Blogging Pornography: It’s Obscene!

**Warning: Graphic Details Ahead

When you google (or whatever search engine you prefer) my name, you get a pretty good grasp of the horror that befell my family, October 10, 2011.

It was a horror far greater than words can do it justice.

When I arrived in my subdivision that day it was packed with an unbelievable police and paramedic presence. And I knew…

In just a few minutes I was surrounded by police protection moving me from one place to another for safety until finally I was placed inside an armored SWAT van. Nobody would tell me what was happening. I didn’t know where Casey was. I had been asked to describe Karen and Cole.

As long as I live I will never get the imagery out of my head of seeing the coroner round the corner of the van and make his way inside. I remember telling him he wasn’t allowed to speak to me–I knew what he had to say. That freeze frame is frozen for ever.

I knew. I knew for sure what my heart had already told me.

Ugliness, hatred, and death ruled that day in power and that power will never be completely broken this side of eternity.

But there is a back story here that is obscene in itself. In fact, this post will detail several obscenities we have endured.

During the spring and early summer, my 21 year old handicapped son Cole (cerebral palsy & mitochondrial disease) was violated in the worst way imaginable by a 70 year old, kindly looking, grandfatherly acting man from our church. We invited him into our home, entrusted him with Cole every Wednesday for a few hours at a time over the course of 12 weeks or so. Cole’s mental capacity was more that of an elementary age child and this was like having a “friend” over to watch TV.

Kids like Cole are high maintenance–parents of special needs kids are often desperate for some down time. This was a personal ministry designed so Karen could have some time out of the house. We thought it was a gift from God.

During that time, Cole’s behavior got very erratic and strange. He was always worried about his DVD’s and game discs getting dirty–but then he began dumping whole stacks in the sink and running water over them obsessed with getting them clean. We had no idea what was going on until he finally broke down and told us he had been molested.

Eventually we discovered he had been raped. Cole’s exact words: “he put toothpaste on my butt and gave me a big shot.” And he was threatened that if he told, his whole family would be shot. During those times of violation, a pistol was laid on Cole’s pillow to remind him of remaining silent.

I never knew until after the funeral that once or twice was actually multiple times of rape.

The months between Paul Buckman’s arrest and the murders of October 10 were very stressful. We questioned everything, especially our inability to see what was happening to our son.

And if that wasn’t obscene enough, we then begin enduring the judgment of church members who were indignant over our reporting the crime. I was told I wasn’t a real Christian for “not working it out” with Paul Buckman. Several church members left. Some began a campaign of rumor, innuendo, and just plain ugliness. The toll on our lives and family was heavy.

But then came the day Paul Buckman burst into the house with a hatchet and a gun. We will never know the extent of terror they endured. Casey who was 5-1/2 years old at the time, made it out of the house at his mother’s urging as she fought for their lives. We have no real idea how much he saw and experienced.

After all of that, a few weeks after the funerals were over, a church lady asked me, “How much pleasure was Cole deriving from his encounters?” (I was never tempted to call her stupid, she went far beyond that threshold)

That particular obscenity made me gag then. The thought still does even now. Some things should never happen.

Three weeks to the day after we laid them to rest, I was approached by a man at church who asked me if I was about to get over it and get back to preaching…

I know that plenty of church folk supported me. I know the horror that visited us that day didn’t visit just my family by ourselves. And, I know people were desperate for things to get back to normal.

I, on the other hand, was a long, long, long way from even knowing what my new normal was going to look like.

“Get over it?”

Day after day, long night after even longer night, I was wracked with pain, grief, and an inability to know anything about what my future would bring.

It was all I could do to keep the clothes washed, get kids to school, and figure out what was for supper.

Preach? I couldn’t think of one decent thing to say about God. My integrity was all I had left and I could not fake it from the pulpit.

