggesting you're mismanaging anything but do wish you would remove the charged statements from your post so that the real beauty of your letters shines without distraction.

Jill Once Abused said...

I read the vast majority of these posts. As a person who was sexually abused from 3 - 10 years old, this resonates with me. When (at the age of 23) I had the opportunity to finally share with my parents and then the abuser, he began to experience dementia (he was 85 - but how odd that it started right when my sister and I finally found our voices). At the end of the day, I stand with the young girl who was abused - and I think for the parents, having someone verbalize that their daughter, not the abuser, is the true victim rang true for a daddy's heart. Until I realized that I was the victim and it wasn't my fault, I couldn't find true healing. God forgive a nation that worries more about the reputation of an organization or individual than a defenseless child. Whoever stated this earlier got it right - the White family is not being "victimized" by the press, it was the actions of their loved one that brought this difficulty to the family. HEALING COMES WHEN LIGHT SHINES!

Anonymous said...

Trauma on facing another false
imprisonment?

Only abused 1 child in 65 years?

How important is reputation to Christians, particularly one in position?

Ever experienced suicidal depression?

Need more info . . .

Only one man never fails, his name is Jesus. Praise his name.

Rex Ray said...

Kate Johnson,

We all are more influenced by our backgrounds than the backgrounds of others.

I’m sorry for your hurt and I know I can never fathom that pain.

I imagine Tom White was a hero to many.

When a hero dies it hurts; by suicide is worse, and identified as a pedophile would hurt more than the other two combined.

I won’t debate which side had more tears to fall, and agree “they all hurt”.

Anonymous said...

To, "It makes sence !!!": Not sure what direction your inference points, but if its what I suspect, then; The quick and easy answer is often of that very nature. But, it is not always the best path to take. In some ways this incident does not make sense.
Gct

Anonymous said...

Jill and Kate: I understand your points, but perhaps your past experiences blinds you to how you have used it to immediately assess guilt without evidence. Theres nothing yet, but hearsay and no trial will be held. You are judging a man merely by his own dead body and the built in verdict of 'guilty-by-guilt' that an apparent suicide would provide. A dead body cannot defend itself. Personally, until I hear something that I cannot deny, I'll leave room for other explanations, like the possibility of foul-play. This man Wade all but swung the gavel as he said "No doubt he did this", and only then does he posture whatever spectacularly compelling testimony he received behind a vale of confidentiality, such that no one can weigh, and in so doing, makes himself judge, jury and executioneer, if only in your mind. Confidentiality is understandable, but he could have maintained it from the start and spared us the public gaveling, if only for the sake of decorum, and not the good name of VOM as a whole. And, as I said earlier, he could have just contacted VOM directly. If you think I need to be forgiven for saying this, well you just go right ahead and report me to the Lord. But reputations are not the only thing I worry for. And Kate; Nobody here said the child should "shut-up". But if the abused, oppressed and vulnerable are what you're worried about, so am I. And, by the way, concerning White, I dont think you can condemn the man any more than he already has himself (assuming).

I'm not necessarily against Wade. I know he has a history of wanting to be public about things. Sometimes thats good. But, I would think not with this. We are not the ones who will suffer for this entire incident, whatever the truth is, nearly as much as our people in hostile nations. When their oppressors get wind of it, and they will, their troubles will increase. It will only substantiate the lies their oppressors already use against them. And at the same time, donations that VOM uses to help them will decrease. Not a good mix. So, do you think my concerns are ungodly selfish or misplaced now ?
Gct

Anonymous said...

The first blog posted on April 23 states "Because you and your family were close to Tom White" and in the second (April 30) "Her father . . . had Googled "Tom White" and on the third page . . ." I'm curious as to why the father need to google Tom White if they were so close ?

Well, I'm done with this. I wont be back.
Gct

Anonymous said...

Kate: That ministry raised over 46 million dollars last year. I think they were blessed.

I also witnessed an attempt to discredit VOM after a manipulated newsstory cover-up of a mass murder in central Africa.

Neil said...

I thought your open letter was great. I hope it provides hope and healing to many.

Kate Johnson said...

And, yes, VOM has raised millions and helped millions. My comment meant FUTURE blessings, if they are innocent they will come, if they cover things up they will not.

Kate Johnson said...

