Book Review: "Things Pondered," Beth Moore's story of adopting a boy and giving him back

Beth Moore published a book in 2004 called, Things Pondered: From the Heart of a Lesser Woman. It is a book of vignettes and poetry, recollections and descriptions of the various events in Beth Moore's life from young womanhood as a bride through early days of her marriage, becoming a mother, and her adopted son. This book review pertains to the kindle version. Moore's words from the book are in italics.

~Beth Moore & Privacy~

For all of Beth Moore's outward seeming openness, her frequent discussions about herself, her thoughts, trials, self-esteem issues, sexual molestation, motherhood, and hysterectomy, she rarely if ever speaks of the fact that she adopted a son at his age of 4 and then at age 11 gave him back to the birth mother.

Her public persona is one which creates a (false) sense of intimacy with women, of being open and transparent. Her books and conferences strive to create an atmosphere of a slumber party, sharing secrets, and giggling over the love of our Groom Jesus. But when it comes time to be transparent in one-on-one situations, Moore is quite zipped up. Moore is "closely protected by assistants who allow very few media interviews. After several interview requests from CT, her assistants allocated one hour to discuss her latest book and ask a few questions about her personal life. Each question had to be submitted and approved beforehand, I was told, or Moore would not do the interview. Follow-up interview requests were declined. I was permitted to see the ground level of her ministry, where workers package and ship study materials. But Moore's third-floor office, where she writes in the company of her dog, was off limits." (Christianity Today)

There is some curiosity from people regarding the little-known topic of the son Moore adopted, named Michael. Though Things Pondered is about other events in Moore' life too, the bulk of it is about Michael, and so will this review.


The title of the book refers to Mary's thoughts when the angel told her she would bear a Son. (Luke 2:19). Moore speculates on what Mary was thinking, the nuts and bolts of Mary's ponderings. Such speculations are not good and not bad. It all depends on the point of view from which they make the speculation. Moore is a contemplative navel gazer who talks about herself constantly and thus her p.o.v. stems from herself. Therefore the thoughts she imagines Mary to be thinking were also about herself. To wit:

"In that moment a host of memories must have been dancing in her head. The angel's appearance. His words. Her flight to the hill country of Judea. Elizabeth's greeting. Their late-night conversations. The first time she saw her tummy was rounding. Joseph's face when he saw her. The way she felt when he believed. The whispers of neighbors, the doubts of her parents. The first time she felt the baby move inside her. The dread of the long trip. The reality of being full-term, bouncing on the back of a beast. The first pain. The fear of having no place to birth a child. The horror of the nursery. The way it looked. The way it smelled. ...The following is my response to her worthy example."

Except, that in reading the things Moore believes Mary was pondering, you would never know Mary was bearing the Son of God.

Here is the same verse with a mature preacher of the word also speculating on what Mary was pondering. Please compare.

"It [verse 19] takes us into the heart of Mary. It says, "But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." This is just mulling them over, contemplating them deeply. She went much deeper, believe me, than the amazed people in verse 18. I mean, this is just...this is just beyond comprehension. Here is a 13- or 14-year old girl, she's looking into a feed trough and she's seeing there a baby that's come out of her womb. She's never known a man. This baby was conceived and born without ever knowing a man. This baby is the Son of the Most High God. This baby is the rightful heir to the throne of David. This baby is the Savior of the world. This baby is the anointed Messiah. This baby is God, the Lord.

I mean, it's all so mind-boggling in the common world of human beings. Mary must have wondered, you know, when is He going to start saying profound, theological things? Tomorrow? Is He going to do miracles? What's going to happen here? What am I to expect out of this child? Will I have a normal relationship with this child that a mother has to a baby? Will I nurse this child as mothers do? Will I raise this child as mothers do? What will this child be like? And when will He enter into His glory? When will He take His Kingdom? When will that all happen? And how am I going to be a mother to a child that is God? She must have wondered all those kinds of things. Must have wondered even about discipline, setting an example. How do you set an example for God? I mean, anything that would come into a mother's mind must have come into her mind. She just pondered it. She just thought deeply about it. And she thought deeply about God's redemptive purpose and how God had promised a Savior and a Savior had finally come." (source)

Moore instills self-ponderings in Mary. They are self-focused. Dr MacArthur's are Jesus-centered. So if Moore is following "Mary's worthy example" as she stated the purpose of the book to be, you see the focus of the book is off-kilter already.


In Things Pondered, Moore says she and her husband wanted a son but several years passed and they assumed they were not going to receive one. Then on February 14, 1990 the Lord answered their prayer and her husband “gave the gift of a boy” for Valentine’s Day.

In her 2005 memoir, Feathers from My Nest, Moore said her husband saw "urgent needs of a certain little boy that "could really use a home." ... We were oblivious, I had nothing but romance in my eyes. Happily ever afters. Utter certainty that love will conquer all."

I searched for clarity in the book and got none. On one page Moore said Michael was “orphaned”, on the next she said that his birth parents “gave up on each other and on him”, and that the “marriage of his second guardians collapsed”. After 7 years, Moore says the mother (Anne) “resurfaced,” even though she was "a close family member", “strongly desiring” her son back. However, there was no mention of any legal proceeding nor any custody battle, even though she consistently said in the book that they had adopted him. Chapter 3 is called “The Adoption.” On page 54 Moore said she sat in a restaurant with Anne and after assurances that this was what Anne wanted, Moore said that Anne “granted him to us.”

Moore says his birth mother was "a close relative" named Anne. No other details, but later in the book Moore said that “I didn’t love him like an aunt... I loved him like a mother.” Perhaps the boy is her sister’s son.