During this time we had returned to the house where they had both been shot twice in the head–gun-to-head contact. We had to live there. Before we returned, it had been professionally cleaned by a company specializing in the removal of blood. But the house had been a bloodbath and every time I turned around I was cleaning another patch of bloodstains from walls, door jambs, ceiling, and floors. I would cry and scrub and do it all again.

And then there was the day I realized the hole in the floor was from a bullet.

Obscene.

Obviously I still have a lot to work through.

But if I can, I’d like to ask you to refrain from suggesting one particular obscenity as if it was somehow comforting…. Or something I or anyone else should/ could draw from to make me/ us stronger.

The story of Job is obscene beyond belief. There is nothing comforting about the tragedies that fell on him. Even after being given a new family and financial recovery, the story is still obscene.

Yes, I understand I am building a new life.
And I am so very grateful for it.

Yesterday and today, I have felt physically and emotionally better than I have in a long, long time.

I am beginning to see some progress in my new line of work.

I see a brighter tomorrow.

But sometimes kids lose a beloved dog. And sometimes as parents, we console them with the idea they can have another dog one day.

People are not dogs.
They can’t be replaced.

Not now.
Not in the life of Job either.

And it is obscene to think so.

Thanks to all who have been reading…
Les

91 thoughts on “Blogging Pornography: It’s Obscene!

  1. Back to normal ? What is normal now. I am saddened by how other people view tragedy. I can’t imagine to even think what normal was if I were in your shoes. I remember wishing the both of you happy anniversary to disbelief to see on fb what happened to Karen and her baby. I think as christians not to mention being a preacher people believe our hurt is not like theirs. We hurt we are angry we question ourselves and God. Knowing God we get through but we still feel pain like a nonbeliever. I am proud of you! You have come so much farther than I probably would be. Preacher or not you were a father and a husband .When you stand before God, Jesus will stand up and say father I know him and well pleased.

  2. The “pleasure….from encounters” comment made me physically ill. How dare anyone ever think that of a victim of rape, any age or gender? You are right. Stupid is not even close to her mentality. She is……? I do not have the words. Thank you for trusting your story to us.

  3. I can not imagine what you and your family has been through, it is obscene. You are a brave man for sharing this and I have a lot of respect for you. The Lord knows how you feel and that is what counts the most!

  4. Les, I have known you more years of my life than I haven’t. This reduced me to sobs that you and your family had to endure such evil. The devil is hard at work. You are such a good and faithful servent of God and this was the devils way of trying to bring you down. You are strong and you will over come. In the meantime, take a deep breath and know you have so many people that love you and are praying for you. Peace that passes all understanding ……

  5. Butch, I just want to hug you right now. I’m so sorry for all this horrible pain you have endured. You are an amazing man. I am praying for your family everyday.

  6. Les, we need to hear this story. I wrote a Tentpegs on “Miserable Comforters” a few months ago and it seems you have had more than your share of them. The hubris and ignorance of some Christians can be faith-destroying. I love you, brother. Always here for you.

  7. I am so sorry for the horrors your family has endured and for the ignorance you have had to put up with. Our daughter has mito and at age 5 is more like a one year old. What your son went through is the nightmare of every parent of a special needs child. I pray that God will continue to guide you through your journey of grief. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your struggles.

  8. I attend church in Murray where K & K served our campus ministry. No words I give could ever comfort what horrendous feelings you and your family must deal with daily. Please know that your family is being lifted up to God in prayer.

  9. Les, thank you for sharing your thoughts, feeling, beliefs… It is so easy for ministers, counselors, and friends to give the “appropriate” response/answer. And too many times these don’t even come close to what needs to be said/done. Because you are really opening up your life to all, your blog should be require reading for ministers, counselors, students… Bless you.

  10. Brother, I will never speak on Romans 8:28 again without thinking of you, and this. I don’t have words to express what I feel reading your story — awe at your courage in being willing to share it; inchoate grief and… and… I’m so so sorry.

