read what people are saying

Diane Langberg, PHD

Psychologist, Author of Suffering and the Heart of God and On the Threshold of Hope

“I am grateful for Mary’s life and her voice. We in the body of Christ need her. Her voice, along with many others, is the voice of our God calling his people into the light of truth and grace; to comfort the brokenhearted and release the captives. Read this book. Let it get inside you. Let it change you.”

Antwuan Malone

Pastor and Executive Director of ELEVATE YA

“Mary invites everyone to the table with We Too—an honest, vulnerable, grounded, and biblical addition to the conversation of broken sexuality in the church and society. It’s an authentic conversation about where we’ve been, the challenges we face today, and the hope of healing waiting in our tomorrow. Hers is a brave, open, and necessary addition to the conversation of sexual wholeness in God’s church.”

Boz tchividjian

Attorney, law professor, founder and executive director of GRACE, Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments

“Too many of our faith communities are not safe places for children and vulnerable people, and they are not safe spaces for the wounded. As a survivor, respected advocate, and prolific writer who loves Jesus and His bride, my dear friend Mary shares why and how to begin the journey of transforming the Church into a community that protects the vulnerable and loves the wounded. This book is an invaluable resource that is so needed by today’s Church. Bravo, Mary!”

Vonda Dyer

CCO Minerva Consulting, Worship Leader, Survivor, Advocate

“This book is a balm to the soul and a resource for the church at large. It is intelligently and discerningly written and initiates a healthy conversation over real and pertinent issues surrounding abuse within the church. #metoo”

Dan B. Allender PHD

Author of The Wounded Heart and Healing the Wounded Heart, Founding President of the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology

We Too is a remarkable and compelling book. Mary DeMuth prophetically calls the church to enter the silence and denial surrounding sexual abuse that has inflicted the body of Christ like a deadly virus. Victims of abuse, their family and friends, and those who shepherd the flock of God will find immense hope and clarity in how we are to find healing for individuals and a restoration of integrity for the church. There could not be a more perfect book for this time.

Dr. Sandra Glahn

Professor, Dallas Theological Seminary and Coauthor of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

“In We Too, author Mary DeMuth is at her best. She speaks with the credibility of a survivor and as a well-informed expert. Her book helps readers assure that both their interpersonal relationships and faith communities are places of human flourishing. The church has been needing this resource.”

Rev. Dr. Michael F. Bird

Academic Dean at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia

“Mary DeMuth has written a courageous book about sexual abuse. She rightly calls out churches for their complicity and complete failure to deal with the scourge of sexual violence. She also provides practical advice on what can be done and points to a greater future still to come. This book is necessary reading for anyone in Christian leadership.”

jen pollock michel

Author of Surprised by Paradox

We Too is an essential guide to understanding the life-altering trauma of sexual violence. Grounded in biblical truth, sociological research, and survivor stories, this comprehensive book will help readers wisely navigate the complex relationship between grace and truth, justice and forgiveness. Although I grieve that such a book is necessary, I thank God that Mary DeMuth has written it.”

Glenn R. Kreider

Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

“The church must do better when it comes to victims of abuse. This call comes not from a critic or a cynic but a lover of the church, an active member of a community of faith. Mary DeMuth’s book does not merely point out the problems but also explains practical steps for the way forward. If it follows Mary’s advice, the church will become a place of healing for the wounded and abused.”

Leslie Vernick

Counselor, Speaker, and Bestselling Author

“For too long the Church has valued its reputation and the reputation of the accused over the safety and healing of the victim. DeMuth wisely shepherds the Church toward a true biblical narrative demonstrating God’s care and his justice for the oppressed. We Too is a must read for every pastor, ministry leader, and Christian counselor.”

Wade Mullen

Director, Master of Divinity Program, Capital Seminary & Graduate School

“I’m grateful to God that Mary DeMuth’s journey, resilience, compassion, wisdom, and leadership have been shared in these words—words clearly written with a deep love for the hurting and with an undying hope for the Church. We Too is a significant contribution to a Church and society in need of healing, change, and a safer future.”

