Does anyone care about the whereabouts of Hope Hilley Carpenter. Is she dead or alive? If alive, is she free to come and go as she wishes or is she being held against her will? Such questions are not frivolous. Until earlier this week I had never heard of Hope Carpenter, wife of mega-church minister Ron Carpenter, whose church in South Carolina boasts some 13,000 members. Then I read this opening paragraph in a news item published in the Christian Post
Pastor Ron Carpenter of Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, S.C., held a "family discussion" instead of a normal church service on Sunday as he informed his congregation in a heart-wrenching confession that his wife had committed adultery multiple times over the past 10 years and was under psychiatric observation.
"As I am speaking to you right now, my wife Hope, has voluntarily checked into a one-year rehabilitation clinic and she is in isolation and she is under psychiatric evaluation at this moment," Carpenter revealed. "I've been on the phone with therapists until deep into the night last night, and the therapist told me that it was the worse case they had ever seen. That is the severity of this moment and this issue. . . .There is a sickness, there is a whole 'nother dual life that I am finding out that has been created," Carpenter told worshippers. "Hope is not well. You need to know that. We don't know what's wrong, but these are not the actions of anybody that is right." Emphasizing that he was committed to his kids one day having a mother "that is whole and that is well," the pastor said he was sparing no expense in affording his wife the best care, but that he would not be seeking to restore their marriage or restore her to ministry."
There are several suspicious aspects of this statement and the comments Ron Carpenter has made since.
1. One-year rehabilitation clinics are not normal. And at this point there hasn't even been time for a thorough evaluation.
2. Why is she in isolation? This sounds like the solitary confinement of death row.
3. A legitimate therapist wouldn't normally tell a husband right after check-in that this is the worst case they had ever seen. And even if it is the worst case a particular therapist has seen, we've all heard about parents who kill or try to kill their children or spouse or themselves, which most certainly would be worse.
4. In another comment he says she is at an undisclosed out-of-state location. Why must this be so secretive? Why out of state?
5. When double-lives of well-known ministers are found out, does the wife confine her husband for a year in an undisclosed mental facility and then go public in a Sunday church service? Does she immediately announce she will not restore the marriage?
At this point there is an outpouring of prayer and good will for Ron, but where are the questions and the concern for his wife?
That he may have locked his wife in an institution (or done something worse) is the story that should have gone viral. It hasn't. No one seems to even have any suspicions. Why aren't people demanding that she be interviewed by independent psychologists, attorneys and law enforcement officers? I can't believe such an ordeal has happened with no questions asked.
I am at this moment involved with a case here in Michigan. A woman of sound mind (though injured in an auto accident) has been locked away by angry relatives. She can't make phone calls out of the institution or receive calls except for designated family members. I managed to see her at the facility this past summer. It was a terrible place privately run. She begged me for help---in whispers because she was not allowed to be alone. An aide insisted on being right with us at all times. It's a horrific situation and there is little help from understaffed, overworked state officials.