Since becoming aware of more abuse allegations against Harold Herr, in the past 8 months, I have been trusted with deeply personal communication from those making the allegations, and dating back many years. In particular, I have read numerous letters, emails and various communications written by Harold’s son, Daniel. Communication that was never intended to see the light of day; it was the ‘behind the scenes’ conversations and pleas, written in private. It is in those conversations where we are most likely to show our truest colours. And it is here I saw Daniel’s heart.
I asked Daniel for permission to share parts of that communication (posted after the letter to CAM’s supporters), dating back many years. I requested this because I want the public to see that the compassion he expressed for his father in the letter is the compassion he expressed in private conversation as well over the years. It is not a ploy. It is genuine. Daniel granted that request, though does not know in advance what I will share; a trust I do not take lightly.
First, I will share his letter to CAM and LIFE Literature. Daniel is a professional who has held the highest office in the field of mental health in the state of Virginia, and has worked closely with sex offenders and sex abuse victims. His care and compassion in this letter are consistent with all communication I have read, written by him.
To survivors of trauma and atrocities, and those with especially sensitive hearts, please be aware that the letter addressing supporters of Christian Aid Ministries and LIFE Literature shares in somewhat graphic (though not sexually explicit) details a few glimpses of the abuse allegations against Harold Herr by his son Daniel Herr.
The first evidence from the past is a letter Daniel wrote in 1990 to undisclosed recipients. I share this as evidence of his motivation from the start to prevent the risk of others being victimized. While much has been redacted to protect intimate and private details, I am sharing the letter in Daniel’s own writing rather that typing out quotes, to preserve authenticity, dates and his own words. (EDIT: For clarity: To my knowledge this letter was not sent to CAM or LL at any point. They were not listed as recipients. Since I cannot confirm this with Daniel until tomorrow, I am adding this note to avoid confusion):
The following is a letter Daniel wrote in 1998. It verifies his profession, and it also shows his compassion, as well as how and why he disclosed the abuse he suffered. (EDIT: For clarity: To my knowledge this letter was not sent to CAM or LL at any point. They were not listed as recipients. Since I cannot confirm this with Daniel until tomorrow, I am adding this note to avoid confusion): :
The process of arriving at sharing this information publicly has not been easy for Daniel. Pray for him as you process all of this, keeping in mind what this does to someone who is compassionate, yet speaking publicly out of a sense of duty.
Last Sunday in worship, the song, “Not I but through Christ in me” unravelled me. The burden of this calling weighed heavy. Trust. My word this year. I do trust God. He has not called me to abandon me. He has not called me to destruction. He is shaking things up. He is shattering. But He is shattering for the promise of Jeremiah 31, to rebuild that which is torn down. It is a painful beautiful shattering. One that at moments crushes my heart… So I stood there in worship and let the tears fall as I prayed.
This morning. we had a quiet 3-part congregational prayer. I’ll be honest, I was distracted as the pastor gave instructions for the first part, so I sat there and had a wee moment with God that was not likely remotely close to the recommended use of time. In the second part, I unburdened my heart. I pled with God to bring truth fully to light in this situation. I am not God. I do not propose to know the answers. But I do trust His heart. So I prayed that Harold Herr would “remember and acknowledge any wrongdoing” so that he and others can heal. My heart cried out to God to redeem the horror so many have suffered. My prayer includes those in the peripheral; the friends and family of those who have offended, who are shocked or simply don’t believe it is possible, and friends of victims. My prayer includes the church, broadly, as we come to terms with what we have allowed to happen, through apathy and silence, on ‘our watch’. We need to repent. All of us.
In the third part of quiet we were encouraged to just sit in the presence of God and hear Him speak. To listen, quietly. So I did. And I started with, “If there was something You wanted to say to me, what would You say? How would You speak?”
Silence. Nothing. Nada.
So I asked, “Would I even know when You speak?”
Silence. For just a moment.
And then a still voice whispered, “My sheep know my voice.”
Followed by a pause.
Then, “I love truth. It is Who I am.”
I pray constantly, daily, in every moment, for truth. My life’s prayer is for truth to come, for truth to be revealed. Because truth always brings freedom. Always.
So, in closing, I offer two songs of hope that are my prayer for you all:
BROKEN VESSELS: God is the master of redeeming broken pieces and bringing beauty from brokenness. This is true for everyone who is victimized. It is true for everyone who has victimized…. When we take ownership of our wrongs, God redeems. It’s truth. It’s Who He is. It’s what He does.
IF IT’S AMAZING GRACE: “If it’s amazing grace, let it do what it does. It can reach far beyond anything we have done…. I know my heart’s been changed, by this amazing grace.”
The offender needs grace. The victims need grace. You need grace. I need grace.
Apart from the grace of God, I couldn’t do what I do. I would crumble, burn out and lose myself to cynicism and see God very differently than the kind God who walks gently with us. But, because of grace, I find His hope in the hell of what I see and here. I trust He is doing what I cannot fathom, for I would not have chosen my calling. I would not choose, humanly, to expose what I expose. I do it because I am compelled to, not because I love to.
I trust God will bring something beautiful out of the chaos.
• Jeremiah 31 •
• Ezekiel 37 •
~ T ~
Trudy offers conferences for survivors of abuse, and training to equip churches and the community in caring for victims and offenders. If you would like to inquire about having a conference or training in your area, send an inquiry via Contact Trudy. To support Generations Unleashed, the charity she works for, Donate Here.
SURVEY: Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse: If you are/were CA and have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you.
I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.
© Trudy Metzger
Daniel, thank you for speaking up and for caring about the well-being of others. I wish I had something more profound to say, but I don’t. So just thank you for your courage and your compassion.