Do I Stay or Do I Leave? A Dilemma for Women in the Church — The Junia Project

Earlier this year we shared a guest post titled “Why I’m at a Church That Doesn’t Support Gender Equality”. The post led to a robust discussion of the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. Today a seasoned leader shares a consequence of staying in a complementarian church that did not come up in earlier…

via Do I Stay or Do I Leave? A Dilemma for Women in the Church — The Junia Project

Apostle Paul Addressed One Woman In Error Not Teaching Until She Learned Correctly, Not All Christian Women For All Time – I Timothy 2:12


by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

[Note: My ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is fond of ‘camping out’ on a few Scripture verses, even words, to prohibit Christian women from using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them in serving the church, including in teaching, preaching and leading. GBFSV pastors/elders’ claim this is ‘Biblical’. In point of fact, it’s not. Baptist women have been leaders, teachers, and missionaries for hundreds of years. I remembered that my Presbyterian grandmother’s (she died at 102 years old) medical missionary friends — women doctors — who practiced medicine, taught The Gospel in villages around the world, and they improved lives wherever God put them. I saw the slides as a child.

Given the Baptists descent into hyper-NeoCalvinism since the 1990’s and Complementarianism (women ‘obey’ and ‘submit’), not even traditional Baptist women heros of the faith such as Lottie Moon would be permitted to serve under today’s new hyper-restrictions. Concerned Christians have invented some new words to describe the NeoCalvinists’ Dark Ages thinking about women. “Chrislam” for having restrictions on women that are like radical Islam’s. It’s also been called “Shehad” (She+had, sounds like “jihad”), a term invented by blogger/Christian/researcher Brad Sargent/FuturistGuy  to describe the NeoCalvinists’ “war on women”. I reject these NeoCalvinist teachings, which are *un-Biblical*.]

*This article is reblogged from Wade Burleson, Istoria Ministries, website with permission:

The’ Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn’t Teach

When the principles and practices of the kingdom of God are made subordinate to the traditions of men, the power of Spirit-filled living becomes a figment of our collective imagination.  When religious leaders place shackles on God’s people to keep them from functioning as He has gifted them to function, the church becomes a powerless shell of immobility. Without the vivifying energy of the Spirit in the body of Christ, the King’s men and women become regal attendants fighting at each rather than royal ambassadors working with each other. If you have ever experienced a dead church, you know intuitively that the deadness occurs because leadership is controlling guilty people rather than empowering gifted people. The Scripture is emphatic that the Spirit gifts His people–men and women–with gifts of teaching, service, leadership, mercy, organization, etc… Good leaders get to know their people, find out how they are gifted, and empower them to fulfill their calling.

The Bible is replete with examples of men and women gifted by God to teach and to lead. No Bible-believing Christian seems to have a problem with men leading or teaching, but women fulfilling those roles, as gifted by the Holy Spirit, seems to cause consternation in the lives of some who are more familiar with tradition than truth. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip’sfour unmarried daughters, and many, many more). There are also dozens of additional illustrations in the Bible of women leading men.

I Timothy 2:11-15 Is the Text Used by Men to Restrict Gifted Women

Following is the text that is used to stifle women. I have placed only four words in (bold) that more accurately translate what Paul is saying, words that are a direct translation of the Greek. The reasons for the four words I supply will be explained below:

“Let a (the) woman learn in quietness and full submission. “12I do not permit a (the) woman to teach or to assume authority over a (the) man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (lit. “she“) will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

The verses above seem to say, at least on the surface and without the four words I’ve supplied, that no woman should ever teach any man; that no woman should  ever assume any ‘authority’ over any man; and that all women must always be quiet in the presence of men.  Of course, most evangelical conservative men would say that the Apostle Paul was only addressing women “in the church” and “in the home” so that women in the political world, corporate world, and secular world, are not under these restrictions. I find it humorous that conservatives complain of “potential malignancy” in one’s gospel orthodoxy if one can find a way to make this I Timothy 2 text say that it is okay for women to teach men or have authority over men “in the church.” Why is that humorous to me? Because those same conservative men have already found a way (rightly so) to explain how a woman can have leadership over a man and teach a man in every other realm of life (politics, business, etc…). Do we remember when Condi Rice, Secretary of State, spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006? She taught us Southern Baptist men a great deal about war and the bombing of terrorists, and we applauded her leadership as Secretary of State. So much for the gospel malignancy theory.

But back to the I Timothy 2 text above. For those of you “in the church” who get stuck on this text, and as a result, refuse to have women read the Bible in public at church, or teach a discipleship class with men in it, or refuse to have women serve as trustees, or elders, or committee chairpersons “in the church: lest they ‘assume authority’ over men, let me help you see how you are totally ignoring the clear teaching of the New Testament in favor of a poor and false interpretation of these I Timothy 2 verses. For all you out there in cyberland, and for a few of you in local churches who want to make women in leadership an issue of gospel orthodoxy, I will provide below a very clear interpretation of I Timothy 2:12-15 that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament’s teaching on empowering women in their giftedness. There are five basic principles that must be understood in order to rightly comprehend what Paul is saying:

(1). Paul is addressing a problem Timothy had with a specific woman teaching heresy to a specific man in the church at Ephesus.

How do we know this? There are at least four grammatical reasons:

(a). Paul gives instructions to “women” (plural) in the beginning of chapter two (i.e. how to dress modestly, live of life of good works, etc…), but beginning with verse 11, Paul switches from the plural noun (women) to the singular noun (woman). The definitive article “the” is in the original Greek (i.e. “the woman”), not the unfortunate translation “a” woman (NIV; NASB).  Paul moves from instructions to women in general (vs. 9-10) to a very direct instruction for a specific woman in verse 11. You can verify this quite easily with any online interlinear.
(b). The “she” in verse 15 is third person singular (again, the NIV and NASB unfortunately mistranslates the third person singular Greek pronoun in v. 15 with the plural English noun “women”). The “she” of verse 15 is the same woman in verse 11 and verse 12. She is the woman who needs correcting.
(c).  “…if they continue” (v.15). The word “they” is the accurate translation of the third person plural used by Paul. This plural pronoun identifies not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving (“the woman” and “the man” of v. 12).
(d). The verb “continue” is in the aorist active subjunctive. This verb’s tense confirms that the instructions Paul gives in vs. 11-15 are designed for the woman and the man in question (v. 12), to two people who are alive at the time Paul is writing and not to those who are either dead or not yet born (i.e. Eveor women in general).

(2). The woman in question was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be shown mercy.

Mercy and love toward false teachers is one of the themes of letter we call I Timothy, particularly because the assembly at Ephesus was a church filled with people from pagan backgrounds: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:3-5).

Paul has already spoken of the ignorance he was in before he was taught the truth: “(I) was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief (I Timothy 1:13).

Paul mentions how Eve sinned in ignorance: “…it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:13). The entire first two chapters of I Timothy are leading up to Paul expressing sympathy toward, and encouraging Timothy to display love to, that woman teaching error. We know that Paul wrote this letter in response to problems Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and those problems were known by Paul (I Timothy 3:14-15). This is a personal letter, not a general epistle, and proper interpretation requires the reader to delve into why Paul wrote the letter in the first place.

(3).  Paul expressed hope that this woman will be saved by Christ, even though she is in error.

Verse 15 “she will be saved through (the) childbearing” is a reference to the the woman’s salvation through the Incarnation of Christ (the childbearing). The word teknogonia is used just once in Scripture and the word is NOT a verb (childbearing)–it is a noun (THE childbearing). This is a reference to the Messiah, who was born from a woman despite the deception of Eve. The Messiah came to destroy the destroyer, to crush the head of the Serpent who deceives, and the deceived woman of I Timothy 2 will be saved through “the childbearing” if stops teaching heresy, learns of Christ in complete submissiveness (v. 11), and continues in“faith, love, and holiness in propriety.”

