Brad Lori Anne Thompson
Brad & Lori Anne Thompson

TRR Exclusive: An Open Letter to RZIM from Brad & Lori Anne Thompson

By Brad and Lori Anne Thompson

Editorial Note: The following is an open letter to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) from Brad & Lori Anne Thompson—the couple at the center of the 2017 sexting scandal involving Zacharias. The Thompsons gave the letter to The Roys Report with the condition that it be published in full. The letter is the first public statement the Thompson’s have made since signing an NDA with Zacharias in 2017, and is a response to several statements published by RZIM.

To the Executive Committee of RZIM, & RZIM Board of Directors:

As a follower of Christ, a husband, and a father, I find the public narrative that the late Mr. Zacharias, and now RZIM, has cast about myself and my wife in the media, as outrageous as it is patently false. Together, with Lori Anne, I find the loss of our individual and corporate capacity to defend ourselves via Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) dehumanizing. This open letter is in direct response to the Sept 25, 2020 statement put forth by the RZIM board of directors/the Zacharias Family, as well as the press release issued by RZIM in 2016— both of which are a direct breech of the NDA.

It cannot be overstated that Mr. Zacharias completely fabricated many of his claims against us and sued us with malicious intent. There would be no need to correct the posthumous public record had Mr. Zacharias been truthful or if RZIM’s Board, comprised of many family members, had an accountability infrastructure to investigate Mr. Zacharias in 2017. Due to this collapse of accountability, we are now required to deal with the consequences in the wake of his death.

Oct 2014 — Businessman’s Luncheon, Kingston, ON, Canada

We met the late Mr. Zacharias at a Businessman’s Luncheon in Kingston, Ontario, in October 2014. I (Brad Thompson) had listened to his popular podcasts on UCB Canada for many years and greatly admired his work. This luncheon was sponsored in part by The Kingston Evangelical Fellowship & United Christian Broadcasters of Canada (UCB). I was asked by UCB Canada to sponsor a table at this event. I did so gladly, convincing Lori Anne to attend, who at that time was not familiar with the work of Mr. Zacharias. I had also invited a couple of my business associates, their spouses, and one of Lori Anne’s more senior friends to join us at our table for this event.

After the luncheon, along with many of the other attendees, we had the chance to briefly meet and chat with Mr. Zacharias. At one point, Mr. Zacharias asked his personal assistant to take Lori Anne’s email and provided us with his email address. The COO of UCB Canada, (who removed RZIM podcast from UCB and affiliates in Jan 2017) took our photo together. Initially, the three of us corresponded together by email. At some point in time, and with my knowledge, Mr. Zacharias and Lori Anne continued conversations by email as I prefer verbal communication. We were honored to be in dialogue with Mr. Zacharias, whom I had admired for many years.

June 2015 — RZIM Builders, Toronto, Canada

In June of 2015, Mr. Zacharias personally invited Lori Anne and me to attend his annual Builder’s event at the Old Mill in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Additionally, Mr. Zacharias invited us to dine with him privately on the Friday evening prior to the Builder’s event. Your records would show that RZIM paid for the meal as we were Mr. Zacharias’ guests. Lori Anne and I attended the meal with Mr. Zacharias — his wife Margie joining us late after her Canadian board meeting at another location in Toronto. We brought the couple a gift, as they were our hosts.

The following day, I was excited that we were invited guests at the RZIM Builder’s event. In fact, I was given a seat beside Mr. Zacharias and his wife at his luncheon table, proceeding the morning event. We were also introduced to his extended family and the ministry team. In hindsight, it now seems odd that we were granted a seat of honor when we were not donors and our only interactions with Mr. Zacharias were our original meeting in Kingston and subsequent email communications. 

June 2014 – Jan 2016 — Grooming Behavior

Note: “Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior. The goal is to prepare the other person for abuse (for example, sexual or financial) at a later time. The first step the groomer takes is to establish a friendship and trust. Adult grooming is correspondent to child grooming and applies to any situation where an adult is primed to allow him or herself to be exploited or abused. It happens online and in real life” (MOBEIG, 2020).

Sometime later, Mr. Zacharias told Lori Anne that “he saw something special in her that weekend” — “a kind and attentive wife.” It apparently mattered not that she was my wife. Friendly emails between Mr. Zacharias and Lori Anne continued to be exchanged and she would share those communications with me. Near the end of October 2015, citing supposed “security concerns,” Mr. Zacharias requested that their email communications be moved to his Blackberry Messenger (BBM). I was not aware of his request.

Due to his personal interest over an extended period of time, Lori Anne and I both believed that she had found a much longed for spiritual father and senior advisor in Mr. Zacharias. Due to his pastoral position, she and I both trusted Mr. Zacharias implicitly. Urged to disclose our faith journeys, she shared my personal struggle with attachment and interpersonal relationships stemming from adoption as a child, prior divorce, and previous church abuses. Lori Anne also shared her own horrific physical and sexual abuse as a child, the struggles in our marriage, her parenting difficulties, her love of literature, and her many questions about her faith. A significant power imbalance (age, gender, theological knowledge, position) existed between Mr. Zacharias, a world renowned, educated Christian apologist and Lori Anne, who lived a quiet life as a wife and a mother to five. She was 30 years his junior — the age of his own children.

Jan 2016 — Traumatic Sexualization

Note: Traumatic sexualization (Summit, 1983) occurs when a person of greater power sexualizes an otherwise sacred trust with a person of lower power. (i.e. parent/child, physician/patient, pastor/parishioner, employer/employee).