Very early on Moore says the family saw the emergence of Michael’s angry behavior. She said she “envisioned the adoption to be a glorious romance” but was instead the family became increasingly traumatized by his “fits of violence and anger”. There were many school disciplinary hearings, and many nights Moore and her husband were at a loss on how to deal with him. In his 4 short years prior to being adopted by the Moores, she wrote he was continuously abandoned, abused, neglected, and had Child Protective Services intervening on a rotating basis. When Michael entered the Moore home at age 4, it wasn't long before they knew they had a long haul on their hands. Fear of abandonment again raised its head while during the day he refused to cry, laugh, or love. Yet at night he insisted on falling asleep by holding Moore’s head and chanting “Mommy please don’t leave me.” Finally Moore said they were “stretched to the point of ripping”.
Screen shot from "Things Pondered" by Beth Moore
It's more than unsettling to see a woman who had committed to adopt a boy but then lay down conditions for his continued residence, which if not adhered to would result in giving him back. More unsettling still is that Moore set the condition very early on in Michael's tenure. Most unsettling to me is the way she phrased it- "he refuses to be helped," putting the onus onto the boy.

Here is a similar real-life case from a couple of months ago. Please compare.

"Ohio Couple, Give Back Adopted Son After 9 Years "
"An Ohio couple who authorities say returned their 9-year-old adopted son to the county after raising him since infancy have been charged with abandoning the child...the parents said the boy has aggressive behaviors and would not agree to get help....County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Thursday that he doesn't usually seek indictments in misdemeanor cases but views this as "reckless" abandonment. "When you are the parent and you recklessly abandon a child or children, there are criminal consequences," Gmoser said. "These children don't have a return-to-sender stamp emblazoned on their forehead." ... "If your 9-year-old needs help, you get him help," Olivas told the newspaper. "It is not a question of a 9-year-old wanting it or not."

In the book, Moore explains in the next scene that her husband convinced her to let Michael stay. A short while later Moore was complaining in her book again. She said Michael “needed more than they had.” She asked “Why hadn’t God given him to parents who really knew what they were doing? Who didn’t have such demanding lives already? Who didn’t have other children?

They decided to stick with it and just and love him. They kept him for 7 additional years and his behavior slowly but inconstantly improved. Cut to years later-

Screen shot from "Things Pondered" by Beth Moore
It is hard to gain a settled clarity as to the what the author is saying, when one reads a sentence that says they knew they needed to find someone else, not them, to help Michael, and in the next sentence that "to their shock and utter dismay, God confirmed" that Michael needed to go.

If you add up the timing, when Moore says Michael's alarming behaviors surfaced he was approaching pre-adolescence. If he was "granted" to the Moores at age 4 and they returned him 7 years later at age 11, then the approaching preadolescence must mean age 10. He was at most 10 when he evidenced behaviors that alarmed them.

She wrote this book ten years ago, but Moore refuses to add to the narrative or be any more open than she already has been. Though Moore has famously been open and clear about other situations in her life that are equally as emotionally difficult to discuss, such as her self-esteem issues, her sexual molestation and her hysterectomy, Moore adamantly refuses to discuss with any clarity or detail about the Michael issue. In her book published a year later titled Feathers from My Nest, Moore said the adoption engendered "complexities of circumstance and emotions like nothing I have ever known" (unlike sexual molestation?) and that she is "fiercely and unapologetically private about it" but she "could not possibly write about my children without writing about all my children...even one who was only “mine for a season.

So there is another internal inconsistency that fails to clarify the situation and instead muddies it further. 'I'm private about Michael but I could not possibly NOT write about him.'

Other statements in Things Pondered don't add up. For example, was Michael orphaned as stated on page 27? Or abandoned as stated on page 35 and 41? Did the mother "strongly desire” her child returned, or did she demand “custody”? Was it a legal "adoption" as stated on page 29 or private matter of a family temporarily taking in one of their own as described on page 54?

Moore’s whole book, and subsequent responses to inquiries about him could be reduced to an easy one paragraph with clear language and Christian transparency: “My sister Anne couldn’t handle being a mother so I agreed to raise her son as my own. Seven years later Anne got her life together and wanted Michael back. With a mixture of sadness and relief, we gave him up. To this day we still aren’t sure if it was the right decision.”

See how easy it is to be transparent and clear?

How did it all turn out? Moore said Michael is now a tattoo artist covered in tattoos and that she is very, very proud of him.

Moore's penchant to be overly dramatic in her live studies carries over to Things Pondered. Kim at Upward Call blog said this of Moore and I agree,

"My personal reaction to Moore may not be the same as others. She is overly emotional and dramatic. I find that tedious. I don't want tear-jerking stories. I want the Word of God. I don't want forced allegorizations; I want to know God more. Her style, I'm told, is quite dynamic. I listened to a few of her broadcasts. I don't care for her "dynamic" style. I am immediately on guard with speakers who rely on their dynamism. Let's say Moore goes through a personal trial and she loses her edge. Let's say she becomes rather mild and sedate. What will she be relying on then?"

"One of the best speakers I have ever heard is S. Lewis Johnson. He spoke with such a calm, quiet, authoritative tone and manner. I learn so much from him. A bible study should NOT rest on the strength of the speaker; it ought to rest with the strength of how God's Word is presented and explained. When we rely on style alone, it becomes a matter of taking the Scripture and adjusting it to make us look more dynamic."

