She was a member of the largest church in America and traveled the country as part of its music group. To outsiders, everything in Joy Ryder’s life looked perfect. But Ryder had a horrible secret. Her youth pastor was sexually abusing her.
In this episode of The Roys Report, Julie talks with Joy Ryder—a woman who recently filed a lawsuit against the estate of the late Jack Hyles, his Indiana megachurch, college, and son, David Hyles. Ryder says David Hyles repeatedly raped her in the late 1970s, when Ryder was a teenager in Hyles’ youth ministry. But Ryder says that when she blew the whistle, church officials covered up Hyles’ crime and did nothing to help her.
In this gripping podcast, Ryder tells her story. She also explains why she’s seeking justice now and offers hope for healing for others who have been abused.
JULIE ROYS, JOY RYDER
JULIE ROYS 00:04
She was a member of the largest church in America and traveled the country as part of its music group. To outsiders everything enjoy writer’s life look perfect, but Ryder had a horrible secret; Her youth pastor was sexually abusing her. Welcome to The Roys Report a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today Joy Ryder joins me to tell her story and to highlight the problem of clergy sexual abuse and what we can do about it. Ryder’s abuse happened in the 1970s when she was a teenager. However, several months ago Ryder filed a lawsuit against not just her alleged abuser David Hyles, but against the estate of his father Jack Hyles, Hyles-Anderson College and First Baptist Church of Hammond. Ryder says all these institutions and Jack Hyles knew about her abuse, but they did nothing. Hyles, by the way, was a leading figure in the Independent Baptist movement and pastor of the extremely well known First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. At one point First Baptist had an average attendance over 20,000 people, and it was famous for its innovative ministry, which included bussing people to services each week from surrounding towns and even Chicago. Today the church remains one of the largest, if not the largest churches in Indiana with attendance over 13,000 and Ryder’s alleged abuser David Hyles runs a ministry called Fallen In Grace Ministries, which ironically helps pastors who have sinned and fallen from their positions. Yet Hyles has never publicly acknowledged the sins that he’s committed against Joy Ryder and many others. And even though the allegations against him are criminal, Hyles has never served time for what he allegedly did. Joy Ryder’s story is extremely important and I’m so looking forward to talking with you. But first I want to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University, and Marquardt of Barrington. If you’re in the market for a car, I highly recommend my friends at mark or to Barrington to view their entire showroom online. Just go to BuyAcar123.com. Also I want to let you know that Judson University is planning to resume in person classes this fall for traditional transfer and adult students. And it’s not too late to apply you can choose from more than 60 majors and learn in a Christian environment known for its spiritual values, leadership opportunities, and strong financial aid. Judson is located just 36 miles outside Chicago on a beautiful 90 acre campus. To schedule a visit, just go to JudsonU.edu/visit. Well again, joining me today is Joy Ryder, a sex abuse survivor and the plaintiff in federal lawsuit against the estate of Jack Hyles, David Hyles, First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyles-Anderson College. She’s also the founder of Out Of The Shadows, an advocacy group for sex abuse victims. So Joy, I welcome and thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today.
JOY RYDER 03:01
Thank you, Julie.
JULIE ROYS 03:02
And your story is just absolutely heartbreaking. And yet it’s astounding to me how well you’ve done in life despite everything. You went on to be a missionary, you raised three children. You’ve started this advocacy group. You haven’t abandoned your faith in Jesus despite everything. What do you attribute that to?
JOY RYDER 03:23
Well, I do believe, as strange as it may sound, the way that I was raised and in the church, and I do believe that God is the healer, I don’t believe that we would, we’re totally healed until until we are in heaven. But it has been my faith that has carried me. There have been times though, that I have just questioned God, especially when I was young. And seeing the hypocrisy of so many Christians and not knowing what to do with that my young mind. But through all of it, I have seen the Lord work and I know it’s him. And because of that I have not, I cannot and will not walk away from my faith. Because I do believe that He ultimately is the healer and who can help us through these horrible situations that we are in. As far as being a missionary, I saw so much happen on the field and Papua New Guinea, that just has helped, if anything, it’s helped my faith. Anyway, I hope that answers your question.
JULIE ROYS 04:05
It does. And it’s beautiful that you you haven’t walked away and that you’ve been able to basically use the spiritual resources that are there to you to heal. What I’d like to do is just back up what is more than 40 years ago when you were a teenager, and you were at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, and you got to know David Hyles, and as I understand he was a very charismatic leader. Can you talk to us a little bit about what attracted you and your family to the church and kind of your first interactions with David and the youth group there?