I had a long response written out but it was lost in cyberspace and I'm not going to rewrite it due to lack of time..

suffice to say I disagree about Jill or me being blinded. If you do not want White judged, I suggest you do not judge either.

Rex Ray said...

Kate Johnson,

I said that “I can never fathom that pain”, but I forgot when I was 8, something happened that made me feel dirty for many years. I’d almost forgotten after 72 years.

The Scripture I’ll quote did not happen to me, but I believe it help to shape a person that I’ll name XX.

Luke 17:2 NLT (also Matthew 18:6 and Mark 9:420:

“It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.”

XX grew up in a one-room shack until he was 10 when his parents divorced. What he saw there, no one knows. We went to visit them when XX was 6. I was 8, and we were playing outside on a swing, until he said he wanted to play ‘Momma and Poppa’. He said he’d show me how. He had me lay face down in a farm wagon and he got on top of me. His bouncing around on me made me feel dirty for many years. When he was 14, he tried to rape a 9 year old girl. He was married 3 times. Because of the ‘actions’ of his young girls, it was suspicion they were being abused at home. He died of a heart attack in his 40’s.

Anonymous said...

I, like many of you, received a letter from VOM yesterday. IMO, it missed the mark. It was a copy of James D letter on the website. As a tither to the ministry, I need to know a lot more before I will ever give again. I want to know the truth of what is going on overseas – with all those dear people who have been helped by VOM in their persecution. Perhaps they will reject aid from VOM after finding out about this. I cannot give to a “blind ministry” now. I want them to be completely transparent about the state of affairs globally as far as the ministries to persecution.com. What about Muslim reaction? This is real world stuff.

This is way off subject, but the subject of Tom’s funeral seems to be verboten. Why? Somewhere – in one of the OK newspapers it was mentioned that thousands attended his funeral. Is that true? If so, why keep it a secret? Aren’t we allowed to love and care for him and his family even though he is a sinner, like us, saved by grace?

I think the thing I abhor in all of this is the secrecy. VOM, it appears, is just waiting and wanting for this to blow over and disappear.

Anonymous said...

As the sister of someone who was falsely accused, I cannot understand your judgement to post this. There is no way you can make a judgement based on one side of the story.

I can totally understand the mindset of a man falsely accused in this day and age, it is over once the accusation has been made. Take the time and research this craze for yourselves.

The comment that children do not make this stuff up is just not true, it has happened MANY times.

I am in no way saying these things do not happen, all to often it is true.

Anonymous said...

After I read all these I discovered one truth: Nothing is worse than "division" among Christians: The body of Christ-The Church. You may not see or understand what I am talking about, but please be careful everyone. We are fighting a spiritual battle. One more thing: Our hearts can be very deceitful. Praying for all the victims, VOM and the staff.

Anonymous said...

I am saying this in love to everybody: There is something God wants us to know (He will show us) and there is something God doesn't think we need to know. If we insist in knowing everything, then we play God. We as Christians don't want to play God. Most importantly, what does God want the Church to respond and learn when something like this happened? God wants us to love each other, so "go", encourage and help those who are in need. You don't need to tell the whole world what you are going to do or what you did (unless you need people to pray for you specifically). I am sure that God has put someone in our hearts to help.

Anonymous said...

Don't cause division among the Church (the bribe of Jesus Christ). This is exactly what Satan wants and its goal in this matter. God doesn't need your money. He is the one who provides for us.

Anonymous said...

Correction to above: bribe = bride.
I mean the bride of Jesus Christ. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!! EXACTLY!!

I see several people don't have a clue! Ignorance is still so widespead! Grrr. So, for their edification, it's called VALIDATION, people! WB was VALIDATING THE GIRL's REALITY! (& not only hers, but every other abuse survivor who passes by via google search!) Nothing is more important than Validation. I "GET IT." They simply don't know what they are talking about.

Wish you had been around when I was 7! & again at 11! And, at age 40 when it all came out in the open, & my extremely IGNORANT father (not the abuser) had the GAUL to say, "You must have wanted it or you would have said something!" >>>
Imagine a "KNIFE THROUGH CHEST" - GASP in horror. Can't speak. SUFFOCATING from the IGNORANCE!

