Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ask Mitt Romney This: When Does He Expect To Become A God Over His Own Planet?

In our last blog entry, we considered just what might happen if the political journalistas in the media who come out of the woodwork every two to four years did what an indignant Brigham Young University professor's demands of them. It was a humdinger and it actually makes me smile. The apostasy at hand might really get a beating then.

Mr. Lane Williams, the professor I refer to, believes that the political press ought to be taking to task the evangelical Christian countercult movement for bearing what he calls "false witness" against Mormonism. He thinks the current crop of Presidential wannabes like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and others should somehow be coached into taking a stand against what he perceives as mean-spirited religious bigotry. He passionately believes that for Christian researchers (such as myself) to call the Latter Day Saint Church a cultic movement that teaches unorthodox heresy and has open dreams of American theocracy is somehow a "false witness" about his faith - not to mention his horribly misunderstood employer.

Now this would no doubt delight some indignant Mormon apologists to no end. They would delight hearing a Jon Huntsman or a Ron Paul give them an indignant yet malleable soundbite their publicists could use to take such "False Witnesses" to task with. For them, hearing public figures of this stature take a position against "religious bigotry" would certainly be a faith-building and heartening spectacle. I concluded my blog entry observing that this kind of public spectacle is nothing any perceptive Mormon apologist, not to mention LDS leader, really wants to have done.

Light shone on the carefully groomed image of Mormonism will show the dust, cracks and awkward signs of extensive shoring and reinvention it has done for over a century all too plainly. The polished patina that decades of LDS public relations have spread over it would quickly be revealed for what it is .. a veneer for an sectarian cultic movement that itself has been responsible for false witness about Christianity for over a century, preaching heresy out of an apostate mindset that reckons itself to be "the Restoration" of true Christian faith.

There is one little detail Mr. Williams has inconveniently overlooked, however.

Perhaps the media might, just might, as it is often wont to do, go places with their questions that Mr. Williams might not want them to go. Any good media-savvy public figure knows that a spin cycle can only be sustained so long and that eventually, momentum gets lost and friction causes it to stall and then become irreversibly slowed to a stand still. And Mormonism's flight before the cameras under the harsh klieg lights of objective examination stalls really quickly, so it instead follows the flight paths of least resistance by busily occupying itself in a self-proclaimed mission of proclaiming its "restored gospel," deftly avoiding controversy or too close attention to its sharper edges by fielding heartwarming commercials, service projects by LDS Cub Scouts, and inviting people to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing at Christmastime.

What might happen is that someone in the media might actually start asking the following reworked questions, inspired by the one Williams originally suggested:

"Do you think Mormonism has borne false witness against evangelical Christianity according to the countercult movement?”

"Do you believe that these Mormon doctrines about men becoming gods over their own planets are really what historic, orthodox Christian faith believes?"

Where do we see the Christian faith prior to the birth of the LDS church in 1830 teaching us that we may become gods? When has that bizarre truth claim ever been a part of the doctrine and a practical pursuit established as historic Christian faith? These are not simple "differences" but vast gaping chasms in the very fabric of Mormonism that are never explored. Heavens to Murgatroyd, those are worth asking, Mr. Williams!

Therefore, asking Presidential candidates if Mitt Romney's version of "Christian belief" actually twists and distorts Christian truth claims is a claim I'd love to see Wolf Blitzer discuss on "The Situation Room" or watch Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View" throw that piece of meat out for her cronies to chew on.
Perhaps another question along the same vein might actually be asked of Mr. Romney:

"When does he expect to become a god .. before or after the 2012 Presidential election?"

It's a fact of life that American presidents have to be voted into office by a notoriously fickle, partisan electorate full of people who have the power to deny them that for any one of a million reasons. That's such a messy and earthy reality no presidential aspirant can ignore. Ah, but such carnal concerns are beneath the reign of the supreme being known as Elohim in Mormonism, or more warm fuzzily, the "Heavenly Father" According to Mormon teaching, He actually calls all "worthy" LDS people to become actual gods just like He is, to become "exalted" beings who achieve actual divinity and rule over an actual literal, planet somewhere in the cosmos as part of His "Plan" for humanity. It would be interesting to ask Mitt this question in a town hall meeting.

Now Mr. Romney might assure us that his church's policies will never influence his guidance of the state, the same way John Kennedy said the Papacy would not run America. While we may want to take his word at face value (because we like to be nice people who do so out of polite courtesy), skeptical people knowing the LDS propensity for high level political brinksmanship and activism know all too well that there needs to be more questions asked about how Romney's faith informs his moral and ethical decision making. It's not unfair to ask if someone who believes that they are a literal, actual god-in-waiting is going to exhibit a genuinely impartial subjection to far more mundane American political principles, like loyalty to the Constitution and the separation of church and state. It is no secret that the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, had unashamedly open political ambitions that were dominated by Latter Day Saint religion and for a time he controlled a virtual theocracy in his day happily energized by his church's membership. Things like political and religious dissent and freedom of the press became an intolerable background noise which led him and his Mormon leaders to take the law into their hands and did not exactly endear them to pioneer America .. and the response of 1840's Mormonism in Illinois to those who opposed their beliefs and practices should not be forgotten today as a cautionary tale.

I'd like to see the imaginative news editor with spine enough to ask these questions of Mr. Romney. I'd recommend he get a Pulitzer if he dared to press them to him. I think the American electorate deserves an answer to that one among many questions. This belief is one of the worst kept secrets of Mormonism and sharp producers and reporters in the political media will realize that the LDS Church's deceptive dodge of examination of this finer point of their theology is indeed a point worthy of journalistic exploration. The media's abysmally shallow perspective and lack of visceral fortitude (or "lack of a pair" as some might say) on touching off genuine controversy about religion in the political circle prevents this. They have enough fun trying to gauge Rick Perry's shadowy ties to the Religious Right and getting the extent of them so wrong, I don't expect them to be too doing much about exploring Mormonism's godmaking.

And while Mr. Williams would possibly blow a gasket believing this line of query to be another assailing of "false witness", it's actually a most cogent and reasonable one to ask of Romney since the LDS Church has long believed and taught the deification of men. All "worthy" Mormons know this well. Mr. Romney, being of this elite group of LDS social order, is not ignorant of this foundational LDS tenet either and neither (wink wink) is Mr. Williams. They just won't talk about it publicly among heathen "Gentiles" who they would reckon are unable to handle this truth claim.

To highlight how hidden in plain sight this doctrine is, review the following bit of research supplied by researcher Aaron Shafovaloff:

These three current LDS church training manuals quote the late Mormon "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball as teaching that good LDS people are divinely created by "Heavenly Father" with the capacity to become a god.

"Each one of you has it within the realm of his possibility to develop a kingdom over which you will preside as its king and god. You will need to develop yourself and grow in ability and power and worthiness, to govern such a world with all of its people."