In January 2016, after 14 months of grooming Lori Anne, Mr. Zacharias traumatically sexualized the relationship under the guise of “love,” which took the form of sexually explicit communications and culminated with him asking for and receiving, increasingly intimate photos, as self-described “gifts” to him and his “vitamins for the day.” The most intimate communications were sought and received on his Blackberry as “special gifts” for his 70th birthday. Our phone records show Mr. Zacharias called my wife extensively on her cell phone, work phone, and home phone. His cell phone records, which are available to RZIM, would show these calls. This contact continued until August 2016, unbeknownst to me.

March – June 2016

Also unknown to me, from March through June 2016, Lori Anne became suicidal. I was aware that she required frequent medical care and had sought local counseling in March 2016. Lori Anne disclosed to this counselor Mr. Zacharias’ profession of love. This counselor told Lori Anne “not to inform me, that the Kingdom of God was at stake, and the Muslims would celebrate.” Lori Anne was in such distress following this session, she never was able to speak of the sexual nature of her abuse. The counselor asked no further questions with regards to the matter, instead focusing on treating her protracted childhood trauma (PTSD & EMDR being his specialty). Counseling with this male Christian mental health professional ended in June 2016. She was left appalled and ashamed by what had happened, by the fact that this betrayal had occurred with someone in whom she (and I especially) had placed a high degree of trust.

July – Aug 2016

Due to a combination of Mr. Zacharias’ position of public trust, the private grooming process, and Lori Anne’s vulnerability, she came to believe in Mr. Zacharias. During this time period it is my understanding that email and some BBM correspondence occurred. This correspondence reflects her confusion, pain, and perceived connection to Mr. Zacharias. Lori Anne did not feel as if she could talk to anyone about what had happened. She confided in the only person who knew — Mr. Zacharias.

Sept 2016

In Sept, 2016, Wellspring International was holding a symposium entitled The Impetus of Grief. Lori Anne attended, at Mr. Zacharias’ urging. RZIM email records would show that Mr. Zacharias also arranged a tour of his old office with his private secretary. Mr. Zacharias, via email, urged Lori Anne to visit the new location also, which was under construction at the time. She did so at his request. Lori Anne did not go to his home or neighborhood on this or any other occasion. During this trip, Lori Anne also visited with her sister with whom she later disclosed Mr. Zacharias’ abuse. It was Lori Anne’s sister who first alerted Lori Anne that Mr. Zacharias’ conduct was predatory.

Oct 2016

Lori Anne was referred to biblical counsellors in Georgia by friends in ministry. In a counseling intensive in October 2016, she sent an email to Mr. Zacharias, indicating that she planned to tell me everything about his betrayal and the resulting explicit communications. In correspondence through Lori Anne’s email, Mr. Zacharias threatened to commit suicide if she disclosed his abuses to me. The counselors who witnessed ALL the email exchanges responded on Lori Anne’s behalf that they would call 911 if he did not assure them he would be okay. Mr. Zacharias responded, stating “he was fine and would be praying for Lori Anne.” Lori Anne reports that Mr. Zacharias was at the 2016 RZIM Founders event in Colorado at the time.

Betrayal Trauma

When something of this magnitude happens to your spouse by a trusted Christian leader, it is a catastrophic betrayal trauma. I was shattered and I had no cognitive framework to understand what had happened to her, to me, or to us. I was devastated that Mr. Zacharias, a man I admired and trusted, would manipulate the woman I love and wound us both so deeply with no regard for our marriage and family.

As a couple, Lori Anne and I have learned a profoundly painful lesson through this whole ordeal. We were not aware of our own vulnerabilities, nor the capacity of some religious elites to abuse their office, control the public narrative, and use the legal system to humiliate, harass, and harm. The cost to us has been catastrophic.

April – July 2017

Being people who lead quiet lives with a marriage on the verge of collapse, we opted not to seek public accountability. Rather, we privately approached Mr. Zacharias with legal counsel after exploring other possible avenues for accountability.  We believed approaching RZIM’s Board of Directors (which was comprised of several of Mr. Zacharias’s family members) to be an impotent course of action. We were unprepared to be in the public foray, therefore we opted not to go to the media or abuse bloggers (even though we explored those options.)

August 2017 Federal Lawsuit Against Us

In response to our letter of demand (which we were told was standard in such cases) — Mr. Zacharias filed a public federal lawsuit against Lori Anne and myself. He falsely accused us both of an elaborate plan to frame him, alleging that we were committing both extortion and RICO by sending him a standard letter of demand through a lawyer. The amount of demand was set by our lawyer, who referenced amounts awarded in similar abuse cases in the media at that time.

A letter of demand is categorically NOT extortion.

Fiscal Fitness

Recently, The Roys Report, WORLD, and ChurchLeaders.com have researched and written extensively on the matter of our fiscal fitness. Mr. Zacharias falsely and maliciously claimed that we sent in a letter of demand as a means of extorting him for money. My tax returns alone reveal an income in excess of $400,000 annually, with $50-105,000 donations per annum. In 2016, I donated $105,000 from my corporation and $56,000 personally — much of which went to Christian and community organizations. We were not in financial distress at any point prior to meeting Mr. Zacharias, nor have we been so in subsequent years.

Mr. Zacharias claims of extortion were outrageous and patently false.

A Pattern of Predatory Behavior

Mr. Zacharias litigious response was an attempt to silence and crush our allegations and our persons. In the recent release of the two spa articles by Christianity Today and World Magazine, we see similar tactics used to terminate and silence credible therapists. 

We believe Mr. Zacharias and RZIM have extensively profited from, and created a culture of clericalism, elitism, and intimidation. This is a culture that makes use of false credentials, celebrity endorsements, Christian media, and an expansive donor base to fund the suppression of the truth, while claiming the pursuit of it. Unfortunately, the late Mr. Zacharias, whom RZIM has heralded as the defender of the truth, did not foresee the ability of the truth to rise up and defend its self.