I have ZERO patience for IGNORANCE on this subject, as you can see. Keep up the good work. Throw the bums out! (their comments, that is). People who have no education nor experience on the subject should keep their traps shut.

VALIDATION AT/NEAR the time of abuse will salvage the shattered psyche/body/soul/spirit that splits apart during abuse & reintegrate the pieces. & the more Validation the better. Great letter. You said all the right things (in bold, A-B-C). I "got it."

Just an InternetPasserBy...

Anonymous said...

"The people who really did, they shut up."

Maybe I am misunderstanding but it sounds like you are saying that people who WERE abused SHUT UP? WRONG!

You must be a guy... only guys who were abused would think like that... & one who hasn't "put the pieces together" yet (ie, you haven't found your "voice" yet). Because if you had you would never say such a thing. We were SILENCED as children. We will NOT be silent EVER again.

Have you done any reading on the subject?It sounds like you seriously need to. There are books for men on the subject... I used to know the name of one but can't remember... If you are female, start with E. Sue Blume's, "Sex Abuse & Its After-Effects in Women." It's the all time classic!

And btw, WB doesn't need to have been an abuse victim IF HE "GETS IT," which he obviously DOES (through educating himself on the subject, I'm assuming, & which you sincerely need to do for yourself. It's painfully obvious... said with the best intentions from one survivor to another).

InternetPasserBy...

Anonymous said...

So now it's a contest of who has the most pain? Who are you people? :-/

IPB

Anonymous said...

1,000+

Anonymous said...

"...NO place to turn."

Here's a Christian ministry for that very thing:

BrokenYoke.org (Established by a Former Pedophile, Bob VanDomelen (sp?)

Anonymous said...

A little girl has been molested, a man is dead, & all you can think about is money & atheists?

Who gives a flip re the atheists? God can take it. He's been putting up with them for millenia. Let Him worry about them.

As for donations, any sensible person realizes one man's downfall does not paint the entire org negatively, especially if that man did not "own" the org but was just one in a line of many who "represented" it.

Your priorities are askew.

Anonymous said...

1000+ to everything you said. The lack of understanding by Rex, Gct, & others is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Too many people on here are playing semantics. The above is just another example, fretting about wording vs. appreciating the motive & content.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for puttings things in their correct & proper context! Well stated!

The elderly abuser in our family went blind in the years after we find our voices, & the first thing that came to mind when I heard about it was the angels striking the sodomites blind in Genesis. "One child porn picture too many," I thought to myself.

Anonymous said...

You're still too worried about the money. If the Lord has provided all these years, he will continue to do so, for the sake of the oppressed in other countries.

Anonymous said...

The obvious somehow doesn't register with you. The girl's father obviously was googling "Tom White" simply to see whatever was being said on the Internet about the situation.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Remember Achan.

Anonymous said...

How does one judge when we do not even know the truth? Only God knows the truth. If the allegations are true, then shame on the man who did it and may God heal the child. But if the allegations are false, then shame on those who accused the man and the man cannot speak for himself anymore. Circumstantially, if he was not guilty why did he bail out? Because sometimes it is difficult to prove your innocence? Or did he really commit the sin? God is the supreme Judge.

Chris said...

The open letter to the victim was so touching that I just cried.

This letter should be dedicated to all victims.

Rex Ray said...

Anonymous Sat May 12, 05:53 PM

Let’s see, if I counted right there are 34 comments by anonymous. Does that mean there are 34 people or one person 34 times, or some other combination?

It must be nice to hide behind a bullet proof shield while you shoot people down that sign their names.

You may claim you’re only repeating someone else’s opinion which was based on their ‘twist’ of what was said without the facts of ‘copy paste’.

You said, “The lack of understanding by Rex, Gct, & others is appalling.”

It’s been said, “In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

I’m 80; how old are you? I’ve been around long enough to see a lot. It’s a fact some victims of pedophiles become aggressors for sex for the reason of revenge.

One woman said she hated all men and she treated her husband like a dog even though he tried to give her everything he could. She weighed twice as much as him. I’d picked them up hitch-hiking and they lived in our home several weeks until my wife said it was them or her. They named us god-parents of their children that were born later. She left him when he became unable to work.

