Updated: Jul 17
Welcome back for another Red Flag Report, church checkers. This one is serious, so let’s not waste any time. If you don’t know who Jeff Durbin or Apologia Church are, check out our Church Check on them and a Response Post I wrote last year to get caught up. In this report, we’re going to cover how two apparently devout members/attendees of Apologia Church physically abused a little girl they adopted in 2015 before the Department of Child Safety and the Maricopa County Superior Court took her away for her own safety in 2018. These Apologia Church members still appear to be in good standing with the church based on their social media posts, as well as friends with all of Apologia Church’s leadership. They also reportedly claimed all throughout the abuse investigation process that they were receiving support and counseling through the church. But before I get into the connection between these abusers and Apologia Church, I want to tell you Chelsey’s story, and about her journey from horrendous abuse to sacrificial love. Content Warning: This post contains descriptions of neglect, sexual, physical, spiritual, and psychological abuse of a child. Reader discretion is advised. Chelsey’s Story Chelsey was taken from her drug-addicted and negligent biological parents when she was only eighteen months old. Then, after going from home to home for a couple of years, she was placed in the home of Mike and Tiffany Hendrickson when she was about three and a half years old. After a short fostering period, the Hendricksons adopted Chelsey, making her a part of their family by the time she was about four years old. Roughly three years later after they put Chelsey in public school, the school discovered large bruises on her back and other injuries on her body. They also noticed she was much too small for her age and that she would steal other students’ food. She would even ask for extra food and milk at lunch as well. The school called the police, and the Chandler Police Department and Arizona DCS opened an investigation into child abuse and neglect by Tiffany and Mike Hendrickson. Once it was determined that Chelsey was being physically abused, she was removed from their home. In mid-2018, as the investigation into abuse concluded, Chelsey was placed in a few other homes briefly before finally getting to Jennifer and Brian, who would become her permanent adopted parents. Since welcoming then 7-year-old Chelsey into their home, Jennifer and Brian have observed the results and consequences of the Hendricksons’ treatment of Chelsey, and it has not been easy for them. They have worked hard for the past four years to bring their daughter hope, healing, and justice. The abuse that Chelsey was reported to have endured from the Hendricksons is shocking, and heartbreaking. The following summary of this abuse has been quoted directly from the documented police interrogations of Tiffany and Mike Hendrickson by the Chandler Police Department, the interactions between DCS and the Hendricksons, a forensic psychological evaluation of Chelsey by Buwalda Psychological Services, physical examinations of Chelsey by the Phoenix Children's Hospital, and court documents from the Maricopa County Superior Court.
Note: For legal purposes and to protect the identity of Chelsey and others, the original documents quoted below will not be published here in full, but can be provided for proving authenticity if necessary. The Abuse After an in-depth investigation into Tiffany and Mike Hendrickson’s treatment of Chelsey, it was determined by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, a forensic psychological evaluation, DCS, the police, and the Children’s Hospital that she was being physically abused by them. The court judge ruled that Chelsey would be removed from the Hendricksons' home as the result of this abuse, and eventually all visitation and contact was severed when it was reported the Hendricksons showed no signs of remorse, responsibility for their actions, or effort toward changing their behavior or reconciliation with Chelsey. So let’s walk through each aspect of the reported abuse to show you what I’m talking about when I say "abuse". I warn you again, however, this is not for the faint of heart. Physical Abuse In part, this is what the Child Protection Team at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital determined after examining DCS reports of previous abuse by the Hendricksons, Chandler Police photos of Chelsey, and records from Healing Hearts Pediatrics: “...There are 40 photographs included… In photographs with the blue shorts outfit her face appears to have a bruise on the right upper lip area. There is a large area of diffuse bruising that is purple, blue, and erythematous in appearance on her left hip extending laterally around to her lower back, across to her right lower back where the bruising appears with two distinct linear areas and a more brown appearance. In the second pink outfit, her left upper back is seen with two small ~0.5cm scars. There are faint scattered erythematous abrasions to her upper back. Her right buttock and lower back are seen with four distinct linear bruises that appear green and brown, these appear to extend across her lower back and upper buttock. On her left lower back there are five distinct linear contusions. On her left lateral hip and buttock there is multiple green, purple and erythematous bruises that are more diffuse in appearance…” “... The history offered by mother (Tiffany Hendrickson) at the pediatrician’s office is that the bruising was caused by Chelsey masturbating and falling to the floor while doing so. Per DCS mother has also stated that the bruising is from wires at KTR, which is a family sports center. Chelsey reports the bruising is from being hit with a belt…” “...The injury to Chelsey is very concerning for inflicted injury and child physical abuse. The findings in the photographs support Chelsey’s history of being struck with a