A Family Fractured

The shame of these false allegations added to an already toxic church situation, which we were in at the time. Therefore, we decided that we would no longer reside in the community in which we lived. We sold the home we built, our children changed schools, we moved to a new city, and we downsized our life to fit our now limited capacity to cope. Over the past four years we have rarely slept through the night, struggled to maintain our own mental/physical health, and parented in the margins of our misery. Our marriage, our family, and our faith are still recovering.

The Former Lawsuit, A Flagrantly False Narrative, and the C&MA Investigation

This is a patently false narrative RZIM has propagated and profited from. Abhorrently, Mr. Zacharias also used a previous well documented financially and spiritually abusive experience at Maranatha CRC in Belleville, Ontario, to intentionally mischaracterize and malign both Lori Anne and myself. Even though there was extensive publicly available evidence that the CRC denomination found the pastor in question to be in abuse of office, Mr. Zacharias’ 2017 false narrative (supported by the C&MA statement) has been widely circulated and remained unquestioned until the recent abuse allegations surfaced. 

In a Sept 15, 2020, press release, RZIM stated that you believe these new abuse allegations to be false. Yet in an Oct 7, 2020 statement, RZIM also claimed to take these allegations “extremely seriously.” In a Sept 25, 2020, statement, RZIM cites Mr. Zacharias’ denials as well as the C&MA “investigation” in 2018 as evidence of his innocence. RZIM has not ever contacted us to review this matter.

It is now public record that RZIM and the C&MA did not complete so much as a cursory investigation into the allegations made against us by Mr. Zacharias. Both RZIM and C&MA failed to do the most rudimentary due diligence into this matter. This has been to our personal peril.  I find it appalling that in 2017, rather than appoint an investigatory team to elucidate the truth of the matter, RZIM retained Mark DeMoss — a well-known evangelical public relations professional. Lori Anne had to block Mr. DeMoss from her Twitter account twice.

Understandably, both Lori Anne and I were devastated at the time of disclosure, and for an extended period of time post disclosure. Neither Lori Anne nor I felt we could withstand the public and private cost of litigation with someone so powerful.  Mr. Zacharias’ legal counsel informed our legal counsel that we faced long, protracted litigation and that Mr. Zacharias had a donor who would cover any and all legal costs that Mr. Zacharias incurred. We had/have no such philanthropists. At the time of settlement, having five children at home in Canada, it was unthinkable to have the next two or more years consumed by Mr. Zacharias, who had already consumed so much.

Mediation

We did NOT request mediation, rather both parties agreed to mediation to avoid a lengthy and costly public legal battle. This, too, is a standard course of action in civil disputes. If a settlement could not have been reached, we were fully prepared to go to trial. A settlement was reached, however, and ALL parties signed an NDA.

NDA

We have remained silent in the face of statements made by Mr. Zacharias/RZIM in 2016 and now by RZIM in 2020. Mr. Zacharias and RZIM have taken the liberty to speak freely as it suits RZIM’s public relations, while citing an NDA at RZIM’s own discretion, and for RZIM’s own convenience. This does not comport with the agreement we made with Mr. Zacharias, nor the one that we have until now, abided by.

We would never sign an NDA today.

Meeting in Person

RZIM was correct in its recent statement, that Lori Anne did not ever meet alone with Mr. Zacharias, however that did not stop him from planning such an event.  Through electronic communications, Mr. Zacharias did invite Lori Anne and one of our older children on a mission trip to India, with the expressed intent of hands-on engagement with Lori Anne. Mr. Zacharias had made other attempts to plan an in-person sexual encounter, which thankfully did not come to pass.

Electronic Communications

Mr. Zacharias communicated extensively with Lori Anne, both before and after he sexualized the relationship and betrayed both her and my trust. RZIM is correct in a recent statement that there is no evidence of the request of illicit photos (with the exception of the chain of authentic emails in one where he stated “he deleted them every time” and in another where he would be “destroying his phone”). This is in keeping with the coded nature of his requests via encrypted messaging technology.

Mr. Zacharias requested that his conversations with Lori Anne move from email to a more secure form of communication called Blackberry Messenger (BBM). BBM required that a personal PIN to be given directly to Lori Anne from Mr. Zacharias. BBM had a simple blocking function that would not have permitted Mr. Zacharias to receive even one unsolicited message.

As Mr. Zacharias’ requests for intimate photos and interactions escalated, Mr. Zacharias requested a deeper layer of protection in communication, asking Lori Anne to communicate with him on his Blackberry’s Private Chat. In Blackberry Private Chat, messages were automatically deleted after one or both parties left the encrypted conversation for longer than one minute.

As stated, Mr. Zacharias was very concerned about security, requesting no contact be made on the occasion when his son was working on his phone. Lori Anne uses an iPhone, therefore she had to download a BBM app to meet Mr. Zacharias’ requests. Citing security concerns, Mr. Zacharias asked Lori Anne to put her initials only and a non-identifying photo on her contact, so that when communication arrived on his Blackberry, it would not draw attention from anyone who looked at the screen.

It would not have been physically possible for Mr. Zacharias to have received even one unwanted message — much less multiple.

Fiscal Costs

Lori Anne and I have sought trauma informed counseling. I received counseling for a period of time, while Lori Anne has completed countless online counseling sessions and one-on-one counseling intensives. Because of the actions of Mr. Zacharias, we have incurred in excess of $33,000 CAD for counseling to date and approximately $156,800 CAD in legal fees.

C&MA 2018 Investigation

In Feb 2018, we were informed by a pastor on social media that the C&MA was doing an investigation on the allegations against Mr. Zacharias. Lori Anne contacted the C&MA and a one-time phone call discourse ensued between Gary Friesen (general counsel for the C&MA) and another unnamed male (whom we thought was C&MA President John Stumbo) from the C&MA leadership. None of the available evidence was given, neither do we recall it being requested. Gary Friesen stated that this matter was a “he said she said’ and “that the truth of the matter could not be known.”

