Defending Ravi Zacharias

Phones & Photos

Nathan Zacharias Uncategorized  April 22, 2021 – family’s personal website

In this post I’m sharing some more information in response to my brief appearance on Julie Roys’ blog last week.

In the comment section of Julie’s blog, Vicki Blue tried to give an explanation for the text message I released. Among other things, in her response she says these two things:

“I believe that must have been my last contact”

“if there is any other text, it was before then…”

Those are false statements.

We have texts after that. The text messages I posted were in January, 2016. She then says she would like to help find and train a dog for my parents, and shares at length about two service animals she’s working with (Jeli and Sage). She says she would love to come do massages for both my mom and dad. (It was Dad who constantly brought my mom and the family into the conversations with Vicki.)

In March of 2016, she writes him on his birthday and refers to him as “most precious Mr. Ravi Ji” and “my dear Mr. Ravi Ji.” Ji is a suffix often used in Hindi to convey great respect for the person you are addressing with it. Vicki either got this from hearing Michael Ramsden use it, or more likely from hearing Anurag use it. Anurag regularly used it when addressing Dad (and frequently in the text messages of his that I have released, and in those I haven’t, yet.) Vicki and Dad even exchange messages that August for her birthday.

In all of this communication, Dad does not always respond to all of her messages. She always responds to his. She was clearly the one driving most of the conversation.

PHONES & PHOTOS

Once Julie allowed my comment and wrote back, she expressed disbelief that we could find text messages on his phone and not see photos.

Well, Julie, I don’t know what else to say, but that’s the truth.

Actually, I do know what else to say.

Dad regularly gave his phone to the family for help with one thing or another. He was not technically savvy, so he often needed my help with something on the phone. I never – not ever – saw any inappropriate, questionable, or ill advised photo on his phones or computer.

Despite the report making it look like Dad went out of his way to avoid digital oversight at RZIM and kept them away from his phones, that is just not what happened. Quite often, Dad handed over his phones to get their help with troubleshooting, software updates, backups, syncing to his computer, etc. IT staff regularly had access to his phones and data. They never saw anything.

In Dad’s last weeks, my mom and sister had full access to his phones at all times. They never saw one of these alleged photos, questionable contacts, or anything of the sort.

ABOUT THOSE DAYS

That last paragraph brings another thought to mind. I think I’ve mentioned that at many times in Dad’s final weeks there were times that he was not in his normal mind due to the influence of various pain medications. But not once did he ever mention a concerning behavior, another woman’s name, a strange comment.

In fact, in one of his worst moments of confusion and unfiltered speech, though his understanding of what was going on was impaired, his concern was still for my mom’s well-being and care. In other times during those days, he regularly talked about new ways to spread the Gospel, and he had imaginary (or not, perhaps) conversations with Christian leaders already in heaven.

I find something else interesting about those days. All these messages they say they have, yet there’s not a single questionable communication they can point to in his final months? Keep in mind, in January and February Dad thought his dramatic increase in back pain was fixable. He thought surgery and a couple months off of the road would do the trick. Being off the road meant canceling time in Asia at some point. But there’s no communication with one of these people saying he won’t be able to see them?

The report claims he had history of expressing disappointment when travel was canceled because it limited his ability to see one or more of these therapists. And they say he expressed anticipation of his next trip. But there’s nothing in their report from those final months. There are no messages to any therapists saying he won’t be able to see them because of his surgery and subsequent healing period.

And then when he realized he was facing cancer, there were no messages then, either. All of these women he supposedly had “amorous” contact with over the years and there’s not a single message telling one of them what’s happening? No goodbyes? No message from one of them after they may have heard through other sources?

Even in the times when he was under the influence of medication, he never fired off a quick text or email or WhatsApp message. All of those accounts were continuously logged in on his phone and could have been viewed by any of the family members that were constantly by his side. The report claimed to have gotten some information that had been deleted off of the phones, so the answer can’t be that he sent those messages but just deleted them.

If the things they accuse him of are true, it seems completely unbelievable that he wouldn’t have sent or received a communication to/from any one of these women while these things were happening. But there are no such messages.

FRAMING THE PHOTOS

As with other aspects of the report, there are a lot of holes within their presentation of the photo evidence. At times it seems like they were intentionally manipulating the reader. And many of the details – or lack thereof at times – seem inconsistent with the story they want us to believe.

On key points, they clearly give precedence to the narrative above the actual evidence. The report goes into great detail when it benefits them, then leaves out important detail when it would hurt their case.

First, the introduction of the photos is clearly meant to manipulate the reader. The first paragraph creates shock with the number of photos. They even mention that total twice – once at the beginning of the report and then again when they actually expand on the information. They break down how many photos were of what person, and include Lori Anne Thompson and all of the assumptions her name brings into the scenario. They even blatantly speculate about the ages of the women when they have no idea.

But then after one very long paragraph with a whole bunch of stats and dates, they say this:

In the majority of these photographs the women are fully clothed and posing as anyone would for a selfie.

That’s what you call burying the lede.