  11. I can only try to imagine what it must be like for you to be writing all of this. A friend of mine who lost his daughter said it was like pulling scabs from a fresh wound. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  12. Butch,I have been praying for you on a daily basis. It has been a very long time since I have seen any of you all but I love you all. I am so sorry that all of this happened to you. I will continue to pray for the Lord to continue to strengthen you daily and to lead you and guide you.

  13. Brother, All I can say after reading your words, is, what a man of God you are. I will be praying for you! I learned of this from my friend, Patrick Mead.
    There are no words in my vocabulary to express my sorrow for some of the small minded people with whom you have had to deal.

  14. It is painful to READ your blog, YOUR story. God bless you with comfort and peace. You have my deep respect for your honesty and transparency. Love you and your family.

    Please keep writing.

  15. Les, I am Danny Dodd’s sister, I don’t know if you remember me or not. We were at SLCC together one summer, and I worked at MBC when your dad was the preacher at Kosciusko. I read with horror what happened to Karen and Cole. You were in my prayers from that moment on. I kinda compare what you are going through to our Saviour’s death on the cross. Being so far removed from the actual event, sometimes we gloss over the horror of his death. I think we sometimes don’t want to think about what a cruel death it was. Maybe people are trying to do that with Karen’s and Cole’s death to keep death from getting close to them. That is probably a very human reaction, but to think that Christians are being so insensitive to you and your family is just hard to bear. I will be in prayer for you and your family that you continue this journey back to whatever normalcy is for you now. God bless you.

  16. Les i love you my friend. You filled a void with Tyler when he was with Conner by teaching him to be a man. you spent time with him and filled that place that his dad walked away from. Unfortunately i know the pain of losing a son, but i do not know the pain of whats in. your head when you think.of what happened to Cole and Karen. i will never forget that day. when i drove up i knew…..i knew…..it is ingrained in my memory, the pain in your eyes when you looked at me and said theyre gone! The pain in Caseys little vouce screaming over and over….the sadness in Conners eyes. i wanted so badly to take your pain away. Cole was my.buddy, sitting next to me at church, holding my hand while we sang, and Karen….oh sweet Karen…..a sweet soul, i miss her laugh. please keep on this journey you are on, please keep writing, please know a lot of people are behind. you and love you. in the months following we talked many times. im.only a call.away…….i love you and i love Becki for being there for you.

  17. Still reading. Have read every word you’ve written, but am finding it difficult to respond in any intelligent way regarding some of the most extreme, absurd, crass & disgusting comments others have made to you, Les. They make me cringe & worry that I may have inadvertently said something to others in the past that might have hurt them, as well. I pray not & may I never do so knowingly in the future.

    Keep writing from your wounded heart & soul and I will keep reading & praying daily for you, as I have been doing for a long time now, but now with more ferver than ever. I send my prayers for you up to God’s throne through His holy Spirit within me, who Jesus promised would come in His absence to comfort us & speak for us when we have no words to convey what is in our hearts & minds.

    I’m feeling that is the dark place in which you currently reside, and hope my prayers, and the prayers of SO MANY others will somehow shine a light in you once again that will grow and reach out to all those who hurt & yearn for peace & wholeness.

    In Jesus Name. Shalom.

    Dee

  18. Les: Thank you for sharing. I am shocked to hear that a church member had the nerve to suggest that a rape victim actually enjoyed being raped. That is one of the most stupid things I have ever heard. And, let me guess, this no doubt came from the mouth of someone with a COLLEGE DEGREE! And interesting to hear that it was even suggested that it be “handled” with the monster himself. Wish I could have handled it with a rusty dull knife and the removal of several of the guys body parts followed by pouring alcohol on him! I remember hearing in a 12 step recovery program that in order to get rid of a resentment you should pray for the person you resent. One of the older gentlemen in the recovery group used to say, “Pray for them even if all you can pray is for them to have the coolest spot in HELL.” That is the only thing I can even consider praying about when it comes to that pervert Buckman! Keep writing Les….. love you brother, Rose

      • Many prayers for you&your family have gone up to God,from the moment I heard about Karen&Cole&the heartbreak you&your dear family has endured. I’m so sad to hear that several “foolish”people had such miserable things to say. So “thank-ful”that you&your family are having some good days&God’s “grace”&”peace” is beginning to be felt by you&yours. We mortals just can’t understand such evil. So glad that our “God”has promised to sort it out for us&that the pain we feel here is temporary. John 14.