RZIM references the C&MA’s own admittedly inadequate investigation to prove Mr. Zacharias’ innocence.

Spa Allegations

In RZIM’s statements on the recent spa abuse, RZIM states that the allegations (of four women and six corroborating witnesses) does: “not comport to the man we knew for decades and we believe them to be false.”

The recent allegations do, however, comport with the man we had the misfortune to come to know over six years ago — the man behind the now infamous Blackberry, the man at the helm of RZIM, whose actions against us indicate that the truth of the matter AND the lives of his victims matter not.

We believe these women and we stand with them.

Regrets

In hindsight, we regret not taking a more public approach to hold Mr. Zacharias to account. We hope this proves to be our final attempt to communicate the full extent of the extensive harm Mr. Zacharias has inflicted upon our lives, and now yours (RZIM & RZIM’s board), as you process the incongruence between the man you believe you knew and the man we came to know.

Sexual abuse occurs in secret — very little direct evidence of sexual abuse can be found in even the most egregious of cases. Nevertheless, a careful review of the fabricated lawsuit filed against Lori Anne and me, and a dissection of the facts, would demonstrate a pattern of falsehood sufficient enough to call into question Mr. Zacharias as the victim that he portrayed himself to be — a position that RZIM maintains.

RZIM’s Investigation

Lori Anne and I understand, due to recent allegations and public outcry that RZIM, separately from the C&MA, has NOW proposed do a complete, comprehensive, independent, and fully transparent forensic investigation of the facts.

As victims, we offer our full support and endorsement of any truly independent investigation done by either G.R.A.C.E. or Sacred Spaces, where we and other victims can be assured of public transparency. To interested, good faith parties, we are open to full forensic disclosure that will comport with the aforementioned facts regarding our personal finances, our personal history (friends, family, counsellors) and the prior lawsuit.

Acknowledgement

Our life has been forever altered by Mr. Zacharias. We acknowledge that there are those who have been enriched by his life and his work. That acknowledgement does not alter the fact that our lives and faith have been torn asunder.

Public Trust & Abuse of Power

It has been our collective experience, backed by evidence, that there are very specific assumptions and circumstances in some faith-based communities that allow for abuse of power by those in a fiduciary role. However, all clerics hold a position of public trust and they ought to be held to the higher standard they purport to hold. Indeed, the pursuit and the defense of truth is what Mr. Zacharias claimed in life and RZIM claims to maintain in the wake of his death

A Call to Courage

History demonstrates, time and again, that religious institutions who have been faced with allegations of sexual abuse have chosen institutional cowardice and cover up — to their shame.

This open letter is a call for public transparency and institutional courage. We matter. What happened to us matters.  We are hoping to collaborate with RZIM as you endeavor to “leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth.”

Please be advised that while we are seeking both truth and reconciliation, we expect neither from RZIM. Should RZIM’s investigatory body wish to contact us directly, you may do so through our counsel, Boz Tchividjian at [email protected].

Peace,

Brad Thompson

Lori Anne Thompson

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48 thoughts on “TRR Exclusive: An Open Letter to RZIM from Brad & Lori Anne Thompson”

  1. I have no idea the facts. The only thing for sure they knowingly signed a NDA. Regret, remorse, our views of place of NDA’s (I’m deeply opposed to them and have had to sign one to keep food on table) doesn’t matter. Honor your original intentions and move on. Let your yes be yes and no be no.

    1. We’ve discovered that predators like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby used NDAs to hide their predatory behavior. Cosby is currently a guest of the state of Pennsylvania and Weinstein has been found guilty in one case with others to come. NDAs should not be permitted to block revelations of bad actions, but that’s what has gone on here. Don’t just say “gut it up and move on,” especially when there’s evidence of other sexual misdeeds!

    2. Signed an NDA that was breached by the other party, which makes it null and void, IMO. Even if the NDA could legally be sustained with RZIM’s alleged breach, the Scripture does tell us something about “agreements” that are one sided in their application–as in God does not smile on them. I don’t think we can conclude, then, that the Thompsons ought to be prevented from defending themselves when they are attacked by RZIM.

      I can’t speak to every bit of the evidence here, but to a priori declare one side must lie down and accept a PR blanket party is just obnoxious.

    3. Ravi did not honor the NDA. The Thompsons are merely responding to the door he and his ministry opened. as they should.

  2. CASSANDRA A BENEFIELD

    This is gut wrenching. God bless the Thompsons. A powerful, powerful read and something all Christ followers would do well to read, digest and inform themselves of as their are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing among us. Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to the damage that has been done in your name. Whew.

  3. If I was on the RZIM Board which I am not nor would I want to be this would have been the response if I had any influence or authority in the RZIM Ministry.

    Dear Brad and Lori. Words cannot describe how sorry we are. We were taken aback by the original accusations. We simply did not have complete indisputable evidence of the wrong doings of RZ. We did investigate with the information we had available at the time and trusted RZ answers to the accusations as truthful. Later we learned their doubts and inconsistencies that concerned us. But, still we were unable to take decisive action as we just did not have a clear story. We wanted to be judicious which we believe is how every Church and Ministry should react. Not just take the words of an accuser as truth without accepting an opportunity for the accused to defend himself. That is how a Church and Ministry should govern its affairs and not by the world systems that are led by demonic forces. We want to inform clearly that we take every sexual immorality claim seriously. And respond to it in kind when we have clear indisputable evidence. Again, we are sorry for errors in judgement on our part and we will fix them according to how the Bible tells us how to fix them. We believe this could have been stopped at the very start by you, Lori simply by saying; “No!” At the very beginning then moving on. If RZ persisted in seeking your attention we had procedures in place to resolve it. However, still if our procedures failed us again, we apologize and will do everything we can humanly possible do to make sure that it does not happen again. The reality is RZ is dead. What do you want us to further do? The guy is Dead! We hope your life can move on, We pray you will forgive us and accept our apology. If you cannot then maybe you should attend a good Christian Bible study on the subject of forgiveness. This case is closed despite what Julie Roy’s has to say.

