The Spiritual Abuse of Julie Roys

2 Samuel 12:5-7a Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

(David Morrill) Imagine that you came across the following quotes from a youth minister, written about a former student in their ministry:

How did I get entangled in an emotionally dysfunctional relationship with a former student in our church youth group?…

…my need to rescue her was sabotaging my marriage.

When she’d cut off communication, as she often did, I’d pursue her aggressively.

[She] could create entrancing harmonies and convey the emotion of a song like no one I had ever known. I loved the blend of our voices, and singing together became like a drug to me.

The truth is I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want to give up singing with [her]; I couldn’t imagine someone else taking her place. Beyond that, I didn’t want to give up the relationship. I had become emotionally hooked, and the thought of ending the relationship killed me.

I wasn’t the only straight person who ever got sucked into her emotional vortex, and I thank God my relationship with [her] never developed into anything physical.

If you are anything like the current crop of abuse-obsessed #ChurchToo proponents, you would call on Julie Roys and demand she launch an investigation into why such a damaged, predatory, and imminently disqualified person was being allowed to minister to students. After all, Julie Roys’ website has reminded the world of the dangers of spiritual abuse on many occasions, and that spiritual abuse is a precursor to physical abuse: View article →

UPDATE: Julie Roys’ statement about her relationship with 19-year-old “Sarah.” Julie was married at the time.

Over the past several days, I have been confronted for the way I framed the story, especially assigning blame to someone who at one time had been a student in a ministry I helped lead. It should have been obvious to me that I held a position of power. I regret I didn’t see this at the time I wrote the book. And I regret I didn’t own it more fully when this was first brought to my attention recently. I am very grateful to a faithful friend, who compassionately, yet honestly reached out and helped me realize my error. When someone who holds the balance of power feels powerless, it is concerning and it is wrong. For me to write that I felt “manipulated” in the relationship, for example, was completely off. And the fact that I only recently recognized my fault shows that I clearly have more of my own work to do. I regret now that I shared the story of “Sarah” framed the way I did. That chapter reflects a moment in time, a polaroid of my pained posture and my limited understanding to that date. I have reached out to a trusted professional to help me process what remains a painful memory, and to help me remove any blinders that remain. Because of the work I do, I understand how important it is for me to grow in this area and I am committed to that process. Thank you to those who have pointed out these painful truths to me. I am so sorry for how this has hurt so many on so many levels. I am especially sorry for how it may have hurt Sarah. I have pulled my book from my website and Facebook page and have initiated conversations with my publisher about next steps. I remain open to your input and constructive criticism.

Related Reading

Judge Julie: Accusing a Shepherd


Julie Roys

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