  19. Les,I know your story through a family member that knows some of your family. As a human being,a sister in Christ,it has broken my heart to know what Karen&Cole endured, you&your family&Karens family have all gone through&still are. Please don’t allow any folks as foolish as some of those that had such ignorant things to say….be justified w/any of your energy for healing. Shame on them! Just know that many prayers are being lifted up on your behalf. So very “thank-ful”you&your family are having some good days. I know that no matter what “anyone”says,this cant be fixed. Just so “thank-ful that God will take care of all that breaks our hearts here. John 14

  20. You have the most remarkable story of True Faith and Recovery that I have ever heard!!! Les, I am so grateful to have met you today!

  21. Les, my wife and I listened to Joe Beam tonight at the Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop. He mentioned to us that you have this blog.
    Les, I am teaching a series of lessons on the Problem of Human Suffering, with the main focus on innocent people.
    Your story leaves me with bigger questions than I would have answers. Please forgive me for saying that your experience leaves me speechless, except to say that people who don’t know what to say to a suffering person can be so insensitive when they open their mouths or prove by their actions that the Lord isn’t really working in THEIR lives. I hate it that some just don;t understand deep violation such as you suffered.
    You will be touched in a powerful and abundant way as you begin to regain a meaningful life.
    Learning to Understand in Oklahoma, Ken Murrell

  22. I, likewise, heard your story at the Soul Winning workshop. Words cannot explain how I felt when I heard your story. I am not a stranger to heartache yet I know there has to be a better tomorrow. Please know that someone in a small rural Texas town will be praying for the inner peace that comes, even when the heartache lingers………

  23. I will never forget the moment I got the phone call about this. My heart shattered for your family and the people in Gulfport who loved your family so much. I too have been struggling for a couple of years with my faith…for tough reasons but none nearly as tough as yours, they can’t begin to compare. Mr. Bill sent me this blog and I am enjoying it so much. I do miss the people of OGCOC and GCBC, I probably won’t ever see them again on this earth but I do hope to reunite with them in Heaven, along with Ms. Karen and sweet Cole. Thank you for your words of strength, and for sharing your moments of human weakness. Please keep writing. Much love to you all.

  24. Les,

    As I read your story, one thing I feel compelled to say is that I am so sorry for the ridiculous, hurtful, untrue, evil things some claiming to be Christ-followers have said to you in the wake of all that happened with your family in 2011. Their comments are from Satan.

    Jesus grieves with you; He does not minimize your pain, criticize your past, or blame you in anyway for the evil that befell your family. When someone suggests these things, they are quite literally speaking for the Devil – the Accuser who wants to keep you from the only True Comfort there is, Jesus.

    I believe the Holy Spirit has sealed your eternal inheritance, once and for all, making Heaven your eternal destination. But that doesn’t mean the Devil doesn’t want to make this life as hellacious as possible for the rest of your earthly days.

    I am burdened that people who claim to represent the Church have been such easy tools for Satan to use to torment you. I am praying Satan will not be successful in baiting you through these people. I am praying the truth about who you are in Christ and who Christ Himself is will envelope you always. It will not take your pain away, but I hope it will prevent additional evil remarks from piling on the heartache.

    The Lord loves you so much, and He weeps with you as you mourn. And He whispers truth, “This is not your fault.”