(4). Scripture only expresses a prohibition on women teaching error, never on women teaching men.

A similar passage to I Timothy 2:11-15 is Revelation 2:20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”

The problem with Jezebel was not that she “teaches and leads.” The problem with Jezebel was that she taught and led others “astray.” The only solution for a woman who teaches and leads astray is for her to first learn the truth. This is precisely the solution Paul proposes to Timothy for the woman of I Timothy 2. She must first learn “in quietness and full submission” (v.11). By the way, this is also a good practice for any man who is teaching error. He should be confronted and told to FIRST learn in quietness and submission before he attempts to teach.

(5).  The people who misinterpret Paul and attempt to prohibit women from teaching or leading men are ignoring the entire tenor and teaching of the New Testament.

God empowers His people through giftings and anoints His people to fulfill their calling through the Holy Spirit. The giftings of God are never distributed according to gender. The calling of God is never limited according to physiology. When the daughters of Philip prophecied, it was by the giftings of God and the anointing of the Spirit. When Anna taught the men in the Temple it was in fulfillment of the calling of God on her life and through the giftings and anointing of the Spirit. From Priscilla, to Lydia, to Junia, to Phoebe, and to all the rest of the New Testament women God used to expand His kingdom through prophesying, teaching and leading other men and women, God has gifted and anointed as many women as He has men.

Let’s not traditions trump truth.

©Wade Burleson/Istoria Ministries
*Recommendation: I recommend Wade Burleson’s books which can be purchased from sellers like Amazon. Wade’s most recent book is Fraudulent Authority, about abusive church leaders claiming power over Christians that God has never given church leaders.

History of heavy-Sheperding Movement Teachings Since 1970’s, Today’s NeoCalvinists’ Authoritarianism

Artcle by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©


Over on The Wartburg Watch blog commenters/Christians know the history of the abusive heavy-Shepherding Movement. It’s un-Biblical teachings are now spread via Mark Dever’s 9 Marks organization in Washington, D.C. and other authoritarian groups like Acts 29. The most “important mark” of a “healthy church” as Wartburg Watch commenters noted is “Love” in the Bible, which NEVER made it to Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a “Healthy Church”, which is just abusive Shepherding all over again.

Resource/book: The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiolgy by S. David Moore.

“Brad/FuturistGuy posted this on May 23, 2016:

After doing some background research, the book I picked as probably the best one for overall history and analysis is *The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiology* by S. David Moore.
It would be really helpful to have a summary of key activities and indicators that demonstrate the presence of an underlying pro-Shepherding/authoritarian discipleship paradigm, and what contemporary groups function from that paradigm, and the history of the who and how that system got into those groups. I don’t yet know of any books that cover those details. Maybe a group can take that on sometime …” ]

Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 1:

refugee wrote:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
I’ll give a shot at an overview of what I know & experienced.
Late 60s – early 70s and the Charismatic Movement swept through the US – impacting all ages (though the largest percentage were highschool & college age) AND all denominations.
People who were not believers as well as people who had been believers and church members for years. These people encountered God, and it changed them. They had tasted and seen that the Lord was good.
I know heroin addicts who stopped overnight and never went back.
I know church members that had been content with feeding on their Sunday sermons, that began voraciously reading Scripture.
I know highschool students who gathered together in groups of 3 or 4 to worship and praise God, to pray to Him and to seek His face.
People continued going to their denominational church, and would meet with other charismatics at other times. Young people who had not been church members, would go wherever they could find a church – to a Southern Baptist church on Sunday mornings, a Methodist church Sunday evening, an Assembly of God on Wednesday night.
And when there wasn’t an official church meeting somewhere, they would get together (again across all denominational lines) in homes, or offices, or the back of a motorcycle shop to worship, to share what they learned that week, to pray for each other, etc.
I say all this to point out that no man was in charge. No organization was determining who did what when.
And in response, several men already in various ministries decided that something needed to be done. There was concern that people were not being held accountable, they might not be maturing.
These were already nationally known speakers and authors, and had established relationships among themselves (that sounds familiar).
It is within the above that the Shepherding/Discipleship movement was launched.
I’ll continue in a following post on what came next.

Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 2:

refugee wrote:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
Part 2:
The discipleship leaders were initially involved with a ministry in Florida whose leader committed sexual sins. In response to this ministry’s failure, they sought protection from such failure by committing to each other for accountability.
So, we had a large number of on-fire Christians going from one meeting to another, one denomination to another, caravaning to other cities for some traveling evangelist, spending hours reading books or listening to teaching tapes, as well as talking to and teaching each other.
The men, Mumford, Simpson, Prince & Simpson (Baxter joined later) thought that the burgeoning charismatic movement needed to be accountable to someone and that someone needed to oversee it in order for the people to grow and mature.
They named themselves Christian Growth Ministries.
And in no particular order – they emphasized the importance of:
Restoring biblical church government.
The local church.
Spiritual authority, spiritual covering, delegated authority.
Male authority.
Spiritual covering (everyone had to have a personal shepherd).
Unquestioned obedience to your shepherd.
Wives’ submission & obedience to husbands.
Honoring & serving leadership.
Not gossiping, no negative speech, no spreading strife.
This church – Elitism (we’re the ones who are doing it right).
Not making any decisions without your shepherd’s approval.
Unity (with no place for dissent or disagreement.)
Small shepherding groups.
Obeying your shepherd even if he is wrong & trust God will fix it.
Leaving this church and your are leaving God.
Shunning anyone who has left.
I’m sure I’ve overlooked some aspects.

The Roots of Patriarchy That We Are Seeing In American Churches by Gram3 on The Wartburg Watch

by Velour/MtnShepherdess

Conservative Christian Gram3 is a smart woman, wife/mother/and grandmother who has been “keyed out” [excommunicated from a church] for asking hard questions. She knows a great deal of history and is a logical thinker who posts comments on The Wartburg Watch.  She has been an enormous help to me in helping me deprogram from the bizarre teachings that I was subjected to at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.

Gram3 knows a great deal about church history, including the roots of the Complementarian/Patriarchy movement that we’re seeing in U.S. churches, and the spread of NeoCalvinism.  Gram3 and her husband Gramp3 were “keyed out” as she says, excommunicated from their church for asking hard questions.


Gram3’s post on 5/24/16  about the roots of Patriarchy that we are seeing in Christian churches, NeoCalvinism:

I would add to BradFuturist that Rousas Rushdoony was the fount of Reconstructionism (the Reformed version of Dominionism) which led to Federal Vision which plagues many PCA churches to this day. Federal Vision is Doug Wilson’s theology, though it is taught by Peter Leithart who is still inexplicably tolerated by the PCA.[Presbyterian Church]
Dominionism was also promoted heavily in charismatic circles via TBN and other outlets. The connection between the charismatic form of Dominionism and the Reconstructionist version was Gary North who is Rushdoony’s son-in-law.
Reconstructionism is a perversion of standard Covenant Theology. Some consider it merely an extreme form of Covenant Theology, but I disagree. As Brad said, they wish to establish a theocratic state modeled on the OT theocracy. They take that as a pattern for how we should do government and church and family. This includes the idea of Patriarchy.
Federal Vision shifted the focus from establishing a theocracy to establishing a church that is the center of everything. There is much talk of priests, fathers as priests of their family, etc. Rather than a focus on individual conversion, the FV focuses on baptism and communion. One becomes a Christian by being baptized and one is baptized because one is born into a family headed by a Christian man.
The word “covenant” is plastered all over a lot of different things, and I think it is important to keep those things separate lest we blame people who hold to standard Covenant Theology for the weirdness.
I think a lot of Reconstructionist baggage got ported over to the YRR by guys reading Greg Bahnsen who was an affiliate of Rushdoony. He was a brilliant guy who was highly respected as an apologist in the Van Til school as was Rushdoony.
Gothard is another thing entirely, as far as I know. Wheaton in the 60’s was not a Reformed stronghold. I believe that Gothard’s views were primarily shaped by a fundamentalist mindset in reaction to a liberalizing culture. The answer was more laws and rules rather than an emphasis on regeneration and the internal work of sanctification in the individual believer. He began his work helping parents who were frustrated with their teenagers’ rebellion. Any of us who have raised teenagers can identify with their desperation for answers, and Gothard offered a System for that just like our current Female Subordinationists offer a System which supposedly produces happy marriages and families.
I think there was a lot of cross-pollination among these various streams of thought back in the 60’s and 70’s to get us where we are today. The Christian homeschooling movement is another place where ideas crossed over. Rushdoony decreed that homeschooling is the only Biblical way.
The bottom line is that people will use whatever means works if what they desire is to rule over others. We have all been useful idiots, but typically in the present it is much easier to see when other people are being useful idiots. Retrospectively, some of us have been able to realize that we were useful idiots.
That’s enough for a comment box. If you Google these names and movements, you will find a wealth of information.


Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenant by Wade Burleson

Note: Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Enid church in Enid, Oklahoma, a Baptist church. Wade has succinctly explained why Christians should say ‘no’ to signing Membership Covenants.

Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenantby Wade Burleson ©

“But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all … All you need to say is
simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Village Church in Dallas, Texas recently placed a member named Karen Root  under church disciplinebecause she annulled her marriage with a confessed child pornographer.  A letter Village Church elders sent to members last Saturday (May 23, 2015) gave their logic for placing Karen under church discipline. The elders believed they had no choice because Karen violated the church covenant that she signed when she joined Village Church. Specifically, Karen violated the covenant by not getting church leaders’ permission to file for an annulment. The elders wrote:

“…Karen filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church… (by) signing the Membership Covenant, a member agrees … to receive our care…”

Karen had respectfully requested withdrawal of membership from Village Church, but the elders wouldn’t allow it because she had not sought their counsel. She refused to come “under their care,” so they put Karen under discipline. No Village Church member under discipline, wrote Village church authorities, can “withdraw” from membership. Therefore, Village pastors/elders “refused to accept” Karen’s request to withdraw from Village membership.

This is an ugly situation all the way around. Village Church leaders–regardless of the vocal criticism they receive–believe they are men of integrity. They are, in their minds, fulfilling their pastoral role and abiding by the church covenant they demanded everyone sign before they became members. Some who are not members of Village are blaming Karen for signing a church covenant. Nobody should blame Karen. She, like other evangelicals, probably had no idea of the ultimate consequences of signing church covenants. The guilt lies with church authorities who demanded signatures from prospective members that turned their spiritual formation and maturation over to mere men instead of the Holy Spirit.

Read Village’s Church Covenant. It’s chilling when it comes to the authority of elders and church leaders. Here are some of the phrases that the prospective member must read and then sign, vowing their allegiance to obey:

  • I understand the importance of submission to church leadership
  • I will submit to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church
  • I will agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at The Village Church before pursuing divorce from my spouse

I’ve written several articles stating that the major problem in modern evangelical Christianity is theauthoritarianism of evangelical leaders. I have sought to explain how pastors/elders “twist the Scriptures” and demand “obedience and submission” to this alleged authority. Jesus tells us that that true ‘spiritual leaders’ are only servants, never masters. Yet, evangelical leaders seem not to be listening to Jesus.

With this in mind, I would like to give you five reasons why I would never sign a church membership covenant in order to become a member.

(1). A church covenant makes the Holy Spirit irrelevant in my life.

We are called in Scripture to be led “by the Spirit.” Though there is counsel in the wisdom of many, when I sign a church covenant I abdicate my right to hear from the Spirit myself. When Karen Root resigned her membership from Village, she stated“I have sought the Lord diligently and several godly people I trust…”That wasn’t good enough for Village elders; Karen didn’t seek them out. A church covenant fetters one’s ability to seek the Spirit’s wisdom and advice from godly people other than the elders and pastors of the church that demanded you to sign.
(2). A church covenant replaces my one true Mediator with inferior mediators.
I have only One High Priest who stands between me and God – Jesus, the Son of God – and anyone whocomes between me and Jesus as I walk by His counsel and His wisdom is a detriment to my growth. A true servant in the Kingdom will only and always point me  to Jesus Christ for my marching orders, and willnever demand that I accept their orders as from God. When I sign a church covenant I’m in essence handing over the authority of Jesus Christ in my life to mere men.
(3). A church covenant makes the institutional church equivalent to the Kingdom of God.
 A 501c-3 non-profit institutional church plays an important role in the Kingdom of God, but the local church is not the kingdom of God.  Anyone who knows history understands that institutional churches who demand spiritual authority over individual believers have wrongly placed their institution on par with God’s Kingdom. For example, the great 17th century Baptist hymn writer and theologian Benjamin Keach decided to write a book for children containing evangelical truth. Authorities of the Church of England sought to execute him for writing that infant baptism was not biblical. On what basis could the Church of England kill Benjamin Keach? Answer: The same basis Village Church can consign Karen Root to church discipline. Leaders of the 17th century Church of England and the 21st century Village Church both believe their institution is equivalent to the Kingdom of God. Their leaders falsely believe that they hold the keys of life and death and of heaven and hell. It isn’t so. Don’t sign a covenant and perpetuate this dangerous lie.
(4). A church covenant by its nature is designed to protect an authoritarian structure.
When a Christian signs a church covenant that demands submission to elders/pastors, he or she is enabling that institutional church to maintain an authoritarian structure. Rather than the weak and wounded sheep being the focus of attention within the church, most modern covenants are written with phrases that seem intent on bringing church members into “submission to church authorities.” Quickly scan any church covenant, If “submission to church elders” is anywhere found, then know the covenant is designed to keep control of members and maintain the authority of the leaders. Paul Burleson points out that any institutional church more concerned with supporting their authoritarian system of control than healing their wounded members is sending signals of weak spiritual leadership. Jesus said that the world uses titles, positions of honor, and seeks to “exercise authority over those they rule,” but “this should never be the caseamong His followers (Mark 10:35-45).
(5). A church covenant requires something more than a simple “Yes” or “No.”
Jesus said that anything you have to do that goes beyond your simple words of “Yes” and “No” is from the “evil one” (Matthew 5:37).  When I join a church, I will forever refuse to sign any document, whether it be a “tithing card,” or “a membership covenant,” or any other document that requires a vow from me regarding my future performance or activity. In fact, if I ever attend a church that requires such a thing, I will refuse to join on the basis of principle. I will live freely, speak with integrity, and rest in the simplicity of following Jesus and living by the Spirit. I will not be fettered by written vows to a church that is seeking to protect their authority over me.
I need no covenant to guarantee that God will finish the work He’s begun in me.
<a href="">Wade Burleson, President</a>

Book Recommendation – Fraudulent Authority by Wade Burleson

Used with permission.

A wonderful book that I bought and would recommend. – Velour

“Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a Christian leader, because of title or position, has moral authority over another Christian. Pagans will seek offices that grant them power and authority in order to exert their leadership (lordship) over others. Jesus said that His people were not to seek to rule over others, but to serve others selflessly and love others unconditionally. When a church or home gives in to Fraudulent Authority, the people of Christ become more pagan in practice than Christian. Fraudulent Authority teaches you how to recognize this dangerous practice of Christians seeking to exert power and authority over people in evangelical churches and homes and what you can do about it.”

From the Author

“I’ve written this book for two groups of people. First, this book is for those conscientious Christians who are caught in the vicious trap of spiritual abuse perpetrated by authoritarian pastors who “rule over” their congregations, subtly suggesting that disobedience to “the church” and to those in “spiritual authority” is disobedience to God. Second, I’ve written this book for fellow Christians who love their pastor and church, but have not yet considered the consequences of signing a church covenant, handing over their spiritual formation and accountability to men rather than to Christ.  It’s my belief that authoritarianism in the church is the greatest problem facing evangelicals in the 21st century. Fraudulent Authority gives you a set of biblical principles whereby you can be aware of and stay away from churches and pastors that demand submission to their authority.”

