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New Evidence Shows Miller Valley Baptist Church Secretary Told ARBCA Investigators in 2000 that Tom Chantry Would “Take People’s Children & Hurt Them Without Cause & Enjoy Doing It.”

This revealing letter was written by Tom Chantry’s secretary at Miller Valley Baptist Church for the ARBCA Informal Council comprised of Marcus “Mike” McKnight (prominent lawyer), Tedd Tripp (renowned counselor), and Rich Jensen (former homicide detective).  It is dated December 15, 2000.  Their internal church investigation of Chantry’s crimes was in process (Dec. 13-16).  ARBCA is the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America.  I’ve replaced actual names with pseudonyms in italic print.  

Tom Chantry should never have been ordained to the ministry.  His influential father, Walt Chantry, got him the job at Miller Valley Baptist Church (MVBC) out of seminary according to Tom’s testimony during the July-August 2018 trial.  Bob Selph should never have allowed this to happen.  Selph should have tested Chantry’s character (1 Tim. 3:10; 5:22) before recommending him to the church as his replacement in 1995.  Tom was completely unqualified to lead the church in terms of his personal character.  Walt also set aside his Bible teaching and writings on the character qualifications of Scripture by commending his reproachful son to ministry (1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6-7).  

From the beginning, Tom Chantry’s pronounced anger, arrogance, authoritarianism, and anti-social behavior were evident to everyone!  What a tragedy!  Three weeks after he arrived, he punched 12 year old, Mitch Jones in the face and knocked him to the ground for squirting him in fun with a water gun at the July 4 church picnic.  It was just one of his infamous “temper tantrums.”  Tom Chantry “did not live what he preached.” 

Here is Connie A. Laver’s letter to McKnight, Tripp and Jensen.  She is the sister of Connie S. Laver and aunt of Daniel Ladner.  I’ve added notes and underlining.  


Letter to Informal Council
December 15, 2000

Preacher-probably the best I have ever heard.  But I say it with a qualifying statement; I did not see him live out what he preached.  He did get better about having temper tantrums, but he did not live what he preached.  He was masterful in teaching and preaching; but it did not go from his head to his heart for the people.  He preached to us about caring for one another, not lying, not defrauding each other, and treating each other kindly (a whole series through the book of Proverbs).  He taught us on Biblical manhood and womanhood, and yet he treated women with disdain.  He hated to teach youth and children; they were a terrible annoyance to him.  He really acted as if he only put up with us so he would have someone to preach to; but that otherwise, he didn’t care for us.  I asked him this in our meeting with him, and he could not say that he loved us. 

[Note: He was a heartless hypocrite and abusive pastor who didn’t like or care for people.  He taught about truthfulness and kindness while he habitually lied and mistreated members.] 

Gave me some very good counsel; and for him was very kind and flexible when I needed to work 2 jobs-Also gave me some very poor counsel (about going back to Warren, about talking to people that others would refer to me for help) 

I have also done nothing but praise his preaching and would talk to the ladies in Bible study about his sermons; I didn’t know at that time, but several of the ladies were not able to listen to him anymore because of his attitude.  This only came out as a result of a conversation with a couple of the ladies, they said they couldn’t understand his sermons.  As they tried to talk with him about their concerns, he would turn the tables on them and make their concerns their faults.  As their families fell off from attending, he would take away their responsibilities, and alienate them further.  I believe that if he would have pursued them instead of writing them off, they would not have had such a hard time.  He would take them off the rotation to read, pray, substitute teach, work in the nursery or do anything. 

[Note: He was arrogant, unteachable, and vindictive.  He punished anyone who crossed him.]

I have had him in my home on numerous occasions with a variety of people, because he does better with a small group.  I knew he didn’t know our people and I thought to have him over with people would be helpful for him. I don’t think he ever said 10 words to Margie, (a woman I spent a lot of time with in the last 2 years who is lost).  She didn’t hear any word of encouragement from him, and she needed it badly.  I have had several lost people in my home when he was there, and he just ignored them

[Note: Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  A true shepherd rescues lost sheep, looks for lost coins, and recovers lost sons (Luke 15).  Chantry “just ignored them.” That has been the near universal testimony about him.] 

I have tried since he came here to help him develop relationships by explaining our people to him, cautioning him about taking care in certain situations that I thought needed some help with (birthdays, illness, feelings - after Tom would say something that would hurt or befuddle people, they would come to me, and I would make excuses for him, and then try to tell him about them and try to mention the situation, so that he would take care and make an effort to know the people preached to).  I should have never played middleman-but unfortunately; I have done it all my life. 

I believe that Tom is missing this whole area of his life.  He does not know how to have a relationships with people.  Simple things, like just talking with people to show that he is interested in them.  He does not listen; he always needs to be the one talking (I  know, I have the same flaw).  I have seen him steamroll over people who were trying to have a conversation with him, cut off the conversation and leave the room, making everyone feel very uncomfortable.  Then they would say, “I don’t think our pastor likes me.”  

