Video of a 1994 seminar entitled “Scriptural Principles for Counseling the Hurting” taught by lifelong BJU executive Bob Wood has appeared on DailyMotion, sparking outrage from critics of BJU for its callous descriptions of sexual abuse victims.
The three-part video was featured on Stuff Fundies Like yesterday, with the usually playful blog calling the video “an abomination.” The publicity for Wood and BJU comes as the University scrambles to answer claims by alumni of sexual abuse and improper responses by BJU admins. The G.R.A.C.E. investigation, meanwhile, continues.
BJU has made no attempt to distance itself from Wood’s remarks in the nearly twenty years since this video was made; in fact the seminar was still for sale from BJU’s online store as of last year (see pg. 22 of this .pdf).
We’ve called out some of the most memorable portions from Wood’s seminar below. You can view the video here, or via the embedded box above.
“Are you willing to get over it? Are you willing to accept the fact that his happened and there’s nothing you can do about what happened in the past? Are you willing to believe that it was the least important part of you that was offended? Are you willing to believe that God forgives and forgets and can give you the right thoughts?” (52:50)
Wood repeatedly refers to sexual assault and rape with the victim-neutral term “offenses” rather than their proper terms (“a man offending his daughter”, 19:00). In fact, the word “rape” is not mentioned in this video.
Wood describes abuse victims in condescending and demeaning terms: ““You know what happens to people who are abused? . . . Their every view is inward: ‘Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. This happened to me. I can’t get over this. I’m mad about me. I’m mad that they did this to me. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been offended.’” This description is given in a mocking tone, apparently to approximate the selfishness of victims. (45:30)
The main thrust of Wood’s seminar is that victims need to stop questioning why God allows abuse to happen, accept His will and stop “being selfish” or focusing on themselves. Wood emphasizes over and over the foolishness of not recognizing the “simple” reasons why God lets abuse happen.
Wood describes a hypothetical sexual abuse victim who can’t understand “why God allowed this to happen.” Wood then says “there’s a very simple answer, but the minds of people are very perplexed about why God didn’t stop this.” The reason, Wood says, is that the abuser was being “controlled by their body.” (4:00)
Wood also lists a group of people who he thought “needed killing” when he was a younger man: “dope addicts, alcoholics, bank robbers, wicked people!” (9:28)
Wood describes how in counseling abuse victims he comforts them that “the least important part of man is his body…it’s the throwaway part!” Wood accuses abuse victims of allowing Satan to use their abuse to “destroy their soul.” (33:45)
Wood says of victims, “some of them haven’t sinned, and some of them have…” (37:15)
Wood describes the emotional damage of sexual abuse but recommends only “biblical” treatment. No mention of police reporting or of licensed counseling is made in this video (Wood himself has no counseling credentials–or degrees of any kind. He holds an honorary doctorate from Maranatha).
Woods notes that love “can endure evil, injury and provocation without feeling resentment, indignation or revenge,” presumably to remind abuse victims that forgiveness and not being angry at abusers is key. Again this is done without any mention of the necessity of reporting crimes, bringing justice to abusers, etc.
Wood recommends that abuse victims say to their abusers, “I’m sorry it happened, but I’m glad it happened to me instead of you, because I’m strong enough to handle this.” (46:40)
Wood spends the final fifteen minutes or so listing all the qualities of “love” that abuse victims should embrace. Giving others the benefit of the doubt, not thinking badly of others, enduring all things.