    Thank You. GOD Bless.

    1. Whoever you are Dirk Dirkson, you are an insensitive clod with no empathy, kindness, gentleness or any other Christian virtue and it certainly sounds like you’re incapable of it. Do us all a favor. Get lost and stay that way.

      1. Hello Sams.

        As written, I have no authority in how RZIM would have approached the case. Since I have no such authority or influence in RZIM my suggestion would have been and is in reality mute. If I was I am certain other Board Members would have chimed in and the final statement to them would likely have been edited. .My statement would have been my own input. The reality is you really do not know me so your accusations and insults against me of insensitivity, no empathy, kindness, gentleness or virtue are probably more in the realm of your own personality. I made it very clear that if I was on the RZIM Board of an sincere apology woud be warranted. Making admissions of what went wrong in this case, a request of forgiveness, and a promise that we would fix what went wrong would be conducted. The accused perpetrator RZ is dead. That is the simple reality. If I had a problem with forgiveness I hope I would seek good Christian Counsel to find it. If my daughter was sexually abused I surely would likely want vengeance and probably severe vengeance. But, at the same time if I can forgive I would hope I could find that my Christian faith would inspire me to seek that forgiveness and be willing to accept it. From my understanding the accuser wants or seeks no financial settlement. If I misunderstood the intent then that is a whole different circumstance. By your words you used and your insults against me maybe you need to go to the forgiveness class as well?

        God Bless you Sams. .

        1. Whether or not Ravi is dead is not the issue. Your final statement (among others) of go find Christian counseling to learn, forgiveness was ignorant and sensitive to the woman who was victimized by this man. Yet and still you are an insensitive clod with no empathy or kindness or compassion. By your own insensitive words toward this victim,you brought on the insults yourself and they’re well-deserved.

    2. Thank God that Dirk isn’t on an board.
      Yes Dirk that found no wrong doing because they stuck their fricking heads in the sand.
      If I was on the Board of RZIM, which I’m not, I would have the decency to resign in shame.

    3. Dirk, I would like to offer you some literature on victim shaming/blaming and implore you to show some empathy for multiple people who got caught in in the tangled web RZ wove.

      https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/halt/how-to-avoid-victim-blaming/
      https://psychcentral.com/blog/victim-shaming-and-blaming/
      https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/the-psychology-of-victim-blaming/502661/

      Sexual abuse is not primarily about sex but rather is grounded in the abuse of power. He clearly was in a position of power in all of these emerging stories including the Thompsons and the spa employees.

      You also seem to mistake forgiveness with forgetting. Some sins can cause deep scars taking a lifetime of healing.
      https://www.relevantmagazine.com/faith/forgiveness-doesnt-mean-forgetting/
      https://www.biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/2016/01/22/is-forgiving-forgetting-what-to-do-when-you-remember-pain/

      BKT had excellent comments about nepotism and conflicts of interests on non profit/church boards.

    4. Dirk,
      You just undid everything you said in the first 3/4 of your paragraph. What an ungodly bait and switch tactic. I do not know who you are but you are not an honest person. You are just harming others with your false sentiments and hypocrisy.

      Lori Anne and Brad-stand strong, stand firm.

    5. Dirk Dirkson speaks for so many Ravi fans. He does not care about what Ravi did, only that technical procedures in making it known were not followed.

      Sex abusers love you, Dirk!

      1. Steve,
        Or…Dirk has behaved badly too and is trying to cover for something himself.

        I have your book by the way. We are indebted to you.

        1. Interesting point Jerome. If it was not for Jesus the penalty for my sins which are innumerable would be death. Thank you Jerome for reminding me of that truth. BTW. Are you what they call a “White Knight?

    6. Perhaps an apology isn’t exactly what the victims need for repair and healing. If true harm did indeed happen, it may be helpful for RZIM to ask the victims what they might do to make them whole. And this isn’t code for a cash payout. In many cases I would imagine they would want the offending organization to acknowledge their hurts and show empathy and compassion. Simply directing them to a bible study on forgiveness isn’t helpful. It might be easy to prescribe as doing so requires no emotional connection, but not helpful.

  4. “Mr. Zacharias’s legal counsel informed our legal counsel that we faced long, protracted litigation and that Mr. Zacharias had a donor who would cover any and all legal costs that Mr. Zacharias incurred.”
    +++++++++++++

    who is this donor?

    Because ‘Truth Matters’, Mr. Donor, please cover any and all costs of a truly independent investigation done by either G.R.A.C.E. or Sacred Spaces, where the Thompsons and other victims can be assured of public transparency.

  5. Dear Dirk.

    I have read your comments. I carefully considered what you have written.

    In response I ask you to consider what I have written.

    In order for a board to function well, it must have persons who are not enmeshed with the leader. Chances are you were likely a better candidate for this role.

    In order for the board to investigate as you say you would think it would be a basic requirement to talk to both parties (Prov17:18).

    At no time did RZIM approach the other party but did falsely paint them as extortionists. The fact is RZIM did no such investigation nor has it ever reported that it did. I appreciate you assigning your morals to this situation but there is no record of this occurring. Perhaps you should call for the release of the earlier investigation.