(“The Matter of Marriage” [address delivered at the Salt Lake City Institute of Religion, Oct. 22, 1976], 2).

Latter Day saints argue that Kimball's teaching here was either misunderstood, distorted or at the very most, misguided. They  assert that such a teaching is completely unknown to the LDS body politic, and that such a nefarious claim is the work of "anti mormons" out to discredit the church. But so you can see how this blasphemous assertion is firmly embedded in LDS teaching online click the following links below here:

Doctrine and Covenants 130 -- Teacher Resource Manual  (This is for the training of LDS teachers who instruct high school level youth in LDS settings.)

“Chapter 4: Teaching Children: from Four to Eleven Years,” A Parent’s Guide, 23 (This manual is provided to LDS parents for the teaching of their younger children. They even put the quote under the section, "Teach Children to Accept and Understand Their Gender Roles")

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual (a manual written for college students, despite the domain its hosted on).

Now these teachings are plainly accessible on the Internet for anyone to read, as well as proof that Mr. Romney's charitable foundation donates millions of dollars to the LDS Church to help promulgate these bizarre and unbiblical beliefs.

Nowhere throughout the two millenia of church history can it be found that the Christian Church taught that Christians are gods in embryo, ready to become rulers over their own kingdoms and planets. The Apostles Creed, the New Testament and none of the church fathers or theologians of the first several centuries ever truly embraced this self-aggrandizing dogma.

And yet Mr. Williams and Mr. Romney want us to believe that their religion's unbiblical and warped view of God is derived from the Christian faith that has stood for two millenia? We beg to ask just who is bearing "false witness" here? Methinks it has nothing to do with the countercult community.

To quote the Old Homey, the Lord don't play that ..

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. ..

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Isaiah 45:5-6, 18-23.

There's only one God who will ever control our destiny, and it's not Joseph Smith.

Nor will it be Mitt Romney even in his own neck of the cosmos. He might be President some day, but he will never be a god, no matter what his carefully hidden convictions assert. Nor will any other Mormon.

They will all bow their knees before Him, who the New Testament shows is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Mormons and Joseph Smith will be rather rudely surprised ..

Friday, September 2, 2011

How Peculiar A People: Brought To You By Brigham Young University

When well established cults who have become institutionalized in Western civilization flex their cultural musculature of victimized ecumenism to assert how mean certain Christian perspectives about them can get, the cracking of their sinews can make a really strange noise. Add to that a self-righteous demand of the larger world around it to control information that covers its ideological private parts and it's almost like a scratching record of whining like no other. We quote one shrill demand here:

As a student of what scholars call framing theory, it is obvious to me that words like “cult” have great power to influence perception. Furthermore, out-of-context, simplistic explanations of our beliefs about the end of the world, about historic polygamy, about alleged secrecy or about alleged prejudice all can add to this impression that Mormons are cultish and possibly dangerous. ...

... Indeed, journalists might ask Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and all the rest: “Do you think the countercult movement in evangelical Christianity has borne false witness against Mormonism?”

Given the prevalence and growth of the countercult movement, is it any wonder that the idea that Mormonism is a cult has branched into the press over the last 40 years? Is it any wonder that so many evangelicals have great disdain for Mormonism? ...

... It is time to remove the word “cult” from the descriptions of Mormonism and time for a deeper, yet respectful, journalistic accounting of the "countercult" movement much responsible for these terms, and it is time for our evangelical friends to stop supporting financially those who mock and distort the faith of others.

Just so we know where this verbal hammer is falling, consider the source of this reproachful demand. It originates from a teacher at Brigham Young University, one Lane Williams who teaches journalism and communication within this bastion of the Latter Day Saint Church. Is there any wonder that a teacher whose paycheck is covered by Mormonism's foundational corporate machine would not excoriate Christian countercult researchers who are a bane to their authoritarian agenda?

But for such a smart man, Mr. Williams really sets forth a pretty dumb idea. To cluck over how mean and nasty the Christian countercult movement is about identifying rightly that the LDS Church is a cultic movement while trying to simultaneously portray the poor Mormon Church as victims of religious discrimination is quite stupid. He actually wants to see a media focus on this question at a time when plenty of solid objective information on LDS cultism compiled by the Christian countercult movement is only a mouse click or two away for any thinking American to consider. Whine as he and his tribe might, the truth claims made are out there for rational consideration.

Mr. Williams' campaign may be playing to Mormon Peorias everywhere, and may inspire LDS intellectuals and elites on the Wasatch Front, as well as the cottage industry of Mormon apologetics institutionalized in groups like FARMS and people such as Daniel Peterson. I rather suspect that if they are truly thoughtful people, which I believe they are, that they are instead going to feel a deep inner disquiet at the thought of LDS belief being brought to light once more. For the public record, it seems, indicates conclusively that Mormonism is still not being widely received, no matter how optimistic its ecumenical reach seems to be: consider this political commentary that certainly cannot but trouble thinking and yet pious Mormons who might want Mr. Williams' crusade to break the surface of public attention to what promises to be a messy election season ahead:

The current presidential campaign began with two cautionary tales fresh in the minds of political strategists:

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama broke ties with his Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after videos surfaced of Wright sermonizing that U.S. foreign policy played a role in the 9/11 attacks. "America's chickens are coming home to roost," Wright said. Obama was so close with Wright that the Democrat took the title of his 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope," from one of the pastor's sermons.

Republican Mitt Romney was the other example. The former Massachusetts governor had struggled to address concerns about being Mormon despite a major faith-and-values speech in 2007 in Texas.

He quoted the New Testament and declared his belief in Jesus. (Many Christian denominations don't consider Mormons to be Christian.) He commended the deep faith of the Founding Fathers and decried secularism. And like Kennedy, he promised that "no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions." Yet, polls continued to show an unwillingness to vote for a Mormon, especially among white evangelicals, who form a large segment of the GOP.

"That speech probably drew more attention to his Mormonism than it was worth," said Ed Kilgore, a former policy director at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council who oversaw programs that urged Democrats to talk about the values behind their policies. "It raised a lot of questions and didn't really resolve them."

Romney is once again seeking the GOP presidential nomination. He has barely discussed his religion so far.

Politicians like to quip that they're not running for theologian in chief. Still, they face increasingly complex questions on doctrine — prompted in many cases by their own attempts at highlighting their faith. 

Click here to read the rest of this insightful Yahoo! News article if you wish.

The legacy of Mormonism embodied in its historic belief of being "the only true church" on the planet, well established hierarchy of unquestionable spiritual authority and the social elitism it engenders can't be easily obscured with a public relations campaign that tries too hard to make Mormons look like everyone else. Mormons long considered themselves a "peculiar people" (in keeping with their cultic passion for exclusivism and spiritual dominance over the Gentiles when they felt they could assert it) and now unhappily find that Western cultural pluralism has a long memory. When the recent grotesquerie of present day Mormon fundamentalism became more exposed, uglier memories have been revitalized. The convicted sexual deviant and former FLDS patriarch Warren Jeffs actually is more faithful to the true and randy spirit of the religion as preached and practiced by its founder Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others. This has also not been forgotten very easily lately, either - especially with LDS activism against homosexuality and abortion as visible as it has been.

