Sexuality, leadership, grace, etc….

I will keep my own commentary out of this, and let written communications and verbal communications speak for themselves.  Please feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Email from me to Danielle Eylander on 01/24/17:


It’s been a busy time for me, but I will be available to meet after the next week or so.  Thank you for acknowledging in out last meeting with [local pastor] that the reasoning for my termination that was communicated to parents, students, and volunteer leaders was inconsistent with the reasoning presented to me at the time and location of my termination on August 31st.  Thank you for also acknowledging that I was never asked to step down, and was in fact terminated against my will on that date.  Thank you for also acknowledging that you do remember at a very minimum that Scott [Didrickson] discussed the theology of homosexual Christians and expressed that he disagrees with the idea that gay Christians should be allowed to serve in any Christian ministry.  Thank you for also acknowledging that it was unclear to you whether he was speaking at that time on behalf of himself or expressing the beliefs on Young Life.  Thank you for also acknowledging that you can easily understand how I could have easily left that meeting with the understanding that I had been terminated based solely on my sexual orientation conflicting with Young Life’s policies.  Thank you for also acknowledging that you have no memory of my act of discussing my sexual orientation with students being brought up or discussed during the meeting on August 31st.  Thank you for also acknowledging that Young Life’s act of representing the reasoning of my termination for this reason was, in your own words, “bad business.”

Thank you for saying that you believe you can advocate for correcting the act of the incorrect representation of the reasoning of my termination, at least with student leaders and adult leaders, by expressing to them that the reasoning told to them was not the reasoning that was represented to me at the time of my termination.  Thank you for acknowledging that Scott [Didrickson] intentionally and knowingly misrepresented the reasoning of my termination in one or more meetings with student leaders and adult leaders present.  In addition to correcting this understanding with every single adult and student leader present during those meetings, I would appreciate it if you would correct the understanding of every parent who received this inappropriate and deceptive response from Mason Rutledge.  I would be happy to provide you with a list of the people who received this response if necessary.


I believe it would be appropriate and good business to set a date by which I can expect these actions to take place.  If you would like to meet to discuss that, please let me know.

Email from Danielle Eylander to me on 01/27/17
I am copying [local pastor] on this email because I have shared your email with him. I did so because I did not feel the way you represented our conversations, moderated by [local pastor], was accurate.  I did not agree to or “acknowledge” the points you have made in your email to me. Furthermore, I believe it was clear that my intent in meeting with you was only to seek personal reconciliation between the two of us and not to speak to your relationship with Young Life. You are clearly asking me to address the latter. I am sorry an attempt at reconciliation has taken this turn. Having received your email, I have to say that I do not feel safe meeting or communicating with you further. I am saddened and hurt by the way you have mis-used an attempt on my part at reconciling with you, but I will continue to pray for a better day in the future.
An excerpt from my experience and account of the meeting:

[local pastor]: “In the meeting with the three of you, do you recall it being any-any- do you recall the reasons for asking him to leave having anything to do with the cabin time or the conflict of interest or-?

Danielle Eylander: “No, no, Scott didn’t- I don’t think Scott said any of those things.”

Me: “Ok, so, ok, uh.  So, well that’s clear, that’s what I was wanting to hear. That’s like very significant to me, because from there, I go to like this thought: I hear what you’re saying when you say, ‘We tried to word that’- or they, not you, you weren’t involved- ‘they tried to word the letter, or the response sent to parents’, in a way that would protect my business and not damage me.  And I, well don’t know if I agree with that, but from my perspective, saying anything like that at all is worse and more damaging than the reason that was originally presented to me for my termination.  So any way that they tried to word that reasoning is unfair to me, because it was not originally the reason for my termination.”

Danielle: “But you don’t know-”

[local pastor] interjects: “It’s not what was said to him.”

Me: “It’s not what was said to me.”

Danielle: “Right.”

Me: I feel like any way that they present a reason to parents that was not presented to me..”

Danielle: “Was unfair”

Me: “Was unfair, and inappropriate, and definitely looks like backpedaling.”