BTW, yesterday in Phoenix, AZ, my twin brother told his wife he couldn’t stand the pain waiting for an ambulance so he drove 20 miles to a hospital. The ambulance tried in vain to catch him. He’d skipped from the hospital two weeks previous with an I-V in his arm saying there was nothing wrong with him. He’s recovering from a triple by-pass.

Erin said...

The open letter and the follow up brought tears to my eyes. I have never stopped thinking of this child. I knew Tom White and his family. My family has been involved in VOM for many many years. My heart was torn by the news of Tom's death but it was hurt more thinking of this child and the pain she must be going through. I'm so thankful this little girl has such great support and so grateful that her parents know there have been people thinking of and praying for their family and their daughter.

Jeka said...

I will summarise in a point form some of the comments directed to Wade that must be read:
• *We have yet to see any proof of the allegations, and you post this as though it is over and done with.
• My primary point in writing is that until evidence is produced, one cannot know for sure if Tom White took his own life or was framed and murdered. Both are possibilities.
• The community should know who has done right and who has done wrong so the proper follow up and support can be given, especially to a young person who has been harmed in this way (re giving evidences).
• If indeed you had a desire to communicate a comforting letter to this girl, why didn’t you just contact VOM directly?
• you sought to drop this upon the internet for every atheist vulture to snag and spread all the more (The atheists do just fine vilifying us, all on their own. But you only succeeded in adding your voice to theirs and for some reason felt the need to post a yet a second, as if the first hadn’t done enough damage. Because of you,
*VOM may see millions less in donations to help their cause.
• You said "the abuse happened." Did anyone prove it or see it happen?
• Was there proof and if so, why can't that be published?
• do you or God have any compassion for the wife and children of Tom, who are obviously devastated? Or are they just collateral damage?
• If you wanted to write this second post on the subject I think it would have been better to say something like, “I believe that…(the abuse occurred and I spoke to the father), but in any case, I pray my open letter will comfort victims like Tabitha.” To be more general would avoid discussion of what you know, how you know, how much you can say, etc.--topics which are proving quite distracting.
• I'm curious as to why the father need to google Tom White if they were so close ?
• I was very uncomfortable with your first post due to the lack of concrete knowledge of Tom's guilt or innocence. Why not just keep that knowledge to yourself and "ponder these things in your heart" so to speak?
• Your "I know things I can't disclose" line while perhaps true, is not compelling.
• And you may have a wide experience in information gathering and working with victims and in counseling, etc. It is, however, very amateurish to talk about a case and about your "insider" information. It's not even ethical, nor necessarily legal.
• You certainly may have knowledge which allows you to make that conclusion. Though you implied as much in your post, you did NOT explicitly say TOM WHITE was the one guilty of being the abuser. You even used the word "allegedly" when first referring to the accusations against Tom.
• ... in your letter to the young girl, something did not ring proper. It seemed to me that you set yourself up as the lone "good" man in the Christian world, someone who had her best interest at heart. That seemed kind of strange - as there is a huge contingent of good men and women who would support and love this family and this little girl. To point a victim to help, to healing, to the Lord - that is proper. But to point them to Wade Burleson? A little strange, I think. Then to broadcast it on the internet?
*Tom guilt is not proven, no evidence, no investigation, no victim (no photo, no parents identity), no official charges agains Tom, no evidence of suicide either (police still waiting for the autopsy resolts, he could have been poisoned)
CONCLUSION: absolutely no reason to accuse Tom (inocent antil proven guilty unless Wade present his "evidences")

Wade Burleson said...

Jeka,

My posts go into "moderation" after 14 days, meaning comments do not appear automatically. I'm sorry it takes so long to get posts up, and equally sorry I can't respond to every comment. I have a large church that I serve and a family that needs my attention, as well as other writing projects.

However, I am responding to your comment with all the bullet points (see Monday, May 21, 11:37 PM comment).

I am writing for the victim and her family. Your doubt about the veracity of what I am writing does not move me. Meaning: I am unaffected by your distrust of me until "I verify" for you what I know. I am not writing for you. Nor am I writing for Tom or his family (I might write something to comfort Tom's family in the future).

Because my purpose in writing is to bring comfort to the VICTIM AND THE FAMILY OF THE VICTIM there is no need to verify the accuracy of what I am writing.

They know its true, and that is enough.

Anonymous said...