So it actually would NOT serve the First Presidency of the Latter Day Saints for attention to be brought to their antichristian doctrines, practices and rituals at a time when they don't really seem to know whether they want to remain apart from society or a part of it.

But hey, let's do it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When Being a False Prophet Can Be A Drag

You know it's hard being a false prophet nowadays. No, really, even though you sleep in great beds, command doting and mindless obedience of your own personal culture centered around what matters to you, have oodles of cash and can control people absolutely down to how many of them will have sex with you or how loud they will shout when you show up for the mandatory mass meetings they and your band of disciples will gleefully attend.

Not all that glitters is gold, however ..

Beyond all of those temporal joys, it's just a never ending drip-drip-drip of all of that pressure of indoctrinating and controlling your inner circle, dealing with the heathen outside your power who haven't been wiped out by the God you say you exclusively represent, thinking up new ways to speak for the Almighty using the same old dribble you say was His Word, paying high power lawyers to keep your critics at bay, and all of that micromanagement of your followers' lives .. basta!

To be perfectly honest, I'm not aware of any insurance companies that provide coverage to the mystics, avatars and pillars of spiritual power who just so happen to be also degenerate apostate wolves in sheep's clothing. I don't know how you'd even underwrite something like that, but many of the same characters could certainly afford whatever premiums a company could demand for them. Can you imagine being a customer service representative for a company devoted to that kind of work? I wonder how Flo or Erin might do talking to Gwen Shamblin about the claims she might want to make about the nasty turns of events she's had to face the past several years. Boy, it would be great to hear the recording of THAT kind of conversation .. for quality control purposes, of course, you understand. I wonder what kind of things her adjusters would have to do .. oy ve.

Things ultimately don't go the way false prophets like .. even after all of their demagoguery, they will Face The Music sooner or later. Lately, it's been Sooner ..

Warren Jeffs, the FLDS "prophet" and Mormon polygamous sexual deviant isn't doing too well as he serves hard time in a Big House for his Big Love. Nor is Harold Camping, the radio broadcaster who has prophesied the end of the world twice and now is awaiting his third prophecy of The End in a nursing home after a stroke. The annoying and troublesome impact of mortality caught up with New Age mystic Elizabeth Clare Prophet finally just a few years ago. And little god Paula White's ongoing "new season" as she steps into her Destiny involves even more lawyers.

It's not easy being a tool of Satan, I guess. But the fringe benefits in this world do a soul a lot of good, don't they?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cultism And Fear: The Watchtower's Joy In Human Misery

Cultic movements aren't terribly creative, just diabolically clever at using the same old basic elements found in human nature and social group dynamics in an infinate number of ways to recruit, deceive and enslave their followers. In our latest and by no means final article on the Franklin, Tennessee cult calling itself Remnant fellowship, we took a long hard look at the basic premise behind its chief claims to "Christian weight loss" and have long seen that it is fear that motivates its members and not faith.

Fear is a horrible thing to live under and the testimony of cult members who have left places like Remnant and others all universally attest to this. The underlying dynamic of dread, horror and anxiety that they indoctrinate their followers in can and does profoundly and often irrevocably affect them in many adverse ways. It paints the world and reality in frightening colors that cause them to shrink from it, to shun it and to abandon their hearts and minds completely to the worldview the cult they've joined demands they embrace. It more insidiously weighs them down with a view of themselves as people incapable of thinking or believing for themselves apart from a complete reliance upon some prophetic authority figure or organization to dictate to them how to live and think, how they can feel approved or holy, how they might be "saved."

This is one of the reasons why cultic movements are societal scourges whose legacies are ultimately some of the most hideous of evils in our world today. "Spiritual direction" such as these groups "suggest" is irresistible when the fears they've indoctrinated their followers to be vulnerable too, "direction" that often plays upon their purely human weaknesses and frailities. It compels them to shed personal goals and self-esteem as casually as one might pull off dirty socks, to distance or cut-off any longstanding personal relationships out of a perverse zeal, and to generally become completely mind controlled slaves to the ideology their cult preaches as the ultimate truth.

It's then that the truly warped and evil nature of antichristian and antisocial cultism becomes most apparent. When you are convinced that the world is owned by Satan and will be destroyed and that the only ark of safety is under Group X's covering, your thinking will change to an unimaginably relentless black and white way of thinking and your values, your lifestyle choices, your destiny as you are permitted to follow it will change as well. You will learn to enjoy feeling a part of the only "true" people of God on earth and will, inexorably, find yourself settling into a security based upon belief that everyone else is wrong, evil and beyond any worth.

Such is the thinking of the Watchtower Society, a classic case of cultic misanthropy on a towering scale that has spanned the globe for over a century via its Jehovah's Witness constituency using its phobic preaching of its own false prophesies and false gospel. This outstanding new video created by an ex-Jehovah's Witness so completely demonstrates how cultism's usage of fear will lead compassionate people into becoming merchants of fearmongering who actually gain pleasure in the horrors of life in our fallen world.

The dry, trenchant observations made in this video about the fear mongering and joy in human misery found among many Jehovah's Witnesses can be found easily in places like Remnant Fellowship .. or, sadly, too many churches around us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Standing On The Promises Of God - Remnant Moles, Pay Attention

The cultic movement Remnant Fellowship has had a long standing objection with my assessments of their religion, culture and leadership as being cultic, antichristian, abusive and manipulative. That is fully understandable when one realizes that spiritual darkness hates it when Biblical light is being shed on it. Their contentions with me over the past years are as legion as the devils that I believe infest their fellowship, as are the conflicts many other cults passionately commit themselves to in efforts to silence dissent and intimidate those who would call them to account. For a bit of information on some of these, check out this link and this link.

My point here is simply that my struggle is far from being the only one. Cults across the nation are suing those who have criticized them with litigation in many another court room.

It is silence on their evil doings that enables cults to achieve the societal disruption and spiritual deception they wreak .. with the church herself being their chief target. We've said it here before and will say it again: Jesus said it would be this way:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

The Biblical prophecy made here by Jesus Christ Himself is being fulfilled by this cult's very existance and heretical mission. I have found that, unless it directly affects them, however, most people don't care much about these kinds of divine oracles found in God's Word unless its bagged up and processed in some nice neat way to help them prosper or succeed or feel good about themselves. But that's for another post for another time.

