- (Photo: YouTube / The Vision Forum Screenshot)
The leader of a conservative Christian family organization has resigned from the non-profit after admitting to having an affair, however, he will still maintain ownership of the related for-profit company.
Doug Phillips, whose organization Vision Forum advocates for "Biblical patriarchy," admitted to having committed a "serious sin" and claimed that he had confessed it his "wife and family, [his] local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries."
"I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not 'know' each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate," wrote Phillips.
Despite the fact that Phillips asserted that he would no longer be "giving speeches or running conferences at this time of my life under the banner of VFI or VFM" and leading "a quiet life focusing on my family and serving as a foot soldier," he also explained that he had not completely divorced himself from influence within the organization.
"I retain ownership of Vision Forum, Inc," he wrote on the organization's blog on November 6.
Vision Forum described its mission as protecting the family from "systematic annihilation."
"It is our goal at Vision Forum to promote courageous fatherhood, noble motherhood, virtuous boyhood and girlhood through vision-casting discipleship tools that teach, equip, and inspire," reads Vision Forum's mission page.
Phillips and his wife Beall, who have eight children, have also been members of the Quiverfull Movement, which encourages Christians to eschew birth control. He has also teamed up to promote this mission with Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar, who rose to reality television fame through a show about their 19 children.
Dave Birdy, a friend of Phillips, expressed empathy for the former leader.
"I love this guy and know he's going to do what's right — for his family, for his business associates. If there was one man I felt needed to catch a break from being bombarded by the media, it's Doug Phillips," Birdy told The San Antonio Express. "We are all capable of dropping our guard, and even people of great character are capable of grievous sin. I don't know anything about the particulars, but I would have to agree he's done the right thing...I'm sure that was very difficult and very humbling for him."
Not everyone felt the same way towards Phillips. Jen Fishburne, who was part of Phillips' church before he excommunicated her following a disagreement after the 2004 presidential election, blamed the disgraced leader's fall on the legalism he practiced.
"The rules were too heavy, too burdensome for him to bear. No one could continue under all those rules and experience the abundant life God has for us. This is very sad," Fishburne wrote on her blog.
"I pray that Doug Phillips will use this time to do some serious soul searching, not just in this one area, but in the burdens of life that he has put upon himself and his family and thousands of other families who have looked up to him for so many years. Now is the time to reevaluate rules in favor of love."