The same is true of Things Pondered. From the opening explanation I was disappointed. Moore's perspective of Mary's ponderings unfortunately showed the shallowness and earthliness of Moore's own ponderings. Her hyper-drama, the soaring language of forced dynamism, the promise of transparency but ultimately the muddiness of the issue of her son, I was hoping to learn more about the adoption issue and like all of Beth Moore's material, simply came away with less understanding and more questions.

In conclusion, the book is not something I enjoyed. Moore's foundational perspective I'd described, being from herself about herself, to herself, is circular. It ultimately excludes Jesus. And if you don't believe Moore is not Jesus-focused, a simple look at the numbers will tell you. In Things Pondered, she mentions Jesus 8 times. She mentions God 117. My recommendation is to ponder no further and read a better memoir.

Tim Challies reviewed and recommends the following books for women:

Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman
The big question Furman explores is simply this: How does the gospel change the way a woman lives out her calling as a homemaker?

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner. Wagner’s concern is for women to embrace their “fierce” qualities and to use them for God’s glory instead of for destructive ends.

Desperate by Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae - This one is written especially for the mother of young children.

Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan, Susan Hunt - Duncan and Hunt focus specifically on the unique opportunities women have to serve in the life of the local church.

One popular book for women [Challies] does not recommend is Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl.

Challies recommends you get to know these women (biographies):

Lady Jane Grey by Faith Cook. Here is the short, tragic life of Lady Jane Grey.

John & Betty Stam by Vance Christie. Christian martyrs who sparked a great resurgence of missionary fervor.


  1. Hey Elizabeth, you just wonder about all the damage that she is doing in this large ministry to women and hope and pray that she will come to her senses.
    This is why we need to not shrink back from telling those who are caught up in all of this error and heresy, the Truth. And since she has become an idol to many, we will not be received well. Trust me, I know. A small fiery trial but well worth it.

    1. I agree, Moore certainly has her cadre of militants ready, willing and able to viciously defend. I read on twitter somewhere, a saying that I believe is apt: "If you want to see if someone is following an idol, speak ill of their idol and see what happens."

      Though I have to say, the heat from speaking against Beth Moore's teachings is dying down somewhat. She is 56 years old and has been around a long while...her defenders are cooling off, if not her popularity. Some of the other women coming up are generating their own cadre of fervent followers, such as Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Young, and Kim Walker Smith.

      Or maybe I am speaking too soon...time will tell. :)

    2. I like John McArthur's writings as theological musings, but I have to say that Beth Moore's thoughts on what Mary, a (perhaps) 14-15-year-0ld, with a brand new baby and little education, not to mention doctor, mother, medicine, hot running water, was thinking are probably just as, if not more, on target. Thinking about a first pregnancy and birth from afar and actually experiencing one are two quite different things. Since I haven't read the book, I'm not sure what her goal was in writing it, and we Purpose and audience controls content.

      Yes, Beth Moore is overly dramatic and "girly" for my taste at my age and stage, and I don't agree with everything she says, but I believe her goal is to teach about Christ's redemptive power by presenting a picture of herself that many, many hurting women can identify with. I have complete about 8 Beth Moore Bible studies and have not found anything particularly heretical.

    3. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for your reasonable comment. I'm not sure what her goal was in writing it either. She did and also wrote Feathers from My Nest about the subject as well.

      I'm a little concerned you've done 8 of her studies and are not seeing the false teaching. She claims direct revelation from God, even putting what He allegedly says in quotes. This is heresy. The canon is closed and He is not speaking new revelation to Beth Moore.

      She also twists the Bible, misusing it in a poor hermeneutic, and taking things out of context. She admitted several times that she does this. She thinks up a topic, or waits for the Lord to allegedly give her a topic, then matches verses to the topic. This is exactly wrong. Peter says that the unstable twist the Bible (2 Peter 3:16).

      She also rebels against God's word by teaching men and preaching, usurping the position reserved for men only. (1 Tim 2:12). (Teaching women or children is OK, Titus 2:4-5).

      She inserts herself into the narrative and into her lessons, this is eisegesis. Finally, for this comment, not finally on ALL that is wrong about Moore's teaching, she unabashedly partners with false teachers.

      I hope some of this will resonate with you. If you have further questions, ask away and I'll try to answer

  2. That is true! Have you read Lighthouse Trails Publishing blog today? Very interesting comments on "Jesus Callling.
    It's like one dies down and 5 more pop up.:(
    I just thank God everyday that he led me to people like John MacArthur and S. Lewis Johnson and other godly people.
    And your blog, too. Hey, God inspired minds think alike, right:))

  3. Elizabeth, as gently said as I can:

    I read, and reread, and reread this post. While I'm no fan of Moore, in our quest to rightly divide the word and correctly discern truth from error, we (women especially) need to be careful not to over analyze every detail of another woman's life, especially of a woman who is identified as an untrustworthy teacher, as Moore has been.

    Therefore, with an issue this sensitive - a complicated adoption - I would admonish you to please be careful. Yes, from your review, it seems Moore's book may be confusing - I've personally not read her book nor do I plan to. So I can't comment personally. But from having personal friends who have adopted or fostered, I do know that this topic can engender very overwhelming feelings, and can involve extremely complicated and painful situations, some of which people don't (can't) always openly discuss with clear detail, even if they are very clear and very open about other things in their lives.

    With regard to Moore, consider, there may be reasons she wasn't as transparent as one thinks she should have been... But ultimately, without knowing the reason, we are left to speculation, which we really shouldn't do.

    Your succinct statement of what you think Moore should have said:
    "Moore’s whole book, and subsequent responses to inquiries about him could be reduced to an easy one paragraph with clear language and Christian transparency (then your summary) ... See how easy it is to be transparent and clear", is an assumption on your part of what transpired in Moore's life.