Danielle: “But the letter was to you, not to parents.”

Me: “No, it was sent to parents.”

Danielle: “But they sent it to you, right?”

Me: “No, they sent me a letter of termination, that’s the only thing they sent me.”

Danielle: “But in the letter, they said- did they say that it was because of-”

Me: “In my letter of termination they did say that it was because I told kids in cabin time.”

Danielle: “And that’s what they said in the letter to parents, right?”

Me: “No, they didn’t say anything about cabin time or Young Life setting- I can bring it up, but it doesn’t matter- well, it does matter.”

Danielle: “It didn’t match.”

Me: “What was said to parents, and what was said to me, and what was said to leaders and student leaders, and what was said to me, are not consistent, at all. They don’t match at all.  So I think any way that they tried to- I don’t want to get upset- but any way that they tried to phrase it”

Danielle: “Yeah”

Me: “Is unacceptable, because it’s not, they could have, they should have, been able to say to everyone-”

Danielle: “The same thing”

Me: “..across the board, what they said to me.  And I understand, I do understand the concept that organizations, and any business, do not really talk about terminations, I do get that, and I think that’s reasonable, but-”

Danielle: “We did.”

Me: “The bottom line is, it was talked about-”

Danielle: “Yeah, we did.”

Me: “ several ways, several settings, with several different audiences. And what they said to everyone else was not what was originally presented to me. And that is not fair. And that’s like, like..”

Danielle: “Not right.”

Me: “We can, like, it is a very, very, very big deal.  It’s a big deal to me, because we’re talking about this concept of, like, things aren’t clear…”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

Me: “And kids are growing up in this organization and someday might come out.”

Danielle: “Then that’s important.”

Me: “And this same thing can happen.”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

Me: “Like this was an opportunity for it to be somewhat more clear.”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

[local pastor]: “So you’re in agreement there.”

Danielle: “No, no, I agree.  I just don’t know how I can help.  Like, I, I, I think it should be- I mean, I think, for sure, it should’ve been, everything should have been- well, I don’t know.”

[local pastor]: “Can I just- I just want to pause on a moment where you agree.”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

[local pastor]: “I just want- may it be duly noted for the record, that you agree that it should have been consistent across the board- what got said in the meeting-”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

[local pastor]: “- what got said to students and parents, um, and that it wasn’t, to your recollection, and to the very best of your recollection, the reasons that were subsequently stated were not stated in that original meeting, to the best of your recollection.”

Danielle: “Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that it should be.”

Me: “I think that any reason that contributed could have and should have been said in the meeting where I was terminated, and it wasn’t.”

Danielle: “Yeah, yeah, I agree.”

Me: “And Scott said in the meeting, like ‘I spent three hours on the phone with HR going over everything, and this is what our- this is what the response to you is.'”

Danielle: “But he didn’t list things, yeah.”

Me: “The response, the response, had nothing to do with what was said in the letter.”

Danielle: “Right.”

Me: “What was said to student and adult leaders leaders, and what was said to parents. And then, even that had nothing to do with, like, this other reason, conflict of interest, which- the first time I ever heard of that as a reason for my termination was in our last meeting.”

Danielle: “But you were talked to about that before.”

Me: “Yeah, five years earlier.”

Danielle: “Right.  I do agree with you. I, like, thought the letter was horrible. The letter that you received, I was like, this is, but, but I don’t, I don’t think, I don’t know, it’s hard for me, yeah, business, yes, it should have been, and personally it is hurtful, but I also, it’s hard for me, I see, like, you know, Scott in this, and it’s like, I do believe he was trying, like you know, having a conversation with you, it’s like, wanting to be, like, there’s people involved, and he’s trying his best, and I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, so where does it ever come up, the idea, like, ‘Why can’t we say to other people what we can say to him?’ Was that ever, like, considered?”

Danielle: “Wait, what?”

Me: “Like, ‘Why can’t we tell everyone the reason that we told him?'”

[local pastor]: “The reason that was originally given to him.”

Danielle: “Well, I don’t know, what do you say was the original reason?”

