The Open Letter Part 6: The Arranged Marriage

“Mr. Right” found

“. . . much has been made of the fact that Christ Church approved of Steven’s wedding to Katie through the fact that I officiated at the wedding. First, it should be noted that in our community, weddings are not arranged or determined by the church.” Douglas Wilson

Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, posted “An Open Letter from Christ Church on Steven Sitler” to his personal website, on behalf of the Kirk elders, to address community concern over a serial pedophile who sired a child with whom he subsequently had “contact resulting in actual sexual stimulation.” The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported the story with this headline: “Prosecutor: New disclosures of conduct by Moscow sex offender are ‘state’s worst fears’”; and the Daily News followed it up with an editorial wherein the lede stated: “Disturbing isn’t nearly an adequate word to describe what unfolded Tuesday in Latah County 2nd District Court.”

Mr. Wilson, however, could have avoided this day in court, as well as the headline, the editorial, and the Open Letter, if he had demonstrated a little pastoral foresight five years ago, when he and another Kirk elder set in motion the chain of events that culminated with a Kirk infant living in the same home as a Level III serial pedophile.

Meet Ed Iverson
In 2010, a gentleman named Ed Iverson sat on the board of elders for Christ Church, Moscow, as he still does. At that time he served as Head Librarian at New Saint Andrews College (NSA) and at one point he held the office of Interim Provost at New St. Andrews. Before moving to Moscow, he lived in Fallon, Nevada, which was Katie Travis’ (now Katie Sitler) hometown. Miss Travis fondly recalls:

“I’ve known the Iverson’s for a very long time, and you could say they are a bit like adopted grandparents to me. They pretty much started not only our church here in Fallon, but also the wonderful Christian school that I teach at now. When I went to college, they were behind my decision to go to NSA. I boarded at their house, learned a ton about planting trees (ha ha), learned a ton about being a better person, and met my two very best friends in the world there. And in retrospect, with all the good things that happened there I really should have seen the whole courting thing coming.” (“The Meeting”)

Ed Iverson planted a CREC church; he started an ACCS school; and he operated a boarding house in the Christ Church network of illegal boarding houses. He was the consummate team player for Mr. Wilson.1 But Katie Travis thought of him as an adopted grandparent.

Miss Travis continues:

“So, to skip ahead, my second Senior year went by without a hitch. Literally. My other roommate/best friend of four years (Helen, for all of you wondering who that short girl I hung around with was) got engaged. She was 21. 21! How unfair, I thought. As I turned 23 (which, interestingly, was one of my very favorite birthday parties ever) nothing continued to happen. I decided to try boldness. I went in to Mr. Iverson and suggested that if Mr. Right was here, for Mr. Iverson to please find him for me. I believe Mr. Iverson was, if I read the situation correctly, fairly enthusiastic about the idea.” (“The Meeting”)

Steven Sitler picks up the narrative, sharing with the world how he met Katie Travis: “We met on August 18th, 2010 at the insistence of Mr. and Mrs. Iverson.” Note the word “insistence.” In another post he wrote:

“Mr. Iverson called me and wanted to know if he could meet with me face to face. . . So I showed up . . . to meet Mr. Iverson, dressed in his best and surrounded by some hundred NSA [New Saint Andrews College — ed.] students all dressed up for convocation week. I sheepishly said hello, and he pulled me aside and told me that dinner on Sunday wasn’t just an ordinary dinner, that he had in fact gotten a young girl, Katie Travis, and her family to stay an extra day to meet me. They were all in Moscow to drop off Jenni, Katie’s younger sister, for her Sophomore year at NSA. His description of Katie was that, though NSA was tough for her, she persevered through and she was, ‘pretty good looking, too’. . . . That Sunday I went to the Iverson’s and had a wonderful meal. That is when I met the most beautiful girl ever. . . .” (“The Meeting”)

Weeks later they began courting.

Ed Iverson & Wife

Ed Iverson & wife.

Miss Travis tells us that after her father gave Sitler permission to court her, “Mr. Iverson burst out with ‘Whoo-hoo! Goodnight!’ He had stayed up late for us to get home just to find this out!” (“The Courtship.”) This is because in Kirk parlance, the word “courtship” is two milkshakes and a kiss away from engagement.

And this brings us to Mr. Wilson’s statement, “It should be noted that in our community, weddings are not arranged or determined by the church.” This is disingenuous rhetoric because he denies a point not on the table. It may or may not be true that Christ Church does not arrange marriages. No one cares. But people do care that two elders from Christ Church arranged the marriage of a serial pedophile to an unsuspecting simple-minded graduate of New St. Andrews. And the record is clear that Kirk elder Ed Iverson and Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, arranged and officially approved the Sitler–Travis marriage.

A naïve waif named Katie Travis beseeched Christ Church elder Ed Iverson to find “Mr. Right” for her. She trusted him like an adopted grandparent. But Ed Iverson did not reciprocate. To be sure, he made plain his contempt for her future happiness and well-being: He found her suitor on Idaho’s registered sex-offender list and arranged her first date with the felon at his home. And it is beyond question that Doug Wilson put his hand to this gross act of pastoral malfeasance, otherwise the Kirk elders would have put Ed Iverson on trial for deliberate violation of duty and stripped him of church office.