belt. Chelsey’s bruising is patterned in appearance with the linear marks visible in the bruising and it is multiplanar. This type of bruising and in this location is concerning for inflicted injury and being struck with a flexible object. It is quite unlikely that a child falling to the floor while masturbating would cause patterened injury to this degree. There are no pictures of the wires at this park to understand exactly what it looks like; however patterned and multiplanar bruising rarely occurs in accidents. The multiple histories provided by mother raise concerns… This injury warrants complete investigation and protection of Chelsey.” As it was reported, Mrs. Hendrickson told physicians that Chelsey got her bruises by falling off her bed and they even unnecessarily added the accusation (of a 7-year-old child) that masturbating caused her to fall off the bed. At any rate, the physicians at the hospital didn’t seem to believe that claim, and neither did the court. Jennifer, Chelsey’s adopted mother whom she lives with now, has also stated that she has never observed Chelsey sleepwalking, falling out of bed, or masturbating, either. And when the Chandler Police questioned Mr. Hendrickson, he told a different story. The following quotes are from a transcription of a video interview between Mike Hendrickson and a police detective regarding Chelsey’s bruises and injuries:
“... The detective told Mr. Hendrickson Chelsey told them about the “garage,” and Mr. Hendrickson asked which garage, from 3 years ago or another time. The detective said 3 years ago, and Mr. Hendrickson stated he did not know what happened, and he “rarely” spanks Chelsey. Mr. Hendrickson was asked reasons for spanking Chelsey, and he said to “get her back into reality.” He was asked when was the last time he spanked Chelsey, and Mr. Hendrickson stated 2 weeks ago, he believed. He stated one of the conditions requiring a spanking include if Chelsey is told a certain number of times to do something. Mr. Hendrickson was asked what he uses to spank Chelsey, and he said he will use his hand, or a spoon, or a belt. He said when he spanked Chelsey 2 weeks ago he used a belt, and he believed he spanked her with the belt three times. He was asked the process of spanking Chelsey in the garage, and Mr. Hendrickson stated he talks to Chelsey about what she did, and she usually tells him she does not want to be spanked. He stated Chelsey will lay down on the concrete, and he demonstrated how he spanks her. He said Chelsey cries when spanked, and when it is done they “hug it out” and walk out. He stated he does spank his other children as well, however it is more rare than Chelsey, and he said he did not think he had ever spanked his daughter. He said he has spanked his son, and has spanked him in his son’s room and/or in his room…” “...Mr. Hendrickson was asked why Chelsey stated he caused bruises on her, and he said he did not think she even knew she had bruises. He said Chelsey will do anything to throw somebody under the bus, she changes her story, she is very smart and manipulative, and she knows what is going on. He further stated Chelsey bruises easily, and when he spanks her there is going to be a mark, however he does not give it all he has. At the end of the interview, the DCS Investigator came in the room with the detective, and it was explained to him about the Present Danger Plan being put in place, and Family Preservation Services…” Below is a picture drawn by Chelsey which shows Mike Hendrickson (on the right) hitting her (face down on the floor) with a belt and making her back bleed.
Something to note before moving on is how Mr. Hendrickson doesn't stay consistent with his claims about Chelsey, and neither does Mrs. Hendrickson as time goes on. First he says he didn’t think she even knew she had bruises, which sounds like gaslighting to me, then claims she’s manipulative and throws people under the bus, but then admits that Chelsey bruises easily and that there will be a mark when he spanks her. And with that, he admits to hitting her with a belt while before, the claim from Mrs. Hendrickson was that Chelsey received the bruises from falling out of bed. So which is it? Is she making things up or did Mike Hendrickson bruise her with his “spankings”? It’s the Hendricksons’ story that changes, it seems, not Chelsey's. Another incident of physical abuse that was reported in part of the forensic psychological evaluation done on Chelsey was when Chelsey claimed Tiffany Hendrickson pushed her into a pile of rocks for dropping a piece of clothing on the ground: “...When asked if she understood the reasons for not living with her parents she said, “because they abused and abandoned me.” She said she was spanked on the back with a belt, and “hurt me a ton.” She said her mom, “threw me on the rocks, a black eye.” She stated, “clean clothing at night, ugly not nice…” “...Chelsey also reported Mrs. Hendrickson had her wash her own clothes in the yard and hang them to dry on a soccer goal, and pushed her into rocks when she dropped a piece of clothing. This resulted in a bruised face…” Another severe incident of abuse that Chelsey recalled in a therapy session after being removed from the Hendricksons' home is particularly disturbing. Chelsey has recalled and described this incident several times. During a therapy session with her mother, Jennifer, Chelsey described being forced to sleep or stay outside for a long period of time one evening. She was so thirsty that she drank rainwater from a barrel by the back patio when Tiffany Hendrickson came outside, said she didn't tell her she could drink that water, and then proceeded to push Chelsey's head under the water by the back of her neck. Chelsey described being terrified and thinking she was going to die. She eventually kicked at the barrel and was able to break free from Tiffany's grasp. Below is the picture Chelsey drew as part of her therapy in order to depict what happened in this incident.