That thought always moves me to wonder where all the big mega preachers and religious movers and shakers who abide in Nashville have been during the ascendancy of this cult in their own backyard. Where were all of the silver tongued and fiery day prophets for truth who posture in their element there while Shamblin's Remnant Fellowship and other cults there locally devour those wandering out their back doors? Why does it take a mutt Pentecostal preacher of no standing or church pedigree to be the one to take this stand for truth to the antichrists who Jesus said would come to destroy the flocks of God? Why do I get the tens of thousands of dollars of legal bills while Nashville's pulpit ministry media budgets spend that in barely minutes of air time for yet another banal series about purely church-related issues?

Why? Because God raised us up to stand for truth.

Spiritwatch Ministries is devoted to speaking the truth in love to those who will receive it and to those who do not. And one thing is for sure: I won't be one of those that cults or false teachers mute and we shall not remain silent in exposing the darkness of this present age and if Shamblin et al have chosen to identify what the blacklight of their deception, then they will remain a subject for examination and discernment according to the Scriptures for the defense and proclaiming of the truth of the Christian Faith they choose to distort, pervert and deny.

Say what you will, but God has always told me, personally and verbally, in every time I grapple with error that destroys lives the same words:
".. you stand for me and watch as I stand for you."

And He has sustained me time and again in every battle for His truth that I have joined with and is why I have no fear of man anywhere concerning standing up for it. My freedom of thought, mind, speech and heart will never bow to the tyranny of those who seek to shackle and crush it, much less that which is used to destroy and deceive souls.

So when the continuing efforts by the Remnant cult's leaders Gwen Shamblin and Tedd Anger to intimidate me into silence about their antichristian doings failed again, this time in their fatally flawed attempt in a Tennessee appeals court to overturn the summary judgment I won against them, all I can do now here is smile .. and pray, as well as thank God for my lawyers Phil Anderson and John Belcher and the excellent upholding of First Amendment law in the court decision. Free speech is still alive in Tennessee.

For my God spoke the same thing to me when my lawyer phoned me with the news on the ruling this past week. I stand for the truth as it's known about this odious and toxic sect and both He and the truth have been my defense.

I don't know about the "god" Shamblin and Anger idolatrously serve, but my God lives. His truth is marching on as more of it comes out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Morality Clauses Still Count? Amazing. The Latest On The Benny Hinn & Paula White ..uh, Incident

Last July, a rather discomfiting bit of news was raised in the Charismatic and Pentecostal world galaxies when these picture surfaced in the National Enquirer, pictures that very plainly showed charismatic luminaries Benny Hinn and Paula White in a rather intimate setting outside a hotel in Rome. The account suggested they'd had a romantic encounter there and that Hinn had signed in under an assumed name, thus fueling speculation that this was what had indeed happened.

White and Hinn are well known globally for their preaching and teaching ministries and were known to cross paths now and then as they and their fellow "God's Generals" flitted all over the globe espousing fiery preaching of Christianity framed in the prosperity gospel. White had been divorced for some time from her husband Randy, but Hinn's own divorce from his wife Suzanne Hinn had yet to be finalized thus putting them both in a clearly unflattering light.

Both Hinn and White's denials of anything illicit or immoral were vehement and well publicized although coming several days after the reports first surfaced. It didn't convince too many people except those of their faithful followers and supporters who still hung in there with them even to this day. Hinn's assertion that he'd taken White along to Rome as a patron for the Vatican Museum seeking donations from her was categorically denied by the Vatican itself.

In the checkered world of Pentecostal/Charismatic ministerail morality, this is not at all uncommon - as deplorable as it might be, the spin doctoring of the activities of morally questionable preachers usually gets a late start and accounts of their failings are attributed to Satanic "touching of the anointed." Usually, this kind of moral failure is blithely ignored by the questioned, who hope time will quench the fires of investigation, but this time, the wrath of the accountants for Strang Communications, the publishing house that has made millions of dollars off of White and Hinn's writings, was incurred and led to a strange twist that won't let the matter lie. A lawsuit against Hinn was filed by Strang on February 17 for, of all things, Hinn's failure to abide by a morality clause written into a contract they had with him. Click here to read the suit.

Strang's suit invokes their moral turpitude clause which makes clear they expect their writers to embody a certain level of personal morality at the penalty of a cancellation of their contract with them and a return of moneys advanced to them. Ultimately, their beancounters saw how Hinn's behavior would damage their book sales and imperil their market share further in a fiercely competitive industry. They viewed Hinn's dalliance with Paula White even before the divorce ended as objectionable to this narrowly contextualized view of morality but did cite purely financial motivations for even bringing it up. There are hints that Hinn was confronted with a final choice to ante up but that he refused.

It's a faux pas in business. Strang's position is driven by money, in the end.

They could care less about morality, really. As to the Biblical injunction of Matthew 18 fitting here, which compels direct personal interaction of Christians with serious differences with one another, in a perfect world, where Christians really go to church, pray, evangelize, and pour their lives into one another and sacrifice everything for the Gospel while having for every man an answer, yeah, that would be nice.

But as has been alluded to, there is no actual functional spiritual unity based on the relationships of the Spirit within those professing to know Him between the superstars in our Full Gospel firmament and ordinary old Sister Schmoe and Brother Blow attending First Church, Anywhere. People such as Hinn and White live at an exalted level with a coterie of spiritual sycophants with All Access badges behind a phalanx of security people with wires in their ears and have their green rooms everywhere. It's to such people that any "relationship" is seriously extended. Watching Hinn sweep in and sweep out at will his venues without ever actually talking to real people is an act of efficient event management .. not koinonea.

It sure looks good for the cameras though.

This is why I deeply admire Christian pastors who don't participate in such largesse. Watching Chris Moody in my home church and having watched Mitch Maloney, Kelvin Page, John Lombard and other pastors stay at their church's altars ministering to their flocks reminds me that there are still shepherds who truly smell like sheep.

Paul Crouch once famously said he was "accountable only to the Body of Christ" when taken to task about the heretical false teaching that The Bighair Network airs .. but what does that mean? Not a darn thing. These demigods are on another plane .. and I assure you, it ain't higher than us. If Matthew 18 is going to mean anything, it means they'll have learned humility and true submission to the accountability of the Christian congregation they are nominally part of. None of these people, for all of their pulpiteering, know what that means. But boy, it looks great in the latest DVD series.

Back when the story broke, I bought a copy of the 8/2/2010 National Enquirer, which this article was in and dug it out after filing it. It claims Hinn checked into a Hotel Hassler in Rome, which exists, under the name David Solomon and stayed three nights there. The picture of the hotel room is called a "presidential suite" although the hotel's website calls it the "grand deluxe". He was not wearing his wedding ring and looked happy said observers. Hinn was in Rome to meet with Vatican officials for some matter, which he later would say in a crusade in Oakland, California, per Charisma that the Vatican made him a Patron of the Arts and invited him to visit Rome.