The writers knew full well that people would read the first paragraph and mentally determine the photos were all nudes. That was clearly delivered in such a way to have people come away thinking he had 200 nude photos on his phone. They were successful, as evidenced by some of the comments I get and the way the press covered that detail.

But approximately 197 of the 200 photos were clothed. You really think a man who is supposedly sexually aggressive and has a habit of asking for nude pictures would have 197 clothed “normal” photos compared to 3 nude photos?

Another strange detail of the way they describe the photos – they don’t seem to know who most of them are. Only a couple are allegedly linked to other communications, and they don’t seem to know much about any of them. They speculate about their ages, where he saw them, etc.

Why is that significant? Because it would seem to indicate that none of them are from their witness list. And if you’re claiming a man has a pattern of behavior, it doesn’t make sense that you don’t have any examples of that pattern from any of the twelve massage therapists interviewed.

If these sources were real and telling the truth it seems these pictures would have included their own pictures and proof that he requested them.

(Yes there are supposedly 6 clothed photos of LAT, but his defense against those is already well documented. So I’m talking about the other 194 photos, apparently none of which include their supposed multitude of witnesses. And that is strange.)

There’s an incredible lack of communications surrounding those photos. The investigation likes to quote his own words, supposedly, but when it comes to picture exchanges they don’t use his words. They decide to speak for him at that point and just tell us he asked for them, letting our imaginations do the work of what the tone of those requests were.

200 photos wanted and requested would have a significant communication trail to go with them. But they seemingly have very little of that.

When it comes to nude photos, they offer no evidence for his role in those at all. They cite two anonymous people who say he asked for nude photos but they declined. And there is no proof of that exchange. So we’re back to the “they say” aspects of the report, trying to overcome the massive lack of evidence with unproven verbal information.

The other piece of info conveniently left out is where the photos were found. Were they found in his photos library or in his deleted files? The answer to that makes a big difference, which is why I suspect the report skipped past that detail.

Some or all of these could have been deleted for any number of vindicating reasons: because he didn’t want them, ask for them, or didn’t have have sordid motives with them.

As one attorney told me, it is very easy to get Dad’s information. She told me exactly where I could find Dad’s private phone number online. Anyone could get it and send unsolicited messages…. repeatedly. Ask any public figure out there and I’m sure you’ll find many get contacted with unwanted photos.

That all makes it hard for me to trust in any of the information they are giving.

Email From My Mom

My Mom recently sent an email to some friends and family that is being circulated. She’s since asked me to post it here to ensure it’s ongoing accuracy.

Good am, Family. I love you all. 

I wanted you all to know that I have spent the last week going through every paper and article in Ravi’s desk, closet and drawers. I moved last Monday as RZIM told me I had 90 days to vacate our home, which had been promised to me specifically in the case that Ravi died for as long as I wanted it. Before I left the house I wanted to be certain that nothing was left of Ravi that anyone could take and twist and create a story to use against him. Included in this were the suitcases from his last international trip last Jan, which have stood unemptied in our closet for the past year. Seeing his shoes in it really undid me. I went through every scrap of paper, all his financial documents, letters, cards he had kept etc. In short, everything he valued and needed in life. 

Ravi was not very organized. His filing system was to designate a drawer (kind of) and throw everything into it. He threw nothing out, and I mean nothing. I found receipts dating back into the 1980’s, including receipts for every restaurant he ever ate in, I think. I lost track of the garbage bags and the hours spent shredding financial & personal documents, as well as confidential & personal documents relating to RZIM.

I found dozens of cards he had kept from the kids & me. I found family pictures, mostly of the kids & me but also some from your growing up days in India. He had a picture of me with my father on my 16th birthday, another of when I graduated from high school. I found notes I had written to him. I found an anniversary gift for me for last year when we were in Houston and a birthday gift for me for last year when he was in heaven. I found cards he had bought to give me but never had the chance.

I found multiple denominations of money in multiple currencies in multiple boxes. I always wondered that he always had cash in the appropriate currency upon arrival in any country I went with him and never had to visit the exchange booths in any airport to pay porters and cab drivers.

I found drawers and drawers of medications he took for the medical issues he was dealing with, including in no particular order sleep aids, metamucil, pain medications, metamucil, energy boosters, metamucil, prostate medications, metamucil, hair growth tonics. 

I found boxes of pens and watches never worn as they were good watches, usually given to him, and he was afraid they would create the wrong impression of him. 

I found the bag of crosses he gave to every therapist who helped him and which have been used against him, called expensive gifts used to bribe or “groom”…I’m not even sure what that is. I guess normal, civil discourse is grooming because you want to make a good impression on someone. The bag has clearly marked on it who gave them to him (he did not buy them), a friend who is a jeweler. He gave one to me, to Naomi & Sarah & Sarah Kay, to Elizabeth & Barb one Christmas & described how he used them to open a conversation about the Lord with people he met along the way. He had literally dozens of them and gave them out liberally. They were not intended to convey a special or romantic interest. 

I am reminded of when Ravi spoke for Billy Graham at Amsterdam ‘86 on The Lostness of Man. Afterward, Billy told Ravi that he had never heard such a powerful sermon on the subject and asked if he could use it. Ravi was really flattered until someone, either Leighton Ford or Cliff Barrows, told him not to put too much stock in what Billy had said as he said that to everyone who spoke for him. 

