June 30, 2009
Sanford: Spiritual Adviser Chaperoned Mistress Farewell Meeting
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted today that he saw his mistress more times, including what was supposed to be a farewell meeting in New York accompanied by a spiritual adviser, according to an Associated Press report.
The governor told that AP that with his wife's permission, went to New York with a "trusted spiritual adviser" serving as chaperone to end the affair. The three went to church and dinner together and parted ways the same night. The AP article does not indicate who the adviser was.
The AP also interviewed the man Sanford referred to during his press conference as a "spiritual giant," who declined to say whether he had met Sanford's mistress. Sanford and his wife attended Warren "Cubby" Culbertson's spiritual "boot camp."
He thinks Sanford was simply caught off guard by "the power of darkness." Culbertson also thinks that the only thing holding his friends' marriage together right now is "their vow to God."
"Because it's not feelings - it's not emotions," Culbertson said, the smile fading from his tanned face. "For most Christians, at some point in your marriage, if you're married long enough, you do it because that's what we're called to do - out of obedience instead of out of passion. And I think that's where Mark and Jenny are right now."
"What I find interesting is the story of David, and the way in which he fell mightily - fell in very, very significant ways, but then picked up the pieces and built from there," he said.
Sanford offered an apology on his website using words like grace, renewal, and the sin of pride.
So in the aftermath of this failure I want to not only apologize, but to commit to growing personally and spiritually. Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign - as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword. A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise - that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly.
The full letter is after the jump:
I write to apologize and ask for your forgiveness.
Well beyond the personal consequences within my own family, I know that at so many different levels my actions have upset, offended and disappointed friends and supporters and for this I am most sorry. As I mentioned in last week's press conference, I've always believed God's laws were there to protect us from ourselves, and what has transpired over this last week vividly illustrates the damage that comes personally, and to those you love and respect, in doing otherwise.
So in the aftermath of this failure I want to not only apologize, but to commit to growing personally and spiritually. Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign - as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword. A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise - that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly. While it would be personally easier to exit stage left, their point has been that my larger sin was the sin of pride. They contended that in many instances I may well have held the right position on limited government, spending or taxes - but that if my spirit wasn't right in the presentation of those ideas to people in the General Assembly, or elsewhere, I could elicit the response that I had at many times indeed gotten from other state leaders.
Their belief was that if I walked in with a real spirit of humility then this last legislative term could well be our most productive one - and that outside this term, I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm.
They have also made the point that a good part of life is about scripts - that the idea of redemption isn't something that Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake should just read about, it's something they should see. Accordingly, they suggested that there was a very different life script that would be lived and learned by our boys, and thousands like them, if this story simply ended with scandal and then the end of office - versus a fall from grace and then renewal and rebuilding and growth in its aftermath.
I won't belabor all these points, but I did want to write as expressed earlier to say that I'm sorry and that more than anything I personally ask for your prayers for me, Jenny, the boys and so many others who have been impacted by what I have done.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Take care.