Fraudulent Authority: Pastors Who Seek to Rule Over Others by [Burleson, Wade]


From Amazon: “Biography

Wade Burleson is a pastor, writer and historian who lives in Enid, Oklahoma. He is a native Oklahoman, born in 1961 in Oklahoma City, but he spent his early years in Texas. His wife, Rachelle, DNP, APN-CNS, serves as a Professor of Nursing at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Wade has served as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid since 1992.

Wade has written over 2000 articles on theology, history and current events, many of which have been published in professional periodicals. He is an expert on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and is working on a team assisting Booth’s descendants in attempting to obtain DNA from the “body in the barn” the government identified as John Wilkes Booth. He writes on theology as part of his career, but enjoys writing narratives of history as a hobby.

Wade also gives multi-media talks to civic, genealogical, and charitable organizations. His most requested multi-media presentations include (1). White Gold: Thomas Jefferson and the Great Salt Plains; (2). A Transient Abode: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, and Boston Corbett; (3). The Greatest Game Ever Played: Carlisle and Army and the Origins of the NFL; and (4). Red Earth Courage: The First Secret Mission of the Civil War.

A student of history and genealogy, Wade has written extensively for his immediate family on the lives of their ancestors. On the maternal side of his family, Wade is the direct grandson (16x) of Geoffrey Chaucer (AD c. 1343 – 1400), the father of English literature. His maternal great-great grandfather, Charles T. Cherry (1801 – 1893), immigrated to America from London, England in 1831 as a missionary to pioneer Sunday Schools in the Mississippi Valley. Charles later worked as an agent for the American Sunday School Union and became an author of several Christian books written for children. Wade’s paternal ancestors, the Burlesons, also immigrated to America from England, settling in the Carolinas during the early 1700’s. Wade’s great-grandfather (7x), John Crawford Burleson (1729-1776) served under George Washington and died in the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. Wade is a cousin to Rufus Columbus Burleson (1823-1901), President of Baylor University and Pastor of FBC Houston, and to General Edward Burleson (1798-1851), former Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. Wade’s maternal grandfather, F.T.D. Cherry (1912-1970), was an All-Conference tight end and track star for the University of Oklahoma and became a Christian evangelist. Wade’s father, Paul Burleson, served as pastor of eight churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1950-2007, including the influential Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from 1976-1982. Wade’s mother, Mary Burleson, is a retired Senior Editor for Random House.

Wade’s passion for reading has led him to become an antiquarian book collector. His favorite books of other centuries include Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms; John Gill’s God’s Everlasting Love to His Elect; and Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Wade’s favorite modern books include Laura Hildebrand’s Unbroken, Paul Young’s Crossroads, and Eric Metaxes’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Other than reading, Wade enjoys time spent with friends and family. He learned from his friend author of The Shack, Paul Young, a principle that guides his life: “There is no moment and no person more important than this moment and this person before whom I stand.”

Wade believes every person has a story, and his non-profit ministry Istoria is designed to intersect other persons’ stories with the Greatest Story ever told in order to develop a deep love and abiding love for His Story.”

Are The Claims of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley Pastors/Elders That They Are Being ‘Persecuted’ Because They Are Being Held Accountable…’Biblical’?

"Stay Positive" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

As the pressure mounts on the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders, instigated no less by all of their wrong decisions, bad decisions, and ultimately bad theology, they haven’t humbled themselves. They’ve dug in deeper. They’ve claimed in emails to church members that they are now ‘being persecuted’ and need ‘prayers’ for protection for the GBF Body.

Is it Biblical or just one of the manipulative antics of an abusive church? Read The Wartburg Watch article on the “9 Marks of An Abusive Church.”

Nine Marks of an Abusive Church


 “Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.“   CS Lewis-Screwtape Letters”

How can you spot an abusive church? Do you know the “red flags”? Dr. Ronald Enroth, is a leading scholar on cults and cultism, and his special perspectives have proven beneficial to both the secular and the religious society. Dr. Enroth is a professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) where he has taught since 1965, beginning as a sociology instructor. In 1992 Enroth wrote Churches That Abuse, and it continues to be an important resource nearly two decades later.
Margaret Thaler Singer, a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of the University of California, Berkeley, provided her hearty recommendation on the book’s jacket. Here is an excerpt:

“When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and fringe status? What is the nature of the process by which any given group devolves into a fringe church or movement? What are some of the signs or indicators that a given group is becoming abusive of its members and is headed for the margins? When should a member consider bailing out?


Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and groups that operate in this country – organizations and churches that are not necessarily characterized by doctrinal deviation but have particular traits that make them behavioral and sociological outsiders. It also helps readers identify and beware of abusive tendencies in more “normal” Christian churches.”
In his classic book Dr. Enroth identifies distinctive traits of abusive churches which should serve as “red flags”. Pat Zukeran, a research associate with Probe Ministries, has written an excellent review of Churches That Abuse, and we will be sharing excerpts from his article “Abusive Churches”, along with quotes from the book, to explain some of these identifying traits or “MARKS”.

‘(4) Perceived persecution


To explain this identifying mark, Zukeran writes: “Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the Apostles.

Jesus and the Apostles were persecuted for preaching the truth. Abusive churches bring on much of their negative press because of their own actions. Yet, any criticism received, no matter what the source–whether Christian or secular–is always viewed as an attack from Satan, even if the criticisms are based on the Bible.”’



"Silence of the Lambs" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

by Velour/©MtnShepherdess

I was warned by friends who had dealt with spiritually abusive pastors/elders in other churches that my former church – Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley – would try to get negative reviews warning of the excommunications, shunnings, and outright lying by the pastors/elders removed  from Google Review and YELP. They advised me to save the links on the Way Back Machine website, for future use, which I did. (Thank you smart friends who know how abusive spiritual leaders work.)

The first to be removed was the YELP review. Next it was the Google Review. I have tweeted to the CEO’s of Google and YELP and said that GBFSV does this to former members who try to warn people about the incredible abuses going on there. If GBFSV pastors/elders have nothing to hide…then they shouldn’t mind the truth being written about them, by ANY of us former members that they abused. They’re proud of their conduct, well fine. They should have “bragging rights” and they shouldn’t mind if people like me “brag” about them.

I let the CEO’s of Google and YELP know that GBFSV pastors/elders hold these bizarre beliefs:

*women as second class citizens told to “obey” and “submit” — YIKES what Dark Ages treatment that not even sane denominations subscribe to

*excommunications and shunnings of anyone who has critical thinking skills (including a Los Altos, CA doctor in his 70’s, faithful and loving husband to his wife of nearly 50 years, loving father to grown children). Hundreds of church members were told to NEVER speak to the good doctor again by senior pastor Cliff McManis. McManis said that the elders had worked with the doctor. In other words do what they’ve done to all of us. Use Thought Reform techniques in high-pressured meetings to get us to obey to their bizarre, authoritarian demands!  Before the doctor, it was a middle-aged woman who worked in finance and wanted to leave GBF for a saner church. She was harassed on the orders of Cliff McManis, pastor, because according to Cliff she’s not entitled to make her own decisions.  Then it was my turn on some trumped up charge.

*McManis and the GBFSV pastors/elders believe in a Young Earth. Specifically they believe the earth is 6,000 years old. According to McManis it’s a “miracle”. It’s a miracle he didn’t go to a real college and do real work, hard work.

McManis has continued with his third-rate bible college education with “advanced degrees” purchased from an unaccredited diploma mill in Independence, Missouri.  The diploma mill – Faith Bible College – is NOT accredited according to the U.S. Department of Education.  The one “accrediting agency” for Faith Bible College was brought up on fraud charges by the Missouri Attorney General and banned from operating in Missouri.  Instead the fraudulent accrediting agency moved next door to Arkansas, changed names, and is back in Missouri operating and “accrediting”. I notified the Missouri Attorney General recently about my discovery.