He said patrons are asked to find donors to help maintain the Vatican's art collections, and he wanted White to become a donor. "I let her come with me to Rome so she can donate money," Hinn said. "That was stupid on my part. And for that I do ask forgiveness."

Why the Vatican still needs an art collection at a time when churches are closing all over the West due to lack of priests to preside in them and when hundreds of thousands of people suffer horrifically without any help after being abused by the deviants among the said priesthood is beyond me. What's worse is that Hinn and White actually might do such a thing while their own ministries suffer downturns is beyond belief.

I guess their Seasons include supporting an apostate church's grotesque vanity and rank materialism while its slaves suffer. Think about it .. all those millions of people could be giving millions more to help poor old Benny and pitiful little Paula through their Seasons are going to fund the Vatican's dusty museum hallways.

I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt back in 1982. I've walked the Vatican and seen its unbelievable opulence. THEY DON'T NEED ANY MORE ART WORK.

Now Hinn and White are human beings just like you and me. Who would begrudge them the desire for love and companionship? Yet there's a lot to be said about their propriety here and I don't need to go over it. They are not in the position to be dating or looking like they are if Hinn technically isn't divorced .. and how the Hinns split still is strange. What a sad and strange spectacle this all has become. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How Christians Scandalize Their Church - Thoughts Drawn From The PTL Meltdown 24 Years Ago

Jim Bakker, sadly, was a pioneer of not only one of the first big TV ministry empires, but of one of the most massive "fails" of all time that millions to this day still have to deal with.

The example of Bakker and the PTL Club's sad implosion exposed a sad pattern for the church that it should have learned from. It also showed that the church seems almost unwilling to learn, setting out to establish that the hero worship of "the anointed" has to be restored at all costs for us to show "Christian restoration" as opposed to true, equitable discipline and accountability.

In the midst of these extreme and obvious examples also proceed the more prosaic but no less tragic failures such as the lamentable fall of ministers all around. And then you have the Juanita Bynum and Thomas Weeks grotesque disconnect as well as the ongoing mutancy of Jimmy Swaggart's renegade work. As well as Pastor B. O. McSnort's extortion from the Big Ugly Church of God of his youth group's donation account money, as well as his youth group leader's wife .. not to mention Paula White and Benny Hinn's dalliance last July in a hotel in Rome when Hinn was not even yet technically divorced from his wife ..

With the ashes of Todd Bentley's sanctification of his adultery by "prophet" Rick Joyner still drifting in the wind, it's obvious that the church still hasn't learned these most crucial lessons of all, which it seems more clueless then not about ..

Our love that covers a multitude of sins isn't something to be used to cover or defend a continuance of them

Our eyes should be entirely focused on Jesus Christ and His concerns first and foremost

Our high esteem of Christian leaders should be tempered with the realization that men/women of God are still in the end, just men/women like you , people with feet of clay who stumble and fall JUST like you .. and who aren't above correction, admonition or removal

Our leaders in the position to address the moral and ethical failures seen among us should be approachable and able to directly address and rein them in

Had all the anonymous people involved in all of those invisible places where the sin and failure had to first have been seen in the lives of so many of our fallen leaders spoke up, life for many of these might be so different. How many people "spoke into the lives" (what a strange expression) of these "fallen generals" to actually deal with the core failings they manifested at some level in their private and public lifestyles?

Sin and the flesh being as carnally suave and deceptive as it is, I realize that such a perspective isn't always able to penetrate the poker faces of those who are confronted. Human nature has an almost limitless ability to rationalize and disguise itself behind open appearances of holiness and orthodoxy - and our trust in what we see is where we miss what our discernment from other sources overrides this. Perhaps it's not possible to head off all of these troubles. But I am certain that SOME of them very likely could have been.

I didn't "see the light" about who God was until 1980 and didn't come to Christ until 1981. I did so with absolutely no connection or attention to TV ministry at all. My encounter was one with the Spirit and the Word and Christian testimony I encountered while joining the Navy. As quickly as new life came to me by my faith in Christ so did offense, carnality, temptation and I almost didn't make it through. Only the grace of God brought me through it all.

I had heard of PTL through my mom, who was saved, and watched a bit of it with her around 1979 but it was completely incomprehensible to me. Really. The God gabbing and God giggling I saw was beyond my ability to grasp. I think one can say this and say that it was just my carnal and pagan side trying to grasp spiritual things. Perhaps that had something to do with it.

But frankly, there was so much of what I saw those one or two times that sounded nothing more than what today we'd call the Christianese that obscures Christian truth and revelation from anyone who might even be casually seeking what Christians put so much attention on. It seemed so much more like a variety TV show having fun and games with an audience waiting to get the punch line. Then I watched a couple of TV specials around that same time by ABC's 20/20 and CBS's 60 Minutes that pioneered what would become the standard liberal media bias and focus when it came to the then emerging "Religious Right."

Each show interviewed evangelical leaders and critics and framed their responses the way they wanted to by using seamless editing. Between shots of giant Jesus rallies and soundstages, they intrepidly followed ministry money, fund raising and bill paying, dug up improprieties, made their conclusions. And then they interviewed bright eyed followers and got sound bites from them which made them look like brainless sheep blindly following dynamic, fire breathing Furies who happened to be "televangelists" pioneering "pray TV." It became obvious to me that the TV programs were more aimed at showing what kind of Elmer Gantryesque shysters the TV producers wanted their viewers to perceive PTL et al as. Even then, while an unbeliever, I saw the attack dog approach and was turned off by the press' inexplicable hostility, driven by their own agenda dedicated to the defense of their gods.

I guess what's important is that the effect of both of these media convergences in my pre-Christian pagan mindset is that I just steered completely away from watching any Christian TV at all .. that, I think, probably saved me from a lot of subsequent confusion when 3 years later in 1983 after discharge from the Navy, I had little to do with Christian TV when I started going to church every time the doors were open.

Aside from viewing "The John Ankerberg Show", which I found to be the most stimulating 30 minutes of Christian TV I caught regularly from August 1983 onward, I just didn't care to watch Jimmy Swaggart's telecast, the "700 Club" or the PTL Network's shticks. My discipling focus never got hung up on the media - it stayed on my knees, before Scripture, alone with God and in community at church, meeting with believers and witnessing to whom ever.

I am certain there was a lot of blessing that came out of the Christian community that was attracted to the PTL empire and I think the motives and intentions of all were initially pure. But the need for money to finance silly dreams that had little connection to the urgent reality of the need to evangelize and disciple people in obedience to Christ's Great commission is what destroyed Jim Bakker and the PTL Club.