    I’m sorry at this time you feel Lori was the one who had the power, fiduciary duty, and responsibility in this matter. I think you would have a hard time convincing most professional organizations that the person of lesser power is the responsible party. If you’re interested this article on grooming is excellent:

    https://www.mobieg.co.za/abuse/adult-grooming/

    You reference procedures being in place for such matters. I again ask you to consider that you are assigning your own assumptions here. At no time has RZIM referenced any such procedures. I again challenge you to ask them for their policy in such matters and how closely they adhered to that policy.

    You rightly state RZ is dead. That unfortunately has no effect on his victims or their family. In many ways it makes it worse. No one wanted the person in question to be the person they presented themselves to be more than the victims.

    Unfortunately, a good Bible study on forgiveness is of little help for sexual abuse survivors and is insulting. Trauma informed care and justice is a more appropriate response. The degree a survivor is able to move on is largely dependent upon the aforementioned.

    Your comment case closed despite what JR says is not accurate.

    1. BKT,

      You wrote: “Unfortunately, a good Bible study on forgiveness is of little help for sexual abuse survivors and is insulting. Trauma informed care and justice is a more appropriate response.”

      Most noteworthy is your want of justice. Assuming RZ did indeed conduct himself according to the accusations, where would we deliver the justice? Point is that cannot be ignored is RZ is dead! In truth for those who believe the Christian Bible that God is the ultimate judge then I would be assured Jesus has and is executing His Justice and has delivered full and complete justice. As I wrote to someone else, if my daughter was sexually assaulted I am quite certain that I would want justice but, if the assaulter is dead their really would be nothing else I could do other than be content knowing God will judge that person. Possibly at the Great White throne judgement. I hope I could not have my anger and depression and feeling that I failed to protect my daughter get to the pit that it would consume my every thought and action. If it could not I hope I could seek good, good Christian Counsel to overcome it. Hence the suggestion to find a good Christian Bible Study on forgiveness, Because in reality I would have no other choice anyway.

      As for this comment: “Your comment case closed despite what JR says is not accurate.”. Obviously I have no knowledge of who JR is other than some of her writings mostly from when she was affiliated with Moody. So if JR wants to continue her case I suppose she could until the cows come home. I would simply write that if I was on RZIM Board that we consider the case closed meaning we have acknowledged and corrected our errors. So nothing else we can do about it.

      1. “Assuming RZ did indeed conduct himself according to the accusations, where would we deliver the justice?”

        You and I don’t get to say what justice would look like.
        That is up to those who have been harmed.
        Justice looks at consequences, recognition, dignity, voice, prevention.

        Most survivors want to be able to speak the truth, be heard, and hear from the perpetrator(s) that,” I did this – it’s my fault, not yours. I was wrong.”

        Since RZ is dead, for starters, the responsibility falls on the CM&A to own and apologize for a botched and pathetic investigation.
        Since RZ is dead, the responsibility for victim blaming/coverup/botched investigation, etc. falls on the RZIM board and needs to be openly addressed.

        It’s clear what the Thompsons are asking for – truth from these leaders. No more equivocating, excuses, speculation, no more blaming and shaming. A commitment to transparency, and policies in place to make sure no one else who comes in contact with their organization is harmed is a start.

        As for what the women abused at the spas want and need, it’s up to them to say.
        Each individual is unique and each healing journey is unique.

        The CM&A and RZIM boards have a responsibility to facilitate justice/healing and stop with the PR/self-protecting behavior they have engaged in. That is a start of justice delivered

      2. Dirk’s whole “Ravi is dead” thing is in bad faith. We all know that legal and factual issues do not become moot when someone dies. Never have,never will.

  6. Dear Dirk, as a still recovering victim…
    of being sexualized, sexually abused, and groomed by TWO well known Pastors…you sir are ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS.
    Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, I applaud you both for STANDING.
    Julie Roys, your blogs are being used to reassure me that in spite of…with My God…HOPE abides, and My God REIGNS!

    1. DITTO to ALL THE PEOPLE replying to Dirk’s ignorant and judgmental comments about Lori Anne. Dirk, unless you have experienced sexual abuse as a CHILD, you have no idea how you would have acted if you were in her shoes so stop casting stones. Brad, this is an excellent letter and I find it hard to believe that anyone could read it in good conscience and still defend Ravi because he knew exactly what he was doing. I’m so sorry for the hell y’all have endured. STAY STRONG, THOMPSON FAMILY! People are praying for you!

    2. Abigail,

      How so? Would you disagree that if at the first incident that if her response was “NO!” that it would have ended? Would you disagree that if RZ continued his pursuit and then she repeatedly said “NO!” and / or then utilized the procedures RZIM for such cases would have ended it? Don’t know every man, but I would probably say that almost every man (some exceptions) would have received the rejection. Granted, possibly with some resentment. Granted possibly some real preverts may continue the pursuit. At the same time from what I read some women eventually accepted the pursuit after giving numerous previous rejections. Some people have different personalities I suppose. The reality is this: She was an adult woman who could most likely have ended it at the very start with a “NO!” But, she did not. Just a simple truth that you choose to ignore.

      1. Please study grooming Dirk. The victims were well in RZ clutches, (psychologically and emotionally), before any physical familiarity or sexual perversions were initiated by RZ. This was accomplished with a well thought out, long term plan of control.

  7. Dear Thompsons, thank you for sharing. We believe you. We are sorry that you had to go through this. From someone from the Indian community and a supporter of RZIM for over 25 years.

    Mr. Michael Ramsden, I thought I can trust you. Or maybe not !

  8. As a former member of a C&MA church, with many fond memories of the good people in that denomination, I pray that the C&MA leadership does a proper investigation.

    I am dismayed by this report that their previous investigation was so flimsy.

    The C&MA is still suffering reputational damage from the dismal job they did investigating allegations of misconduct at Mamou and other missionary boarding schools. They need to up their game, or they will bring dishonour upon themselves again.

