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Moody President Seminar on Crisis Management “Tone-Deaf,” Moody Abuse Survivor Says

By Jackson Elliott
Mark Jobe
Mark Jobe speaks on Zoom (Photo Credit: Moody Seminar)

After coming under harsh criticism for his handling of a sexual abuse crisis at Moody Bible Instititute (MBI), institute president, Mark Jobe, this week presented a seminar on successful crisis leadership.

In the hour-long alumni seminar on Thursday, Jobe explained how he had handled COVID-19 and widespread riots in Chicago.

But he only briefly mentioned the alleged sexual abuse coverups that have shaken his school and issues with the resulting investigation. The crisis received only a couple minutes in the Q&A part of his talk.

A leader should “empathize with the reality of a crisis,” “make yourself visible and present,” and “inspire hope and build confidence,” Jobe said.

However, MBI abuse survivor Megan Johnston said the leadership seminar felt out of tune after recent abuse scandals. Johnston’s maiden name at Moody was Megan Wohlers.

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“It just feels a bit like he’s trying to create a certain look for the school,” she said. “Like they really care about people, when they’ve proven over and over again that they’re not good at handling these sorts of crisis situations.”

Both The Roys Report and Johnston sent questions to Jobe about sexual assault at Moody, but he didn’t answer them during the seminar.

He did announce that Moody would soon reveal an action plan to confront sexual abuse on campus.

On April 15, Moody announced that the third-party investigation by Grand River Solutions into the institute’s handling of sex abuse cases had concluded. According to Moody’s online announcements, approximately 37 people spoke with the investigators.

Johnston said she still doesn’t know how many of these people were sexual assault victims.

In its most recent statement on the abuse crisis, Moody announced that it would not release the full report on its handling of sexual abuse to the public. Instead, the school will publicize only the report’s recommendations and the school’s action plan to resolve them.

MBI Survivors, a group of Moody sex abuse victims, noted that Jobe and MBI’s board of trustees will release the report after the school’s yearly budget gets approved. Budget approval this year takes place on May 13—14.

If Moody makes policy changes immediately after reviewing the report, they will have to be cheap, MBI Survivors said, noting that the year’s money will already be allocated.

“Release the report for internal recommendations from key departments now,” MBI Survivors said. “Let key departments tell you how much it will cost to make the changes needed to keep students safe from sexual violence.”

According to MBI Survivors, MBI’s investigation has lacked transparency or contact with survivors.

“Moody has refused to be in any communication with any victims of sexual abuse after our November 2 Zoom meeting, which has made us feel very poorly treated,” representatives of the group told The Roys Report by email several months ago. “It is already difficult for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, let alone not listened to or respected.”

When MBI provost Dwight Perry first met with sexual assault survivors, he looked like he was falling asleep, Johnston said. Jobe seemed compassionate, but after the first meeting, months went by without communication from the school, she added.

Months earlier, Perry had recommended his longtime friend Charles Lyons for ministry, although at the time several media outlets had reported that Lyons was a sexual abuser. Perry later apologized.

In his conference on leadership, Jobe praised Perry’s handling of the investigation, noting his “extraordinary leadership.”

“It’s better than nothing. They have made good steps,” Johnston said.

However, consistent mismanagement of sexual abuse issues has left many abuse survivors feeling worn down, she said. Some have rejected the faith Moody preaches because they are so tired of its representatives.

“A lot of people who are burned by the church, we kind of become allergic to hypocrisy,” Johnston said. “A lot of them, sadly, ended up saying, ‘This is a God problem and it’s a hypocritical religion.’ My view is, ‘people are terrible and God isn’t.’”

Jackson ElliottJackson Elliott is a Christian journalist trained at Northwestern University. He has worked at The Daily Signal, The Inlander, and The Christian Post, covering topics ranging from D.C. politics to prison ministry. His interests include the Bible, philosophy, theology, Russian literature, and Irish music.