Cliff McManis’ “Ph.D.” is a fake. It’s not a bona fide Ph.D. that comes from eight plus years of hard work at an accredited university.

*McManis openly lies about ex-members, including me. His most recent lie about me was that three law enforcement agencies said I was “unstable” and that I had been harassing church members. I will be covering that in another post.


The law enforcement agencies said that they never said what McManis claims they said.



Cartoon by David Hayward/© in Canada

My Story of Being Excommunicated and Shunned From Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley


Article by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

Cartoon courtesy of David Hayward/© in Canada


I posted this on another website, before I had my own. Here is my story.

John Macarthur Trained Pastors Ex-Communicate Church Member for Questioning the Presence of a Registered Sex Offender (Convicted Child Pornographer) in Church Leadership 

“Child porn isn’t a big deal,” exclaimed Senior Pastor Cliff McManis, graduate of The Masters College (B.A.), The Masters Seminary (M.Div.), and former Grace Community Church children’s minister.

Note: Below I have copied forum posts written by “Callie.” I can’t verify if the statements made in this post are true or not. I have emailed Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley without receiving a reply–Bob J

The following was posted on March 1, 2016 by Callie on the John Macarthur Cult Watch Forum:
About 8 1/2 years ago I started attending a smaller, new, church plant in my Northern California community, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. (They normally rent from the Seventh Day Adventists and are currently renting from the SDA’s in Sunnyvale, CA.) I wanted to know and be known by other Christians, not in a mega church where it was anonymous, and grow as a Christian.
A. Naïve, Didn’t Do My Research, Joined Authoritarian, Abusive Church
My wishes in a church were simple and in retrospect naïve. I did not know at that time that I should thoroughly research a church: all links on their website, what they believe, their power structure, Membership Covenants (I will never sign one again as it is a crowbar by church leaders to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives and Jesus required 0 pages to be signed to follow Him!), their teachings, and accountability to a higher structure. Instead I got a spiritually abusive, authoritarian church (like the ones described in Dr. Ron Enroth’s books Churches That Abuse and Recovering From Churches That Abuse, now available for FREE online, an other books and resources about Spiritual Abuse).
B. Membership Covenants. Signed One At This Church And I Will NEVER Sign One Again. Authoritarian Control
I signed the Membership Covenant and became a member of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. I was told this was to get us back to Biblical basics that had been lost. The extensive Membership Covenant was filled with Scripture verses.
My warning to others: Don’t sign a Membership Covenant. Jesus didn’t have people sign any papers to follow Him. MC’s are simply used to control people and for leadership to insinuate themselves into your life.
C. Why Were Good Christians Quietly Leaving Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley? 
I started to notice in my first several years of membership that something was wrong, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. Good and godly Christians (families, couples, singles) simply disappeared from GBF never to be seen again. It was very odd. I would ask about them, but was shut down. Several of the families were key families in founding GBFSV. I knew them to be lovely people, Christians, in the Word.
I found out later when I talked to them, when I was no longer a member of GBFSV, that they had left because of the growing authoritarianism and rigid control the pastors/elders expected to exert over members’ lives, complete with being ordered into meetings, phone calls to your home, emails, mandatory lunch/coffee meetings in which they went over your life, and ordering everything about a person’s life (from décor in your home to what you feed your kids to whom you should be friends with).
D. Authoritarianism. Lording It Over The Flock.
The GBFSV pastors/elders claim that they will give an account for members’ souls to God and we must “obey and submit to [our] elders.” Any thought, any question, is challenged back by the elders with, “You are bringing an accusation against an elder without cause.” They are arrogant and puffed up. For all that they criticize the Roman Catholic Church, they are set up exactly like it: With the senior pastor as Pope and the associate pastors/elders as cardinals, complete with “the keys”, excommunication and shunning of any member for any reason.
There is no congregational vote (I will never join a church again or give money where there isn’t a congregational vote with the priesthood of all believers giving their input).
E. Godly Woman Subjected To Church Discipline And Harassment For Leaving GBFSV
The first person to be the subject of a closed door, after Sunday service, “church discipline meeting” was a godly, middle-aged, professional married woman. Senior Pastor Cliff McManis said that they had “worked with her for a very long time and that they were now at Step 3 of the church discipline process.” The church members were told to pursue her because she would not “obey and submit” to her husband. She, harassed by church members, disconnected her cell phone and her email, and moved out of the family home.
She told me when I interviewed her that she thought that there was something terribly wrong with Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, with their teachings, their lack of accountability to any outside church, and she refused to go to that church again and went to another solid denomination with accountability and long track record. She told me that the GBF pastors/elders had screamed at her, including coming to her home and screaming at her.
The GBFSV pastors/elders control the narrative before all church members, telling stories about Christians that aren’t true and maligning peoples’ reputations before all.
The wife refused to come back and the GBFSV pastors/elders had to let her go.
F.  Godly Doctor In His 70s (A Personal Friend Of Pastor John MacArthur’s) Ordered To Be Excommunicated And Shunned  
I knew that GBFSV had really gone “off the rails” when we had another closed door meeting, on the orders of the senior pastor Cliff McManis, and a godly doctor in his 70s was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned. There was no specific charge brought against him. Only that the GBFSV pastors/elders had ‘worked with him for years’ and said to have nothing more to do with him. To shun him. To call him to repent.
Senior Pastor Cliff McManis told us to “pray for [the doctor’s] wife.”
I sat there and thought, “What is the charge against this dear brother in the Lord?” There was nothing. I thought the charges against him were lies.
The doctor is a faithful Christian, loving husband, loving father to grown children. He gave of his time and money to GBFSV. He bought high-quality resources to start the GBFSV lending library (DVDs, books).
The doctor had invited and paid for our senior pastor Cliff McManis to join him, John MacArthur, and a few other men on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham in person at his North Carolina log cabin home. And for all that the doctor did, this was the thanks he got from the GBFSV pastors/elders: to have his name dragged through the mud.
Several other church members secretly taped the excommunication/shunning. Those families also left GBF after that.
The GBFSV pastors/elders will NOT permit grown adults to leave GBF without an exit interview by 2 pastors/elders.
G. My Own Excommunication And Shunning: Threatened By Pastors/Elders For Discovering A Megan’s List Sex Offender At Church
I was doing a legal research project for a former sex crimes prosecutor and I was on Megan’s List, California’s registry of sex offenders. I inadvertently discovered that a new GBFSV church member (Cupertino, CA) was a registered sex offender on Megan’s List while doing my research. He’s a convicted child pornographer.
I reported it to the GBFSV pastors/elders. They had me in a meeting where the four of them screamed and yelled at me. They told me that he was their friend, they had visited him in prison, and that they trusted their children with him. The GBF pastors/elders said that mothers had no say over their children and that if a father wanted the sex offender to touch his children that this word was “final” and that his wife was “to obey” and “to submit” to him and “his authority.”
I hit the GBF pastors/elders back with: “Mothers are required by God and by California law to protect their children. If a mother fails to protect her child, and harm comes to her child, she can be arrested and prosecuted and land in state prison. Child Protective Services can take away her child(ren). She is NOT off the hook of legal responsibility by blaming her husband and that she said that the decisions were his. Mothers land in state prison all of the time for this.”
The GBF pastors/elders said the sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List.” They put him in a position of leadership and trust, something that experts around the world who specialize in sex crimes have criticized the GBFSV pastors/elders for and said that should never be done.
The sex offender’s supervising law enforcement agency, Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force, called the pastors/stories “all lies” and “total lies”. The Sheriff was so alarmed they contacted the California Attorney General which confirmed the story was “all lies” and “total lies.”
The GBFSV pastors/elders called me at home and told me to never contact law enforcement again, that I was to obey and to submit to my elders, and that I was to never reveal their names to law enforcement, the name of the church, or contact law enforcement about the sex offender. That is a felony called obstruction of justice. Also intimidating a witness.
The GBFSV pastors/elders read me a Scripture at the end of our meeting about child safety that I was destined for Hell and I “was not one of us.”
They gave me a threat that they intended to make good on and they did.
[Editor’s Note: In a subsequent forum post, Callie stated that it was during this elders’ meeting that Senior Pastor Cliff McManis told her that “child porn wasn’t a big deal.” (Link)
H. Insufferable Control Of My Life
The GBF pastors/elders have ordered members to be friends with other highly troubled church members  who are verbally abusive and bizarre. Those people are their own friends.
We were all cordial with them but kept them at a distance because of how bizarre they were and how incredibly verbally abusive they were to men and women alike, with no adult, healthy boundaries.