JOY RYDER 04:58
Well, my father has always been in Education and we were at Tennessee Temple University–it doesn’t exist now–under Dr. Lee Robertson when Jack Hyles came to visit there, and he talked with my father. And I was young, like between the ages of six and eight at that time, and he said, “If I ever start a college, I would like for you to join me.” Well, we ended up moving when I was nine, to Hammond, Indiana, because that’s something that interested my dad–to start a college. And because he has his doctorate in history, he’s a teacher, my mother who is a teacher. So when we moved here, in a lot of ways, my parents found themselves. But they lost a lot as well, because they gave themselves to this ministry. And I will say that I mean, my father is a very loyal man, and sometimes your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness. And I think that loyalty is what in his mind, allowed him to just not say anything. Even about my situation. And coming here, I mean, the hopes and dreams of building Hyles-Anderson College were big and large. And my parents loved being a part of that. And it did grow to thousands of students, as that was growing, our family life was dwindling, if you will. And so in that, and being in the coming up into the youth group, David Hyles started grooming me when I was 14. And he told me years later that he was actually watching me, years before that. That’s a predator watching their prey and waiting for the right time. And that’s premeditated. But he did tell me he had watched me for years before that. And the whole grooming process is something that a lot of people don’t understand because it’s so individual to that person that it can look and feel differently to individual victims.
JULIE ROYS 06:54
Well, let’s talk about that grooming process because I think a lot of people don’t understand that and they think, “well, why didn’t you just say something,” right, I mean, when it started happening. And they don’t understand that the predator knows his prey and knows how to condition that prey, to think that the abuse is an abuse, right?
JOY RYDER 07:13
That is true. But I will tell you, Julie as a 14 year old girl, I did go to Dr. Hyles. And I remember my Dad, everybody used to wait outside his office at the church to ask him questions, you know, for life advice, and I told my Dad, I wanted to see him and I didn’t tell him why because I was so embarrassed. And so Dad said he would wait outside. I went in and I told Dr. Hyles, “Listen, your son is calling me all the time on the phone like constantly.” And I said, “It’s uncomfortable to me. I don’t understand it.” And this is a 14 year old girl who is scared to death and yet, you know, taught that this pastor is the ultimate, you know, he’s like God. And so for me to tell him this about his son, was just, I was I was terrified and nervous. And he looked right at me and he said, “Joy, you’re no different than anybody else. You’re not special. He does this with everyone.” Even at the time, I didn’t know even what that meant. But what do you mean, “with everyone?” But I knew, I knew in my heart that I was, I was done. I was not getting out of anything. There was no help. If he didn’t listen to me, no one would listen to me. Because he was the big guy. He was like God. So I knew I was by myself, if that makes sense.
JULIE ROYS 08:33
It does make sense. And it also there’s a backdrop to this. Jack Hyles, at the time, according to his own daughter has said this, that he was involved in multiple affairs, behind the scenes, so he was living a double life at the same time, right?
JOY RYDER 08:47
Well, from what I understand that is true, but now years later, finding out the truth, he at that point, already knew of other girls that Dave was messing around with. So this was not news to him, but that’s how he handled me,
JULIE ROYS 09:02
Well, let’s talk about how this progressed. As I understand you were raped for the first time when you were 15 years old. We came from a generation where if you grew up in the church, you were pretty innocent to even sex and sexuality. You know, in your teenage years, I can just imagine an innocent 15 year old and being betrayed in such a fundamental way and something so traumatic as that. Can you tell me a little bit about you know how that happened and how you processed it at the time?
JOY RYDER 09:33
I don’t think I really processed anything at the time to be honest. It was, when you’re groomed and you’re, I know that Dave would tell my parents, “You’re busy, so leave Joy to me.” And I didn’t know this at the time but he was grooming my whole family. So he would tell my parents, “You don’t understand her. I understand her. I’m her youth director. I know what goes on in the mind of a youth. So I will help her. Leave her with me.” I didn’t know he was telling them that. To me, would say, “Your parents are too busy for you. They don’t really care about you.” So all of that for such a long time was just drawing me in to make him that person that I would trust the most. And you’re right about the whole sex thing. The only thing we heard about sex is that it was wrong. And it was preached against almost weekly. And that’s all we heard. So, “this was wrong, save it for marriage.” You know, just, it was never taught right to us. So it was something that we were always afraid of. And especially if you didn’t save yourself till marriage. And so then imagine being groomed and drawn in and having little things like the touch of his hand on my back and then my arm and then kissing my hand and this will take place over long periods of time to get me more comfortable to the point where I remember in his office, of course, I’ll never forget, I was 15, and he did, he raped me on the floor of his office. And I remember looking off into the distance and just going somewhere in my mind. And I remember telling myself, “My mom said it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” And that’s the only thing I could tell myself is, “My mom said, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Because it hurt and it was wrong. And there was nothing I could do. I was pinned. And I thought, “If this is it, then I don’t want this.” And it was terrifying. And so imagine all of that going through your mind and what your mom tried to tell you in secret about sex, what you’re hearing from the pulpit, and then what’s actually happening to you for the very first time.