Susan Seay

Author, Speaker, and Host for the Mentor 4 Moms Podcast

“Instead of hearing voices of comfort and support, most abuse survivors experience silence, even from the church. Women around the world deserve to be believed, and the church not only has a great opportunity, but a responsibility to respond.”

Eric Schumacher

Pastor, Author, and Songwriter

“Mary DeMuth’s We Too is a timely gift to the church. With compassion and vulnerability, she opens a door into the heart, mind, and soul of sexual abuse survivors. With expertise and clarity, she instructs us in responding to sexual abuse and loving survivors. If every church leader and member took this book to heart, the church would be a safe and healthier place.”

Brad Hambrick

Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church

“Pastors, one of the most important and healing thing we can do for survivors is listen. Mary has given us an excellent opportunity to begin listening in a form we are familiar with—reading a book. If we read biographies of other great saints (and we should), then let us read biographies of those who have faced one the great tragedies of our day—sexual abuse—and maintained a great love for God, the gospel, and the church. Allow reading Mary’s book to be a first step toward listening well to survivors in your church who need you to be the ears of Christ.”

Rebecca Carrell

Speaker, Radio Personality, Author of Holy Hiking Boots

“Mary DeMuth speaks a powerful and prophetic word that is timely and necessary. She courageously and vulnerably shares her experiences and shows her scars in a way that will embolden many others to do the same. We Too should be required reading for every pastor, church leader, and lay minister.”

Wade Burleson

Author, Historian, Pastor

“Mary DeMuth’s gripping and transparent narrative of her own sexual abuse jolts the reader’s emotions and ignites the Christian’s mind. After reading DeMuth’s book, you’ll be convinced that we too must never again be silent in the face of abuse.”

Kim Jones

Director of Engagement, My Refuge Home

“Mary DeMuth has a message that the church needs to hear. We Too is a transparent, thoughtful, raw, and honest account of a problem in the church that no one wants to talk about. But we must. We Too deserves to be widely read by women and men, leaders and laity. Don’t miss it.”

Aaron Graham

Lead Pastor, The District Church

“In We Too, Mary DeMuth offers a prophetic and winsome call to the church to not repeat the mistakes of the past. She courageously shares her own story and writes as someone who loves the church and is committed to its redemptive mission. We must do better as a church, and Mary helps point the way forward. A must read!”

Brian Haynes

Author and Lead Pastor, Bay Area Church (League City, TX)

“Mary DeMuth’s personal story, astute theological applications, and trauma awareness bring clarity to the passivity of the church towards countless men and women bearing the scars of sexual abuse. We Too is painfully necessary and yet filled with the hope of restoration for each person, family, and church affected by sexual abuse.”

Ruth Thorogood

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Partner

“Mary DeMuth brings wisdom to a difficult topic. She addresses the challenges faced by all the groups that can be impacted by a single act of abuse, while offering insightful yet simple recommendations to ensure things are handled appropriately.”

Bob Rognlien

Author of A Jesus-Shaped Life

“Carefully weaving the teachings of Scripture with her own story and the stories of others who have suffered sexual abuse, Mary DeMuth delivers a powerful wake-up call to the church she loves. Filled with biblical wisdom, factual evidence, and practical principles, We Too is an indispensable resource for anyone who cares about those who have been broken by sexual sin.”

Terri Fullerton

Writer

“We Too is a prophetic call to embody Christ’s healing, love, and justice for those oppressed by the powerful. It will take strength to walk humbly and courage to look at the mess. We can let go of the 30-second conversion narratives and instead sit with those bleeding in our pews. We can be the Good Samaritans again. Mary DeMuth boldly shows us the way.” 