Me: “If you don’t want to say- how about we start with, what do you remember for sure about what was said in that meeting?  Can we start with that?”

Danielle: “Yeah, I remember that at some point you guys met on your own, and he said, ‘I don’t know what this means, like, if you can lead or not.  Then when we came back, I know that Scott said, like, I know that he said, ‘I read your-the book, and I really enjoyed it.’ I know he said, ‘I, like, don’t agree with the theology, but like, it changed the way I feel, and duh duh duh.’  I remember him saying that, that, you couldn’t lead, but I don’t remember, I wasn’t paying attention to the words, I was looking at you.  The only thing I do remember was I was trying to pay attention to him, and I was trying to understand if he was saying his theology or Young Life’s, so I do remember that.  I just thought he said ‘you can’t lead anymore.'”

Me: “Do you see that if those were talked about in parallel situations, like if he was saying, ‘I don’t agree with the theology of being gay and Christian, and I don’t agree that any gay person should serve in any Christian ministry, and now you can’t serve in this ministry,’ don’t you see how those are parallel conversations?”

[local pastor]: “Do you see how that can be understood?”

Danielle: “Yeah, but, yeah, but..”

Me: “It was in the meeting where I was terminated, right after I came out as gay, and a meeting where no other reasoning was discussed.”

Danielle: “Right.”

Me: “How can that not be understood, that that was the reason that I was being terminated?”

Danielle: “Well, I’m sure that’s, like, what’s being implied there, but also, like, you did come out to kids.”

Me: “But that wasn’t discussed in that meeting.”

Danielle: “But I don’t know why he didn’t, like, that’s why I want you to talk to Scott.  Like, the reason, what I was paying attention to, like I didn’t want to be in the meeting, and I don’t want to be spoken for, and that might be selfish, but it’s like, I wasn’t, like, like, honestly, the thing that I heard most was it was inappropriate that you talked about your personal life and things that you were going through, and things that other leaders that you were friends with and had been roommates with, or, didn’t know about you, but you were discussing it with kids, and that’s-”

[The phone call to which she was referring occurred after August 31st.  HR did not become aware that I had discussed my sexual orientation with students until September 28, 2015.  It is literally impossible that this was Danielle Eylander’s understanding of the reasoning for my termination on August 31st, 2015.]

Me: “But you didn’t hear it in that meeting.”

Danielle: “What?”

Me: “You didn’t hear it in that meeting, and you know I didn’t hear it in that meeting.”

Danielle: “No, I don’t, um, yeah, I don’t know if we talked about, no, I don’t. No, I’m sure we didn’t talk about it.”

Me: “Yeah, so-”

Danielle: “But then you were given written form of it, before it was discussed with parents, and before it was discussed with kids. So it’s not like they didn’t notify you.  I’m not saying, well, I don’t know.”

[local pastor]: “If I could just, for the moment, relieve you of the responsibility of having to defend Young Life.”

Me: “Yeah, I don’t want it to feel like you’re talking about Young Life, or, like, taking responsibility.”

Danielle: “I get what you’re saying, and I get that, like, I understand that this is so personal, and there are things that are like, like, I don’t know, I’m not really good at articulating this, so it’s hard for me, but, uh, I also just kind of disagree a little bit, like, I think you were communicated with.  I think the letter was horrible, but I don’t think people are saying stuff outside of what you were given in that letter of termination.  I think it’s wrong that he verbally told you something else, and the written thing was wrong- or- different, like, I think that’s, like, wrong to do that, but I just, I also can see that someone is like ‘He wants specific reasons why.  Like, we told him why, and now he wants a letter.’  I think they just added more detail, I don’t know.  But I do think, I do think that was confusing, and I do think that it was not the best business way to handle it, like that was not the most appropriate way, and also I think that’s, like, because it is centered around something that’s very personal, that’s very hurtful, and I, so, but I don’t know what I can do to help, like I want you to talk to Scott about this.  And Scott really doesn’t have any control either, but like, he was a part of more conversations, and like, uh, am I not giving you what you want?”