JULIE ROYS 11:39
I can’t even imagine, I can’t even I’m thinking of my 15 year old self and I can’t fathom what that was like. And here’s, it’s happening at the hands of a pastor, your youth pastor, and again, like you said, that the senior pastor, his father was like, God, this man was, you know, like the Son of God right? I mean,
JOY RYDER 12:00
JULIE ROYS 12:02
So what do you do with that? I mean that this man, I mean, you must have known on some level this is this is wrong and he’s doing something wrong to me. This is not okay. And yet you’ve, there must be some dissonance going on inside your head as well. Am I am I right?
JOY RYDER 12:19
Oh, absolutely. And trust trust takes a big hit. And trust in anybody or anything. And already at that point being who I was, my father was the president of Hyles-Anderson. So I had seen a lot and heard a lot at a young age anyway, about people and things and situations. And so trust was a huge issue. So trusting God, I mean, that took a big hit. And who or what, what am I supposed to trust now? I didn’t trust anyone or anything at that point. And at 16. And this went on for a couple of years. And so I lost myself in my friends and I felt like my friends were the only place I could hide, I guess, if that makes sense, just with them. And I just wanted to be with my friends all the time. They were everything to me. And it was just a small tight group of friends. But they became where I lost myself.
JULIE ROYS 13:16
And why didn’t you go to your parents at this point when he did that to you? Why didn’t you just go home and say, “Mom, he did this to me?”
JOY RYDER 13:25
Well, eventually I did. But it only came about because of when you’re growing up in this culture of silence, and when, you know, I told you about that club, if this was a club of girls that we didn’t talk about, or talk to each other that we all suspected that this person was involved with Dave, this one was involved with Dave,
JULIE ROYS 13:46
When did you become aware of that? Was it I’m guessing it was after you had been raped? Right?
JOY RYDER 13:51
Yeah, well, yeah, it was just, I don’t even know how to explain how we became aware of that. We knew who he would pay attention to I’m extra attention. So that made everybody wonder. And you know, “Is anything going on?” Or he would be alone with this girl in his office for a long period of time. And I was alone with him in his office for long periods of time myself. So you started looking at each other wondering, “I wonder if this is happening to her?” And it became something where it was like suspicious, or you were suspicious of them, like, “What’s really going on?” And it came to the point where I felt that my friends were looking at me in that same suspicious way. And I got to the point where I literally just could not handle any more. And the pressure from Dave, the things that he asked me to do, his control over my life. I mean, even when I was in school, he would call the school and he would say, “I’m having you watched.” I mean, it became unbearable.
JULIE ROYS 14:51
Your school was part of the church too, correct?
JOY RYDER 14:53
JULIE ROYS 14:54
So he kind of dominated every sphere of your life. And your parents are also employed by the college, which is tied in with the church. I mean,
JOY RYDER 15:03
JULIE ROYS 15:03
You didn’t really have an area that wasn’t touched by the Hyles family.
JOY RYDER 15:08
Exactly, in which I felt so trapped. And to the point where it was just unbearable mentally, for myself and emotionally. I just, I couldn’t take it anymore.
JULIE ROYS 15:20
So how long did you stay silent about the abuse? What was the period of time?
JOY RYDER 15:25
A couple of years, about two and a half years.
JULIE ROYS 15:27
Okay. And then you said, it finally got to the point where where you felt like you needed to talk about it, you finally went to your parents. Describe what that conversation was like.
JOY RYDER 15:39
Well, I was at school. I called them on the phone. I said, “Come home right now,” which that’s something I’ve never done. They’ve never heard me say [that.] And I said, “I don’t care what you’re doing. Just come home.” And I said, “I’m going home.” I only lived a couple blocks from the school and I’d walk every day. So I went home. They came in and I told them what was going on. And I know at the time I couldn’t tell them everything, every little detail, because I was so humiliated and embarrassed. And they said, “Okay, well, this is what we’re going to do.” And my dad helped me set up where I would have Dave meet me at a hotel, which he did take me across state lines–to Illinois–to a hotel several times. And just tell him I would meet him there. And my dad would go with me. And we drove separately. And I’ll never forget that day because I went in that hotel room with my dad’s permission, although he didn’t go with me. And I told Dave, I said, “Today is the day this is going to stop.” And he said, “What do you mean? Stop what?” I said, “My dad’s outside.” And he pulled back the curtain and he saw my dad. And then he looked at me threw me against the door and started like a chokehold on me. He said, “You have ruined me. You have ruined my ministry. How could you do this to me?” And I was terrified. Being in that room with him. He just went crazy, was furious. And I ran out the door, got in my car and drove away. And my dad drove off. And that’s, I guess that was, I mean, that was my dad’s way of handling it. And after that,
JULIE ROYS 17:12
He didn’t confront him?