Finally, if you plan to send your child to New Saint Andrews College, then let Miss Travis’ story warn you. The Christ Church elders truly believe that a convicted pedophile serving a life sentence for serial molestations of children is the very best they have to offer for your daughter’s hand in marriage. In fact, they think he’s “Mr. Right.”

1 At present, Ed Iverson serves as interim pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Colville, Washington — a CREC plant. Dave Sitler, father of Steven Sitler, serves as deacon.


  1. Not entirely sure that calling Katie Travis a “naive waif” isn’t that different from name-calling, and also sounds a bit dangerously close to victim-blaming. No matter how naive or ignorant she might have been, it’s not her fault that her family of origin chose to raise her in a sheltered environment. It’s not her fault if she didn’t know to question the motives or hidden backgrounds of those steering her decisions. It just seems like a slippery slope to describing a rape victim as a “provocative dresser”.

    If we’re to describe Katie Travis, how about we use words like “unsuspecting [or] trusting young woman”? Or anything else that sounds a bit more kind.

    1. A couple of home school graduates who have blogs have covered this issue. Apparently the church that Steven Sitler and Katie Travis belong too, believes that the highest calling for women is marriage, followed by children.

      Members of groups like this tend to marry young, quite often by the time they graduate high school. A twenty-three year old woman is an old maid by their standards.

      As to Ulysses calling Katie a ‘naive waif’, I agree with his reasoning. Katie lived a sheltered life, and may not have understood what a sex offender was when she met Steven Sitler. If she did know what a sex offender was, she most likely believed that asking God for forgiveness took care of the problem. A lot of people in that sub-culture believe that God’s forgiveness takes care of all ‘sins’ washing them clean, and don’t understand the drives which bedevil folks like her husband, which make many pedophiles unable to resist.

      So Katie was naive through no fault of her own. Her parents were partially to blame, but so was the church they attended.

      And of course Ed Iverson and Doug Wilson may not have understood the situation. Based on his blog posts Doug Wilson still doesn’t have a clue what occurred and what will continue to occur any time Steven Sitler is in the prescense of his child with out fully capable chaperones.

      I feel sorry for Katie. I really do. I also feel sorry for Steven, in that I think he was sold a bill of goods by Doug Wilson, and believed Doug Wilson’s explanation of how he was forgiven, and not likely to offend again (this is based on guesswork – Steven could be a total evil git instead).

      1. Yes, in the CREC women have one role: Submit, cook food, clean house, have sex, have babies, shut up. It’s a multi-dimensional role, but one nonetheless.

        Katie’s parents have come close to redefining the unpardonable sin.

        “And of course Ed Iverson and Doug Wilson may not have understood the situation.”
        @Wayne: Don’t be fooled. They know exactly what they’re doing. It’s easy to underestimate Wilson because he holds incredibly stupid positions. But believing something stupid and being stupid are not the same. He coordinated this marriage in the same way he coordinated Sitler’s escape and the same way he coordinated the silence of the witnesses. He didn’t miss one detail.

        I too feel sorry for Katie. She is in a world of hurt, surrounded by enemies who mean her nothing but ill will, starting with her parents. She has nowhere to run and no one to turn to. Her situation is simply horrible. I also feel sorry for Sitler. He is beyond remedy and the only thing mankind can do for him is execute him, for his own good and the good of society.

      2. I worded my comment that way because I know Doug Wilson only by his written words, and the blog posts about him, and his response in that case, and the Jamin Wight case.

        To me, with my limited knowledge, it appears that he believes in some really stupid things. As I said, ‘appears’. He might also be stupid. I don’t know, which is why I used the qualifier.

        I do know that:

        1) Doug Wilson is not a Christian
        2) Anyone who takes Doug Wilson’s advice is in deep trouble

        Katie needs professional help, not Doug Wilson. Steven Sitler needs professional help, not Doug Wilson. It may be that the only way to handle Steven Sitler and his problem is permanent imprisonment (I’m Canadian, and the Killer Ms destroyed the death penalty here and left us totally opposed to its use).

  2. Hi Tess: “Naïve waif” is not victim blaming; it’s the opposite. It means she was a completely vulnerable target to exploit, which is exactly what they did. Vulnerable because she was simple and apparently felt like a spinster. Nothing in this post suggests or should be construed as victim blaming. Katie is a victim of her elders in the same way her son is a victim of her husband. Look up the definition. “Naïve waif” is close to but not synonymous with “unsuspecting [or] trusting young woman.”

    Unfortunately, Katie has been in the Kirk long enough that she has become toxic. Any mother who doesn’t report her husband to P&P, as Katie did not report Sitler, is by definition an enemy to her child. Five years of marriage to an aggressive sexual predator will harden you. Katie is now hardened, just like Sitler’s parents are hardened, to the awful reality of her husband’s true nature. And like her inlaws, it appears she cut a deal with the devil. She’s with him all the way.


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