Starvation & Neglect “...School is a privilege…Food is a privilege…” In addition to physically abusing Chelsey using physical violence, Mike and Tiffany Hendrickson were also reported to have shown several red flags of starving Chelsey and abusing her in other ways. “...Chesley was observed standing in the middle of the living room. She was naked and only wearing a diaper; Chelsey was standing like a statue. It is unknown why Chelsey was wearing a diaper or why she was standing in the middle of the room. The [redacted] was asked why Chelsey was not in school and she stated “school is a privilege and I am not going to force privileges upon her.” The [redacted] was also asked why she was not wearing any clothes and she said “because she didn’t want to get dressed and I can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to do.” There was “breakfast food” sitting on the table. The [redacted] was asked if it was Chelsey’s food and she said it was. The [redacted] said that Chelsey “will go days without eating”. The [redacted] stated that the pediatrician said “she is fine to go without eating for 48 hours”; if it is longer than that she needs to be seen so that fluids can be administered intravenously. The [redacted] stated “food is a privilege so why should I force her to eat.” The [redacted] said in the past she “forced Chelsey to eat but only gave her three seconds to take a bite and chew.” If Chelsey did not eat every three seconds, the [redacted] “would spank her between bites.” Recently, the [redacted] heard Chelsey “praying for forgiveness because she asked for extra milk and food at school.” The [redacted] contacted the school and they stated that Chelsey complained about being hungry so they were providing her with extra food at lunch. The [redacted] takes Chelsey out of school every day at lunchtime so that the school cannot give her extra food or milk. Chelsey is described as “very tiny; she looks like a four-year-old”... While we aren’t discussing the connection between the Hendricksons and Apologia Church quite yet, take note of how Chelsey was heard praying for forgiveness for asking for more food and milk. The level of psychopathic religious abuse it takes to tell a child they are actually sinning and in need of forgiveness simply for being hungry is insane. Imagine punishing your child for needing to go to the bathroom, or being tired, or cold… or hungry. As briefly mentioned before, the Hendricksons were also reported to have made Chelsey sleep in many places besides a proper bed. The initial DCS Preliminary Hearing and the Forensic Psychological Evaluation note that the Hendrickons may have even tied her to a bench as a “time-out bed.” “...they have a “time-out bed” for when they misbehave. The “time-out bed” is actually a bench that they have to sleep on and the foster parents tie them to it with yarn. It is unknown how they tie them or where on their bodies…” “...Chelsey has reported being treated different from the Hendrickson’s biological children. She reported being made to sit at a different table from the rest of the family during meals, being made to sleep in a bathtub with a little mat and blanket, and no pillow, being made to sleep on the floor with only a blanket, and being made to wear a diaper to school and use a pacifier at school. Chelsey reported her parents loved her siblings more because she was not their real child and they treated her “really bad,” having to eat out of a bottle, withholding food and water, she stated she deserved to be hurt due to that was her consequence, and that was what parents were supposed to do. She reported being treated like a dog, and being tied to a bench overnight, and being made to eat out of a dog bowl…” As mentioned above, the forensic psychological evaluation states that Chelsey was made to sleep in the bathtub, and with that, we begin to see red flags of potential sexual abuse as well. Sexual Abuse The Hendricksons claimed Chelsey was sexually inappropriate both with herself and their other children, but Chelsey reported something quite different in her forensic psychological evaluation. This led the evaluation to result in suspected sexual abuse, even though Chelsey denied any sexual altercations at some times, while claiming her siblings, the Hendricksons’ other children, touched her inappropriately, at other times. And there are plenty of other factors to consider when discerning whether sexual abuse had taken place as well. The following statements are from the forensic psychological evaluation. “...There are concerns about boundaries in the home; due to Chelsey has reported she and her parents walked around naked in the home. Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson reported they had to have Chelsey sleep in their bathroom due to she would masturbate so intensely she would fall out of bed…” The following statement is from a video interview between Chelsey and an adult involved in the investigation. “...The interviewer asked about the bathtub, and Chelsey stated she would have to ask her “dad” and she said “did he tell you?” and she subsequently said all she does is take a shower….” The following is also part of the forensic psychological evaluation. “...It appears as though Chelsey may have been exposed to sexual behaviors of some level. The foster mother reported Chelsey disclosed her sister and brother had “touched” her, however she did not have details. She further reported Chelsey disclosed her parents would walk around the house naked, and she liked seeing it, and she drew a picture of a man’s genitalia, which was “pretty accurate.” She also stated Chelsey asked her foster sibling to see her sibling’s “booty.” In the current evaluation, Chelsey