Adventists have their clergy sexual abuse too

If you’ve already listened to Atheist Nomads Episode 2, then you can feel free to skip down to the bottom for an update on this story. For everybody else, this is just a brief summary and you can find discussion about it on the podcast.

I heard a fair amount about Dr. Samuel Pipim in college and even had to read parts of a compilation of essays he contributed to in the Seminary. The reason for this was that he was the major opponent of my college professor (and friend) Dr. Alden Thompson after he published his 1991 book, Inspiration: Hard Questions, Honest Answers.

On the one side, you had someone who acknowledged that there are factual errors and contradictions in the Bible, thought it valuable to try to understand a text within its historical context, and used metaphors to describe the way in which it was inspired. On the other side, you had people who preferred to ignore the factual errors and contradictions in the Bible, disregard historical context, and didn’t like his choice of metaphors.

Pipim was an engineer in Ghana when he joined the Adventist church and he quickly became a pastor. A few years later he went to Andrews University for graduate study at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary where he earned a doctorate in theology. He then stayed in Michigan working as a pastor and evangelizing to students at the University of Michigan. Like a lot of pastors, he also has done a lot of travel to various speaking engagements around the world.

In January 2011 he went to Botswana where he raped the college student who had organized his trip. While he didn’t use physical force, he was in a position of power over her and he had sex with her against her objections. Let’s be clear hear, if you use a position of power to have sex with someone over his or her objections, then it’s clearly not consensual and non-consensual sex is rape.

It wasn’t until May of last year that the young woman brought this to the attention of her pastor, but it quickly moved up the hierarchy to the division president over that part of the world who called Pipim on it. In response, Pipim resigned his ministerial credentials and his local congregation removed his membership.

The local pastor continued to work with and counsel Pipim and they had planned to rebaptize Pipim, thus readmitting him to the church, on 06/09/12. Two days before the scheduled baptism, some church members came to the pastor with information about another “moral failing”, for which I have no other details. After conferring with the conference president and Pipim, the baptism was canceled.

Now, more about these “moral failings,” it’s code for adultery. That is all that Pipim has admitted to, adultery. Pipim didn’t merely commit adultery and it wasn’t merely a “moral failing,” he raped a young woman and that’s criminal.

As I mentioned I would on the podcast, I have contacted Pipim and offered to help him raise the funds to return to Botswana where he can face criminal charges. Maybe after he’s done some hard time he return to his former church.

Here’s what I sent him using the contact form on his website:

As of yet, you have not admitted to nor apologized for your abuse of power that led to non-consensual sex. That is not merely adultery, it is rape. It’s not merely a moral failing, it is criminal.

I would like to help you make things right. However, the only way you can do this is by returning to Botswana and facing justice. To that end, I offer my assistance in raising funds for a one way ticket back, where you can be arrested and tried.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Dustin Williams

I’m not holding my breath for a response.

It’s nice to see that Adventists aren’t as quick to brush things under the rug as Catholics are, but a stronger response from the leadership would be nice to see. After all, Pipim has published two books, written several essays, and continues to travel and speak, all since his partial confession. This pathetic sack of shit hasn’t even taken a break to think about his actions or done a thing to even attempt to make things right.

Adventist Today
Spectrum 06/06/12
Spectrum 06/08/12

Thanks to B for the tip!


  1. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to
    see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but
    I had to share it with someone!

  2. Do you know if rape charges have been filed against Pipim by the young lady in Botswana or in this country (USA)? Every immoral act is not a crime.

  3. No, unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that. Not every immoral act is a crime, but forcing someone into non-consensual sex is rape, which is a crime.

  4. I’ve been in the Adventist church all my life and I have noticed that certain things are brushed under the rug in order to protect the name, leaving innocent people, usually young women, wounded and damaged. Numerous Pastors are known for being womanizers and cheaters but because they are gifted to preach and they are connected in what can only be described as a big boy’s club, they have to face no consequences for their behaviors. They are moved around to different parts of the country and they repeat their behavior. Young men get pulled into the mix through manipulation and domination by these charismatic and influential “leaders” who refer to themselves as “men of God” but behave like fraternity brothers. I don’t know how God feels about it, but I know what it does to people, I know that it is not fair or ethical. I know that it is not right and I wonder, just wonder what the end will be. I believe in forgiveness certainly, but I also believe that we are accountable for our behaviors and we ought to treat people with respect and dignity even if they are women.

  5. Pipim can only be convicted if legal action was taken, which you cannot know exactly. Its her choice and as such we have nothing to request of Pipim, since in our own church context we have disciplined him. Any other request, especially yours, i suspect to be mingled with bitter and hateful feelings.

  6. Pipim has been re-baptized in Ohio by a clergy friend from Georgia. Pipim’s home church is Ann Arbor, MI. He was baptized in a Ghanaian SDA church.
    One of the problems particular to the SDAs with Baptism or with re-Baptism once one has been removed, is that it accompanies with it re-instatement into church membership. It is NOT just a re-Baptism.
    This restoring membership and full rights as a member has a lot of SDAs not happy and very concerned regarding the future of Pipim and his contact with women and girls.
    With the Male Headship attitude of the SDA church, you are correct, there is an “Old Boy” network — it worked for his reBaptism. And it may work with his book writing, speaking engagements around the world [he still has his passport].
    I am a faithful SDA, but this has a lot of members VERY concerned.

  7. The attitude of the big brother in the parable of the prodigal is what most adventist have.They don’t accept the repentant sinner to be accepted back into the fold!

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