I sat on this one for a week or so because it’s interesting and it fits my theory of a corrupted pastor leading a deluded flock. The situation is a breeding ground for abuse. Whenever a pastor has absolute control over the church, bad things can happen and as readers of this blog know, they often do. In this case, that is exactly what is alleged. Pastor Royden Wood used his position as pastor to cultivate a harem.
One woman, who testified at the former Ambassador Baptist Church pastor's sexual assault trial, said she tried to go along with it. She knew other women in the church went out with Wood frequently.
Royden was a Baptist pastor at a small church. He built a culture that allowed women to freely associate with him away from the church in private. He also encouraged members of his church to give each other back rubs. Both of these behaviors are clear warning signs. And then…
The woman, whose identity is protected by court order, was the second to describe Wood's persistent sexual advances and how she believed she couldn't say no to him because of his position in the church and his closeness to God.
"I can't emphasize enough the power he had over us, the control he had," she said. "I don't think the average person could understand what life was like in that church. In hindsight, it was close to being a cult."
This man of god used his position to mollify the fears of his victims. Don’t worry baby… I know god.
After giving her pastor oral sex…
"I remember sitting up and saying, 'I can't do this, I don't understand how this can be right'."
Wood told her "'don't worry, when you go to heaven, if it's wrong, I'll stand up for you before God'," she said.
Power corrupts. But what I don’t understand is why anybody stayed at Ambassador Baptist Church? What keeps people so locked into Wood’s personality cult that they could not walk out the door to another another church. It’s not like there is a shortage of churches.