denied anyone had ever touched her inappropriately, however exposure to sexual behaviors and/or content is of concern, and appears to be affecting Chelsey.” Then there is this concern: “...It was reported Mr. Hendrickson would hit Chelsey with a belt as a form of discipline, leaving marks and bruises. It was also reported he laid on top of Chelsey after hitting her…” Psychological Abuse After the reports of physical violence, neglect, and possible sexual abuse, it’s hard to imagine things could get any worse for Chelsey. But they do. Beneath the physical surface, where bruises, scratches, and starvation occur, there lingers an iceberg of psychological damage large enough to sink the Titanic. Rather than taking responsibility for their violent actions against Chelsey, the Hendricksons were reported to have blamed Chelsey for the investigation of abuse and for her separation from them by calling her a liar, claiming she was manipulative, and would “throw anyone under the bus”. I believe they may have instilled this idea and others into Chelsey’s mind by having her write lines repeating the same phrases over and over again.
We can also see Chelsey’s internal struggle, confusion, and the sadness she must have felt when trying to tell what she believed was the truth while at the same time trying to obey her “parents.” “...Video of Chelsey was observed and she was crying and saying she is sad about the lying and choices she is making. She said she knows it is not right and she needs to change. The adult told her it is hard to change…” “...Video of Chelsey was observed, and she stated she lies all the time, and she is asked who does she lie to, and she says to “you” and sometimes the police about the bruise. She is asked if she has ever lied to [redacted] and she said she has, and she is asked if she has ever lied to [redacted] and she softly said “yes,” and the adult says “I can’t hear you,” and she said “yes.” Chelsey appeared frightened and nervous in the video…” At one point, DCS reported that the Hendricksons put a recording device in Chelsey’s backpack and recorded one of her private meetings with the DCS contact. “...A child contact was conducted on 5/08/2018 at the public library. During the contact the DCS specialist and the GAL observed a phone in Chelsey’s backpack recording the contact. Another attempt to meet Chelsey was on 5/15/2018. It was reported Chelsey and Mrs. Hendrickson would be at the library from 10am to 12pm. The DCS specialist waited from 10am to 12pm and checked all floors and rooms and Chelsey and Mrs. Hendrickson were not located. Later in the day, Mrs. Hendrickson reported they were in room 264. When DCS attempted to set up another visit for later in the week Mrs. Hendrickson reported they were busy and would be going out of town. Reportedly, the family sent an email to DCS informing they would not allow DCS in their home and would not engage in in-home services…” The conversations between foster children and DCS specialists during these contact meetings are supposed to be confidential and recording them is a breach of the child’s safety and privacy, among other things. Where have we seen this behavior before, church checkers? If you don’t remember, Jeff Durbin has a similar habit of secretly recording people, which we’ve covered before. I wonder if this tactic of authoritarian control is just something the Hendricksons happen to have in common with their pastor, or if it was a learned behavior. The forensic psychological evaluation also reports the following psychological abuse Chelsey endured from the Hendricksons, and the results of that abuse in Chelsey’s own behavior and inability to self-regulate. According to the evaluation, whenever she knew she was going to have a visit with the Hendricksons, Chelsey would become inconsolable and have emotional meltdowns: “...According to reports from the foster mother, on 2/15/2019 the foster parents decided to attempt to not mention to Chelsey her pending visit with her parents to see if she would do better. Subsequently, she reported Chelsey began to have difficulties around bedtime, the night before the visit. She reported Chelsey began to scream, throw herself on the floor, and subsequently began to cry and whimper and state she was scared “they” would hurt her tomorrow. It was indicated Chelsey begged to not be made to go, and she stated she was glad she was taken away from her parents…” “...The case manager for Chelsey contacted evaluator and reported the case plan has been changed to severance and adoption. She further indicated Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson continue to deny any abuse and/or maltreatment of Chelsey since February of 2018. She reported they deny the abuse despite the evidence and the ruling by the judge on 01/07/2019 indicating physical abuse. She stated the Hendricksons continue to blame Chelsey, and state she lied, and her behavior (and any DCS/legal issue) is the reason she was removed, and not due to their actions/behaviors. The case manager also indicated the Hendricksons are not participating in services, including counseling and psychological evaluations…”