And I raise my own personal recollections of those times because, I remember one exchange on 20/20 back then with Bakker that I think said a lot about what I'm talking about in regards to accountability and correction. Bakker was confronted with the fact that back around 1979, he'd started a fund raiser on his show specifically to finance the construction and creation of a TV station somewhere outside the U.S., collected a huge chunk of cash, and then instead diverted it to PTL general operations. He was leaving viewers to believe that their giving was going to this project instead. 20/20 apparently found someone who had records to corroborate this rather unbelievable state of affairs, confronted Bakker with it on camera, and he flat out admitted to it, as well as stating explicitly that PTL had engaged in dereliction of their duties.

My point is that while dirt may have been dug up on PTL, PTL should never have created the dirt to begin with.

What I come away from in reading and research into the PTL fall, since having become a maturer Christian then I was in 1983, is that this pattern of evasion, covering and rationalizing that PTL freely engaged in is something far more dug into Christian culture then is believable. But it happened. God alone knows how many other such matters on so many other levels took place. Bakker's book "I Was Wrong" doesn't really begin to touch this, although his candor is helpful.

His marriage with Tammy Faye seemed to go askew around 1978-1979 .. and it was then, around 1980 that a Jessica Hahn crossed paths with him, thanks to the "ministry" of a John Wesley Fletcher. That fundamental issue should have rung peals of church bell alarms for EVERYONE at PTL at that time. But the circus went on, and the Bakkers continued to act like everything was AOK.

But again, my point is simply that Christian history seems to infer that when Christians are in the position to speak up and confront the failings of our own leaders and do not do so, the subsequent fall from grace will take so many others down with it then need to go with them. As I said, perhaps it's foolish to expect that we can stop everything and keep the Body of Christ from suffering the reproach it does .. even if the Bible SAYS so..

I just cannot shake the feeling that there's more that can be done then we do .. and do not because we want to be politically correct.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Lack Of Faith In Rome Is Disturbing: The Pope On Protestant Resistance As Futile

Like never before in the past twenty years, the apologists and faithful within Roman Catholicism have striven for the high road in enjoining Protestants to fellowship and dialogue with them. Hoping to engage them on their "faith journeys," these zealous folk have appealed not only to Protestants of all stripes but to lapsed Roman Catholics who have left the church in an earnest effort to bring them "home" to the fold of Rome. Media campaigns and interfaith initiatives abound from many religious groups from the Bahai to the United Methodist Church to the so-called "Church" of Scientology and these efforts are just one more voice in the marketplace that spirituality in the last days has become.

What is not easily recognized is how long Roman Catholicism has used the efforts of people of every Christian persuasion as a way to do an end run around Protestantism's distinctives, trying to show how such division is an affront to Christ and that to continue to maintain them is so, well, "unchristian." Since 1935, joint efforts by ecumenicists in the Anglican Church and by Roman Catholic leadership have resulted in an interfaith initiative called the Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity which the Papacy has seized on with great zeal over the past fifty years since the end of World War II. The 2011 edition of this weeklong emphasis was summarized on the Catholic Culture website, to wit:

At a January 25 Vespers service closing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI said that ecumenical work is a “moral imperative” for all Christians.

The Holy Father reminded the congregation at the basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls that Jesus prayed for unity among the faithful. That unity, he said, “cannot be reduced to recognizing our reciprocal differences and achieving peaceful coexistence.” The followers of Christ cannot be satisfied until they have achieved full communion, he said.

True Christian unity, the Pope continued, “cannot be realized only at the level of organizational structures,” but must be forged among the faithful, “confessing the one faith, celebrating divine worship in common, and keeping the fraternal harmony of the family of God.”

You can hear a Vatican media report on the "encouraging convergence" of "Christian unity" by clicking here (requires a Real Player)

Hence, the papal demand to unceasingly press for a common "confession" and a "divine worship" as a moral imperative that Jesus prayed for is actually a veiled call for Protestants to cease their resistance and refusal to acknowledge Rome's supremacy. Roman Catholicism has historically called curses in the name of God upon anyone who doesn't toe its line and submit to its authority and until the Papacy recognizes and apologizes to Christian conscience itself for engaging in such blood thirsty fulmination, any discussion of "unity" with Rome is little more than hot air. Renouncing the anathemas called down upon Protestants at the Roman Catholic Council of Trent would be a nice place to start but it hasn't happened. So for a variety of dunder headed Protestant ministers and theologians to go for a ride with Roman Catholic figures working to turn their movements into subjects of Rome again is just one of the many signs that the apostasy of the last days, the "mystery of iniquity doth already work."

In a day in which the faith which Christ preached, died and rose again for is continually revisioned as being the exclusive province of Church A or Church B, it is not difficult to see just how much the Catholic Church has become another multinational organization fighting for market share in a deathmatch with the encroaching influences of Evangelical and Protestant missions efforts confronting it globally. Catholicism has long found itself under siege on all religious fronts, finding its priesthood, polity, tradition and rigid obedience to the Papacy increasingly tuned out by more and more Roman Catholics itself, let alone those outside it's fold.

Interestingly, for all of its labors, it would seem that Mother Rome isn't finding much success for its fruit: in the National Councll of Churches' annual Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, we find that the cultic Mormon Church and the Pentecostal movement the Assemblies of God enjoyed almost the exact rate of growth in the United States in 2009 as the Roman Catholic church itself did. For such radically missionary and evangelistically oriented movements to set forth such sluggish growth rates, however, raises far more questions than answers about the advance of Christianity in the last days - namely what Christianity is being seen as in America, and why movements supposedly energized by the Spirit of God barely are keeping ahead of U.S. population growth of 0.9 %.

An excellent article on the heavyhandedness of Roman Catholicism's attempt to define Christianity by it's own monolithic denominational self-identity make itself the chief deserves some consideration. You see, the whole point of an apostasy is to fall away from the original pattern of belief or faith and Roman Catholicism, being the corrupt and apostate church that it has become by abandoning Biblical faith, is surely one of the greatest leaders of apostacy today.

Why is Roman Catholicism unbiblical? Click here to read why from one powerful voice, who, while long gone, still speaks today.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being Unmutual .. Continued

The LDS Church's historically smothering conservatism has been preserved by the power of Mormon groupthink that binds its members together in a culture completely given over to the exaltation of the church's authority, obedience to its dictates and a supreme control of member's behaviors by ritual, sexism and unbiblical doctrine. Beginning with its missionary zeal to bring the world out of a darkness that the light of the "restored Gospel", the LDS culture aims at coopting every cultural guidepost outside itself, bringing it under a completely well qualified authority of the Church itself.

There have always been malcontents, nonconformists and noted apostates who have left the church's fold out of conscience sake, having found it's hypocrisy, smothering of objective truth and exclusivism at odds with a more sober and humble view of reality. Millions more have stayed within it, swallowing their objections, and one ex-Mormon's views on the future of a cultic church movement filled with such vast tension with itself are more insight on what it costs to be unmutual .. this is from my friend Eric Kettunen's "Recovery From Mormonism" site":

I expect to see a polarization within Mormonism quickly develop. The vast majority of the old guard do not have the perspective to recognize that their worldview is deficient, and will not be prepared to absorb the information required to see that they may be a problem, so their behavior will not change. The real battle for hearts and minds will occur in the generation that is now under 30 years of age, and even more importantly, for their children. Some will stay with their parents’ paradigm and others will either leave Mormonism or radically redefine the role of religion in their lives. ...