Me: “Well, it doesn’t matter if you give me what I want.”

Danielle: “Am I not making-”

Me: “No, I understand, I think, what you’re saying.”

[local pastor]: “Can I get a go at paraphrasing?”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

[local pastor]: “I think I’ve heard you say, um, you don’t feel like you remember specific details about the meeting, but it is plausible, like you (M) remember..”

Me: “Yeah, I remember, I have thought about it a lot.”

Danielle: “Yeah, no, I know you remember. Honestly, I was watching you, I hated that we were in, like, I was really distracted. I hated where we were, like, our office was closing, we couldn’t meet you anywhere else. I don’t remember the words, I remember your face.”

[local pastor]: “Ok, probably what happened was you were told one thing in the meeting, told another thing in the letter.”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

[local pastor]: “And you don’t- there’s no dialogue in the letter, right you didn’t have a chance to, right.  That then, reasons were given, then, um, to students and parents that maybe originally agreed with the letter but did not agree with-”

Danielle: “What was originally said.”

Me: “Right, and I think no matter how you-”

[local pastor]: “Wait, wait, wait, wait, and I’ve hear you (Danielle) say that’s unfair.”

Danielle: “Yeah, I do think that.”

Me: “I appreciate that.”

Danielle: “I shouldn’t defend Young Life, it’s just hard when you know-”

[local pastor]: “I think all of us would agree, I don’t know if you would-”

Danielle: “Yeah, yeah, I, I totally agree that that’s, like, not appropriate.”

Me: “But I feel like, how, it feels like it has been such a resistance to get there.”

Danielle: “For me to agree about that?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Danielle: “But I didn’t even know that’s what you wanted.”

Me: “Ok, I felt like I was pretty clear about it.”

Danielle: “At the last meeting about it?”

Me: “I don’t know, I actually feel like I wasn’t really clear at that last meeting, because, I don’t know, I didn’t really prepare, well I didn’t really prepare for this meeting either, but before that last meeting I was trying not to think about it at all for a couple months.”

Danielle: “Well I didn’t know what to expect.”

Me: “Yeah, me neither.”

[local pastor]: “I don’t know Scott really well. He seems like a really nice guy.  And I think I told you this yesterday: I can imagine a scenario in which he’s trying his very best to honor you and honor Young Life, and sometimes, people just find themselves in situations where, despite their best intentions, they make a ton of mistakes, and I’m sure you don’t think this reflects on his character or his intentions.”

Me: “Umm”


Danielle: “You’re allowed to.  You are allowed to.”

Me: ” Well, I feel like, in order for something that significant to happen, there were a lot of moving wheels, and it had to take, like some, well, I do feel like the correct word is ‘conspiring.’ Like, ‘We cannot have the real reason get out, for whatever reason.”

Danielle: “Right.”

Me: “So, let’s change the reason.  And no matter how you look at it, the reason that was changed sounds way worse for me, and way better for Young Life, than the reason that was told to me in that meeting.”

Danielle: “Mmmhhmm.”

Me: “So I feel like Young Life is this huge organization that has risk management and a bunch of lawyers that can tell them, ‘If we want to cover our asses-‘”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

Mikel: “-‘then, it doesn’t matter how bad we screw this guy, we’re going to say this in the letter, and we’re going to say this to the parents.'”

[local pastor]: “They would never use those words.”

Danielle: “Right.”

Me: “Of course. But then I’m just this individual person who was told something in a meeting, and got railroaded, I feel like that’s the right word.”

Danielle: “Yeah.”

Me: “And that meeting, and the letter that was sent to me, and the letter that was sent to parents, and there’s pretty much nothing I can do about it, and Young Life’s response is like, ‘Yeah, there’s nothing you can do about it.’  And I feel like it takes a lot of conspiring to do that, and multiple people played roles in that, and Scott was probably an integral role in doing that, and that, everyone is personally responsible for their own actions, and that was his action.”

Danielle: “Yeah, Ok.”

Me: “And we’re not here to talk about Scott, I would rather not.”