Jesus restores broken childhoods (guest post)

I'm really grateful to highlight a post I think will encourage you from Mary Anne Quinn. She graciously allowed me to reprint her poignant words here. ... Bubbles. That’s just what we need here, I thought. A friend’s husband and daughter had come over to pick up some furniture. They were expected; three-year-old Alianna was not. When she was introduced to me, she pirouetted, revealing the flair of both her skirt and her personality — definitely a bubbles kind of girl. I retrieved two bottles...

I feel used

I don't use these words lightly, nor do I write that sentence with dramatic flair. As the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention nears, I can't help but remember my time there two years ago. It was a time of anticipation, of hope, of seeing light pierce the darkness of sexual abuse. The powers that be wanted to put a spotlight on that very real issue within the church--and rightly so. The Houston Chronicle piece about numerous abusers in our midst being shuffled here and there between congregations...

Abuse in a Closed Religious Community

Note from Mary: This post is written anonymously with exceptional bravery. I pray "Elizabeth"'s story blesses you. ... When life is in shambles, and abuse is constant, the terror is at an all time high. All of a sudden the monster and creator of the horror is killed, and there is an eerie serene silence. A first you think that silence means the pain is over, but then you realize that it was just the eye of the hurricane. The silence lasts only for a very short period of time before the outside...

King David and Ravi Zacharias — an Apologetic

By now we all know about the credible allegations against the late Ravi Zacharias. These are not small issues, from soliciting and storing inappropriate photos of women, to assaulting employees of massage centers, to the very real possibility of sex trafficking across continents. At this point, nothing will surprise me, but what does shock me is this strange argument I've heard from some: "Well, he's no different than King David." In some ways this is true. In other ways, not at all. How the...

Church leadership, it’s time to talk about sexual abuse

Thanks Cheryl Bowles Summers for sharing the video below. Scroll to halfway through the video to watch an encouraging, difficult, important sermon for those who have suffered sexual abuse. For all you pastors out there afraid to address this subject from the pulpit, it can be done with nuance and compassion. Here's an example.   I'd also like to offer myself as a Sunday morning speaker about the evils of sexual abuse (one of Satan's greatest weapons against humanity). I teach it with a high...

How sweet is this? A granddaughter of one of the people who bought my 2022 calendar wanted to color it in. Grateful. She made it look better!!!! ...

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Joseph said these words, reflecting on the trauma he endured after being sold into slavery, enduring exploitation, and languishing in prison. So many times, he must’ve wondered where God was.

Today, I feel that wondering in my gut—sexual abuse coverups, the killing of elementary children & a teacher here in Texas. It’s too much.

No platitudes except grief and lament, and this prayer that somehow, mysteriously, fruit will someday come. But right now? Appropriate tears.
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Here is the prayer of lament I prayed 3 years ago at the SBC convention. (remainder in comments). So deeply grieved that nothing seemed to have changed.

Our majestic, sovereign, empathetic, beautiful Father in heaven, we repent of how we have failed to love those who struggle in our midst, and we recognize your holy rumblings in this midst of the sexual abuse crisis.

We have not always wept with those who weep. We have not always crossed the street with the Good Samaritan, inconveniencing ourselves for those who bleed.

We have sometimes preferred our institutions and systems to the cries of the wounded in our midst.

We have failed to acknowledge the very real grief and trauma of survivors, abandoning them to feel alone, bereft, and untouchable. Sometimes we have blamed them for their neediness, or we’ve simply dismissed their stories, preferring our own narratives because it is more convenient to do so.

We have not rightly understood the nature of wolves in our midst, and there have been times when we jumped to believe their howls of innocence over the cries of those they’ve devoured.

Through our ignorance, we have further marginalized image bearers of God who have difficult stories of abuse (sometimes at the hands of members and leaders of our congregations) by shaming, silencing, and blaming them.

We have looked the other way.

We have not acted justly, loved mercy, or walked humbly with You, O Lord.

Forgive us for preferring corporate reputation to the outcries of survivors.

Forgive us for grossly underestimating the tools of Satan’s greatest arsenal—that of sexual exploitation, trafficking, assault, harassment and pornography’s insidious grip on many in our midst.