JOY RYDER 17:14
No, he did not. He did not. No. And I know that he went to Dr. Hyles about it. And then Dave ended up suddenly being called to a church in Texas.
JULIE ROYS 17:30
Dave did? Dave Hyles?
JOY RYDER 17:32
JULIE ROYS 17:32
JOY RYDER 17:33
That’s how it was handled.
JULIE ROYS 17:34
Why didn’t your parents go to authorities at that point?
JOY RYDER 17:39
People have asked me that so many times. And I can’t answer for them. I don’t know why they didn’t. I wish I mean, I know my dad has said through the years, “I wish I would have handled it differently.” But it wasn’t. And I don’t know why.
JULIE ROYS 17:53
And when you told them, what was their emotional reaction to that? I mean, it must have been a huge shock to them. Or was it kind of they were starting to see things themselves and they suspected?
JOY RYDER 18:06
Oh, I don’t know, I know my mom told me years later that she knew something was wrong. She just didn’t know what it was. And after I told her one time what happened, we never spoke of it again. I was never offered help or anything. And they, I mean, in the church back then, to get therapy or counseling was frowned upon.
JULIE ROYS 18:25
JOY RYDER 18:26
And also, you know, Dad didn’t go to the authorities because you went to the pastor. That was the authority. That’s the authority in life in how we were raised. It wasn’t the outside authority. It was only the pastor.
JULIE ROYS 18:40
So at the time, how did you process that with the church, with the pastor knowing about it and not doing anything? And then you ended up going, at least initially, to Hyles-Anderson college.
JOY RYDER 18:55
I did for a year and a half. And then I couldn’t take it anymore. So I ended up transferring back to Tennessee Temple, where actually, I was born in Chattanooga. And that’s where Dad had started his work. So I ended up going back there. And I didn’t process it, Julie, I processed nothing. I put it on a shelf. Because I felt like there was nothing I could do.
JULIE ROYS 19:14
So in your adult life, I mean, obviously you went on to be very involved in ministry and got married. Is this something you told your husband before you got married?
JOY RYDER 19:25
JULIE ROYS 19:25
JOY RYDER 19:26
Yes, I did.
JULIE ROYS 19:27
And how did he respond to that?
JOY RYDER 19:30
At the time, I remember him saying that he thought maybe I was just infatuated with my youth pastor. He didn’t really fully understand what what really happened until we had been married for several, several years before I actually demonstrated to him what happened and told him again, all of the details. And I know it was devastating. And for my boys too, it was pretty devastating for them to to hear that. But I didn’t want to hide this from them. I want them to protect their own children.
JULIE ROYS 20:01
How old were your boys when you told them?
JOY RYDER 20:03
I believe that they were in their very early 20s.
JULIE ROYS 20:06
Did you use the word rape when you talked about this? Or did that come later?
JOY RYDER 20:12
I think that came a little bit later, when I was more comfortable with what actually happened, knowing that I’m not the one that you know, did this or caused this. And even bringing it up now, people will say, “Well, you’re hurting the name of Christ.” I’m like, “No, no. The ‘hurting the name of Christ’ was done by the abuser. In church. That’s not me.” And I’ve had that levelled at me several times. Like, “How could you do this? You’re just hurting the name of Christ all over again.” No, that’s not me. And that’s the shaming and all of that that happens to so many people when they want to voice and tell what happened to them in the church.
JULIE ROYS 20:48
It’s awful. It’s amazing to me, everybody brings up Matthew 18, which gives sort of a progression of dealing with personal offenses against you. First you go to the person, then you take several other people and you go to the person and then you lastly, announce it to the whole church that this person isn’t repentant. This is where what I rarely hear talked about is I Timothy 5:20, which says when you have an elder who is sinning, that you publicly expose him so that the rest may stand in fear. So you’ve reported this to the church, not only was he not reported to authorities, there was never a time, it’s like it was brushed under the rug. This was never brought to the whole church, which biblically is the way to deal with it. It just becomes a hush-hush sort of thing. As you look back now, at your much older self with much more wisdom, what should the church have done? When they heard about this? Obviously, at the beginning, when you told the pastor, he should have done something, when there was signs that this was leading to this, but when something is reported sexual abuse like this, what should the church do?
