Getting out of the pit

Tilstra speaks at End It Now virtual summit on abuse

Doug Tilstra, vice president for Student Life at Walla Walla University, spoke about spiritual abuse for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist’s End It Now virtual summit on abuse held in November 2020.

His presentation, “Digging out of the Pit of Spiritual Abuse,” brought hope from the life of Jesus for three different audiences, which Tilstra referred to as abuse agnostics, abuse victims, and abuse perpetrators. “My goal was to stimulate thought for the agnostics, offer comfort and hope to victims, and challenge to repentance and change for perpetrators,” said Tilstra.

“I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and have a passion for the healing of the men and women whose lives have been shattered by any type of abuse,” said Tilstra. “I am constantly surprised by both the reluctance of so many to admit the presence of abuse within the church and the increasing transparency with which the church is willing to discuss this topic.”

Tilstra has been involved with training in the area of domestic violence prevention for the past 15 years and has spoken at previous End It Now summits as well as other related events. “There is always more to learn—so much more,” Tilstra said. “I have read widely during my own recovery process and professionally as I have helped with various training events.”

The highlight of Tilstra’s experience at End It Now was hearing Mary DeMuth’s keynote presentation, which he described as “powerful, moving, biblical, and filled with challenge as well as hope.” 

To watch DeMuth and Tiltra’s presentations, visit

Posted Jan. 12, 2021

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End It Now was launched by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists to motivate churches and communities to help break the cycle of abuse.