Statement of Jennifer C. Wilbanks (search) as delivered by Dr. Tom Smiley (search), Senior Pastor, Lakewood Baptist Church (search), Gainesville, GA:

At this time, I cannot explain fully what happened to me last week. I had a host of compelling issues which seemed out of control — issues for which I was unable to address or confine.

Please, may I assure you that my running away had nothing to do with "cold feet," nor was it ever about leaving John. Those who know me, know how excited I've been, and how excited I was about the spectacular wedding we planned, and how I could not wait to be Mrs. John Mason.

In my mind, it was never about the timing, however unfortunate. I was simply running from myself and from certain fears controlling my life.

Each day I am understanding more about who I am and the issues that influenced me to respond inappropriately. Therefore, I have started professional treatment, voluntarily.

I am truly sorry for the troubles I caused, and I offer my deep and sincere apology. I ask for John's forgiveness and that of his family. I also ask for forgiveness of my family, our friends, our respective churches, our communities and any others I may have offended unintentionally.

I am deeply grateful and appreciative to everyone who responded on my behalf. I thank you for every expression of support and effort. Your sacrifices of time and personal inconvenience touched me deeply, and I hope your spirit of care is not lessened.

I understand that many people wanted to hear from me personally today, and I wanted to be there. However, I look forward to days ahead when I am strong enough to speak for myself.

As John said on countless occasions recently, may we follow teaching of Scripture, in being kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving, just as God in Christ forgives us.

Thank you.