    And as for Moore releasing her adopted son back to the birth mother - let's all have some mercy, instead of chastising a woman for likely taking on more than she was prepared to handle, and then facing years of struggle, and then having the extra pain of relinquishing the boy back to his birth mother... Even if Moore sinned the greatest of sins in this matter for what we see as failure to keep a commitment (because as you said in your review, the circumstances of the adoption were not clear in the book), those are still sins that Christ paid for.

    Without knowing all the details, we have to be careful how we judge any woman in this type of situation. I learned this the hard way, judging another believing sister over a foster situation, and then a while later, I learned the whole story. I had to fall on my knees in repentance to the Lord, for my attitude toward that sister in Christ. I was very wrong, on many counts, because I judged without full understanding of the situation.

    Judge Moore's incorrect doctrines, where there are Scriptures that directly refute her teachings - yes.
    Judge Moore on a personal matter of which she hasn't been clear, and of which we do not have full details, even if it's in a book she wrote, even if she is an unsound teacher - no.


    1. Hi Carolyn,

      I don't disagree with anything you said. I thought about it a long time too. Ultimately I went forward and here is why.

      --Moore has been public about it, writing of the issue in two books. No takes-backsies.
      --I quoted much of what she said from her public and published statements she herself made
      --the issue is not more sensitive than her very frequent discussions about her sexual molestation
      --We judge doctrine AND behavior. Leaders must be above reproach. (1 Timothy 3:2–3). Teachers are going to be judged more strictly. James 3:1. Because there are moral qualifications to ministry, it IS relevant to determine if a teacher is being transparent, or even honest, when they have made millions of dollars on lessons teaching women how to overcome their emotional depressions, trials, and struggles *as mothers* yet are being disingenuous themselves. We have to judge their credibility. As MacArthur said on the moral qualifications of ministry

      "Third, leaders’ greater knowledge of the truth, and accountability to live it, brings greater chastening when they sin.Fourth, elders’ sins are more hypocritical than others’ because they preach against the very sins they commit."

      I think is clear from the obfuscating language that Moore wants to have it both ways, make money from her books about Michael but not be open to accountability regarding the nature of it.

      Moore is not a sister in Christ.

      So that is the basis for my thinking.

    2. I agree with carolyn. I really enjoy reading your blog, but this post was disturbing to me. I don't see how it is either useful or necessary. It just feels gossipy to me. I also can't imagine why you would go out of your way to read a memoir by a teacher you have already determined is not profitable to listen to, unless you are just looking for more things to tear her down over, which is not of Jesus heart.

    3. Hi Jennifer,

      Why? Because the kindle reader and the kindle book were free, lol. Also, someone asked me about the adoption issue, and I wanted to research before saying anything. I had not read anything of Beth Moore that wasn’t a lesson or a study. The books I read over the weekend were her personal reflections.

      Yes I decided she is not profitable on theological grounds but I haven't looked into her being unqualified on moral grounds.

      This post has three points for discernment purposes. The first is theological, because she based the book on Mary’s ponderings and she said the point of the book was to follow Mary’s example. The second two issues regard her homelife. Here are the 3 issues:

      1. Moore’s misapplication of Mary’s “pondering” in Luke 2:19- the basis for her book. I highlighted this first to show the basis for the book was self-focused, as most of Moore’s teachings are.

      2. To show her excessive privacy when it comes to being accountable to people one-on-one. It is important for teachers/leaders to be transparent.

      3. To examine what she herself has made public about her homelife regarding the adoption.

      As for feeling gossipy, any leader, overseer, or teacher must adhere to the standards of the bible’s qualifications. And some of these are moral and some have to do with home life. An overseer must show he is above reproach. John MacArthur wrote of elders:

      In 1 Tim 3:2–7, “Paul lists four areas in which a man aspiring to church leadership may be evaluated as to whether he is above reproach. These have to do with his moral character, home life, spiritual maturity, and public reputation. …”

      One might protest, but Beth Moore is not a preacher or a deacon! She acts in elder capacity every day. She preaches, she speaks, she teaches. By default, she has become an elder of our wider church.

      Therefore, as icky as it seems and as disturbing as it feels, if someone has set themselves up as an elder of our church and an influential, international person of the faith, teaching and preaching, they MUST be qualified. We assess those qualifications from the bible. We see from the scriptures, home life counts. So does character.

      Giving back an adopted child is a HUGE deal in regards to home life, moral qualification and character. As shown in the Ohio case, it was deemed a *crime*! If Moore wants to be a teacher of the word, she must be above reproach. Moore must be examined closely, as I said before, for consistency, credibility, and accountability. (Titus 2:4-5; 7-8).

      The third problem is accountability and privacy. She isn’t accountable to anyone. Her excessive privacy prohibits a transparent assessment of her homelife, her moral qualifications and her personal character. Now, as to accountability. Where is her authority? To whom does she submit? To whom is she accountable? Not her husband, as is obvious. Living Proof Ministries is filed under her name and she is President, not Keith. Here is Pastor Mike Abendroth’s 90-second spot asking, “Where is Beth Moore’s husband?”

      She’s not accountable to her pastor, because she isn’t home on Sundays enough, and as a matter of fact, her pastor is her son-in-law. So as a woman of the wider church in the faith, where she has preached in all 50 states, and 10 other countries, and is on TV every week, she is acting the leader but not accountable as a leader. This is rogue. Who oversees her? The Media? But as you saw in the essay, she is very closed up. She won’t open up to media and gives very few interviews.