Read this from A Chinese Christian in the Christian Post Blog.

http://blogs.christianpost.com/upper-room/is-tom-white-of-vom-in-u-s-another-version-of-u-k-nail-heywood-in-chongqing-china-9539/

Anonymous said...

Bologna! People just can't face the fact that well respected and many times "Christian" businessmen/ministers are child molestors! Tom White made at least144,000 a year! So, imagine how much the president of VOM makes! Why did VOM need a fancy building with a private lake?! So sick!

Anonymous said...

http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/bville-police-close-investigation-into-vom-executive-director

Now they have closed the case without telling us anything. The coroner doesn't say or know how he died. Very suspicious. Time for Dateline?

Rex Ray said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the link that said a note was found in White’s vehicle “that he was suicidal or possible fleeing to avoid investigation”.

HUH?

How many cowboy outlaws had a note on their saddle saying they were fleeing the country?

Maybe the author of the note kidnapped White, masqueraded as White, raped the girl using DNA from White and the note was a blotched suicide note.

Crazy?; about as crazy as the police closing a case before receiving a report from the medical examiner’s office.

Maybe they can’t determine if he died from poison or a bullet in the back.

Mr Jesperson said...

I live in Bartlesville. My pastor golfs with the police chief and has many other contacts including within Tom White's own immediate family. He does much counseling which means he has certain insider information that he cannot go into detail on. In the last month someone came to him with enough detail to convince him that Tom was a pedophile. He was not convinced before, not even after he attended the funeral.
I trust my pastor. I have personally worked for and volunteered for VOM. This is the real deal. VOM is the most covert ministry I have ever seen, and now we all know why. It is because a pedophile built it and conned many of us, including myself, to unwittingly help build this monster. The truth is coming out.
Tom's wife also at one time ran a daycare service out of there house. And that too will be investigated. What distresses me most is how many people prejudge in favor of the successful, famous and rich star believer. They do not admit it, but what they have to believe is that the child is lying. Our prejudice is very unbecoming and un-Christlike. We Evangelicals do not appreciate the justice of God. We focus so much on mercy that we forget that God commands us to treat each other fairly and for those in authority to not abuse there power by preying on the sheep. What VOM has is good marketing and a white-washed image. The real work done is not as good as we have been falsely lead to believe. I was inside the building. There is much wrong and evil that has been covered up over the last 15 years. Expect more details of scandal to emerge.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jesperson-I believe you.

Deborah Dombrowski said...

Thank you, Wade, for writing on this story. When our ministry reported on the story, I was taken back by some readers who came to Tom White's defense, insisting that the story could never be true. A conspiracy to hurt VOM is what some said.

As a parent whose four children were terribly abused (I wrote about it in my book Laughter Calls Me), I have learned that many people simply cannot believe that child abuse is so rampant. Some could easier believe a plot of murder and made up abuse charges to destroy VOM than they would believe that Tom White sexually abused this little girl.

Anonymous said...

If what Mr. Jesperson says IS true, I am totally through with VOM. I only wish I could now be refunded for the thousands I have contributed over many years. I can think of local ministries here in my city - in which I participate - that would need $$ and I can see with my own eyes how it is being spent. I thought I had that security with VOM due to their claim of low/no administrative costs. $144,000 a year would certainly be nice, especially now that I am old and scarred by this depression.

What a gut-wrenching, sickening event/situation this is and has been. I don't think I've ever been so crushed and disillusioned as I have been by this. I went to the VOM website for the first time in weeks yesterday. It is sterile and almost unrecognizable to me. And, it is ALL about the Sturmbrands - they are all over the place on that site. Too bad their good work had to take such a terrible hit.

Dear God. We really need your help to keep us strong and participating in your work.

Dusty said...

God bless you, Wade, for your powerful open letter and for this very moving follow-up post.

Despite what your critics may say, I'm sure that God called you to write the open letter. (Admittedly I'm a tiny bit confused by a couple of bits in the letter, e.g. its apparent implication that Tom White has gone to heaven, but I can imagine that God wanted these things to be present in the letter for the sake of VOM's supporters.)

Just as you have encouraged this poor girl and her family, I'd like to encourage you...

Firstly, I'd like to point out that 90+% of the critics on this webpage do not exhibit anything like the gracious, kind, gentle Spirit of Christ in their posts that would indicate taht their posts were inspired by the Spirit of Christ. (As you know, the Bible says, "Let your speech be *alway* with grace".)