JOY RYDER 21:56
I do absolutely believe that they should bring them before the church. I mean, that never happened, you know, in my situation and they should let that be known. And then to move them on to another position of authority, that should never happen. No one should be moved around to take other positions in a different church just because something hasn’t happened there. You know, that’s not how that that should be handled. And by the way, I mean, my story at the church was the biggest open secret at First Baptist. There were a lot of people that knew because I told them, because I kept looking for help. No one said anything because you “don’t go up against the church,” and the pastor. That was our culture. And it was a culture of silence.
JULIE ROYS 22:41
And it almost sounds somewhat cultic from the way that you’ve described it. Would you say that’s accurate?
JOY RYDER 22:45
I would absolutely say it is. I remember years ago, I could never bring myself to say, “this is like a cult. This is cultish.” I now absolutely say that. I believe that in my heart to be, “yes.”
JULIE ROYS 22:56
And what would you say is sort of the trademark signs of a church that is moved into cult-like control?
JOY RYDER 23:05
By you reach a certain status if you meet the legalistic requirements that they look at as being important. And everything’s handled in house. And I believe those are big signs of cultish behavior for a church.
JULIE ROYS 23:21
And the number one commandment is not, “to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” It’s, “loyalty to the church.”
JOY RYDER 23:28
JULIE ROYS 23:30
JOY RYDER 23:30
JULIE ROYS 23:31
You’re not really serving God. you’re serving the pastor in the church,
JOY RYDER 23:34
Man. You’re serving man.
JULIE ROYS 23:36
JOY RYDER 23:37
JULIE ROYS 23:39
So many decades of adult life, different degrees of telling your story, different degrees of it being validated. What would you say are some of the effects of that, that you had to wrestle with as an adult? You know, trying to be emotionally mentally, spiritually healthy. And yet having this abuse in your background and varying degrees of people dealing with it. How did that impact and affect you as an adult?
JOY RYDER 24:11
Well, honestly, I believe that people, I got therapy. And I went to counseling. And I was given permission. I’ll never forget the first time I walked in, it’s like, “It’s okay to tell your story. We believe you.” I mean, for someone to say that from the get go was so relieving. It was a huge burden . . . I remember just leaping at that being given that permission. To say, “It’s okay.” And, “We believe you.” And to talk about it for the first time. To really talk about the feelings that you’ve stuffed away for decades, and not even knowing how to pull out the words to describe what has gone on in your heart and your mind for so long. And how freeing that is, it’s amazing. And knowing that God is for justice. So many people think that you know, the Church in handle that. But God is for justice. I believe that. And it doesn’t matter how long it’s been. These are criminal acts. And I believe that God is for that. I mean, He said, “better a Millstone?”
JULIE ROYS 25:11
JOY RYDER 25:12
Well, where does He go after that? He’s saying, “Death is better.” So I know that He’s for justice. And that in itself is very freeing as well to know that He’s not placing that blame on me. And so just getting into a healthy place in your mind with God, that you don’t have to throw God out, even though this happened in the church, that ultimately He wants my best. And He wants what’s right for me. And I’m not looked at as the bad person in His eyes, ever, for this,
JULIE ROYS 25:44
And how old were you when you sought counseling?
JOY RYDER 25:47
I was, I’m 57. And I was probably about 50, 51 years old, oh, for the first time, to ever sit down and talk through the entire thing.
JULIE ROYS 25:58
JOY RYDER 25:59
That’s how long it took.
JULIE ROYS 26:00
JOY RYDER 26:00
JULIE ROYS 26:01
So yeah, you lived with this, you know, somewhat unresolved, unprocessed secret, for decades. Not until you were in your 50s. I’m sure there’s people listening right now who are victims of sex abuse who have never, never gone to counseling, never had that validating experience of somebody saying, “This was wrong. We believe you.” Speak to that person right now who’s who’s in that place of just still not processed it?
JOY RYDER 26:34
I guess I would say we grew up with so much shame because of what we went through. And to think that there’s shame and finding help, there isn’t. It’s so freeing and I would say put that put that shame where it belongs–on the abuser. And get that help and that validation that you need, because you will live so much more free as a daughter or a son in Christ than you could ever even believe is imaginable. And to have that shame taken off. And it’s so worth it to put that aside and put it where it belongs.
JULIE ROYS 27:06
And I’m hearing from you too, a message to the rest of us in the church, about how to handle when somebody comes to you and tells you that they’ve been a victim of sex abuse. Speak to that person too, who has maybe heard from a friend that they’re a victim. What can we do, as a sister or brother in Christ, to encourage somebody to love them and to help them in that whole process of healing?