Forgive us for not valuing our children enough to protect them.

Forgive us for neglecting to report sexual assault in our congregations to the governing authorities.

Forgive us for failing to see the worldwide Body of Christ as valuable enough to protect it from the predators we have sent their way, so it’s no longer our problem, but theirs.

We repent.
...

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Those who see the scaffolding (underbelly beneath the facade) of the church and are deeply wounded by it, I see you. I’m so sorry.

I learned from so many of you at the #restore2022 conference. How to be tender with those eviscerated by the powerful who exploit while name-dropping Jesus. How to keep my mouth quiet while you pour out your fear of Christian environments. How to ask permission. How to tread tenderly with the traumatized. How to stop defending and start empathizing.

This tragedy does not diminish the actual church. Instead it’s God’s way of highlighting the stark difference between shepherds who care for their flock and wolves wearing wool, baaaahing Christian rhetoric. I’m struck by how the sermon on the mount rings true, but how short the church falls.

We think blessed are the powerfully platformed, not blessed are the meek.

We think blessed are the glibly articulate, not blessed be the persecuted.

We strive for the trappings of fame and money, forgetting that the treasure is actually Jesus.

We seek the favor of crowds, while Jesus sought the unseen ones.

I can’t help but think revival will come from the least expected place in the American church—from those who have barely survived it’s inhuman machinations. From those attacked by wolves and still have the scars. From those who alone told the truth like prophets, but were assaulted by angry sheep who preferred to believe a predator over the cries of the prey.

Repentance is in order. Apologies too. Humility. Self examination.

If you were harmed in church or ministry, I’m so sorry. Your story matters. You are not alone. There is a community of the wounded ready to embrace you, listen, and weep alongside.

#clergysexualabuse #spiritualabuserecovery
...

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Dear leaders in church and ministry, we are longing for you to say it’s wrong when we are wounded. Please acknowledge the wreckage of spiritual abuse. We need you to notice our pain. ...

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Thank you Dr. Diane Langberg for your prophetic words at the #restore2022 conference today. “It’s not by fame, but by humility.” ...

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Your friend’s migraine doesn’t nullify your headache. It’s unfruitful to compare traumas, especially if you dismiss your own because it’s seemingly smaller than your friend’s.

Let’s be empathetic and kind to ourselves when we struggle.

Friend, your emotions about your pain are valid. Don’t stuff them because you deem them small. Cry your release. You can’t move beyond what you refuse to feel.
...

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When you come home to encouraging flowers from your friend @alisonlumbatis and your garden produced tomatoes and a strawberry, you thank the good Lord for blessings. ...

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Friends, I could use some prayer for protection, wisdom, and covering now until Sunday. Thank you so much. ...

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Deeply saddened by the #buffalo attack. Reminds me of a Depeche Mode song from another era.

“People are people so why should it be you and I should get along so awfully? . . . I don’t understand what makes a man hate another man; help me understand.”

I’m writing this in Bellevue Square—an old high school hangout where we had dances sometimes, and that song would play and we would dance.

Going to a store should not be a moment to fear, but today it is. Lord have mercy. We have lost the intrinsic truth that all humans bear the imago dei—the image of their Creator. To take a life (or many lives) is an abhorrent act of terrorism against human beings and their God. We grieve. He grieves. Words fall flat. Lament is a good start.
...

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Are you ever afraid to anticipate something with joy? I've lived so long on this earth as a pragmatist, as a pesky realist, that I'm actually afraid to think positively.

But that's not a very joyful way to live, always expecting the bad stuff.

I pray that God would help me anticipate the next chapter of my life with holy anticipation instead of resigned dread. Does that make sense?

Once Jesus said something very clear to me. He said, "Mary you can trust Me with your pain, but can you trust Me with your joy?"

Maybe we’ve grown so comfortable with expected suffering that we’ve lost the capacity to anticipate abundance. Or to revel in joy when it comes.