  9. The Dirk Dirksen scandal:

    – Misrepresentation in regard to the Rev Visser problem and good legal practice is good Gospel
    – Going along with CM&A’s oppressing of Rev Zacharias and millions of Indians for 200 years is good Gospel because it is good dollars
    – My philanthropic bully I mean extortioner is bigger than your non-extorting is good Gospel
    – Mark Galli’s (welcomed with open arms by Joliet Diocese and its entrenched New Religious Movement) and Lori Anne’s earlier counsellor’s backing for Rev Zacharias’ malicious misrepresenting of her and Brad is good Gospel

    Dirk Dirksen you are an excellent Apologetist. I hope you were awarded a Certificate in it.

  10. I think it would have been decent of Rev Zacharias’ publishers to involve one co-writer or another to assist on some passages / topics. Big subject: collaboration is wholesome? He could rightly show off about whom he is helping along.

    P.S. to Dirk Dirksen:

    Your going along with ECFA’s laxity and that of what authority registered RZIM as a denomination and the misconduct of a Senator is good Gospel.

  11. Jeffrey Chalmers

    Brad and Lori,
    I stand behind you and support your efforts. As a Academic in the “evil, secular humanist academic world“, we take academic credentials VERY seriously. RZ was a fraud. He was presented to us academics with all of these “academic credentials, which turned out to fake or lies. And RZ has been doing this for over 33 years! I know, I was in the audience of one of lectures, where his fake credentials was used to say how great RZ was. It was 28 years ago. Despite what his supporters say, such lying would have him immediately fired from any Respectable institution. So, why should I believe ANYTHING that comes out of RZ’s mouth, or his organization??

    1. Jeffrey, interesting that NOT A SINGLE CHRISTIAN COLLEAGUE ever publicly called Ravi on his transparently false “I am now a professor at Oxford” claim, and his bogus studying quantum physics at Cambridge and being “Cambridge educated” claims. This is not reassuring about the evangelical world’s integrity. (Grateful for Julie Roys, and a few other Christian bloggers and academics. But they sure are outnumbered by the “Jesus said ‘Turn the other way’ crowd.”)

  12. This whole letter is full of red flags. The bragging about an income of $ 400,000 as evidence that he is not seeking the money for personal gain is a red herring, how much income someone has is little bearing as to a financial motivation for a shakedown. The interjection of definitions such as grooming is an attempt to colour the action of Ravi as a groomer. Never ever sign a NDA to cover up sinful behavior. The only NDA’s I have signed involve business and not sharing company information, technology secrets, customer lists etc.. It is so very convenient that RZIM is listed as having all the emails. Emails go two ways, the receiver will have copies as well.

    1. Dan, they shouldn’t have had to disclose their financial situation at all but because they were accused by RZIM of being financially desperate they are sharing information that indicates otherwise. When your marriage, family and life have been destroyed and you’re being told that if you pursue justice through the legal system that the offending party will have unending resources to make your life miserable and drag it out for years then a NDA seems like it might be the most justice one can get, and the only hope of a chance to move forward and start picking up the pieces of your shattered life. And finally, did you miss the whole section where it was explained how RZ moved communications to his Blackberry? It’s basically encrypted SnapChat. Send a message, message viewed, poof, all evidence gone. So convenient for hiding sin.

      As a therapist who works with individuals who were groomed as children to become victims, and having experienced it myself, RZ fits the definition shared to a T. Sharing the definition leaves no room for confusion about what might be meant by the term. Perpetrators can read people and sense those who will be more easily set up for future abuse and control. Trauma does that to a person, it causes them to be hyperaware of some cues to the exclusion of other important safety cues, and actually sets up neuropathways that can make an abused and traumatized person more likely to be revictimized. We all respond to stressful and dangerous situations with fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. It’s about survival and once a person’s trauma is reactivated they are just trying to survive in whatever way they did as a child. Often that is freeze or fawn because they weren’t fast enough or strong enough to get away. This can make it look like the victim is in agreement or willingly going along with the abuse. In many cases this was the only way the child received the attention and affection that all humans desperately need. This makes for a very damaging belief system about abuse and affection/care. It’s never okay or accurate to blame the victim simply because someone else thinks they shouldn’t have gone along with it, they should have said no or stood up to the person. I’ll leave it there because there is a wealth of research and science available on the topic for anyone who is remotely curious about the issue.

      1. Rachel, I appreciate this response. I feel so deeply for the Thompson’s as my family is currently going through something similar. I’ve heard “you could have said no.” I’ve been told to take responsibility for my part in the sin. I’ve been told to move on because my abuser sought accountability. There is so much more to say, but those victim blaming have no idea. This has been a hell I would not wish on anyone. I assure any of you blaming and shaming them, that no one would put themselves through the suffering of exposing a predatory pastor for any reason other than justice, protecting and supporting other victims, and to also regain their own good name once the predator has maligned them. Staying quiet causes deep suffering to the victim, bringing it out is one of the hardest things any victim will ever do.

    2. Jeffrey Chalmers

      Dan, RZ is a bald faced lier. I saw it with my own eyes and ears with respect to his credentials. You might think that it is not that important. In my world, people like him are immediately fired. Period. Why should I believe anything that comes out of RZ’s mouth?

  13. Thank you Thompsons for sharing this letter and all the other details you have along the way of the pain and lies inflicted on you by multiple people, including those within RZIM and C&MA, and the bogus counselor, who abysmally failed you and their responsibilities, not to mention God. Hopefully your testimony will benefit others who were or could be deceived/abused by wolves like Ravi and their enablers, even if there will continue to be many ignorant people like some posting comments here who are blind to reality, or else purposefully trying to aid liars like the Zacharias family.