[Note: These are the exact same things I heard from members of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin where he “pastored” from 2006-2016 until arrested and incarcerated.  Nothing changed since his years at MVBC from 1995-2000.] 

He is very authoritarian-not in the way he preaches, but in every other detail.  It had to be his way or the highway-and he literally treated people this way.  If they didn’t like the way he said it would be, then they could leave.  And he would remark, “they were never really a part of us anyway.”  This remark was made on at least 6 occasions that I can remember.  On several occasions when people were having trouble with him, he would comment that they were in sin. 

[Note: The lay elders and members of MVBC erred in allowing Chantry to dominant and lord it over them.  He should have been fired.  Spiritual abuse is often a sign of spousal or child abuse.] 

I have never heard him say he was sorry to anyone. He would explain why he did something, but it was always a reason; he never took responsibility for hurting anyone’s feelings, or having a temper tantrum, or throwing people out of his office, or kicking or hitting his dog for no reason; becoming angry in public and embarrassing people in public places, or for making hurtful remarks, or for just being wrong--

[Note: Chantry was kicking and hitting his dog for no reason just like he was beating children for no reason except his wicked pleasure.  How could Tom Lyon, Mark McCormick, Al Huber, and Dale Smith allow this man to preach in 2001 or be in traveling ministry in 2004 or pastor a church in 2006?  These sinful patterns were evident to everyone.  And how could David Dykstra (co-author) and Earl Blackburn (forward) let Chantry participate in writing a book about the history of Reformed Baptists knowing he was a child abuser?]  

Treated me personally
Phone humiliation with his dad [Walt Chantry]
Phone manners (too nice)

Treated the body [the church]
Mailings; Jeanie, Gerry (birthday), Sandy, Mel (wouldn’t let people help with sorting)
Book mailing and the phone-me answering and him trying to take the phone away-Jason talking to him in his office

Meal Preparation
Meals on wheels - would not even speak when he entered a room full of people.  Doris Brunner, then a prospective member, asked why he never spoke to anyone when he came in.  She asked “Doesn’t he even say good morning?”  She mentioned to me on several occasions that he needed to become more friendly.
When we were preparing [Meals on Wheels], on more than one occasion, we needed tracts to put into the bags, and he hadn’t gotten any for us.  We would call (I knew from the beginning that he didn’t want anyone over at his house [the parsonage on the church property], so I always called) or go over to the house [from the church office] to ask what he wanted us to do, and he would not answer the door, but as soon as we left he would get in his car with Reggie, his dog, and speed out of the parking lot and not return until we were all gone.  I must admit that this accelerated to the point that on one  occasion someone knocked on every door and window of the house, and on another occasion, one of the youth actually went into his home and called for him.  I know this sounds silly, but we could not get him to answer us for anything, but he was very particular about what tracts went into the meals, so we were trying to get his help. (He told me how he used to park around the comer at the clinic and sneak over the back fence and into his house so no one would know be was home.)  And he expressed to me and several others on a Wednesday evening following prayer meeting that if one more person came over to his house during meals on wheels to get tracts, he would take out his shotgun and shoot them.  He was so mad about this; it became a joke, but one we all took seriously.  This was another way that he let people know he did not want them bothering him at his home. 

[Note: He actually hated being with people.  The exact opposite of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who was the servant of all at all times with joy.  I have no doubt Chantry would “take out his shotgun and shoot them…seriously.”  I’m sure he would like to murder me and others who have exposed him and prosecuted him.  He is a danger to society.  That is why we have prisons.] 

Probably the worst thing I experienced with Tom was how he humiliated people.  First me with his father on the phone (witnessed by my son, son-in-law, and Chris Monroe); Treatment of Pat over the coffee; the public humiliation of the Monroe brothers, his cavalier treatment of visitors, Gerry (her 75th birthday party).  He completely ran her off from helping in the office.  Shorty [Eric Owens, the lay elder] in Sunday School; Bob at our 50th anniversary; me over the job situation; I have seen him humiliate Rich [Howe, the lay elder] when Rich was leading music, Pam when playing the piano–I know I have personally tried to cover for him with every woman in this congregation except one. 

[Note: Chantry found pleasure in humiliating people.  I can’t comprehend how McKnight, Tripp, and Jensen could cover-up for him having this kind of information.  He should have been excommunicated, removed from ministry and reported to the police.  If that had been done, the victims and families would have been spared 20 years of misery.] 

He rarely called or visited anyone when in the hospital or when sick.  I would call and find out how they were and let him know; but he would balk if I mentioned him visiting-I thought I was being a nag, so I said nothing more, just kept letting him know about people. 

[Note: People from Christ Reformed Baptist Church (2006-2016) told me the same thing.  You could be very sick in the hospital and Chantry would not visit or call.  When Tom Lyon preached at Chantry’s installation as pastor in 2006, he exhorted the people to leave him alone to his study and not to bother him.  It was absolutely reprehensible!  See Ten-Part Series, pp. 147-148 for documentation.  Tom Lyon is like Tom Chantry.  That is why Chantry fled to his church in Washington state.] 