The Mormon institutional structure should be expected to remain largely unchanged due to its paralyzingly conservative decision making mechanism. All significant changes must be unanimously approved by the 15 top leaders, all of whom are old and male. .. However, an increasing degree of individual flexibility will be permitted to members as a matter of practical necessity as Stake Presidents and Bishops are faced with more and more people like me.

As I was told, it does not matter what I believed as long as I keep my mouth shut and so didn’t disturb the orthodoxy of others. As long as I kept that rule, I was free to participate on whatever terms I choose. This approach has become common, and will lead increasing numbers of Mormons to lead double lives. They will attend at least some Mormon services and often hold responsible leadership positions while participating anonymously on Internet bulletin boards and email lists where they can express their real beliefs and develop a sense of community with others and clarity of self perception that can only be achieved within this mode of expression.

This will cause increasing numbers of Mormons to justifying lying (or such creative use of language that the difference between it and lying is immaterial) during temple recommend interviews when asked to confirm their beliefs. It will cause increasing number of Mormon young people to enter a baffling world of grey as they begin to understand their parents’ ambivalent position regarding religious belief, practise, what it means to keep a promise and answers questions honestly, etc. This should be expected to cause a continued erosion Mormon community’s moral fabric.

On a lighter note, these same forces will continue to cause ironies like currently serving Mormon Bishops who consult with people like me regarding how they should counsel faithful Mormons about issues related to sexual morality, sexual practises within marriage, masturbation, whether young people or mature couples should serve missions, etc. These Bishops tell me that they don’t dare discuss these questions with their Stake Presidents or other Mormon file leaders because they are out of touch with the reality related to these issues, and in any event discussions of that kind would require the revelation of the Bishop’s heterodox beliefs. Bishops of this kind are usually closet heretics who believe that they can do more good “from the inside” walking what one such man eloquently labeled the “path of inner darkness”, then they can from the outside.

Read more of a truly prophetic tale here.

There are untold millions of stories in the Cultworld; this has been just one of them.

At least a few more will follow ..

Monday, February 7, 2011

Being Unmutual - What It's Like When You Think For Yourself In Cultic Organizations

One of my favorite TV shows is the iconic 1967 series "The Prisoner," created and starring the late Patrick McGoohan. I've been a fan since it was shown as a summer series fill in on CBS in 1969. For those of you who never tuned in, the drama revolves around the struggle of a top secret agent to resist the surreal interrogation he is subjected to after being spirited away to a Kafkaesque town called the Village. The Village is populated by other agents who have been captured and broken by its' sophisticated technological and psychological coercion as secret information is ruthlessly stripped from them by their unidentifiable captors and become unwitting instruments they use to compel McGoohan's character to give in to them. He is given a new name and identity, Number Six, and told to answer their questions or be prepared to live the rest of his life there under the threat of having it extracted from them in mind and personality shattering ways.

The whole series' fascinating premise pits Number Six's steadfast resistance against the Village's totalist social milieux as programmed by a variety of Number Twos, men and women who are effectively the warders of the Village who want to get him to talk. It's a great show and perhaps the most innovative and disturbing television series of all time .. and a reverie from it shows indeed how art often can only slickly approximate the all too horrific and real life drama that goes in our world today when the freedom of conscience is challenged.

In one episode, Number Six's resistance to the Village's social order results in him being labelled "unmutual," which is the ultimate anathema that can be pronounced on a Village resident. He is accused of defying the Village's groupthink perspective so disruptively that it destroys social cohesion and harbors a destructive subversion of it's overwhelmingly conformist status quo. He is then forced to choose between submission to their demand or a complete frontal lobotomy of his brain itself. When the whole community physically attacks him and drags him off to a hospital for this to be done, the drama is one of the most terrifyingly unnerving paroxysms of violence in the whole series, because it is done with such faultless civility so as to save the Village from the spread of antisocial "unmutuality."

To harbor such attitudes is also the unforgiveable sin in cultic movements of all persuasions. This is where cultism itself becomes most observable - when no other worldview or valid perspective other than that which is rigidly adhered to be a given organization at the pain of drastically punitive and manipulative social sanctions - anything from being labelled a tool of Satan publically to having one's wife completely abandon you for thinking differently from the authoritarian leadership she and you looked up to.

We'll be looking at examples of what this kind of "sin" looks like in the next few posts .. such as this profoundly disturbing snapshots which you can read at in full in the links for each one ..

In the beginning the church put very few restraints on me and everyone seemed so on fire for God and radical in their devotion. Slowly over time I started to see that what was presented to me in the beginning was dramatically different from what I found myself dedicated and committed to in the end. I found that being a member in good standing was dependent upon unquestioning submission with the church's headship, vision, teachings, and doctrines.

By the time I had a clear understanding of what The Fellowship believed and practiced I felt trapped. I saw no way out short of loosing my friends and living under the curses the church places on ex-members. Read more here.

How does "unmutuality" get addressed? Here's the nice, sanitized version that sounds so pious it seems scandalous to fault it: but the implications are chillingly clear ... this is a quote from the an unofficial Unification Church website that can't be accessed without creating an account with it to access it's writings ..

We need to recognize our wrong/negative thinking habits and reprogram ourselves with correct/positive thinking habits. Let's start with grateful thinking and a habit of report prayer when we can confess and repent and make new determination at the end of each day. That will help us avoid a vicious cycle of self-accusation "guilt-tripping" that saps our spiritual energy and pulls us into depression and despair. Read more here if you want to sign in to look for the complete article.

More to follow ..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When An Educator's Faith Becomes An Messy Issue

Ah, the great enterprise of academic scientific inquiry just isn't what is used to be these days.

At one time, Western science's post-Enlightenment "tolerance" of religion among it's practitioners was more or less an uneasy truce that juggled materialistic skepticism and metaphysical wonder freely. With the rise of radically atheistic humanism in the last century or so, the stakes have now considerably changed with naturalism clearly the most dominant line of reasoning, a perspective firmly rejecting the supernatural or metaphysical from any serious consideration in its theorizing. Never mind that it's psuedo scientific theories on the universe's origins following evolutionary lines are easily as bizarre a tale as any they might harangue others about, namely, those who feel God created the universe and man.

So once you consider these are the Biblically foretold last days when most of our repositors of empirical discovery are also those who "did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Roman 1:28), is it any wonder that a Christian professor finds himself told to get with the program? Nah. That's what University of Texas educator and researcher Dr. C.R. Haskell had the unmitigated temerity to do: he missed the memo circulating among his fellow astronomers and physicists that retaining this incovenient theistic belief could short circuit your career path. He just happened to get asked about his faith when seeking to become employed at the University of Kentucky by those interviewing him, which, after confirming his unfortunate bent towards Christianity, became too much to handle and very likely resulted to his being passed over for a job he seemed qualified for.