      The upshot is that you have a woman who says speaks for God, teaches globally, accepts millions in revenue from her teaching, yet has no accountability, presents inconsistent stories, and has a huge moral issue in her home that she refuses to explain.

      Hope this gives further insight as to the thinking behind why I looked this issue up. I thank you deeply for commenting

    4. Beth Moore charges $100 per session and advertises without any mention of christianity. Her books are narcissistic, pop psychology, about her, and inviting women to be about themselves, dwelling on themselves. The Bible and Jesus are minor footnotes to Beth. Beth abandoned her adopted child because he was too aggressive. Beth fabricated the story that she was abused, just to get sympathy. If you see a church that promotes Beth, avoid it.

    5. Let's see if your statements are fact or not.

      Anonymous said: Beth Moore charges $100 per session
      FALSE. Ft Wayne IN, $69. Memphis- $69. San Diego- $69. Billings MT- $69. Beth Moore Simulcast attendance, from iTickets: $10.

      Anonymous said: and advertises without any mention of christianity.
      FALSE. This from LifeWay: "Beth Moore's Bible studies and events have impacted lives around the world. Nearly 1.8 million women have experienced Living Proof Live events and simulcasts. Dig into Scripture with Beth at a Living Proof Live near you!"

      Anonymous said: Her books are narcissistic, pop psychology, about her, and inviting women to be about themselves, dwelling on themselves. The Bible and Jesus are minor footnotes to Beth.

      Anonymous said: Beth abandoned her adopted child because he was too aggressive.
      TRUE and FALSE. By her own admission in the book, Moore said his behaviors were "becoming alarming", and he was aggressive toward her daughters. She did not say this was a reason or giving him back, and she never did state exactly why she gave him up, except to say the birth mother wanted him back. Unless you are an involved party, you don't know.

      Anonymous said: Beth fabricated the story that she was abused, just to get sympathy.
      UNKNOWN. but, SHAME ON YOU. That was a terrible thing to say. It has been my experience working with at-risk children that they rarely if ever lie about such things. Again, shame on you, Please read my blog essay about the use and abuse of words.

      Anonymous said: If you see a church that promotes Beth, avoid it.
      FALSE: there are many reasons for selecting a church. Hinging an entire family's choice of a church based on one teacher the pastor or leader might promote is narrow and foolish.

      What should I look for when choosing a new church home?

  4. Morning Elizabeth! It's your blog and you certainly have a right to write about what you want to, but (sigh!) ~ does it fall under your categorized subjects of "encouragement, discernment and prophecy"? Under discernment, perhaps...? Yet, since Moore is already pointed out as not being a true teacher of the Word, I, too, feel like this is above & beyond persecuting her.

    The most public person alive still has a right to keep at least certain areas of his or her life personal & private.... okay, well maybe that doesn’t mush since she herself spoke of it in a book, no less.

    But what’s the POINT actually? The big sin of not keeping to a commitment? Should anyone want to air my dirty laundry ~ I didn’t even “make it through the class” to adopt!! That’s right! Went running out of the second class. How’s that for turning away from a commitment? But there were very complicated reasons for our decision and we had not actively sought out the Lord’s will BEFORE jumping right into it. I agree, what we’re talking about is it’s a child & the decisions should be weighed with as much seriousness as one can muster. But let me tell you, the decisions are mostly always weighed in sweat, blood, and tears..... a RIVER OF TEARS!!!!

    Turned out, in our case, changing our minds was the best decision because later as we sought God’s will, it was shown clear cut to us.

    It’s always easy to romanticize about what a person does NOT have. And I realized that was part of the gaping hole in my heart that we never had kids... not that I was “missing” having a child or teen around here, but I was romanticizing on “what might have been”. [Got 3 miscarried ones in heaven we’ll meet soon!]

    Carolyn is right ~ people, yes CHRISTIANS do indeed judge ~ VERY harshly against or about someone who changes their minds about fostering or adopting. Doesn’t this muddy the waters for all of us? I mean, who wants to be in either’s shoes? Guess that’s really about all I’ve got to say on it.

    1. Hi Reva,

      You asked about the post’s purpose. Yes, the post falls under discernment because of two reasons:

      The misapplication of the Luke 2:19 verse, Mary’s ponderings, and secondly because we must test our leaders on both theology and morals/home life/above reproach.

      Yes people are entitled to privacy. Leaders are entitled to some privacy, and when questioned should be honest and transparent. Moore isn't. I didn’t break into Beth Moore’s house and steal private documents and publish them. I commented on the information she made public. If she makes it public, she should expect to be held accountable when inconsistencies are found. She hasn't been so far.

      As for persecuting her, well, there are many who have come to this one and only blog essay due to their search terms. There are two other ladies I’m corresponding with right now on another essay I did, who searched for information on Beth Moore’s claim of direct revelation. As far as persecuting, well I wonder what Christians would say today about Paul handing someone over to satan so they could be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Cor 5:5). Or saying they are gangrenous to the faith. (2 Tim 2:17). Or that so-and-so was turned down for deacon because he's too undignified. (1 Tim 3:8). You’re worried about Moore’s feelings. I’m worried about Jesus’s.

      The issue isn’t only that someone changed their mind about fostering or adopting. It is about a Christian leader who changed their mind about adopting, and is refusing to be accountable for that decision, one that certainly raises moral questions. If someone is going to be a leader, then one must be transparent, accountable and consistent with their story. Hers isn’t. That is what I'm pointing out.