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24 thoughts on “Moody President Seminar on Crisis Management “Tone-Deaf,” Moody Abuse Survivor Says”

  1. I will repeat myself from an earlier post on the subject of sexual abuse. Do not bother to go to the officials of, schools, or companies, or institutions, etc. etc. Even if they have a genuine spirit of empathy and want to help in some way, they do not have the authority to do anything about it because sexual abuse/assault is a criminal offense and the only one who has authority to act on a criminal offense is the police. I am certain that for women, this is more than difficult and embarrassing and I am not without compassion for your emotional stress. But please, even if you have to take a family member or close friend with you for support, go to the police. The times that we live in demand authority at the police level for any kind of criminal act, certainly for the horrible perversion sexual assault. Again, please go to the police. I hope I’m wrong, but I think Moody as well as many other evangelical schools of higher education and the administrative teams that are in place within them are going down the tube.

    1. I think you are right. I think Moody’s days are numbered. I owe so much to Moody, loved my days there, but it seems like they lost their way.

    2. I agree that the perpetrators of these crimes should be prosecuted, but the problem with leaving it all the the police is there’s often not enough evidence to establish guilt in the eyes of the law, and it also forces the victims to relive traumatic experiences by having to undergo sometimes hostile cross-examination by the defense in open court.

      Regardless of whether the police are involved, there must be zero tolerance of such behavior. If victims are unwilling or unable to file a police report, the institution must deal with all credible accusations swiftly and decisively.

      1. Tacitus: point well taken. My heart is heavily grieved for the women and children that have had to endure a pervert trying to force sex from them. The human race is out of control worldwide when it comes to sexual misconduct. I could go through the list of it all, but it is unnecessary as we all know what the lists would contain. I would gladly give up anything to see the curse of sexual sin leave our society, country, and world at large.

  2. “However, MBI abuse survivor Megan Johnston said the leadership seminar felt out of tune after recent abuse scandals.”
    I googled Moody Bible Institute and Megan Johnston but the search revealed nothing about who Megan Johnston is.
    So I searched for Megan Johnston on The Roys Report and found absolutely nothing.
    Therefore I will assume Megan Johnston is just another whiny woman claiming victimhood at the expense of another Christian Evangelical institution.
    As an Evangelical, I’m feeling victimized by Julie Roys. Who do I talk with to get compensated for all my pain, suffering and misery?

    1. Megan Johnston here. Actually, my maiden name is Wohlers. Google that. You can find the story on the original Google doc of stories.

    2. Mr. Jesperson

      Kristy or whomever you are. You are just acting like a jerk. You make evangelicals look bad. Just look in the mirror, please! There is nothing good about being rude. Just read your Bible, for once…

    3. Another whiny woman claiming victimhood at the expense of another Christian evangelical institution? Christie, you have no more right being on this post than a baboon. Please take your idiotic, unkind comments someplace else where people of like mind will appreciate someone like you. In other words get lost and stay that way.

        1. Says the person who is discrediting, disbelieving, and blaming victims @Kristy. Gosh, I really hope you don’t ever come into contact with any rape survivors in person. I love how you can attack people but then whine and can’t stand when everyone outs you for the jerk you are. Maybe you shouldn’t dish it out if you can’t handle it back.

          1. Megan, thank you for your defense. I know I came off harsh, but in this particular instance whoever this Kristy person is deserved getting unloaded on with both barrels. I can’t think of anything more cruel and insensitive than the comments she made about the victims of sexual assault.

    4. Kristy, do you think it’s proper to publicly apologize to Meghan given your assumption about her?

    5. Kristy, nobody is forcing you to come on this website and read articles. Nobody is coercing you or threatening you or your family. I’m sorry you have so little compassion for people that you can mock sexual abuse victims. They are not whiners, but I see someone who is.

    6. Kristy says: “As an Evangelical, I’m feeling victimized by Julie Roys.”

      That made me laugh.

      I think what Kristy meant to say is that “As an Evangelical, I’ve drunk the kool aid of Moral Therapuetic Deism and never really meditated on the absolute purity of a holy God who does not tolerate sin and will righteously judge the hirelings who victimize his beloved children.”

      “Evangelical Institutions” will certainly crumble, but the Word of Lord remains forever. Repent, cry out to Jesus and flee the certain judgement of a holy God.

  3. I appreciate this website a lot but this article is terrible. There is no scandal to report on in this article. Mark Jobe put together a seminar and a few people are upset because they didn’t feel he hit on the topics they wanted to hear about. Stop slandering good people like Mark Jobe who has done nothing but give his life to serving his city and now the Moody community.