JOY RYDER 27:33
Well, absolutely love them and believe them, and then help them as much as you possibly can. Whatever that means to help them. You know, if they’re going to try to seek justice or just needing to tell somebody, be there for them, hold their hand, listen to them, get them the help that they need, because it’s so worth it. And a lot of times people just don’t know what next step to take. And it could go how many different ways but just gently help them and find them what they need. And to stick with them. I have several friends who have just walked right beside me through the entire process. And I don’t know what I’d do without them. And it’s very, very important to have a support circle around you. It really is.
JULIE ROYS 28:20
And I’m guessing the church has been crucial in that for you. Am I right?
JOY RYDER 28:24
Well, it’s been honestly, it’s been friends that have also been abused in the church. And sometimes we sit and shake our heads at all the things that we’ve been through and think, “How did we ever make it out of this?” And all of us agree that it really is the Lord and that we have each other and we have that foundational faith. And you absolutely need that. And you know, I would love to see more churches have support groups for sexual abuse survivors, and get the right kind of material in there for them. Because I don’t know a lot of churches that actually do that. Just for sexual abuse survivors. I think it would be fantastic.
JULIE ROYS 28:59
So you’re saying it was a group of friends that that really came around you. And yet the church really has a long, long way to go on this.
JOY RYDER 29:08
Absolutely they do. And no, it was not really the church that rallied round, but it was a fellow believing friends.
JULIE ROYS 29:15
So let’s talk about the lawsuit and your process of getting to that point. My understanding is these crimes happened so long ago, it’s exceeded the statute of limitations. So you can’t actually pursue criminal charges against David Hyles. Is that right?
JOY RYDER 29:32
Well, they’re trying to get it dismissed on technicality, because if you look at RICO, it’s this over arching thing of a corrupt organization. So they’re looking at it and pulling out the statute of limitations. However, if you look at it, no one’s denying the abuse.
JULIE ROYS 29:47
So this is a civil case as opposed to a criminal case. Correct?
JOY RYDER 29:51
It is. However, the work’s been done, if you will, as far as looking at it criminally because the abuse is not being denied. So would it be nice to have someone look at that and say, “I think we should look into this.” Because I know it’s happened in other states, even though the statute of limitations has passed. And they’ve decided to take a look at what’s really going on. And I wouldn’t say it’s out of the realm of, you know, the extreme realm of possibility. It could. It can be looked at.
JULIE ROYS 30:21
I mean, this is rape, against a minor, no less.
JOY RYDER 30:24
And it’s actually many. So when you look at it as an organization that’s happened not to just me, this is for other victims. This isn’t just for me. I want people to know that. And I’ve had so many people come to me since then, and say, “Man, nobody’s ever done this.” And I’m like, “You have a voice. You can do this.” If it brings just that attention to what’s going on so the church does handle these things properly. I mean, I’m looking at it. My church right now, they have an ongoing desire to hide it. They’re trying to get it dismissed. Why not just you know, upfront, admit it and say, “Yeah, things did happen here.” But it just seems to be an ongoing desire just to keep hiding it and not address it.
JULIE ROYS 31:08
So the response from First Baptist Church of Hammond has not been to admit wrong, has not been
JOY RYDER 31:13
JULIE ROYS 31:14
repentance. The response by David Hyles, even though you’re saying he’s not denying that it happened or is
JOY RYDER 31:22
Right. When you look at the lawsuit, no one’s denying that abuse, you know, happened. No one’s denying that. They’re just trying to get it dismissed on technicalities.
JULIE ROYS 31:33
No ownership of that. And so, you brought this case. Did you have some people come alongside you and say, “We think this needs to be a lawsuit”? What kind of support did you get for that? How describe that decision making process to get to that point.
JOY RYDER 31:49
Well, I didn’t know if I had really a case or not. And some people did feel that I did. And they did help me to make that decision. And honestly, I did it for not just for myself, but for all of the victims out of that church. There are so many. And we can try to point the finger and say, “This is about me.” But it’s about all of us. And that’s what’s so sad. If you know that there’s so many, why wouldn’t you try to reach out and help them? But that’s never been done. Ever. And years ago, I went to the pastor of the church, and I said, “Please, please look into this and do something.” And he said, “Well, tell me some other victims.” And I did. We had victims go and tell their stories. And they still did nothing. Nothing. We’ve done everything that they’ve asked us to do, and they’re not doing anything about it.
JULIE ROYS 32:38
And is the case being brought by you alone, or do you have other victims joining this lawsuit?
JOY RYDER 32:43
Right now, it’s just myself.
JULIE ROYS 32:45
Are you hoping that others will join?
JOY RYDER 32:46
That hasn’t really been talked about, but as far as joining, I know that they’re joining me in spirit. I’ve had such an outpouring of support for this. And you know, there are still some victims from there that they don’t feel they have a voice. And that they wouldn’t be believed or heard, which is really sad. And so they’re still afraid.