“...It is of significant concern Chelsey is continually being traumatized by visits with her parents. According to the foster mother emotion dysregulation and acting out behaviors of Chelsey increase before and after visits with Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson. Further, it is also of significant concern Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson are not participating in services, continue to blame Chelsey for involvement with DCS, and deny any responsibility and/or abuse of Chelsey. It appears they do not have any intentions of participating in services, which is indicated by not attending counseling, psychological evaluations, and scheduling psychological evaluations after initial severance trial. Subsequently, for the emotional and physical well-being of Chelsey, it is recommended visits with Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson and Chelsey be suspended. It is of significant importance Chelsey’s well-being be addressed and stabilized, in order to prevent risk of self-harm, harm to others, and/or harm to her emotional well-being. Further, it is recommended therapeutic visitation and the Bonding and Best Interest referrals not be submitted at this time. These types of referrals are recommended when parents are participating in services, and the child's physical safety is not of concern. In this case, Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson are not participating in services, they continue to blame Chelsey for DCS involvement, and continue to not take any responsibility for their actions against Chelsey. In order to safeguard Chelsey’s physical and mental health, any and all visits should be suspended at this time. If Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson participate in services, including and not limited to counseling, psychological evaluations, recommendations from psychological evaluations, and demonstrate progress, visitation could be considered at that time…”. Chelsey’s internalization of the abuse and falsely blaming herself can be even further demonstrated by some of the handwritten letters from the Hendrickson family. It appears the entire family gaslit Chelsey and re-enforced the mantra that she was lying and had a heart of “evil”.
Due to the physical and psychological trauma Chelsey has endured, she has been diagnosed with multiple trauma-related disorders. Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder), and other psychological and physical struggles are an obstacle and a struggle for Chelsey and her family daily. These disorders and dysfunctions are real, and they don’t develop out of thin air. You can’t lie your way into having these problems. They are the result of severe physical and psychological abuse. Religious Abuse “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” - Ephesians 6:4 Last in our long list of abusive practices that have been reported of the Hendricksons toward Chelsey, we have religious abuse. As I mentioned in the beginning of this report, the Hendricksons are members of Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona, where Jeff Durbin is the lead pastor. I’ve also already mentioned the eerie similarity between the Hendricksons’ reported secret recording of Chelsey’s private conversations with DCS and Jeff Durbin’s secret recording of fellow Christians both in his church and outside of it. Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. Within the midst of this investigation of child abuse and neglect, according to the documentation gathered in the forensic psychological evaluation, the Hendricksons were actively and regularly attending services at Apologia Church. It was reported that they refused DCS services and counseling because they claimed they were receiving counseling and support from their church, which they named as Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona multiple times: “...The family was offered services during an investigation in February of 2018, however they declined to participate and reported they had services through their church…” “…The Hendricksons reported Mrs. Hendrickson was receiving counseling through Veteran’s Affairs, and Mr. Hendrickson was receiving counseling through their church…” “...When the new PA asked the Hendricksons when they were available for visits they responded “no weekday and not Sunday.” The PA requested visits take place before church on Sunday and the Hendricksons reported they could not because it was their “day with the Lord”, and were adamant on only doing visits on Saturdays, despite previous statements of being available any day…” “...In Mrs. Hendrickson’s 4/30/2018 email to the DCS investigator she indicated she is doing counseling with their church and would provide documentation of their sessions…” “...family is connected with their church Apologia. [redacted] reported support from their church along with counseling for Chelsey…” “...It has been recommended the primary care physician, [redacted] and by the Department of Child Safety that Chelsey be seen by a forensic counselor. [redacted] have reported after numerous attempts to have Chelsey enrolled in trauma therapy they believe her being enrolled in church counseling is what is best for her…” “...[redacted] were willing to enroll Chelsey at ChildHelp for therapy. They declined this service later at the Team Decision Making meeting. They have now refused to enroll Chelsey in counseling outside of their church…” “[redacted] reported Chelsey is seeing someone through church weekly…” “...they went to church around 4pm. She said they were 5 minutes late to church. She reported she goes to Apologia in Tempe. She said church lasts until 7 pm. She reported they were all together at church…” Both Tiffany and Mike Hendrickson are friends with all of Apologia Church’s leadership on Facebook and there are several posts showing the couple’s involvement at Apologia and their friendship with the leadership of the church. Even while the Hendricksons were being investigated by DCS and the police, and after Chelsey was taken from them for their reported abuse of her, they appeared to remain actively involved in the church, helping with the worship service, setting up the Apologia Hawaii church plant, and in their anti-abortion efforts.
