Home Christian News Investigative Reporter Julie Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Conference After Accusations...

Investigative Reporter Julie Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Conference After Accusations of ‘Spiritual Abuse’

What this year’s conference won’t include is its founder, host, and speaker, Julie Roys.

Roys announced last Friday that she made the difficult decision to step down from both leading and speaking at the conference due to something she wrote in her book, “Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood,” which released in 2017.

In the book, Roys details her obsession with helping a high school senior girl who identified as a lesbian. The girl was part of her church’s youth group when Roys was a youth leader. Roys was in her mid-thirties and had been married to her husband, Neal, for almost 15 years with two children. Roys called the relationship with the student “dysfunctional,” and wrote that it made her “confused and distraught.”

While describing her relationship and her intense desire to rescue the troubled teen, Roys explained that she “didn’t want to give up the relationship. I became emotionally hooked, and the thought of ending the relationship killed me. Deep down I knew something was seriously wrong, but I didn’t want to admit it.”

“I didn’t know how or why I had gotten so emotionally entangled with someone so incredibly dysfunctional and needy,” Roys said. “But I knew our relationship was unhealthy and dangerous. I needed to get help.”

The excerpt from Roys’ book started circulating among social media outlets in early April, prompting the author to respond.

Roys released a statement expressing regret for how she framed the story and apologized for how it may have “hurt so many on so many levels. I am especially sorry for how it may have hurt Sarah [the teenage girl in her story].”

The investigative reporter said it was “one of the most painful times in my life” and explained her reasoning for sharing the story. “I shared the story because it showed how I had failed to help a troubled teen because I had not first dealt with my own issues. And by telling the story, including my own missteps and subsequent journey to healing and wholeness, I had hoped to encourage others to recognize their own issues and do similar work.”

Others saw Roys assigning blame to a teenager who at one time had been a student in a ministry she helped lead. She admitted that it should have been obvious to her that, as a youth leader, she held a position of power. “I regret I didn’t see this at the time I wrote the book,” Roys said.

Roys said that she reached out to a professional to help her process anything left from her painful memory and any blinders that may remain.

“Thank you to those who have pointed out these painful truths to me,” she concluded in her apology informing her followers that she had pulled her book from her website and Facebook page, and is in discussions with her publisher for the appropriate next steps to take regarding how she framed the story.

A couple weeks later, Roys tweeted, “In a desire to be sensitive to the survivor community, I’ve made the difficult decision to step down from leading and speaking at the upcoming Restore Conference.” Roys said she prays her decision brings healing and shared a letter she sent to all those who registered for the conference.

Previous articleShould We Take a ‘Winsome Approach’ to Culture? Christians Debate If Tim Keller’s ‘Moment Has Passed’
Next articleChildren’s Ministries Help These 25 Largest U.S. Churches Thrive
Jesse is the Content Editor for ChurchLeaders and Site Manager for ChristianNewsNow. An undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 4 beautiful children. He serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. Follow him on twitter here (https://twitter.com/jessetjackson). Accredited member of the Evangelical Press Association.