JULIE ROYS 33:06
And how if I can ask, how are you paying for this? Or is the legal help being given to you? Or how is that all working out? Because I know that’s a huge hurdle for a lot of people before they bring a lawsuit like this is just how are they going to pay for it?
JOY RYDER 33:22
Well, I am being helped. So yes, I could not do this on my own. And that, to me shows another level of support.
JULIE ROYS 33:29
Absolutely. And a way that we as a church can come around people who are in these situations. Where is the case? You’re saying right now, “They’re fighting it.” How long do you anticipate this case will take?
JOY RYDER 33:42
Oh, my goodness, I don’t know. I’ve been told it could take up to years, you know, with the back and forth. So I’m just, I’m in it for the long haul. And whatever happens, you know, we’ll just take it a step at a time. That’s really all that we can do right now. So we’re just waiting on this motion, you know, that they’ve put out there to dismiss.
JULIE ROYS 33:59
And from what I understand, you’re not asking for money. If you get money that might be part of the settlement. But you’re really, you’re asking for justice.
JOY RYDER 34:09
Absolutely. Yes. And like I said, not just for myself, this is for all of them.
JULIE ROYS 34:16
And I’ve heard you say that if you do get any money, it’s going to go to your ministry, Out Of The Shadows.
JOY RYDER 34:21
Absolutely. Yes, ma’am. Absolutely. Because I would love to keep that going and help other victims. Because they deserve it.
JULIE ROYS 34:29
Talk to me a little bit about Out Of The Shadows and why you started that organization and what the ministry purpose is.
JOY RYDER 34:36
To be honest, it all came about, I read a story about the statute of limitations years and years ago. And for Indiana, and I thought, you know, “Why can’t we fight all of this for victims sake?” And when Jack Schaap, the former pastor, you know, it’s in the family at First Baptist, when he was caught with a minor several years ago, he’s in prison now. The stories that surfaced from there, I thought, “My goodness, there are still so many stories that haven’t been told.” And victims need a place to tell their story. Because I’ve always said, “When you tell your story, that’s the first step in healing when you feel that you’ve been heard.” Because that’s exactly what happened to me. So I wanted to give victims a place to tell their story and to be heard and to be believed. And that’s how Out Of The Shadows was born. And honestly, it was my children that picked Out Of The Shadows, what it was named. And they’re fully supportive, very much behind me. And I did, that’s what I wanted for victims; to give them a place. And so we’ve done that. And right now, we’re pretty much an online resource, but I want to, I love to meet with victims and hear their stories. It’s an honor for me, even though it’s so hard for them to tell. But when they’re believed, and you can hold their hand and say, “I know how you feel.” That is so empowering, because they don’t feel alone. And that’s exactly, I don’t want any victims to ever feel alone. Because for decades, feeling alone is so, it just wrings your soul out. And they’ve got to have somewhere where they can be nourished and fed and know that they matter. And that they have hope. There’s always hope. Always. And that is my message to every victim. There is always hope. I even have it tattooed on my wrist, the word ‘Hope,’ because I think it’s so important.
JULIE ROYS 36:26
I saw that. And what a beautiful ministry. I’m so glad you’re doing that. And so glad that people are connecting and that support network is happening. I’ve seen it where we did and this wasn’t with sex abuse survivors, although I’m sure there were, they were there, but with spiritual abuse survivors when we did a RESTORE conference last fall, and it was amazing to see just, I had one guy talk about how he sat down at a table and started to talk about the spiritual abuse he had received. And he was from Oregon and he was sitting down with people from Chicago, who were a part of Harvest Bible Chapel and had left that and he said, “You know, you just said a little bit and I didn’t even have to explain. They all got it. And they laid hands on me and they prayed for me.” And they you know, just to have people around you who understand the abuse and know how to minister to you is just so powerful.
JOY RYDER 37:19
I was there, Julie, I was at your RESTORE conference. And I wept through the entire thing. I mean, I had my small group of friends, you know, our support of each other. We were all there. And we all were just weeping at different times because we felt like–and I could start crying now–we felt like, “This is how we feel. This is giving validation to everything that we have felt for all these decades.” And to have someone stand up there and talk about it. It was so validating and freeing and you felt the comfort of being with fellow survivors that like you said, “You know exactly how they feel.” And it was very comforting. And I, all of us, we were all just looking at each other like, “How do they know what’s inside my heart and soul right now?” When they’re talking, and we were all just weeping at different times, and it was fantastic, I hope you keep doing those because they are very needed.