Before we get into what Apologia’s job and responsibility as a Christian church in this situation is, both biblically and just plain logically, I’d like to consider what Apologia Church had to do with how the Hendricksons reportedly treated their adopted child in the first place, if they had anything to do with it at all. After all, if child abuse is a fruit of certain religious teachings, the Hendricksons may not be the only Christian parents showing these blatant red flags of abuse. And if that’s the case, we must find the source of those teachings and refute them with the truth. Unfortunately, I believe Apologia and other churches like it may be perpetuating some damaging, negligent, and abusive parenting practices. These parenting practices could be the gateway from mere spanking, which is what the Hendricksons claimed to be doing, into severe physical and psychological abuse, which is what they were reported to have done. I have found little to no parenting content from Apologia Church at all, but what I have found is cause for concern. While I haven’t been able to point to a direct statement from the church or its leaders on child discipline and how to implement it (with one exception), I’ve seen a few recommendations from their followers/members on social media to people looking for parenting advice. The most common recommendations to parents seeking parental advice that I’ve seen so far are Doug Wilson and Tedd Tripp.
Doug Wilson, another Calvinist pastor and friend of Apologia Church’s leadership, is well known by his critics for his history of allegedly protecting sexual predators in his church and school, among many other things. He also has a lot to say about parental discipline. Tedd Tripp is a well known Christian author that speaks predominantly on parenting and parental discipline. I spent hours listening to the Wilsons’ parental advice on YouTube, reading Doug Wilson’s book on parenting, reading Tedd Tripp’s book on parenting, and looking for any parenting advice from Apologia directly. So far, here are just a few things I’ve learned: - Both Doug Wilson and Tedd Tripp strongly and openly promote violence against children as a means of parental discipline, or what is more commonly known as “spanking.”
- As previously mentioned and shown, the fact that Apologia church members/followers recommended Doug Wilson and Tedd Tripp as parental discipline advisors suggests that Apologia Church also openly promotes violence against children (spanking) as a means of parental discipline. - Nancy Wilson (Doug Wilson’s wife) once spanked their 3 or 4-year-old daughter for not greeting her properly while being picked up at a friend’s house. (listen at 15:30) - Doug Wilson advises parents whose children don’t react well to being spanked (because apparently there are children that do?) to escalate their spanking by increasing the number of times they hit the child in one spanking because you want to be “...spanking him in such a way he concludes after the first one, ‘I don’t ever want that to happen again’...” He continues with, “...this is all about mastery in control, and so you want to say, ‘okay, let’s have a showdown, but I’m going to win it decisively in the first round…” (listen at 25:37) (This seems to directly contradict Ephesians 6:4, doesn’t it?) - Doug Wilson: “You want your spankings to be the end of the world as far as the kid’s concerned…” (listen at 30:25) (Is this not literally purposely traumatizing your child?) - Doug & Nancy Wilson would have “zero tolerance” days with their children if they thought their behavior was too “muddled” or “fussy” and they called it the “reign of terror.” Doug described telling one of his children that was “fussing” in the car to change his behavior and to “show me your happy face, show me your ‘yes, mom’ face,” and if the child didn’t immediately change their facial expression to “happy”, “...you’re not going to leave as soon as you thought…” (listen at 51:32) - Apologia Studios’ hosts, who are also parents, apparently have a parental discipline “mantra” that smacks of the same tyrannical authoritarianism that Doug Wilson teaches: “obedience now, all the way, joyfully” (listen at 33:20) - Apologia Studios’ hosts discuss spanking their toddlers as young as ten months old, or as soon as they are "sinning" (Correction: I previously misheard this as "sitting") (listen at 32:30) - One of Doug Wilson’s “principles” for child discipline is the rule of “no lying.” According to the Forensic Psychological Evaluation of Chelsey, the Hendricksons frequently accused her of lying when she was telling the truth, which caused her to internalize the abuse and blame herself for it. The psychological damage that can be caused by spanking a child for telling the truth while calling them a liar would be devastating. - The child discipline methods and steps taught by Tedd Tripp and other proponents of violence against children in the Christian Church like Doug Wilson are very similar if not identical to what the Hendricksons claimed they were doing to Chesley in the documentation, even though what was reported about their “discipline” was much worse:
1. Talk with the child until they confess their sin. 2. Discuss how many times the child will be hit. 3. The child’s underpants are taken off and they are naked from the waste down. 4. The child is hit repeatedly or however many times were discussed. 5. When the hitting is done the parent should reconcile or tell the child they love them. 6. If the child is angry, upset, or cries too much after the hitting is over, start the entire hitting process over again. 7. The parent must be emotionally detached or “cold” while hitting the child. If they are spanking out of anger or show emotion, they’re doing it wrong. Before moving on, I have to make an important note. It’s my opinion that even these widely accepted and embraced steps to disciplining children in the Christian Church are still abusive, but even then, they’re nowhere near the level of abuse that Chelsey was reported to have endured from the Hendricksons. Regardless, spanking, in my opinion, always leads to more spanking. And then when spanking doesn’t work (because it doesn’t), the violence can easily escalate into severe abuse, like what Chelsey reported to have experienced. If you disagree with me, or even if you don’t, please check out the following links on spanking below. Each of these resources refutes any argument you could have for physically assaulting your kids, whether you’re looking for scientific evidence, biblical truth, or just plain logic, there’s simply no defending physical violence towards children as a form of “discipline” anymore. Is Spanking Biblical? The Effect of Spanking on the Brain The neurobiological effects of childhood maltreatment (including disciplinary violence) Also, just another quick side comment: If you can physically strike your child and watch them cry in pain without feeling any emotion, pain, or remorse yourself, which is apparently what’s taught by proponents of spanking today, you might be a psychopath. The level of coldness required to physically harm another human being without feeling empathy is narcissistic. That’s the same psychological dysfunction that murderers and rapists have. And child abusers have it too. The point is, it’s clear to me that these teachings on parental discipline can be easily adjusted or directly used to justify child abuse. While at one point in a Parenting Q&A with his wife Nancy, Doug Wilson mentions that there is a difference between proper child discipline and child abuse, he claims that spanking should “sting” and “hurt” but not cause damage. But something that hurts already does cause damage, both physically and psychologically. We know that children are psychologically and emotionally damaged from spanking, even if it doesn’t leave a physical mark, so how can you spank without causing damage? During the police and DCS investigation into the Hendricksons’ abuse, there were a few times where Mike Hendrickson mentioned how he was simply doing what he was “trained” to do and upholding his responsibility as the “head” of his household: “...[redacted] was asked if [redacted] does any of the punishment in the home. He said sometimes. He tries to do it. It is his position and it is his role. He said he is not trying to do it in a fearful way but more as “the head of the household”…” “...He said it is hard because he is an emotional person. He has to disconnect the emotions so Chelsey does not feel that through his hand. He reported he was taught that in the training…” They do not train foster parents to spank children in Arizona, and in fact it is against Arizona foster parent licensing laws to spank foster children… or make to them sleep in a bathtub, for the record. So what training is Mike Hendrickson talking about here exactly? Tiffany Hendrickson also stated in court that she didn’t see their actions against Chelsey as abusive: “...Mother testified during the trial that “nothing he (Father) has done I thought was abusive.” The evidence indicates that the parents discussed the spankings, the Mother knew about them, she admits to at least knowing he used a spoon on one occasion, and she did not think the spankings were abusive…” But it was abusive, and that’s exactly what the court, the police, DCS, the forensic psychologist, and the Children’s hospital all concluded. That Chelsey was in danger and needed to be removed from the Hendricksons’ home. So does Apologia Church agree with the Hendricksons, or with us, and DCS, and the forensic psychologist, and the police, and the Children’s hospital, and the school? And with that question, we’re led to ask just one more.
What Did Apologia Church & Jeff Durbin Know About This? It’s possible the Hendricksons were lying when they told DCS that they and Chelsey were receiving counseling and support from Apologia Church during the abuse investigation. It’s also possible Apologia Church was unaware of the Hendrickson’s abusive treatment of Chelsey (even though the school noticed pretty quickly). However, if that were the case, Apologia Church had every opportunity to say that on August 2nd, August 4th, August 8th, August 11th, and every day since I've emailed them for correction or comment, which was Saturday, August 13th. Jennifer contacted Apologia Church and told them all about Chelsey's experiences and trauma. She emailed Jeff Durbin on August 2nd asking for his help with her daughter, who is struggling from severe trauma. She didn’t mention any names or who caused the trauma. Just that she was looking for help from the church because of what her daughter has endured. She simply asked for his help and even offered her phone number if he preferred to talk on the phone instead of through email. He ignored her. We know he ignored her because she installed an email tracking app on her phone to see when her sent emails were received and opened. After her initial email and no response from Jeff, Jennifer reached out to the church and Jeff Durbin again on the 4th, detailing the abuse that is reported in the documentation she provided them. She provided them with the Hospital’s report, the forensic psychological evaluation, and drawings by Chelsey depicting the abuse. Again, they received and opened the email, and ignored her. On Monday, August 8th, Jennifer made another attempt to contact Jeff Durbin and Apologia Church through email. This time, finally, they responded.