      It’s like this: Mark Driscoll busted into John Macarthur’s Strange Fire conference, and then attempted to distribute his unvetted book live on the grounds. When security conversed with him and asked him to stop, Driscoll left but tweeted that he was escorted off the grounds and his books confiscated.

      This was a lie.

      Many witnesses who were there, or had photo or video evidence immediately posted that wasn’t the story. Driscoll then complained he was being persecuted. Well, he went public with his stunt, and he went public with his tweet. He should expect to be held accountable. Like I said above, no takes backsies. We judge them on what they say and what they do and how they live.

      Further, when the irritation of many rose to a certain level, Driscoll then complained again that people were going overboard, and beating a dead horse. It was only a harmless tweet and a jolly stunt, after all, he essentially said. However it was shown very shortly after that he plagiarized material from others and published their material in 4 of his books. In his case, liars always lie. One act is only the tip of the iceberg, and where there was smoke there turned out to be fire.

      Same with Moore . If a leader is being inconsistent in one area, well, one sin is always lonely.

  5. Regards Mrs.Moore. Firstly, she should've just attained legal guardianship, with the intention of it being a temporary arrangement, for the sole person of having the legal authority to make important decisions concerning the boys welfare, while providing a stable, loving home as long as needed, or wanted by him. Given what you said she revealed, the turmoil "Michael" already experienced by age 4, he likely did (may still do) suffer from ptsd, as well as grief related to his traumas/losses, (that includes the adoption) and as such, he needed people to realize his need for EXTRA nurturing, EXTRA comfort, EXTRA affection, and solid commitment, and to fulfill it.

    While I'm a huge advocate, and rightly so, of children being returned to their parents as soon as possible, when their parents are stable, and not a danger, there should always be a good transition period, not just an instant hand over, after a discussion with the child about it all.

    And it can't be stressed enough, children don't raise their selves! It wasn't on him to know how and why his behavior was wrong and to change it of his own volition, it was on the adults in his life to provide him with the guidance and support he needed, as the traumatized, grieving child he was. Of course he had rage, it's normal. When anyone feels a lack of control in their life, and the maturity and words to properly express their inner turmoil and hurt, it's very difficult and painful to bear. Adults have the maturity and knowledge to express it and thus are more apt to get the proper response - care, comfort, support, counseling, thus they cope better. Children don't. They feel even more powerless and helpless, and when they realize crying doesn't fix it, doesn't bring their parents back, doesn't make their world Ok, the only other options are withdrawing, becoming sullen; or putting on a happy face, being a people pleaser; or rage, with lashing out. It's up to an adult to do their homework, learn this, and properly respond.
    His lack of control as a child, left him feeling powerless and helpless of what went down with his parents, before losing them, and in the losing them, with the adoption, and then the naturally, to be expected, fear of further turmoil and abandonment, as such, those taking care of him, should have went above and beyond, with constant positive reinforcements of not just their commitment to him, also of his worth, as a human being, that he is desirable, lovable, to help counter the feelings of unworthiness, over what a child perceives as rejection of who they are, through what they perceive, and in cases, perhaps as this one, (not knowing all the details surrounding his relinquishment) as abandonment, meaning, to a child, being discarded as if they are trash, someone *not* worth keeping, someone not simply unloved, someone who can't be loved. It is very soul crushing. Experiences share, as well as mass studies, support this. Read the book, "The Primal Wound", by Nancy Verrier.

    Not having read Mrs. Moores book, and having no plans nor means to anyway, I have to ask - anywhere in the book, did she express the grief she felt over the knowledge of what "Michael" when through before she acquired him, and the subsequent damage it did to him, that left him with the grief mingled with rage? Did she reveal that she and her husband felt sorrow concerning "Michael", and an intense desire to help heal him? Or was she more focussed with his behavior, and how it bothered her, instead of the why of it, and as such, instead of seeking to address the why, she just reacted to the resulting behaviors, with fear, disdain, condemnation, punishment, and then them abandoning him, which more than likely, that is what it felt like to him.

  6. So sorry I found this blog. Christians tearing down other Christians...we all make mistakes, we fall, we get back up. We change and grow in the process of sanctification and we march on. Change your focus from criticizing to grace and encouragement. Pray we will develop as much insight and wisdom as we expect from others. The Holy Spirit is grieving; you don't need to do His work. Jesus is Lord. Jan

    1. Hi Jan,

      I'm glad you did. It offers me an opportunity to speak truth to you.

      First, your only comment is an negative attack on me personally. This is ungracious in itself, and yet you call for me to set aside criticism. I hope you see the irony, and your double standard.

      Second, that aside,what did you think of the actual information here? Do you have a response as to what you read, comparing it to the bible? That a woman calling herself a Christian teacher of the word speaks things that do not add up in her personal life? Is perhaps living a life at variance from the standards the bible puts forth as necessary for such a teacher? Or do you have a biblically informed opinion as to how I myself handled the word?

      Third, this blog site overall is about three things: encouragement, as you correctly urged; prophecy, and discernment. This particular essay is about discernment.

      When we speak up against false teachers, and Beth Moore is such a one, (I've written about her many times, showing from the bible why) we are not "Christians tearing down other Christians" as you incorrectly think. It is "Christians speaking up for Jesus Christ."

      He died and rose again, and left us with a set of standards. These are the Christian doctrines as recorded in His word. We are indwelled by the Spirit and there is a tension between His work and letting Him work through us. Was Paul wrong to "tear down" the eight named men in the bible he charged as false teachers? Was he complacent to the Galatians when they began to believe the circumcision party? Was John complacent when he urged wisdom and discernment? Or James? Or the writer of Hebrews?