    1. How is reporting the concerns of survivors of abuse at Moody “slander”? One of the purposes of this website is to give victims who have been ignored or silenced a voice. As I read Scripture, that’s a righteous cause and one Christians should support.

  4. concerned alumnus

    “My view is, ‘people are terrible and God isn’t.’” That’s an important perspective and a sincere one. Too often people use getting “burned” by church people as an excuse to reject God and live their life the way they want to without any of God’s limitations. But when they stand before God they will be accountable for their own lives and won’t be able to blame anyone else. After all, what Christian hasn’t ever been burned in church or some other Christian environment? It’s the dominant story of my church experience. The Apostle Paul was under constant persecution by all sorts of religious and secular people, including false Christians, and sometimes he had issues with real Christians. Christianity is full of humans and it’s bound to happen, though I wish it didn’t. This situation with “MBI survivors” seems more complex than has been presented so far. Imo the journalism has so far fallen short of the completely honest search for truth standard and has been a bit tainted by PC constraints. Why not also report on the anti-Christian/satanic/homosexual/pedophile agenda of some of the people involved with “MBI survivors”? Some of these people who are supposedly rejecting God and blaming Christian hypocrisy never believed to begin with and are 1000x more hypocritical than Mark Jobe or Dwight Perry. Why not question why some of those associated with “MBI survivors” who are pursuing a rabid anti-Christian agenda ever went to Moody in the first place? They obviously had malevolent motives. Their effort to take students under their wings who were genuinely victimized at Moody seems just as much about attacking Moody, its Christian beliefs and godly values as it is about advocating for victims. I wish the reporting would stick to the facts and avoid charged narratives. I believe Moody should be criticized for any hypocrisy or corruption it deserves to be criticized for, but as constructive criticism for the purpose of building up, not for tearing it down.

    1. I understand your concerns. For the record, Megan Johnston is not a part of the MBI Survivors group, so I don’t think it’s fair to lump her in with whatever the group’s agenda appears to be. That said, we have stuck to reporting the concerns of MBI Survivors that call Moody to account for lack of transparency and mishandling of abuse cases.

      I believe the concerns mentioned in this story are valid. For Moody to conduct a study and then keep everything but the recommendations and action plan secret smacks of protecting administrators implicated by the study. Alumni, parents, and students should cry foul and demand full disclosure.

      1. Ok. That didn’t occur to me. If that’s the case then I’m glad you’re reporting this. You’ve been doing important work and it must be difficult reporting on these issues, that tend to get people on two different sides pushing back.

  5. On The Other Hand

    Mid-May is very close. Let the Moody board do a diligent review and present a plan. I’m not a big fan of Moody for other reasons. But here, I think criticism is mostly mob emotionalism.

    Releasing an investigation wholesale can have an impact on criminal charges and also smear people who may be inadvertently associated with abusers, but innocent themselves. It can also reveal the names of victims who may not want their names released. The extensive Zacharias investigation did not reveal every bit of information collected.

    Heads of organizations usually keep themselves at some distance from those who have a potential case to sue the institution because their words will be hauled out in future suits as evidence. It’s just the nature of our legal system. This is why a personal attorney will tell you not to talk to the person who is suing you, especially on the record or in public. Anything you say can be twisted or misconstrued later. So, pretty much all these officials can do is step forward to be a punching bag and look insensitive by not responding or guilty by apologizing.

    I can’t help but compare this with the many public school sexual abuse situations that are often handled so much more secretly and worse, with reports to the public quashed, heavy handed union legal defenses which delay any actions and drain districts financially, with the districts finally paying abusive teachers severance pay, agreeing to not talk with non-disclosure agreements, and the abuser sent on his or her way with a clean record or at worst, a lost state teaching license. Compared to many of my state’s public education districts, these Christian organizations are far more responsive and public with their actions.

    Investigations and improving institutional procedures take time. I’d rather they delay and do it right than rush to please the angry mob and let the angry chips fall where they may.

  6. Interesting how the assumption is that the school is covering up sexual assaults. Perhaps the lack of information is because the investigation revealed the opposite. The school is actually trying to cover up the fact that they have repeatedly denied basic constitutional rights of due process and have instead been using a system that assumes the accused is guilty and must prove themselves innocent.

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