Even following this one-sentence response, Jennifer waited all week to hear back from the church, and hasn’t received anything yet. How long does it take to review this information and decide that there are reported child abusers in their church and that they need to act to protect their church and help support the victim? Jennifer asked them again what their plans were on the 11th and if they would provide her with the counseling documentation the Hendricksons claimed they would provide DCS during the investigation. She has yet to hear back, once again. So Jeff Durbin, Luke Pierson, Zack Morgan, and whoever else they shared Jennifer’s emails with, now know what happened between the Hendricksons and Chelsey back in 2018. They’ve seen the evidence, they've read this report, and after a week of ignoring Jennifer, are now “reviewing” the information, but for how long? And what for exactly? Whether or not they knew about it four years ago, Apologia Church knows about the reported abuse now, so the question is, what will they do to protect the other children in their congregation? Will they do anything to pursue justice for Chelsey? What will they do regarding church discipline of the Hendricksons for their sins and crimes against Chelsey? Apologia Church, like many pro-life groups, calls for equal protection of the unborn, so what about children like Chelsey, who deserve protection as well? Mike and Tiffany Hendrickson are still friends with all of Apologia Church’s leadership on Facebook. While this doesn’t mean they haven’t been disciplined or excommunicated from Apologia, it makes me wonder why they’re still so apparently socially involved with each other, or why anyone would want anything to do with reported child abusers at all. Why is a church that’s all about protecting unborn babies propping up the Hendricksons as spokespeople for that cause? Jeff Durbin has stated that the church has excommunicated people for gossip before. Gossip. So where does child abuse land on Apologia’s scale for church discipline exactly? Are other children being abused under the guise of “biblical child discipline”? While women on YouTube are building altars for their DIY abortion child sacrifices, is Apologia Church sacrificing children too, just in a different way? Are they knowingly and willingly sacrificing the safety of children under their care to protect the kingdom they’ve built in Jesus’ name? One thing is for sure: Wade Orsini (Apologia Utah’s Pastor) and Candi Durbin (Jeff Durbin’s wife) agree that church discipline is essential for a church to be legitimate.
Jeff Durbin has expressed that he feels the same way. He’s preached sermons on church discipline and spoken on it publicly many times. The church has made very clear its position on dealing with sin within the church. Are they going to enforce it now that they know the truth? Now that we all know the truth? By Apologia’s own standard, child abusers need to show remorse for their sin, repent of their violence against their victim(s), and work to reconcile themselves with the church, or be cast out for the sake of its purity and safety. And that’s only if they haven’t been arrested and charged with child abuse. The Hendricksons haven't been. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’ve reached out to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to ask why the child abuse charges filed by the Chandler Police Department against the Hendricksons were turned down, but have yet to hear back. I have reached out to the Hendricksons for comment or correction and they have not responded. I have reached out to Apologia Church for comment and correction and they have accused me of threatening them with spreading false allegations and libel, but they can't (or won't) point to anything I've written in this report that is false or libelous. Also, I haven't threatened them. I sent them the report to give them a chance to comment or correct anything false or inaccurate, as one does when they're trying to have journalistic integrity and professionalism. But you can read all of that for yourself, church checkers. Below are the email interactions I’ve had with Apologia Church since reaching out to them on Saturday, August 13th, with this report.
In my confusion (misunderstanding?) surrounding Jeff Durbin’s claims about the police, I called around to all the Police Departments I thought he might have called, either to report me or to report the Hendricksons back when the reported abuse was occurring. I called the Mesa Police Department, the Tempe Police Department, and the Salt Lake City Police Department. No one has filed a police report or made a complaint against me, and no one from Apologia Church’s address or under Jeff Durbin’s name has reported suspected child abuse in Mesa, Arizona. I guess I’ll find out what Jeff was talking about in court because he and the other elders of Apologia Church are now ignoring me. Use your own skills of discernment and decide for yourself what you think, but never let anyone threaten, bully, or intimidate you into silence, especially when you know you're telling the truth. Have courage and don't be afraid. We have your back, and so does Christ the King. Until next time, church checkers.