( 4UMF NEWS ) Pastor Revealed As Ashley Madison User Commits Suicide:
A guilt-ridden Mississippi minister ended his life less than a week after he was outed as a user of the notorious hookup website Ashley Madison, his family said Tuesday.
Dr. John Gibson, 56, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Pearlington, Miss., and a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College, died Aug. 24, seminary officials said. His wife Christi found his body at their home with a note that touched on the infidelity website’s recent breach by hackers, she told CNN Money on Tuesday.
“He talked about depression. He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry,” Christi Gibson said. “What we know about him is that he poured his life into other people, and he offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn’t extend that to himself.”
Gibson was born to a long line of Baptist ministers in Louisiana and earned master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from the New Orleans seminary. He taught undergraduates at his alma mater since 1998. The seminary dismissed morning classes the day after his death and held a memorial ceremony on Aug. 28.
But Gibson’s son Trey disclosed he committed suicide during chapel service at the seminary on Tuesday, according to the Louisiana Baptist Message.
“My dad was a great man. He was a great man with struggles,” he said at the service. “My dad reached a point of such hopelessness and despair that he took his own life.”
He offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn’t extend that to himself.
Gibson helped his Gulf Coast congregation rebuild their community after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc there 10 years ago. On the school’s campus, he offered free car repair to students and was the “quintessential good neighbor,” seminary President Chuck Kelley said in a post on the school’s blog. The school provided counseling for students and faculty after Gibson’s death.
“John was loved by the students because of his love for the ministry and for them; he was always a favorite,” said Leavell College Dean Thomas Strong. “Our hearts are saddened as we miss greatly a significant part of our Leavell College family — a colleague — a friend. We are better because of John and the way God used him in our lives.”
Hackers breached Ashley Madison’s systems in July and posted names and other personal data from the site’s users in August. A group called “The Impact Team” took responsibility. At least three suicides in Texas and in the Toronto-based company’s hometown may be related to the cybercriminals’ 9.7-gigabyte data dump.
Trey, an undergraduate at Louisiana State University, and Gibson’s daughter Callie, a University of Alabama doctoral candidate, survive him, along with his wife, a minister of discipleship and missions at New Orleans’ First Baptist Church. They shared the circumstances surrounding Gibson’s death to send a message to the site’s 32 million outed users rather than to act as “a source for salacious gossip,” Christi Gibson told CNN.
“These were real people with real families, real pain and real loss,” Gibson said. “Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn’t merit it. It didn’t merit it at all.”
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