An elder with Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Montana, said Friday that former pastor Jordan Daniel "J.D." Hall, a polemics blogger known for criticizing Christian leaders, embezzled money from the church and was kicked out of his home for being physically abusive.
Last month, Fellowship Baptist Church announced the removal of Hall as pastor in light of his abuse of Xanax, alleging in a June 27 statement that he had a dependency above his prescribed dosage.
The church's statement also stated that the decision to remove Hall, known for his scathing criticisms of Christian leaders on his now-defunct polemics website Pulpit & Pen and more recently Protestia, came several days following a June 5 incident. The details of the incident were not disclosed in the church's statement.
Caleb Snodgrass, an elder at Fellowship Baptist Church who has been serving in that role for approximately four years, told The Christian Post in an interview Friday that the church was told on June 5 by Hall's wife, Mandy, that he physically abused her and her son.
After the incident, she reportedly kicked him out of the home to protect herself and their children.
"The night, it [was] June 5th, Mandy called some of the deacons to come over. She [had] kicked him [Hall] out of the house at that point. And so that's when she told us the things that we found out about what was going on in the family," Snodgrass said.
Reports of the June 5 incident and an allegation that Hall embezzled more than $10,000 from the church were filed with the Sidney Police Department on June 23.
The Sidney Police Department provided heavily redacted copies of both reports to CP on Monday as the claims are still "under investigation."
In the June 5 incident, Hall was alleged to have committed "assault with a weapon" described as a "knife/cutting Instrument." He was also alleged to have committed "strangulation of a partner or family member" inside his home.
Snodgrass confirmed that the church reported the assault to the Sidney Police Department. He noted that before Hall's alleged attack on his family, the elders did not know how bad Hall's addiction issues were. The church elder said they didn't realize Hall needed more serious intervention, so they initially told Hall that he needed to get clean.
"We didn't know how bad the addiction was. And so we simply said, 'You got to stop [using] Xanax. And so we really sent him home with his family."
After the alleged assault, Snodgrass said Hall "was not allowed to go back home."
He said the church initially wanted to take him to a rehab facility immediately, but Snodgrass said they realized that "you can't just take somebody to rehab."
"You have to know it's like a monthlong process to get into one of these places," Snodgrass said.
The deacons took Hall to the church "where we've got some bedrooms until we can figure things out," Snodgrass said.
A day later, they tried to get Hall into rehab by taking him to an emergency room several hours away, but that did not work, Snodgrass added.
The elder said Hall is now getting treatment near his parents in Missouri, but he wasn't sure where.
Snodgrass didn't go into details regarding the embezzlement allegations but confirmed that the church filed a report. He said church leaders discovered the financial irregularities after they removed Hall as their leader.
The police report records this allegation as "theft exceeding $10,000 by embezzlement."
According to Snodgrass, Hall continues to live separately from his family but has had conversations with his wife. He claims the church has been trying to minister to Hall, but he has been resistant to their discipline.
"We are trying to [minister to Hall], but there's a lot of anger there. Due to how we've handled this, and due to differing of opinions on whether or not he's pretentious," Snodgrass said.
"We have reached out to them a lot more than he and Mandy would suggest. But we are, we are trying to do whatever we can. They are not really allowing us to do much. At this point, we are distancing ourselves a little bit due to whatever we say being misconstrued."
Snodgrass alleges that Hall has been so resistant to church discipline that he has questioned the validity of his board of elders and deacons.
Weekly attendance at Fellowship Baptist — usually 50 to 100 people — has now fallen to about 50% since Hall's misconduct, Snodgrass disclosed.
When asked if he saw a future return for Hall to ministry, Snodgrass responded with a solid "no."
"There's no real hope for that," he said. "You know, maybe, in my opinion, maybe 10-15 years down the line when things are so totally different. I don't think he would with the group at our church. I don't think he would be welcomed back. This whole situation, especially with the family, has exploded. And it's so, so horrible that and now with the financial stuff that's coming out. He's disqualified himself, and it's a pretty bad disqualification."