Prayer Chain
He hated the prayer chain.  I have since found out that when he was in charge of starting the prayer chain, he would pick and choose who he would call for [to receive prayer] and what he deemed was a reasonable request.  People have come to me and said “I called it for the prayer chain”-after no one had gotten the message [to prayer], Tom admitted he hadn’t started the prayer chain. 

[Note: Chantry “hated the prayer chain.”  That says it all.  People would request prayer of Chantry but he would not utilize the prayer chain.] 

Prayer Requests
He also was like a spring ready to spring all over the room when people brought up requests that he thought were too lengthy or inappropriate.  He had a strict criteria of what we could ask for prayer for. (Our church is very careful about this in the first place, we don’t have people asking to have prayer over a hangnail)  He spent a long time teaching us how to make requests, what was a reasonable request for a Wednesday night, etc.  We became very careful about what we would ask prayer for.  I know I myself have struggled with needing to ask for prayer, but have just waited until the small group so I could feel comfortable. 

[Note: What a Pharisee!  He is beating and molesting children but concerned about “strict criteria” for prayer requests.] 

He also would make people feel embarrassed when he would ask questions; they would answer, but he would be looking for specific answers and so people would begin not to answer anymore, so that every experience would be the same, Tom would speak, no one would have the nerve to try to answer fearing they would be wrong. 

We had other prospective members who joined in on the conversation on a Wednesday evening and Tom was ready to completely revise the Wednesday evening service so that he could do all the talking and keep newcomers from saying anything.  (He felt this was dangerous to the church-that someone from the outside might say something to upset our theology-when they didn’t understand where we are coming from).  We spoke about this at length one day at work.  I was shocked but he decided to listen to me about people who come to church, they almost give a resume of their Christian service, so that you will know where they are coming from. (very common in my experience). 

[Note: Chantry was obsessed with doctrinal purity (as determined by him) but lawless and reprobate in how he lived.] 

l have to say that in spite of these things I have mentioned to you, we tried to give him every benefit of the doubt.  We excused his behavior on his age, that he wasn’t married, so he didn’t know how to treat women.  We said, “He is such a good preacher.”  And we put up with more than we should have.  Tom was intimidating; I have seen him decimate people when they tried to approach him on issues.  He is so intellectual that he has used it to intimidate people.  I know that I took these same concerns to Rich [Howe] on several occasions.  Tom actually did get better, but he needed to cross some major hurdles.  I am convinced, having worked so closely with him, that he isn’t just spiritually prideful, he truly lacks the ability to relate to or understand people.  He is very one dimensional, he can preach and teach, but he lacks the ability to see the hurt that he has perpetrated on this body.

[Note: The members and elders enabled Chantry out of fear, a wrong understanding of forgiveness, and a misguided application of grace.   Chantry was inhuman.  His self-love consumed him and destroyed the most basic human instincts to care for others.  That’s because he worshipped himself and expected the same from everyone else.  People existed for his sinful pleasure.  That included children.] 

And after knowing our family’s history of abuse, to take people’s children and hurt them without cause, and enjoy doing it, is incomprehensible.  I believe he needs real help; I do not know what would cause this type of treatment of children, but he is an adult and responsible for his actions.  As I said before, I have never seen him take responsibility for anything he has done.  There is always a reason. 

[Note: Connie A. Laver is not only the church secretary.  She is also Daniel Laver’s aunt.  Daniel was viciously and repeatedly beaten and molested by Chantry.  Connie A. had this information from her sister, Connie S.  It is incomprehensible to any normal person, that Chantry would “take people’s children and hurt them without cause, and enjoy doing it.”  She knew Chantry was a sadistic child abuser and that is what she wrote McKnight, Tripp and Jensen.  She asks, “What would cause this type of treatment of children”?  That is a good question to ask Tom’s father, Walt.  How did Tom develop such fierce pride and intense rage under his father’s tutelage?  How did he become a sociopathic liar and child abuser by the age of 25?  Was Tom physically or sexually abused?  The answer is likely yes.  By whom, we do not know.] 

lf he truly loved us as a pastor, he would have cared about us.  He would have listened to our concerns.  He would have been concerned when we were not there; he would have inquired about our health when we were ill; he wouldn’t have left us like he did, with a cold [resignation] letter and still not taking on the responsibility for his actions. 

[Note: No comment necessary.] 

It saddens me to know that he is really not repentant over the damage he has done to this body that forgave from the heart his actions to the children and to ourselves. 

[Note: No one from ARBCA has ever gotten back to the children, families, or members of Miller Valley Baptist Church to ask forgiveness, make reparations, or express care for all they damage they have done. Not Tom or Walt Chantry.  Not Blackburn, Dykstra, McKnight, Tripp, Jensen or Selph.  Not anyone.] 

Connie A. Laver


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