Danielle: “No, yeah.  But I am going to tell you from my perspective, if I were you I would assume the same exact thing.  And I did read your blog a while ago, and I remember reading it, like ‘Oh that does look like that,’ and ‘Oh, that does seem like that.’ And like, a small example, like, we moved offices, and our phone line shut off, and we had to, like, get a new phone line after we got our new office, but of course that looks like we just don’t want to answer our calls, but it just happened to be like timing, and it’s like, there are multiple things that are just circumstantial that look horrible, and I never, ever was a part of any conversation with Scott where he was, like, against you, or, like, even now, he is always like, ‘I’m praying, I want to know if I’ve done anything personally, I want to know.’ He would love to meet with you, he would love to talk to you.”

[local pastor]: “Do you want to meet with him?”

Danielle: “Yeah, and the only other person I ever talked to, once, was Ann.  And she had the same thing, like, I think they both went into this thinking it’s like a broken situation, and I don’t think anyone was being very legally minded.  I think that’s why they did mess up with the letters not matching.  I don’t think there was a lot of conspiracy, like, I don’t.  Like, if their lawyers were behind it, everything would be matched.  I think people were, like, all I can say is, I would think the same thing if I were you, but you are basing some things on assumptions.  And, and, you know, that’s not, that’s not what I saw.  I didn’t see all these people like-”

[local pastor]: “From your perspective.”

Danielle: “Yeah, like, and I mean, but I heard it. Like, ‘Is this [M] person, how is he?’ They asked, like, ‘What is he like?’ I heard Scott: ‘He’s a wonderful person, he cares about the community.’ It never was anything like against you, and then I think all of a sudden you were like, ‘I don’t want to talk unless a lawyer’s present.’ Then at that point everything just changed, and it was like we can’t talk about it, and I didn’t hear anything anymore, because, and so at that point they decided less is more, don’t comment on his blog, like, you know.  This is a legal issue now, you can’t have contact.  But yeah, I feel for you, because I would feel the same way, for sure.  Even with the thing that like happened at Malibu, like we’re all meeting up, like, because you care, or because you want to control what we say?  Like I just, you know, but I, I, but I do think it would be wonderful, maybe if you could meet with Scott, and maybe talk to HR.

[When she referenced Malibu, she was talking about how a student drowned, and all the adults at camp were gathered together and told not to discuss the death, and to encourage students not to discuss the death when they got home.  A psychologist who was observing the camp without their knowledge noted that this meeting included a strongly manipulative emotional and spiritual appeal to imply that not discussing it was in the best interest of Young Life, and therefor God and kids.  It was very similar to the way they pressured me not to talk about my termination or Young Life’s anti-gay policies, beliefs and actions.]

[local pastor]: “He would like to meet with you.”

Me: “Well I’m not like opposed to it.”

[local pastor]: “I haven’t talked to Scott a ton about this, but the little that I have, I think he genuinely wants to meet, so that’s a whole other process.”

Me: “I would rather focus on this.”

Please keep in mind the above portion less than ten minutes of conversation, out of about 180 minutes between two separate meetings.  The other points mentioned in my email to Danielle Eylander, which she denied, were directly discussed and directly acknowledged by her. 


Email from me to Danielle Eylander on 01/28/17:

(Portions have been excluded because I want to honor them as private.)


I am sorry things have gotten more complicated during this process.  This has been a very, very interesting exercise in honesty, integrity and accountability.  I have never given up on even one student along their journey to find themselves and God.  I must be honest that this has been much, much harder with Christians, especially the ones who feel they’re done searching.  I am committed to not giving up on you.  I would like to communicate that I am now and will always be open to communicating with you and seeking a reconciliation process in which we can all be held equally accountable, despite your communication that you refuse to participate in such a process.

My door is always open to you.  Please always feel free to communicate with me whenever and however you choose.

God bless.


I have also sent an email to Scott Didrickson, the Area Director of Bellevue Young Life, expressing my desire to participate in a reconciliation process.  I have received no response from either Scott Didrickson or Danielle Eylander.

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