These crosses were the same. They conveyed no special interest. He gave them to everyone. They were what he said they were, an opportunity for him to open the conversation to be about the Lord. 

I found a receipt book from which he issued a receipt for every massage he received at home, with the name of the therapist and a description of the treatment, signed by the therapist and by him. 

I found multiple cards from people, including some therapists, thanking him for the blessing he was to them, for his encouragement to them, for leading them into a deeper walk with the Lord or being instrumental in bringing them to the Lord. I found letters from people offering him all kinds of advice in boosting his energy levels, on staying healthy, on making his hair grow, on treating his back.

I would also like to tell you that both Naomi and I have had frequent text messages from the therapist that treated his back most often in recent years, affirming the love and respect for him and for us that she and her family still hold and telling us they continue to pray for us and are here for us. She and her family were present at the dedication of the RZIM building. 

All of this is to tell you what I did not find: no suspicious financial documents, no financial or real estate arrangements that I did not know about. No investments that I was not aware of. No suspicious letters or cards of a romantic nature from anyone but me. No suspicious expenditures. No products to treat conditions unknown to me. 

In short, I want you, his family, to know beyond a shadow of doubt that I found not one suspicious receipt, letter, card, expenditure…absolutely nothing to support the claims being made or the charges against him.

As I said, he was not an organized person, except in his logical, philosophical & theological thought processes. He had no filing system. He was not complex. He was not duplicitous, he was not an actor. As you recall, he wasn’t hired for the role in that Christian movie as a teenager b/c he cldnt act. I cldnt even tell him about a surprise I was planning as, like an excited child, he couldn’t keep it secret. I could always tell if there was more to a story b/c his nose would do something funny. Like Jack Delany, a friend here, who wasn’t supposed to eat chocolate: his wife could always tell if he had had chocolate as his nose would get red.

He could never have kept a secret like they are alleging (alleging, I say, as there is not one whit of evidence to support what they are saying). At the very least, with all the medication he was on at the end and his hallucinations something would have come out if something were there. 

When Ravi learned his cancer had metastasized he said he was ready to meet the Lord. He had no regrets, he said, except that he would have to leave us behind. He had no fear of dying, of meeting the Lord. His conversations at the end when he was seeing things we couldn’t and talking to people we couldn’t see were not filled with angst or fear or guilt. He was talking about strategy for sharing the Gospel with his unseen visitors. So much for Randy Alcorn and John MacArthur. 

He never uttered another woman’s name, even in his sleep. His first thoughts every morning were of the Lord, his first words, “Thank you, Lord.” His Bible is marked up and underlined, notes in the margins, interacting with what is written and applying it to himself. I found written in his Bible the following. It has no date. It has no author. But Ravi obviously resonated with it.

Lord, I renounce my desire for human praise,
For the approval of my peers,
The need for public appreciation;
I deliberately put them aside today,
Content to hear you whisper,
“Well done, my faithful servant.” Amen.

More than any other poem I ever heard him quote was this one by Amy Carmichael, Make Me Thy Fuel, Flame of God:

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, Free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not this are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified,)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the Love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

He was not perfect. He was a man. As his wife of 48 years, I know this more than anyone else. But his failures were not in this area. He was spectacularly self-disciplined in his conduct, especially where it would reflect poorly on the Lord. He denied himself every single day in order to fulfill his calling and be pleasing to the Lord. He trusted me implicitly and I, him. He loved me completely, even the aspects of my personality that he found frustrating. He was fully committed first to his God, then to me and to his children, and finally to those who looked to him as an example.

Such a man could not be guilty of what is being alleged and there is no evidence at all to support those allegations, not in his personal effects, his financial records, his correspondence, his actions observed by all who knew him over 74 yrs. Even the so-called evidence in his emails is phrases, words taken out of context and never confirmed with those who knew him, who could give some context. Anyone of any celebrity status who gives his email to any who ask because he didn’t want to offend them by refusing, always cautioning them to “be careful what they did with it,” receives hundreds of pictures and selfies from fans & admirers, often inappropriate ones. That is pandemic in our society today. And everything you receive on your phone or computer is there for eternity, as we are constantly warned, and can always be “forensically retrieved.” So there are pictures. The investigator never told us their origin, whether he researched them or they were sent to him. Is he responsible  for what is sent to him? If he is, then so is everyone else. 

There is absolutely no way that Ravi is guilty as charged, convicted, canceled and executed, some even going so far as to claim that he never knew the Lord. I knew him, inside and out. I trust him & believe in him no less than I did on May 18th last year when he called me to him and kissed me as long as he had the strength, his last physical act in his life. It is not because I am in denial. It is because I knew him and because there is absolutely no evidence to support anything contrary. 

I have written this because I feel it is important that you, his family, know what I know, know what I have found and not found, so that you may have confidence to continue to love and respect the man you knew, and that you may know that he was the man you knew. 

With much love, and confidence in Ravi and in the God he knew and loved and served,

Margie

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