      In almost all books of the NT doctrine is taught and believers are urged to stand for it and protect it. Christianity IS about encouragement, it is also a spiritual war. Not every event is a sit-in, peacefully chanting over flowers. Not every day calls for us to *only* encourage and ignore the devastating effects of false teachers among us. Sometimes you have to put on your armor and wade in and grab wandering sheep and rebuke false teachers and sound the cry and alert the sisters- via prayer, study, and warning, exhortation and sometimes rebuke- like I am rebuking you now for your complacency and passive attitude toward the teachings of Jesus Christ. Paul was explaining this in Ephesians 6.

      Yes we all make mistakes, but if a teacher or elder or pastor makes one, then there is a set of standards to compare them against to determine if they still are ordained to teach, lead, or preach. Sometimes they fail the test. The bible says if this occurs, we do NOT give them a pass and let bygones be bygones, though we personally forgive them, their mouths must be stopped, as Titus 1:11 commands. Sometimes "mistakes" (and giving back an adopted son is a "MISTAKE??") cause a consequence of losing their ministry. Jesus rebuked the church at Thyatira for tolerating a false Jezebel who was teaching things contrary to His word. (Rev 2).

      Living the Christian life is not only about "Encouragement", ignoring the gangrenous and destructive teachers in our midst. Fight the good fight, Jan.

      If you would like to be encouraged or need a word of strength, then please do search on this blog for encouragement, You will find it. I also invite you to search for discernment, it sounds like you need it, sister.

  7. I am not a big fan of Beth Moore. And I began reading this article, believing that I would find more information to dislike her. Instead, I found a SHOCKING kinship with, and understanding of her life with Michael. I, too have adopted the children of a close relative, and without going into detail, please believe me when I say that EVERYTHING she says adds up. From the outside, it seems like a bunch of "doesn't make sense." But, having lived through this (and my outcome is not the same as hers) I can honestly say that I COMPLETELY get what she has said/hasn't said/been willing to talk about/not been willing to talk about. The unvarnished truth is that adoption, abuse, and family relationships are incredibly complex. Although your nice "example paragraph" makes is seem like she could easily "come clean," it's not representative of many situations. Just as an example, our adoption took 4 years to accomplish, was originally "agreed," later became "contested," was finally negotiated out of court, years passed, then one birth parent resurfaced and was involved, but then became incarcerated, the other birth parent has never resurfaced, both children have emotional problems, at least one of them wishes they hadn't been adopted, and now the other has been abusing a younger (non-adopted) sibling, and he probably can't live in the home with her, and the list goes on and on and I still fighting the good fight? Heck yeah. But is it easy or simple? What if the birth parent shows back up and the child never wanted to be adopted in the first place? It's just not simple. I actually respect Moore more now, after reading this. Kudos to her for keeping this private. The realities of broken families and substance abuse warrant keeping things close to the chest, in order to try to give these poor kids a fair shake. There is a LOT of scary things that happen, and sometimes--even as the adoptive parent--it's not our story to may be our own children that need to be able to choose what goes public.....

    1. Anonymous, I can certainly understand that relational dynamics within adoptive families is complicated. I also understand there are things that are guarded, and secret. That is why closed adoptions need a judge at high court to open them.

      However, if the birth parent shows back up, there are laws ruling this. Usually, an adoptive parent has a certain amount of days to wait while measures are taken to contact the birth parent. If that time period passes without the parent recanting the adoption, their parental rights are terminated by law. If you have adopted, you know this. My mother was an adoption case worker, so I know this.

      In addition, if the child is under age of consent, they have no say in the custody. Especially a four year old, as Michael was at the time.

      So, yes, it is that simple.

      In addition, you said "it's not our story to tell". If that is the case, why did Moore publish two books about it? And lives off the royalties? Your "Kudos" to her for "keeping this private" is more than a little unwarranted.

      Once she wrote a book about it, it became our story. And she opened the door to criticism of it and judgment (accountability) regarding it.

  8. Thank you, Carolyn. I was touched by the humility woven into your commentary.

  9. Wow, your judgment is astonishing. Perhaps you should take the log out of your own eye. I was a lot like you. I relied on the letter of the scripture but I had no understanding about the heart of the Lord. God began to teach me by introducing me to people whose lives were broken by sin. I experienced their pain and shared the joy of my Lord with them. Now I live according to 1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." This verse has changed my life. I pray it will change yours.

  10. Thank you for saying my judgment is astonishing. I know you didn't mean it sincerely, but I am glad you acknowledged it nonetheless. Judgment, AKA discernment, is something all Christians are to practice. The Spirit gives discernment as Christians employ it, for the glory of the spotless Lamb's name. Some, He has given the gift of discerning of spirits, and this also is grace. 1 Corinthians 12:10)

    Your lack of discernment is astonishing...and troublesome. You have what you call "love" for a sinning brother. However, what we are not talking about here is a sinning brother, but a false teacher. The terms of engagement are different.

    The "love" you are practicing means at root you have no true love for your brother - if you are not willing to contend for the faith, discern false teachers and the evil they bring, and to confront and defend the word. Many are led to evil by false teachers (Jeremiah 23:16, Jeremiah 14:16) and by your own comment, you allow them to be infected by it with no murmur!

    I ask you please to look at the verses on this page that discuss judging false teachers (which Beth Moore is). It's important. Once you begin practicing true judgment/discernment, (John 7:24) not passively turning a blind eye to the dangers you and your brethren face, your spiritual life will flourish and your actual biblical love (not the false notion of love that you are currently practicing) will grow. Love covers a multitude of sins, but love doesn't mean IGNORING sin.