    You’ve likely spent some time in Psalms these past years, and can relate to the cries for justice and vindication in the face of oppression and injustice found there (e.g. Ps. 35, 69, 109). Although in this fallen world justice may be in short supply, hold on to the eternal hope we have in Jesus, who will ultimately make things right, if not in this world, then in the one to come. May the Lord bless your family as you walk with Him.

  14. Are they saying that all of the participants; Lori Anne, Brad and Ravi had no choice but to act as they did? Just what part of what they did was according to the Bible? And where in the Bible is it commanded that anyone should sign a NDA to hide sins? They are all guilty either in the sins of commission and omission. James 1, Prov.28:13, etc.

    1. I am puzzled why people make the Thompsons their focus. This is about a world famous evangelist being utterly sleazy. But people want to emphasize the conduct of his victims. Whassup with that?

  15. Thorough and dignified. This work lays the ground for reckoning with abuse in the church. To see the process of grooming laid out, abuse of trust etc is very helpful to others who otherwise might miss the signs. I’m so sorry for the pain. I would want to see this letter printed in all the medium that have reported this. Here in Canada McCleans would be a place to begin as they earlier did an opinion piece, although the victims certainly deserve and require their space of protection https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/the-influential-and-controversial-life-of-canadian-preacher-r

  16. James Lutzweiler

    So, RZIM and CMA have decided to “investigate” Ravi’s misconduct? A couple thoughts.

    1. First of all, Ha Ha Ha to the fiftieth power! Ravi has already been investigated by Steve Baughman, and I challenge anyone anywhere to impeach a single conclusion he has reached and posted. Steve has served believers better than both organizations. And he has done so unapologetically.

    2. What would an additional investigation possibly do to exculpate Ravi? Is any investigation possible that would show that Ravi never really did send a suicide email? I repeat: Ha Ha Ha to the sixtieth power. That email all by itself told us all we needed to know.

    3. Margie herself should issue a public signed and notarized own letter calling for the release of the Thompson’s from the NDA. So should RZIM and the CMA. No additional “investigation” of any reliability is possible without such a release.

    4. RZIM and the CMA both should declare spiritual bankruptcy and go out of business. Neither was or is capable of the intellectual or spiritual qualifications to deal further with this matter. Enough evidence was already on the table in 2017 for them to have acted. That they did not is all the evidence anyone needs that they are in way over their heads.

    5. Before going out of business both organizations should voluntarily and aggressively seek out anyone injured by Ravi’s misconduct and pay up to make the victims as whole as it might be possible to make them in this life. Many Catholics have done so.

    6. Just think of it: until RZIM and the CMA pay up to their victims, a la Zachaeus rather than Zero Zacharias, none other than Jimmy Swaggart, a past masturbator like Ravi, is at least a pioneering role model to some degree for restitution. When Swaggart discovered he had used for years the theme song, “Sometimes Alleluia,” that was still within copyright, he sought out the then somewhat impoverished composer and voluntarily paid for all the back years he had used the song. That is what Christianity looks like and NOT bearing false witness against people like Lori and Brad and then dying in debt to them.

    7. The revolutionary Russians had a problem in their day with a phony like Ravi. His name was Rasputin. Rasputin had more in common with Ravi than the initial R with this exception: Ravi was worse, having had a full century to meditate upon Rasputin without adjusting his conduct. The Russians have a proverb that captures Ravi to a T instead of a simple R, to wit, “I will piss in your faces and you will call it holy water.” Ravi did so while he was living and is now doing so from the tomb on everyone who has taken his bait: hook, line, sinker, boat ramp, trailer, truck, and Interstate highway. Ravi was truly a master baiter.

    9. There are no doubt many more women all over the world who could yet come forward to testify about Ravi’s misconduct. Rarely do teenagers get pregnant because of one mistake.

    8. Thank you, Brad and Lori, for this open letter and your example of repentance.

    Sincerely,

    James Lutzweiler
    Archivist (1999-2013), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

    1. Alexandria Green

      Zacharius was a piece of sh*t.

      Now that that’s out of the way I don’t understand why Lori Anne kept messaging him. The way I see it she was having an emotional affair. She was hiding it from her husband. Her experience with counselors pretty much proves my theory that counseling creates more problems than it claims to solve. All based in Freud and other psychological nonsense…very upsetting. Especially when Zacharius made effort to communicate with layers of security and then was asking for photos, like, lol first thing I would be doing is telling my hubby…anyway, it’s strange to me that Lori Anne didn’t see all the red flags because reading this it’s nothing but continual red flags and she could’ve stopped communicating with Zacharius at any point. Or could’ve told her husband. I’m sorry that she was abused, she shouldn’t have had to go through any of this but I get frustrated when people claim victim status and then when you examine their behavior you find that they were complicit. She could’ve blocked Zacharius at any point and my speculation is that she didn’t because she liked it. Until she didn’t. And then she claims abuse. I have a little compassion for the people involved in situations like this because it’s dehumanizing. But I find myself not overly compassionate because you reap what you sow.

      1. Alexandria, the main concern here is not the conduct of Ms. Thompson. She admits she went along with Ravi. She is fully honest about that. Ravi, by contrast, not only refused to admit his sexual misconduct, but filed a vicious public lawsuit that falsely described the Thompsons as “racketeers” and “extortionists.” That a major evangelist engaged in such conduct and got away with it is the important story.

        1. Mr. Baughman,

          Thank you for your consistently even-handed responses in this long, weary thread. I’m always taken aback at the way people within church culture are anxious to defend the poor helpless wolves against the sheep. Jesus said, “it is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come [realistic, that] but woe to him thru who they come”. Perhaps people who followed RZ should consider that the best “apology” for the faith is a life lived with humility and integrity.

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