JULIE ROYS 38:11
We are trying to get another one scheduled. It’s just really tough in our COVID environment to know what to do. And that’s been, to me, that’s been what’s so hard. I think about this whole COVID crisis, is the thing that people need most with the, you know, not just the pandemic, but we have economic crises on top of that. And then we have racial issues and tensions and what we need most is face to face contact. And yet, that’s one thing we can’t do with social distancing. So it’s just so so hard. But we are planning to do another one and just trying to figure out how that’s going to work. I want to talk to you about restoring these fallen pastors to ministry, and we mentioned that David Hyles founded this Fallen In Grace ministry back in 2018. He is now basically portraying himself as somebody who’s able to minister to fallen pastors and put them back in ministry and, “he’s okay for ministry.” My goodness, what is going on in the church that unrepentant men who have never made atonement for what they’ve done are being able to be recycled in the church? What is, and I can’t even imagine how that feels to you to see your abuser out there purporting to help other fallen pastors.
JOY RYDER 39:33
You’re exactly right. I just shake my head and in wonderment how in the world is this even being allowed to happen? Because abusers, I mean are these guys going back to the people that they’ve harmed, falling over themselves in agonizing repentance saying “Please forgive me. I know I did wrong”? I mean, that’s never happened. That’s never come from Dave Hyles’ mouth. It’s just, he just keeps saying, “I fell.” Well, what does that even mean? And to be restored? “Who restored you?” I mean, “Who are you under? Who helps you through this process of real, real biblical restoration?” And no one’s heard that. And I don’t understand how they can keep doing that. And honestly, when you hear about, especially men who have groomed children, and molested or raped children, they don’t stop. I mean, that’s something that we’ve heard that it’s just, I mean, it’s really difficult for them to ever truly be healed, if you will, from that. I mean, that’s what I’m understanding. But why in the world would you call, whatever how many week process, to say that this man is restored and then put them back into a position of authority over children or however? I don’t understand it. I don’t get it.
JULIE ROYS 40:50
Dr. Diane Langberg who’s done so much working with sex abuse survivors, but even people who have sexually abused–the perpetrators. And she said one way, you can tell there’s repentance is when that person says, “Don’t ever put me in that situation again. I’m afraid I’ll abuse again.” It’s understanding
JOY RYDER 41:08
JULIE ROYS 41:08
your sinfulness and admitting it and saying, “Don’t do that.” And I think we do so confuse restoration to the church and to Christ, and restoration to ministry. It’s my position, once you’ve betrayed trust in such a fundamental way, as to sexually abuse someone, you should be disqualified from ministry for life.
JOY RYDER 41:31
I absolutely believe that. Yes.
JULIE ROYS 41:33
And doesn’t there need to be some sort of mechanism for people understanding that and knowing this person has done this–“Don’t ever restore or put this person in a position of authority.”?
JOY RYDER 41:44
Well, I absolutely agree with that. But within the culture of how we grew up in this Independent Fundamental Baptist Church world, that culture is alive still, to allow men to go back into ministry to do that. And that is how he’s functioning with that ministry. These guys are allowed to do that. Because it’s your right, it’s being allowed. So yeah, if they deem them restored, then “put them back in ministry.” Because they keep saying they want to err on mercy and grace, but who’s doing that for a victim? How are you erring on the side of the victim to give mercy and grace and to find them the help they need? I don’t see that being talked about within the church. It’s just these guys that just go back to the same thing. And I totally agree with Diane on that.
JULIE ROYS 42:29
Well, let’s hope that changes. I know there is a Baptist accountability database now where some of these people are getting entered. And so there is some sort of accounting for what’s going on. There needs to be more. Just as we close, I would just like to know from you, how has walking through this whole process, how has Jesus become close to you? How is your relationship with him weathered through this entire process?
JOY RYDER 43:00
I would say my personal walk with with Jesus is better than ever. And I know that He understands me better than anyone ever could. And He has my back. And I know that, and I trust Him completely. And I know he wants my best. And He loves me. And I didn’t always understand that as a child growing up. I do now. And I’m forever grateful for who He is in my life because it keeps me going day in and day out. And I want that for everyone, you know, to understand what that piece brings with Him and the joy and the freedom in the grace in every area of our lives.
JULIE ROYS 43:40
Well, joy, thank you so much for sharing your story with me today. And thank you for the way that you’ve walked this out with such grace and yet bringing truth and accountability. I so appreciate that. So, so appreciate you and your ministry and the time we’ve had together. Thank you.
JOY RYDER 43:58
Thank you, Julie. Appreciate everything. Thank you.
JULIE ROYS 44:02
And thanks so much for listening to The Roys Report a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And if you’d like to find me online, just go to JulieRoys.com. Also, make sure you subscribe to the Roy’s report on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. And that way you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, we’d love it if you would take the time to write a review, maybe spread the word about the podcast by posting something on social media and let other people know about this great content. Again, thanks so much for joining me today. Hope you have a great day. Stay safe and God bless.