  25. Dear Les;
    I am so very sorry for your loss of your wife and son. My husband and I have had to bury two children. No one should ever have to go through the pain you have endured. Four years ago my husband became very ill. The doctors suspected ALS and he was fired from the pulpit. At a time when we needed God’s family more than ever they fired us. God’s people can be so cruel. Here we sit 4 years later, my husband unable to work what he loved doing the most, teaching and preaching. The pain of what was done to us is still hard to bear but I have never given up on God. God’s people will fail us but not God himself. He walks with us every step no matter how horrible those steps are. God is bigger than yours and my questions. He is faithful and for that I am grateful! Your life will never be the same as you know and either will be mine. You are in my prayers brother.

  26. Brother, sir,
    I “know” you through Bro. EF’s (Edward Fudge) GracEmails. I am a fellow minister. I will not attempt to proffer anything nor offer up any type of “comfort” to you. I only say, “May God bless you and comfort you.” May God help you in His way. Personally, I think you are Lion of a man. To me, this is evidenced by your non-response to that “lady” and to others who said things that mere mortals (like me) might have done something really crazy to them, being a Christian/minister, notwithstanding. I simply ask that you keep on blogging; keep posting.

  27. I am so unspeakably sorry for your terrible loss. And as the wife of another ex-preacher, I want to say I understand, in some small part, how incredibly hurtful and wrong-headed and un-Christ-like our fellow “Christians” can be. My thoughts are prayers are with you.

  28. I have no words for you… other than that I am deeply sorry for your family and your pain and loss. I really appreciated reading your blog and seeing your transparency, and realness… That you admit your struggles with faith.

    As someone who has been through much less but… grew up in an abusive christian environment… where I struggle with God…. especially now, after I left as an adult and learned my friends who grew up with me in it, dealt with much more including incest, molestation and rape under the cloak of religion. And I can’t believe I didn’t see it, that I didn’t know it was going on. I mean I see now… The spiritual, physical and emotional psychological abuse was bad…. but my friends lived through even worse than that it… all of that was part of the grooming for them. And I still have a hard time reading my Bible sometimes…. Though for me it is partly because it is all tied in together… authoritarian teaching that was used to control and abuse and the Bible that was used to defend all of these horrible things.

    I really appreciate your baring your heart, grappling with faith as you share your story, and journey on the blog. Thank you for not trying to put up a front, a false mask, and pretend that you can go on. Thank you for not compromising your integrity and trying to fake it. To those of us who have really been hurt in the name of religion it means a lot.

  29. Les,
    I am so thankful to you and Becki for taking the time to come to Grenada and sharing your message with us. I can not begin to imagine or comprehend the grief and horror you and your family have been through! I especially want to thank you for expressing want we all have done …that is coping with our doubts and daring to question God! I don’t have words to comfort, no one does, but I just wanted to say thank you for verbalizing what we all have felt or will surely feel if we live long enough! Our church will never be the same after hearing your story! You will be forever in our prayers! Please come back when youn have opportunity.
    Loyd Mcgonagill
    Southside Church

  30. Hi Les. I came across a comment you left on Ron Edmonson’s blog and from that found yours. I don’t have the words to express my sorrow for what you have experienced. To endure such tragedy is beyond horrendous, and to do it in the limelight of the pulpit is doubly so. I want you to know how much I admire your courage and strength. I’ve actually just begun reading on the theology of suffering in order to prepare a preaching series for early next year. But it’s almost offensive to try to reduce it to a “theology,” isn’t it? The longer I pastor and walk with people through the journey of healing from abuse and other tragedies, the more aware I become that there are no neat and easy answers that make everything okay. Thank you for sharing your journey. I believe it will help many people.

  31. Sometimes when you are a Pastor and family — there are those in you church family that abuse you. My husband just returned to full time ministry after a 20 year absence and we are trying to adjust again to that reality. We have experienced nothing like you have gone through. I wonder how you are able to trust again to be able to minister. I suppose only by the grace and healing touch of Jesus.

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