It's yet another all too familiar tale of how secular institutional bigotry, paid for by millions of tax dollars collected from Kentuckians who are largely Evangelical, gets a free ride at the expense of one man's conscience. Even an anti-creationist screed, in reporting on the affair, couldn't ruffle it's righteous feathers enough to cover up the UK's intolerance. It's all just another dispatch from the apostacy .. any surprise is clearly coincedental.

Proverbial Example Department Part 47: How Cults Use The Media - an open letter to KDVR, Denver, Colorado

To whomever this will concern:

In 2007, the Fox News Network did a piece, through the "Geraldo At Large" show on January 9, 2007, casting some perspective on the activity of a abusive and cultic movement in Tennessee which I have become too familiar with. I am a Christian minister here who has tried to aid those affected by its activity for several years. This movement is called Remnant Fellowship and uses it's self proclaimed "prophet" and founder Gwen Shamblin's "faith based" diet program called the Weigh Down Workshop as a recuiting tool. It has caused untold amounts of disruption in marriages and families and preaches a message that essentially asserts that excess weight is the equivalent of moral failure with a religion based upon this principle finding expression in the Remnant movement.You may watch this brief report as aired in 2007 here.

It is being reported on the Weigh Down Workshop website as I type that Gwen Shamblin and her local cadre of disciples in Colorado are going to be featured not once but twice on the Fox affiate KDVR's "Good Morning Colorado" show on the morning of February 4, 2011. If this is true, several questions and observations have to be both asked and made:

Is it really too much to expect that due diligence into uncovering the questionable background of a controversial figure like Gwen Shamblin might be done by a news agency before rushing ahead to publicize her imbalanced work?

Does the word "google" mean anything to your producers who are going to be giving Shamblin and her local group in Colorado free air time?

It is difficult to believe that they could have missed the innumerable warning on a variety of Internet news and perspective sites that show how abusive this cult's teaching and practice has been. Can a news organization really be so crass as to give publicity to a cultic movement it criticized 4 years previously for the sake of Arbitron ratings?

The bling truly is the thing, as has been said .. and this can be seen so clearly in reference to Shamblin's publicity tours in recent years.

Now, I just don't get it. You hope to see socially responsible broadcast journalism now and then. But the KDVR Fox organization completely fails to realize how its' dalliance with faith based weight loss is actually part of a cunningly executed gambit by a cultic movement. It's been used to get free press for the recruitment drive of a dangerous cult that its' parent network exposed a few years ago.

Thanks to KDVR, scores of vulnerable people ill equipped to discern the seductive deception of this group's claims to "permanent weight loss" will be fully exposed to it's siren song. I have tried to help at least three different families in your state impacted by this group there and thanks to you, the very real possibility is coming that more will be soon be calling.

Here's another word for you, KDVR: how does it feel to be completely "pwned" by a cult?

Your organization can still stop these appearances tommorrow morning. That would be swell. However, I don't know if your skeleton crew will be awake enough to check this inbox, much less get it to whoever is in charge that gives a hoot about stuff like journalistic integrity so early in a cold winter morning on a Friday. But who knows, maybe you will?

A lot of people in Colorado will be watching that I personally know. Make us proud.

Cordially, Rev. Rafael D Martinez, Director, Spiritwatch Ministries

This the text of an email that was sent to KDVR. So far, no response. I honestly didn't expect one, but as my grandpa always liked to say "uno nunca sabe .. "
It goes to show you that heresy and deception still always loves company .. and bully pulpits.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's Not Unusual: Atheists Masquerading As Pastors, No Biggy

He was indeed--in a Baptist seminary!--a specimen of the "young man ruined by godless education" whom the Baptist periodicals loved to paint.
But he stayed.

He clung to the church. It was his land, his patriotism. Nebulously and quite unpractically and altogether miserably he planned to give his life to a project called "liberalizing the church from within."

It was a relief after his sophistries to have so lively an emotion as his sweet, clear, resounding hatred for Brother Elmer Gantry.

One of the sad realities of the day is that the institutions we look to for stability and grounding in our morally bankrupt era are often just as shot through with the uncertainty and corruption that we hope to find refuge from. Children often find parents to be horribly petty and abusive. Schools often become havens of incompetence, bullying and godless humanism. Taxpayers behold governments they're told to trust rife with corruption and favoritism. Situations as diverse as major league baseball's steroid scandals to politicians on the take abound.

Everywhere you look, things are sometimes not always what they seem.

Of course, life doesn't imitate art as much as art patterns itself after it. Popular literature feasts on this when it comes to depicting how the faithful lose their faith. The unforgettable catechism apostate seminary professor Dr. Bruno Zechlin gave to divinity student Frank Shallard in Sinclair Lewis' savage screed Elmer Gantry is a bygone generation's serialization of such a thing, while the bizarre hunt to punish God in Preacher Jesse Custer's quest in the profane "Preacher" graphic novels occupies the attentions of today's twenty and thirtysomethings. All of the passion concerning losing religion that these literary works express are eloquently echoed by more mainstream works such as Dan Barker's "Losing Faith in Faith" and a library of other such books as produced by atheist organizations. Atheists in Western society today are seeking and finding like never before vast audiences among many formerly "religious" people that strike a chord with their own inexorable slide into disillusionment, apostasy and then disengagement from any connection to religious faith. This cottage industry, with figures like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins holding court from late night TV soundstages to book signings attracting thousands, has been reenergized and seeks more air time, so the more imitation it can do, the better.

Losing faith, in the still religious West, is increasingly viewed as a great human interest perspective that always gets readers and viewers looking for its depiction and description. In today's confusing times, where dogmafights turn off so many, the freedom to express such irrationality publicly in places where it might influence othes is of course a scandalous faux pas of social convention. People of faith, of course, are amazed at such audacity and help the ratings of the media keep on keeping on.

So when ABC last November decided to air a news segment on the apostacy of two U.S. ministers give up their faith anonymously so as to keep their pastoral jobs, in the same vein of a Custer or Shallard, we took notice. Of course, ministerial apostacy on the job isn't unknown but their desire to keep it hidden by not wanting to lose their livelihood is certainly well understood. What's equally noteworthy is when we find that sometimes the parishioners who've submitted themselves to such men actually can find it within themselves to applaud their stand. Incredible but true, this 2003 article details such a thing. I certainly don't think the 2 preachers above would find such support in the Bible belt where they seemed to operating from.

Got a while to spend here? .. check out the Frank Turek and Christopher Hitchens debate on the existence of God. The comments on the video are almost as interesting as the video itself.