Secondly, I cannot help but observe how brazenly your detractors seem to duck all sorts of cogent and relevant points that you and other folk have made on this page.

Thirdly, many of your opponents wrongly feel you are being naive for reaching the conclusions you have. These people appear to be ignoring little things like the fact that 10-year-old Christian girls are not exactly in the habit of making up stories of serious sexual abuse by people who aren't even related to them, and the fact that the Holy Spirit is more than capable of showing us the truth about a crime even if the accused has died before answering the charges. The irony in all this is that some of these same critics of yours naively suppose it to be impossible, even in these last days, that a big ministry like VOM can have unsaved people operating in its midst.

Finally, I'm genuinely convinced that both you and the girl's parents would be greatly encouraged by the content of a book I've recently published. Its title is "Preying on our Children", and its associated website is www.preying.org.

All the very best for the future, Dusty

Dennis said...

I do not know who Wade is. I just read the article and I found no issue with it at all. The Lord tells us to judge, and to judge righteously. Our judgement is only discernment.

I am nobody. But I have worked in Childrens homes,worked in juvenile prisons. Have spoken to many people online that have been molested by parents, friends and people in positions that you would think you could trust. Nothing surprises me.

I believe what Wade did was good. Think about this for a minute, a man committed suicide. Why would he leave this world and his family and friends over "allegations"? You just do not do that. Think harder....many might say a born again believer that committs suicide doesnt lose their salavation. I tend to agree with that type of thinking, but at the same thought, I wouldnt want to be in his shoes for doing that. Thats a big chance. So, I am more inclined to believe that this happened to this poor defenseless child.

I commend Wade for his actions. He acted in Mercy and Concern. God used it and to question whether he actually talked to the "real father" in my opinion is ludicrous. Good Job Wade.You let Jesus live through you and that is what real Christianity is

Dennis said...

I have taken the time to read all of these posts. I had read some before my previous comment. One that I read that sticks in my craw is the one stating public writings on this issue, such as Wades'article here could be a detriment to monies given to the VOM group. In another post I read where Tom White made in the area of $144,000. Then stated the head man probably made much more.

In the world, people make money based on a profit in an organization. In this case this money is from donations. Here we have people living high on the hog in life because they are telling about people who gave their lives because of Jesus Christ. Think on this...How twisted is this concept?

In my heart this cries out "Money Changers". In my heart this is as sick as almost the molestation. I could see a use for telling of these brave martyrs, but not making a huge living on it.

My father, to the best of my knowledge never received Christ. He believeed in God, but when I talked to him about it, he told me it was all a business. Its about money. I have to conclude, in todays fellowships, thats not far off. I went to Calvary Assembly years ago in Winter Park Florida. The Pastor made 120K. Single moms working in the offices made $7 an hour. I dont see God in all of this.

The Gospel is free. When you make it businesses and you make people like Kings in these positions, you lose out on the finished work of the cross. People are more about themselves than really Jesus. Thats why these things happen like with Tom White.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You are guilty of gossip, maybe more, but gossip for sure. It is a dark day when pastors make reputations for themselves based on here-say, allegations, and so called phone calls that have no credibility what so ever.

Allegations are not proof of guilt. A supposed phone call you had with the possible Dad is no proof of guilt.

Where do you get off placing yourself as the prosecutor and the judge. You can be sure that if the district attorneys office had evidence for a conviction of Tom White they would have arrested him and charged him.

Your arrogance and pride to make headlines for yourself and make another man look bad who was never found guilty does the body of christ no good. It has defiled us.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading comments on this post for a while. So many interesting viewpoints. I tend to agree with those who question Wade Burleson's rationale for posting the second post, after the conversation with the father. If Wade's motivation was truly to minister to the girl and family, seems to me that purpose was fulfilled through the 45 minute phone conversation they had, not through a very public announcement that the conversation took place. Jesus' words come to mind...he has his reward.