I was ordered into meetings about that. People that want your personal business, which is none of theirs, and want you to rid of your own belongings in your home (I had a cross from Italy that was a birthday gift from years ago, hundreds of dollars) that I was told I had to get rid of.
These people are bizarre. They are classless and tacky. They really shouldn’t leave their homes until they grow up. Imagine being told to get rid of your own possessions in your own home? I wish I had left then!
I. Biblical Counseling/Nouthetic Counseling Should Be Called What It Is: Malpractice
The GBFSV pastors/elders, like John MacArthur, tout “Biblical Counseling”. What this means is that they have no training, education, or insight about serious problems and how to handle them. “Counseling meetings” consist of listening to their insufferable advice about things that they have no training to render, getting it wrong, and listening to their opinions (that something isn’t important, ridiculing, etc.). They get it wrong and do much damage.
I also came to learn what John MacArthur and his graduates mean by the term “Biblical”. It means, “We’re right. Don’t think. Don’t question. Do exactly what we say.”
“Biblical” is used to shut down thinking, conversations, and questioning.
1. Not Getting An Alcoholic Care By A Physician
The GBFSV pastors/elders spent months in meetings with me and other members about one problem member, a woman, who caused all kinds of chaos and problems. The GBFSV pastors/elders went over “gossip” and other issues. They made some members go and apologize to the woman, for things the woman had done to them. It was insane.
The GBFSV pastors/elders ARE NOT COMPETENT to render advice. The real problem – she’s an alcoholic – they missed entirely. They are not qualified nor competent to diagnosis and treat.
The woman church member should have been under a physician’s care who should have guided her care into treatment for alcoholism.
Instead the GBFSV pastors/elders damaged her, her children, and church members by claiming a skill set “Counseling” that they are untrained and incompetent to render.
2. Not Getting A Dyslexic Medical Care
Next up the GBFSV pastors/elders demanded meetings of me about the accusations by a woman dyslexic about me. She accused me of lying about events, stating that they had never taken place.
The GBFSV pastors/elders demanded meetings of me. The woman church member said that ‘the truth about [me] would come out.’
Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem, it’s a memory problem in which people have short-term memory problems and working-memory problems. She has both problems, actually gets a government disability check, and she refuses to go get medical care and be involved in support groups for her disability.
According to her, Jesus could heal her if He wanted to. OK, lady, that hasn’t happened. Jesus gave you medical care and support groups for your disability, kick it in gear and get some!
J. Excommunicated And Shunned – Mine
Chairman of the Elder Board, Sam Kim, ordered that I be banned from church property.  He told the Seventh Day Adventists that I, like the doctor, was forbidden from being on church property.
Mr. Kim wanted me to apologize to him and the elders for their telling me that I was “destined for Hell” at the end of the meeting about the sex offender. I refused.
How would you respond if someone told you that you were “destined for Hell” and “not one of us” for raising a legitimate and serious issue?
I don’t owe them an apology, they owe me one.
They ordered that I have nothing to do with any church members, excommunicated me, lied about me before all, and cost me my friendships of 8+ years. I didn’t get a single Christmas card.
K.  I wish…
I wish I had been like those new attenders who saw something wrong with GBF and got up and left mid-service and fled.
I wish I had immediate family who were Christians and had warned me.
I wish I had gotten up and walked out when the lovely Christian woman who wanted to leave GBFSV for another church was berated before all of us and maligned.
I wish I had gotten up and walked out the day the doctor was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned. It was wrong. I knew the GBFSV pastors/elders were lying.
I wish I had gotten up when I was threatened.
I wish I had gotten up and walked out when they told me to get rid of a cross in my home, a birthday gift that I’d had from Italy for years.
I wish I didn’t love so many people there so deeply. I wish it was easier for me to leave. But it wasn’t.
And like Bonhoeffer said in World War II, that the Nazis went after other people and then they went after me. So true.
It was the Salem Witch Trials II at GBFSV. Authoritarian. Legalistic. Controlling. Destructive.
I didn’t get one Christmas card. My mail box used to be full of them. People were ordered to shun me and never speak to me again.
I wonder, in the years to come, what vile secrets and abuses will come out of this church and others like it?
I am thankful for blogs dealing with spiritual abuse – like Spiritual Sounding Board, The Wartburg Watch.
I am thankful for all of the older Christians who told me that the Patriarchy teachings that were shoved down our throats never used to be taught and are new since the 90s. I am thankful that all of the ‘big names’ in it have all been outted for being sexual predators. Sued for their sex crimes against many victims.
Posted March 1 by Callie:
Oh one more thing. Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley’ (Sunnyvale, CA, rents from the Seventh Day Adventists) senior pastor Cliff McManis told me during the elders’ meeting they had with me that “child porn wasn’t a big deal“, about their friend who they gave church membership to.
I then went on a candid discussion about pornography. “OK, let’s discuss the differences between adult pornography and child pornography.” I then discussed ALL OF THE CRIMES that were committed against children to make child porn: rape, sodomy, etc. Kidnapping in some cases (even if moved from a room to another room). Held against their will. Some times being drugged. Just horrible things done to them.
McManis blushed bright red as I went on about pornography and discussed adult pornography. I said, “This man had a choice between adult pornography, which is legal, and child pornography which is illegal and a felony, violating state and federal laws. That he would choose child porn and trade in it, etc. tells me that he has a sexual interest in children, not adult women. And that is deeply troubling.” The GBFSV pastors/elders didn’t see it that way.
Posted March 2 by Callie:
The sex offender (Cupertino, CA) contrary to the false claims of the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale, CA) pastors/elders Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Bob Douglas and Tim Wong has NOT come off Megan’s List of sex offenders in California and the California Attorney General’s Office refuses to take him off.
Because of the threats the GBFSV pastors/elders leveled at me about the whole matter (they are legally mandated child abuse reporters in CA and it is a crime for them not to report), a whole host of legal agencies are now involved. (I was excommunicated from GBFSV for this drama, and some kind of trumped up charge (they will tell any lie to destroy a person’s reputation) I don’t know what the sex offender is doing at GBF and I have no contact with members, who have been ordered to shun me.
The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders PERMITTED their friend a Megan’s List sex offender to become a church member and they put him in a position of leadership and trust. Godly women with Ph.D.’s aren’t permitted to serve at GBFSV but a Megan’s List sex offender/felon was fast-tracked to a trusted position. It is simply unconscionable. Insurance companies like Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches, say that sex offenders should always be ministered to apart from the regular congregation for safety.
Senior Pastor Cliff McManis, a Master’s College/Seminary graduate, screamed and yelled at me in an elders’ meeting with him, Sam Kim (Chairman of the Elder Board), Tim Wong (elder) and Bob Douglas (associate pastor/elder). McManis said that the Megan’s List sex offender was “coming off Megan’s List” and that “he said so”.  OK, somebody is a convicted felon, convicted of sex crimes, sentenced to prison, serves prison time, is paroled and has a supervising law enforcement agency and you take ‘his word’ and don’t do due diligence and check with his SUPERVISING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY? You have got to be kidding?
McManis demanded to know why I was calling him “a sex offender”. Me: “It’s NOT my term it’s a legal term. Someone convicted of sex crimes in criminal court is called a ‘sex offender’ under federal and state laws. It’s in the Penal Code of laws. It’s not my term.” The whole meeting was bizarre. 4 pastors/elders against me.
Elder/Associate Pastor Bob Douglas said that his family had known the sex offender for 40 years and he’s fine. He said he would entrust his children to him, no problem. McManis said the same. Douglas wanted to know if I’d prayed for the sex offender. We are discussing the safety of children at our church, not prayer time.
Anyway they turned everything around on me.
The Megan’s List sex offender was permitted to come to all church events, including the Bible Study I attended where parents brought their children. No one knew he was a Megan’s List sex offender, save me who discovered him online doing an entirely different project.
The sex offender whipped my entire Bible Study into a frenzy one evening about all of the “bad people in prisons”. Everybody was angry and upset and he was a masterful manipulator. They were agreeing with him and how “terrible” those bad people were.  He conveniently omitted he was one, was a felon, served prison time, and was on Megan’s List. I just stared him down. He was smiling that some 17 people had bought his pack of lies and his manipulation. When I got home I documented the whole thing for the California Attorney General’s Office under his picture on Megan’s List. That was also sent from the AG’s office to the Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force. I told them DON’T EVER TAKE HIM OFF MEGAN’S LIST.
The pastors/elders were incensed and told me that I was to confront him, per Matthew 18:15-17. I told them:
“No, it was your job to protect all of us from him and anyone like him. You FAILED to do your job. Don’t blame me for your FAILURES. You intentionally didn’t do due diligence. I’m not confronting a felon/sex offender who is more than 6’0 tall when I’m a woman. No way. You failed, not me.”
Given the level of hostility that the GBF pastors/elders leveled at me outsiders have wondered if there is also a sex offender among any of them The response is very odd. To protect a sex offender, not protect kids, not care. It’s just all very odd. It’s not normal.
Will we hear of sexual abuse cases in the future from this church? I believe that the answer will be yes. Sex abuse of children is the No. 1 reason that churches are sued every year. Atty Richard Hammar, Church Law & Tax’s, chart:

Spiritual Abuse of Many Christians at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. Authoritarian. 9Marks. John MacArthur-ite. NeoCalvinist. Complementarian. Patriarchy. Young Earth Creation.

This is the post excerpt.

Artcle by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©

“Sometimes you have to make yourself the black sheep.” – cartoonist/former pastor David Hayward/ ©

For all of those dear Christians who went looking for a Biblical church and were spiritually abused at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve it. Your families didn’t deserve it. You were told you were getting a “Biblical Church” that was “back to Biblical basics”.  You weren’t told that you would be subjected to the hyper-controlling, authoritarian tactics of the GBFSV pastors/elders, including Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Tim Wong, and Bob Douglas (and any other new elders). Instead you got the 1970’s cultic heavy-Shepherding Movement’s tactics/Thought Reform tactics, rolled out in new terms via Mark Dever’s 9 Marks organization.  Even conservative Christians have criticized it saying there is only ONE mark of a healthy “Biblical” church: LOVE.

The California Attorney General’s Office has called the GBFSV pastors/elders’ stories to me about  their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer at church whom the GBFSV pastors/elders said was “coming off Megan’s List” a story that was “all lies” and “total lies”. Keep reading below for further details about this troubling information. Local law enforcement agencies have also called the GBFSV pastors/elders stories “all lies” and “total lies”. 

  • Spiritual Abuse

This blog will be devoted to Spiritual Abuse, recovery from it, and other serious and mostly unaddressed issues in the church, especially NeoCalvinist churches.

  • Public Humiliation, Outright Lying, Abuse, Defamation, and Libel of GBFSV Church Members by GBFSV Pastors/Elders

For the dear, sweet saints who were made “an example” of  “before” all what the GBFSV pastors/elders did to you was wrong. For those told to come to meetings and who report being disrespected and mistreated, you didn’t deserve that.

For those that don’t know, the GBFSV pastors/elders are notorious liars. They lie about upstanding Christians. They threaten them in meetings behind closed doors, as countless former church members have said the GBFSV pastors/elders did to them (men and women, couples, people who are highly educated, people with good jobs and even people who are extremely wealthy report this was done to them by the GBFSV pastors/elders). The GBFSV pastors/elders are unethical and immoral and happily lie about upstanding Christians before the entire church membership. NONE of the GBFSV pastors/elders are morally, ethically, or spiritually fit for ministry.  They are thugs. They have NEVER encountered the REAL Jesus, because anyone that did would NEVER conduct themselves in the arrogant, bullying way the GBFSV pastors/elders conduct themselves.

  • Don’t Sign the GBFSV Membership Covenant: A Tool of Authoritarian, Abusive, Control Freak, Inappropriate Pastors/Elders

The authority the GBFSV pastors/elders claim over Christians’ lives is NOT Biblical. God never gave them the power they claim. And DO NOT sign a Membership Covenant which strips you of your autonomy and the pastors/elders use as a crowbar to insinuate themselves in to your life.

  • It’s Salem Witch Trials Version II At Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley

Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley’s pastors/elders’ abusive conduct is like a replay of the Salem Witch Trials, Version II. Because the GBFSV pastors/elders lack love and the ability to get along with other church members they expect all church members to follow suit including in excommunicating, shunning, and lying about upstanding Christians.

  • Apologies Owed by the GBFSV Pastors/Elders

Apologies owed. The apologies that never came from the GBFSV pastors/elders but are overdue. They have never repented for their spiritual abuse of the flock.