I want to do better, don’t you?
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A Saturday poem:

I’ve been thinking
About my heart,
How easily it snaps from news,
How it chills
Under the cold, hard stare of trials
How small it feels
Beneath the bigness of trauma
How much I need
A new way to think of worries
Funny how our hearts are
Inextricably tied to our minds
If our minds are tangled
Our hearts are wrangled to the ground
Beating offbeat
Struggling to right the rhythm
Desperate to lock onto normal
God tells us to guard our heart,
Itself the fountain of life,
The irrigation of our will to move on
We rehydrate it
With honest tears
Of surrender
And lament
Asking God to please, please
Teach us the necessity
Of heart curation

#guardyourheart #wellspring #heartcurator #jesusloves
...

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I like "the end." Don't you? It's closure, a grand finale. But God often puts us in the midst of unfinished stories, doesn't He?

We struggle in a marriage that's just not "there" yet. Our child sabotages himself and his future, opening the door for a bleak ending. We can't write that check to pay that nagging bill. We still have that awful habit we'd swore we'd overcome. We can't seem to be happy even though we truly want to be, but our circumstances keep messing with that happiness. Our prayer for that prodigal goes unanswered for decades. That wildly successful business we imagined has instead crashed and burned.

Our goal isn't to see resolution. It's to be faithful in the One Story God has mapped for us. We will live in tension every moment we walk this earth. We may even die, not seeing a particular dream come true. And we'd be in good company.

"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it" (Hebrews 11:13).

You may be living in the tension of an unfinished story right now. Take heart. The patriarchs did too. Heroes of the faith lived in that same tension, between the now and the not yet. God is creating a masterpiece plan, weaving it beautifully out of all our unfinished stories. He finishes them beautifully on the other side.

I believe heaven will be full of aha.

We'll have conversations with strangers (who will become fast friends) about those ahas. The chatter will be peppered with, "What I didn't know then was that God was doing __________." And we'll share with joy and awe.

I have unfinished stories aplenty. They fill me with ache. To be honest, I wish God would "the end" them right now so I could put them behind me. But where would the faith be? If everything were answered, I wouldn't need to depend so much on God. Yes, it's bewildering. Yes, I don't like it. Yes, I'm tired. But it's precisely in those times that I actually see my need for Jesus.
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Playing cribbage with Patrick’s father in Wenatchee. He mostly wins! ...

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I am learning that pursuing Jesus and His will is different than blindly following advice. (Of course it’s good to follow advice. Proverbs tell us this, but that’s not the same as obeying advice without first weighing it).

In my career, I am seeing that I could submit myself to all the tasks associated with writing and speaking, so much so that the treadmill of this would break me, wear my soul clear out.

I am realizing that God’s economy is flipped. It is entirely different than the way this world applauds. God blesses small, while the world applauds big, splashy, more. And in this realization, I cling to the idea that little is much in His hands.

He is the One who takes tiny seeds, allows them to break apart and die beyond all hope of life, and then sprouts the seed until it grows into something the seed cannot take credit for.

I confess that I have spent a great deal of time, money and energy on artificially germinating the seed. And God has said, “If you do all this, when the emaciated sprout emerges from the ground, all you’ll have to say is, ‘Look what I did.’”

But if I die to the way I think things should go, if I lay down my agenda, if I welcome all those little deaths—even death to my dreams—God brings His impossible resurrection. And when I look back on what He has done, all I can do is point to His power and my weakness.

I’ve made a determination to slow down and really listen for God’s guidance, to stop favoring the voices of others over the King of kings.

You know what? It’s been 100% peaceful. Instead of running around like a crazy writer-speaker, adding tasks to my to-do list because I feel I have to do make it in this business, I am stopping and asking God to direct me.

The freedom I have found is beyond words. I can’t describe it in a post. But I’m so grateful.

He will lead.

He will bring the increase as He wills.

He will open closed doors and close seemingly open ones.

He will act in ways counterintuitive to the world’s system of fame, acclaim, and building a reputation. He is a good Father who knows what is best for my soul.

I am content.
...

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