To those who want to crucify VOM along with Tom White, I think it is very unfair to assume the entire organization is corrupt simply because its ED allegedly had personal demons. I have been involved in VOM's operations in a number of countries and can vouch that they do excellent work, worthy of our continued support. The leadership has been forthcoming in acknowledging the allocations against Mr. White and not trying to dismiss what has taken place. Just because the sordid details are not being paraded for public consumption does not imply a cover-up. And by the way the coroner's office has not stated they "don't know" how Mr. White died...they simply have not reported their findings yet. That is not unusual...autopsy reports can take many months, especially if there is not an investigation pending, which is the case here (you can't prosecute a dead man). Patience! The report will be made public when it is completed.

Winifred said...

When I learned of Tom White's suicide, I was completely devastated. I had been to one of his VOM conferences, in Phoenix and had the utmost respect for him. I cried for days. Then I also prayed for his wife and family, who are suffering deeply. I had a hard believing the truth of the charge, and then I got angry--that Tom White could be the president of VOM, and not have any male friend who could be there to hold him accountable, before such a tragedy could happen. I too believe this sin is rampant in the Body of Christ, and as Christians, we all need to be transparent before someone else who can help us before we get to the point of hurting some one (like this child) and dishonor the Name of Jesus Christ. I prayed for everyone involved in this: VOM staff people, Tom White's family, and the family of and the child who was abused. I pray for healing, forgiveness, and restoration all around. Only God can take the sting out of this, and make it turn around for His glory and their good. I pray that will happen.

Anonymous said...

Deu 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Dennis said...

The Gospel is not a business. VOM is clearly a business. Alms before men? These martyrs situations have been agendized by VOM to do what? Glorify God? Awareness? No...to clearly make money. They have their reward

Anonymous said...

Well, according to the Bartlesville PD, the case is closed and no further investigation will be done. Nor will there be any more news releases. Not even the coroner's report. Is this a cover up or what? Something awful happened here. Those who have supported VOM all these years deserve an answer. If not an answer, a complete refund of all our tithe money. I'd rather have the answer, but it doesn't appear to be coming - ever. I can't believe this can happen in America.

Dennis said...

I can understand why it is closed. The acused killed themselves.What answer is their really? Why do you think you should get a refund? I thought we give to God. Tithe? Jesus never did it or taught it ever. This is the thing. People are upset a man did something wrong and now we want our money back? That i do not understand. I dont give to organizations. In the New Covenant, everything we have is Gods, and something people miss out on is your time. In our society we give our children our money instead of our time.

Now do you associate whatever this so called ministry of the VOM is "supposed to be", with ultimately Tom white? One person, outside of the Christ is not a ministry. There were obviously other people there that knew this person and the whole thing has probably put them in a flux. My guess is when they have come to grips, they will eventually come out and say something.

Dennis said...

Wade wrote this on a personal blog. He didnt go on TV or radio. Its a blog. God forbid someone shares their opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dennis,

If VOM and the police are covering up EVERYTHING, how do we know where our tithes really went? There must be transparency in EVERYTHING or trust is lost. I got my new VOM mag today...what a sterile publication. Gone are individual author bylines on each article. Those articles used to tell us stories that rang true and real. These paragraph pages could have been written by anybody: you or me. Lots of things are gone in this edition. For example, no more invitations for people to come to Bartlesville VOM to assist in the warehouse. I guess if TW died there under UNKNOwN causes, that wouldn't be a good place for volunteers to go. Until VOM tells its supporters what actually happened to and with TW, they are, IMHO, doomed to fail. I am through with them. Hurt, disappointed, disgusted and irate.

Anonymous said...

I would give my returned tithe to a local Christian organization that is transparent and I can see with my own eyes where God's money is going.. I agree, Dennis, that the money is God's, not mine. But, where did it ($$) really go?

Anonymous said...

Wade, you have your dad's courage and balance, and the compassionate heart of the Lord Jesus! Thanks for ministering to that family. Jk

Cara Coffey said...

Thank you so much for this testimony...I have cross linked you on my website.

http://www.uncoverednomore.com/node/79

Blessings in Christ to this child, her family, and you Mr. Burleson.

~Cara Ann Coffey

Dr. James Willingham said...

I endorse your response to the young girl who was abused. Far too many think of the victimizer more than they do the victim. In '85 I had 5 cases come to me in three months which moved me to enroll in Liberty University's Distance Learning Program (then known as the School of Lifelong Learning). I graduated with the M.A. in Counseling 1/88 and was eventually employed in a Senior High School with responsibility for incest and pedophile cases. It is the victim first and foremost who deserve our concern. The damage they suffer is hardly to be imagined. Had I had the time and money, I would have sought a doctorate and how to treat those who suffer from the devastating effects of such trauma. You are to be commended, Wade, for taking such stand.

