After posting my article this past Friday, I was notified that on this past Saturday morning, yesterday, another woman spoke up with practically an identical experience. Exposing this particular founding elder will be difficult for many to comprehend and even more difficult to accept and extremely difficult to deal with the after-math. I respectfully extend my gratitude to those who have left comments of support for the voices now speaking up.
To continue on this very difficult task, below is a follow-up account from Anonymous Woman–the same woman from my previous post. I publish the following with her permission.
The first time he did something perverted to me was in-front of a storefront. I picked him up at his home and drove out for lunch. He took me to a restaurant he recommended in his neighborhood of Wheaton. I am not from Wheaton and am not familiar with the area. It is however, his neighborhood. I drove but he navigated. He directed me where to park and as a way to introduce me to his neighborhood, he gave me a round-about tour of the block on our way to the restaurant.
As we were approaching the restaurant and had gone around the block, we were walking on the sidewalk approaching the storefront in reference. He tenderly took my arm and we walked with locked arms. I was surprised and a bit uncomfortable. I didn’t make a big deal of it, and interpreted his action only as he extending friendly affection.
Up ahead I could see a poster displayed behind the glass of the storefront. It was a naked man, wearing only a Speedo with his legs wide open for everyone to see his frontal package tightly packed-in by the Speedo. I was mortified! I was also very embarrassed that he and we had to see this thing.
As we approached the poster, the idea quickly popped into my head to cross the street in order to avoid the poster. Instead, I hurried up my step and I looked away toward the street as I talked trying to recalibrate myself and re-focus on the conversation. When we were about one step past the poster, I began to feel relief that it was all over. That’s when it happened.
While our arms were locked, he stops us and starts to walk backwards telling me, “Look, look! I want you to see this.” My heart was pounding in horror. I was hoping he was referring to something else, not the poster. I didn’t know what to do. I did know I didn’t want to go back there no matter what it was he wanted me to see. I pressed forward and told him, “Come on. Let’s keep walking.”
But, we were in locked arms and he pulled me back saying, “Look, look!” I turned to look at him. He had that gloating grin, the same one I described in my previous post. He was pointing at the poster with his other hand but his eyes were fixed on my eyes. Again and again, I pressed forward telling him, “Come on let’s go!” But he would not let me go. By this time, we were no longer locked in arms, but he had his hand firmly on my elbow, holding me back and pulling me back, preventing me from walking forward, and forcing me to look at the poster.
As he was looking at me and searching for my eyes, I was looking away, looking at the sky, the sidewalk, the street, everywhere but that darn poster or his eyes. He wouldn’t let go of me. I finally looked and said, “There, I looked, now let’s go!”
He burst out laughing and forced me to look at his eyes after I looked at the poster. Finally, he loosened his grip on my elbow and we were able to keep walking.
I have many disturbing accounts that I need to share to hold this man and Willow Creek accountable. I have chosen to share this particular account at this time because of what I have been reading lately regarding the pattern of obsession over nudity and [neo-] pornography and indecent exposure among sexual predators and among Willow Creek senior leaders. And this account fits the pattern.
I didn’t make the connection then. Now, after the scandal broke, so many pieces are falling into place. Then, I had too much respect for him. Now, I am repulsed at the mere thought of him or mention of his name.
I thank you all in advance for your patience and for your support as I navigate this very difficult situation. Speaking up about a man I have looked up to, a man so many of us have looked up to, carries a heavy burden…a burden I have chosen to carry and have chosen to carry alone. I stand on my own integrity. I stand on my own word.
I will continue to share my experiences and will continue to seek accountability over this man. This man needs to be stopped and many more, not one or two or three more, but many more current senior leaders, staffers, and volunteers need to resign if Willow Creek is to have a real chance of a redemptive fresh start.
The founding elder I am speaking up about is Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, a.k.a. Dr. B, founding elder and co-founder of Willow Creek, and mentor and advisor to Bill Hybels and many other past and current senior leaders, staffers, volunteers and members at Willow Creek.
For any woman out there who has experienced any form of sexual perversion from Dr. B or any man out there who has witnessed or been influenced by his sexual perversion, please seek a safe place to communicate your story and to make it public. Since multiple private efforts to hold him accountable have not worked, it is time to go public as Scripture demands, Matthew 18:17.
There are many more stories out there that need to be heard. For exposing Dr. B, the negative ramifications on various Christian institutions are great. But the church can no longer afford to protect him in order to protect all the good he has done. We as Christians should never have to make the decision to protect a sexual predator in order to protect the good he has done. And women should never ever have to pay the price for that decision.
Please feel free to leave a comment. I moderate the comments, so if you would like to make a private comment, simply state so and I will not make your comment public.