    1. PS anonymous, I ant you to knwo that I do take seriously the log in my eye and I do confess my sins to Jesus and repent frequently so that I won't develop a hypocritical attitude. The verse to which you refer is in Matthew 7:3. It refers to hypocritical judgment. The verse doesn't say never to judge, but not to judge hypocritically. The passage is actually a lesson on HOW to judge.

      Mt 7:5 says, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

      So...I took the log out. Nnow I am seeing clearly to take the speck out of your eye. That speck, which has grown into a log actualy, is Beth Moore. Do you see now?

  11. I will not promote anything by Sally Clarkson. They stand against Biblical discipline and she does conferences at Saddleback church. She also is in favor of Oxford and C.S.Lewis. I can't reconcile these things with God's word.

  12. I have completed almost all of the Beth Moore Bible studies. I have never read the books talked about in this blog and I had never even heard about Beth's adoption of Michael. I will say this, all of her studies have led me closer to God. They get me into God's word where God then speaks to me. I think many of the questions Beth asks in her studies are leading and I don't always agree with the conclusions she draws. I have never heard her say anything unbiblical, but at times I disagree with her perspective on scripture. I will say this, after doing her studies for the past 25 years, I have always felt she is not transparent. I've always wondered about what is this terrible thing she always talks about. Was she molested? To this day, I have no idea what she is even talking about. Then to hear about her adopted son. I would agree that she is not being honest and transparent and is a flawed teacher. The illustrations she uses in her bible studies seem so superficial. They don't sound like real problems that real people face, but made up problems that multi-millionaires make up to sell books. The last study I did, Entrusted, was basically a rehash of some formats done in other bible studies. She had the time line that I think I did in the "Stepping Up" bible study. To me, it seems like she is cranking out a formula that she knows works to make money and sell bible studies. I felt like the Holy Spirit was no longer there. I will say that past bible studies the Holy Spirit was there. It's good to see others are wondering some of the same things I have wondered. Still, God has used her to accomplish some wonderful things in people's lives, but God may be shutting the door on her ministry if she keeps living in this veil of secrecy.

    1. She was molested. She says it happened but won't talk about who.

      She alludes to another grave sin when she was 18 or so, that she perpetrated, either when she was just married or about to be married.

      She is secret about the adoption, yet wrote two books about it. Yet won't answer interview questions, citing 'it's private" yet collects the royalties from the books.

      When Christianity Today wanted to interview her for a feature some years back, she wouldn't let them come into her building except the first floor, and said it was a deal breaker that she must see the questions first.

      She flies by private jet, and Lifeway pays for half, but never says it. She plays up that she is a down home gal but lives in the wealthiest town in that part of TX, on a 50-acre enclave with its own road, two houses,many custom builds inside, worth 1.8 Million, plus they own another ranch out west, but keeps saying and blogging that she's just one of us, eating peanut butter sandwiches and pinching the pennies. Her life is a hypocritical lie.

      That's her lifestyle. The biblical concerns are:

      Her Bible studies are formulaic, you were wise to pick up on that. She allegorizes the text, which means

      Allegorical interpretation, sometimes called allegorizing, is interpretation of texts that treats them as allegorical, whether or not their author intended them to be allegories. Allegorizing error usually detracts from the coherence of the message the author intended. Such unwarranted allegorizing was prevalent in the later church fathers and often ludicrous in gnostic circles. ~Baker's Bible Dictionary

      Speaking of Gnostic, she says she heard directly from God then teaches FROM the vision she says he gave her. This makes her a prophetess, she even uses prophetic language to attempt to give credibility to it. She engages in gnostic practices such as contemplative prayer and Lectio Divina (a catholic practice)

      She inserts meaning into the text, instead of draw meaning out, the former is eisegesis, the latte is proper, exegesis. Her interpretive methods are horrible, widespread word studies that take words out of context, mixing and matching Greek and Hebrew, ignoring context...

      Her brand of teaching is emotionalism and pop psychology.

      She partners with heretics, like preaching the Sunday services at various pulpits (I forget which ones at the moment, but I do remember at Osteen's church, and partners with Christine Caine and Joyce Meyer and others.

      There's more, but I hope that's enough. Please think on these things

  13. I made a comment about 10 minutes ago and the thought occured to me. Yes, there is a scripture that says, "Watch your life and your doctrine closely to save both yourself and your hearers." No one can do this perfectly. While many on this site accuse Moore of not preaching sound biblical doctrine, the reality is they probably don't have it all figured out accurately either. So in that sense they are throwing stones. I would agree, she is not transparent and so there seems to be a level of deceit or dishonesty in her teachings. No one likes that, but again, who has it figured out exactly right? Find me someone and I bet we could find some holes in their theology. While she should be transparent as a teacher, I'm not so sure that is a sin. It is an area she could improve in, but it's not a sin, unless she is intentionally misleading someone. I just don't get that from her that that is her motive, to intentionally mislead someone.

  14. Wow. You cannot imagine the pain and sacrifice the Moores went through (I'm speculating from my own personal experience).
    Someone once taught me a rule. Test anything you want to say with four qualifying questions.
    Is it true?
    Is it helpful?
    Is it kind?
    Is it necessary?
    I wish you would edit this post with these questions in mind.

    1. Hello Unknown,

      Beth Moore no doubt went through anguish. However it was not SO painful that she refrained from writing and publishing two books on it. Her books and information on the subject is public, I publicly commented. Hence, a book review.

      What was it *exactly* about the piece that sparked concern for you to the extent you wish I would edit? Would you please copy & paste?


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