Jerry Sinclair said...

Pastor Wade,

I have been working with and alongside sexual sinners for the past 15+ years. Many of the men I meet do not have criminal consequences like Tom White might have faced. But, every sexual sinner I meet is fearful that he may someday cross a line that no one earth dare erase.

Sexual acts against a child is a grievous sin and the victim needs a lot of help and support for things done to her in which she had no control.

I have found that many abusers were abused themselves. This is not a statement to remove guilt, but a compelling lesson about the spiritually depraved world we live in.

We will continue the battle of fighting for purity as God sees it.

Jerry Sinclair
President
Faithful and True of Jacksonville, FL

Anonymous said...

This has been interesting reading. I have no comment on Tom White because I do not really know anything about the situation.

I will say that I work in cooperation with VoM in Muslim areas and live outside the United States. My personal experience with those at VoM is that they are men and women of integrity in Bartlesville as well as on the field.

I have personally delivered VoM funds to nationals living in Muslims areas. We support a widow and the mother of a pastor killed by Muslims as he knelt in prayer. We have helped pay for housing of a widow of 4 small children because her landlord kicked her out when he found out she was a Christian. We have helped pastors and women with a support program. We have published books, both evangelistic and for Christians, in Muslim areas. My favorite project is to give funds for fuel to a church union that goes to the hiways and biways of the land taking literature for FREE distribution. And this in a country that, by law, prohibits that very thing.

It hurts to read what some of these posters say and make it sound like VoM is some sort of Mafia group only in it for profit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Whatever Tom White's sins, the ministry of VoM is valuable and needed. There are tens of thousands of people in my part of the world who would agree.

Dennis said...

witth all due respect, how would anyone know for sure how finaces are allocated.In the first place it pays way too much ro the hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

Dennis-
Really? Could you provide evidence on how you know what the salaries of VoM personnel are? Also please provide how many hours per week each works? 40? 60? 80? I am curious myself. I know I put in around 70 hours per week and am a field worker. The work day does not end at 40 hours for me or any other missionary I know.

Also could you document for us what the salaries are of top personnel at Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, Billy Graham Association, YWAM, OM, Salvation Army, etc. Since you seem to be in the know on what Christian organizations pay their managers, please give us an idea as to how VoM lines up against other organizations?

I have no idea what the leadership of my mission is compensated and I am guessing you really do not know either. I would guess it is commensurate with what other managers in other Christian groups are compensated. A workman is worthy of his hire. Scripture says that a leader is worth of double honor. I think part of that honoring is or can be financial.

For a factual and independent view of Christian organizations' finances, check out the website:
http://www.ministrywatch.com/

VoM is consistently in the top 20 of all monitored Christian agencies for its integrity and use of funds.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read ALL the posts but many. I am curious as to which of the 2 reasons you may have thought motivated Tom White to commit suicide:
1- He was guilty and didn't want to cause embarrassment and suffering through a trial.

or

2- He was not guilty and didn't want to cause embarrassment and suffering through a trial.

Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

What terrible abuse? Why should we take his word for everything? In today's world, we have a lot of reason to be dubious, especially in light of that awful open letter.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Burleson, I just read your blog. In it you talk about the perfect textbook response of the young girl's parents to Tom White's abuse of their daughter. You said that they were considering your suggestion of writing a guest post about their experiences to help other families. I haven't found their post yet and I sincerely hope they write one. It would help others immeasurably who don't have anyone else to talk to.

Wade Burleson said...

It has been over a year since I read this post and the comments associated with it. Frankly, I paid little attention to those critical of me writing about Tom White, simply because I'm used to being around people who believe the cover of darkness is much better in Christian organizations than the light of day. I'm not so sure but that more trouble is brewing at VOM, particularly as it relates to the extraordinary amount of money raised for capital improvements of facilities rather than missionary work. I know little about VOM, but some who know a great deal (i.e. "Michael Wurmbrand, son of the famous missionary Richard Wurmbrand") are not very happy with VOM (to put it mildly).