  1. Doctor in his 70’s Excommunicated and Ordered to be Shunned by Cliff McManis and GBFSV Pastors/Elders. To “Dr. Luke” (not his real name) in Los Altos, California. You are owed an apology from the GBFSV pastors/elders for their vicious excommunication/shunning of you on some trumped up charge. Many couples, singles, and families taped what was done to you that Sunday and left. You are a godly man in your 70’s, faithful and loving husband to Mrs. Luke (not her real name) for nearly fifty years, and a loving father to grown children. You gave of your time and money to GBFSV, bought expensive books and DVDs to start the GBFSV lending library, and you invited and paid for senior pastor Cliff McManis to join you and pastor John MacArthur (Grace Community Church in Southern California) on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham, in person, at his log cabin home. Dr. Luke: You’re a stand up man.  Cliff McManis never thanked you before all of us for what you did. Instead the pastors/elders reviled you and dragged your name through the mud, telling hundreds of people to NEVER speak to you again because they had “worked with you for years” and obviously you were still a grown up with your own brains and ideas. Good for you, Doc!  You are a Berean [in the Bible this means someone with critical thinking skills who examines what they are told], something that GBFSV pastors/elders punish.  Cliff McManis, senior pastor who calls himself  “Dr. McManis” because he has a diploma mill fake “Ph.D.” according to the U.S. Department of Education and NOT a real Ph.D. from an accredited institution (McManis’ other “advanced degree” is also a fake from the same diploma mill), manipulatively told several hundred church members at the excommunication meeting of the good doctor to “pray for Mrs. [Luke]”. Mrs. Luke told me an entirely different story when I interviewed her. She told me that she had ALWAYS disliked Cliff McManis and the GBF pastors/elders, the church, and that she thought the church members were overall very unhealthy, because who else would put up with this treatment? Mrs. Luke told me when I interviewed her that she repeatedly warned her husband that they should NOT go to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. She was right. Why do you suppose that Cliff McManis decided against telling several hundred church members what Mrs. Luke really thought? (Additionally and Biblically, the GBFSV pastors/elders failed to obey Scripture and to treat this older Christian with gentleness and respect, as God’s word commands.) Note: Many other former  GBFSV church members/attenders report that there was at least one spouse in their marriage who was very concerned by the abusive, power-hungry practices of the GBFSV pastors/elders and warned the other spouse that they should NOT go to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. Still other couples and singles were warned by family members who were long-time Christians and members of other denominations that there was something seriously wrong with a church like GBFSV that was a “fly by night” church, accountable to no higher church authorities. Their dire warnings proved to be accurate about this sick, abusive church led by a few power-hungry men, accountable to no one but their own ‘yes-men’ club. Even children and teenagers who used to go to GBFSV commented on the fact that they did NOT like the church and it was very cliquish, with the pastors/elders’ kids among the ‘favored’ children/teens and all others excluded. The children and teens called it ‘cold’.
  2. Godly, Middle-Aged Woman In Finance Publicly Berated/Disciplined by GBFSV Pastors/Elders Before Hundreds of Church Members for Daring to Leave GBF. To “Colleen” (not her real name) in San Jose, CA who works in finance. I am so sorry for the horrible way the GBF pastors/elders treated you before hundreds of church members, saying that you a grown professional woman, middle-aged voter, tax payer, faithful Christian, hadn’t “obeyed” and “submitted” to your husband because you wanted to leave Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and its abuses. You were right. I was sorry to hear when I interviewed you that you reported that the GBF pastors/elders screamed at you too.  You told me that senior pastor Cliff McManis came to your home and screamed at you. That is unacceptable. I wish you had called the San Jose Police Department’s 9-1-1 line and had McManis arrested. Screaming at a person and threatening them is the crime of assault (putting a reasonable person in fear; battery is touching). Not letting a person leave is another crime — false imprisonment. These abuses — from screaming and threatening people to contacting people at their homes — seems to be a pattern with the GBFSV pastors/elders as I interviewed former church members (men and women) who reported to me that the same was done to them. I know you to be a lovely Christian woman with a special ministry for carrying The Gospel to mentally ill adults who live in group homes and in your ministry to see the elderly in convalescent hospitals. You truly exemplify what Jesus said when He said, “When you did this for the least among Me, you did it for Me.” Many people -most people – could not, would not – minister to these dear souls the way you do. You stand, as a Christian, head and shoulders above the rest of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, including the pastors/elders who were vicious in their uncalled treatment of you. The problem isn’t you, wasn’t you — it’s them! It’s those pastors/elders. They are The Problem. And don’t you forget it, dear one.
  3. My Excommunication and Shunning, Like the Other Cases, On Trumped Up Charges by the GBFSV Pastors/Elders. And then they did it to me. Excommunicated and shunned me    Lied about me. far they have told tale after tale about me. None of them true. That included pastor Cliff McManis openly lying in an e-mail about me to hundreds of church members recently (Summer 2016) telling them that I was “aggressively harassing” church members.  Church members who did not like the authoritarian conduct of the GBFSV pastors/elders, and did not experience this in prior churches they had gone to, tipped me off about the e-mails which they told me they did not believe.  Those church members said they wanted to leave GBFSV because the pastors/elders were so controlling, including of those members’ lives. With reference to the pastors/elders e-mails to hundreds of church members about me, I hadn’t contacted anyone as I was sick in and out of the hospital with an acute lung condition, couldn’t speak, and I hadn’t been to GBFSV in nearly two years. I had low oxygen levels, chronic coughing, and little to no sleep, and no energy to do anything. My family, who did not go to the bizarre Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, took care of me. My family was outraged by the accusations of the GBFSV pastors/elders and my family demanded to know, “What kind of church attacks you when you’re sick and haven’t even been to their church in years? What kind of church did you go to whose pastors/elders never once asked you how you’re doing when you’re this sick and they have never once visited you? None of these ‘Christians’ have asked about you and you are acutely ill. You were at that church for six years.”  I thought long and hard, “What kind of church had I gone to?” My family also demanded to know why the GBFSV pastors/elders ratified hate speech, wanted me to use it because church members used it, and wanted people like me to get fired from our jobs (since such speech is a firing offense with California employers and is illegal discrimination). My family again demanded to know from me, “What kind of church did you go to that permits this?” I thought long and hard about my family’s questions about Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley, and my family’s horror about GBFSV. I then told my family about the excommunication and shunning of the godly “Dr. Luke”, a man married for nearly 50 years. And the same thing done to the lovely woman “Colleen” who worked in finance before it was done to Dr. Luke. My family was even more horrified about Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley and the pastors/elders. They asked me: “Why didn’t you and the other church members leave when that was done to Dr. Luke? Why didn’t you leave when it was done to Colleen?” Me: “It caught me by surprise. I had never seen any church do this before. No one talked about it. Many people left in secret and just disappeared from GBFSV so that they wouldn’t be next.” The more questions my family asked me about GBFSV and I gave them my answers, the more horrified my family became by the authoritarian pastors/elders and their bizarre teachings. My family said to go to a mainline denomination church, not some nutty independent church like GBFSV.
  4. GBFSV Pastors/Elders Lied About the California Attorney General’s Office And Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Church Members. The GBFSV pastors/elders also lied to church members about our law enforcement agencies and said that law enforcement agencies “all” said that [I] was “unstable”. Law enforcement agencies have said no such thing about me. They have had NO contact with me. Two police officers at GBF (a deacon and the church secretary’s husband) work for two police departments (Mountain View and Sunnyvale) and DO NOT speak for their departments. I did, however, report them to Internal Affairs for professional, legal and ethical violations after Cliff McManis’ email.  I also reported their conduct to their City Attorneys’ offices since the hate speech each of them ratifies is a firing offense with their cities. Pastor Cliff McManis also omitted in his e-mail to church members that the California Attorney General’s Office had called McManis’ story to me about a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer at church (whom I’d discovered while doing a legal research project for a former prosecutor that involved sex offenders in the area) that McManis said was “coming off Megan’s List” a story that was “all lies” and “total lies”. Local law enforcement agencies said same and about McManis’ bogus story to me in an elders’ meeting, which the manipulative, dishonest GBFSV pastors/elders also omitted from their e-mail to church members. How convenient. (The GBFSV sex offender/child pornographer is STILL on Megan’s List of sex offenders which is maintained by the California Attorney General’s Office and he has been for years since Cliff McManis and the GBFSV pastors/elders’ outright lies. -Most recent check of Megan’s List on 7/26/2017.)  Cliff McManis is an inveterate liar in my opinion and that of many other former church members whom I interviewed about why they left Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. Many former church members,which includes men and women, people who are highly educated, and even members who are extremely wealthy, have all accused Cliff McManis of lying about them too. Besides having a fake, diploma mill “Ph.D.” and another fake “advanced degree”, Cliff McManis also told (former) church members, including in front of me, that he had “defended The Gospel before hostile liberals” at a state university in Southern California “when [he] took classes to get [his] teaching credential”. He also calls himself “Coach” and has others call him that. Supervisors with California Teacher Credentialing in Sacramento said that the State of California has NEVER credentialed anyone with Cliff McManis’ name to teach…ever. Yet another lie.Many former GBF church members have accused Cliff McManis of lying about them and their families.  Those former church members have also accused the other GBFSV pastors/elders of openly and repeatedly lying about them and their families.
  5. GBFSV Pastors/Elders Lied to Church Members And Omitted That at GBFSV I Was Ordered to Use Hate Speech, Illegal in California and a Firing Offense at my Job.  (Would You Like the GBFSV Pastors/Elders to Get You Fired From Your Job for Unlawful Discrimination?) The GBF pastors/elders via Cliff McManis’ e-mail to several hundred church members lied about our law enforcement agencies attributing these totally fabricated statements about me (crafted by the GBFSV pastors/elders) to law enforcement, apparently in order to bolster some fake credibility for the GBFSV pastors/elders’ lying to church members. The GBFSV pastors/elders conveniently omitted that I was repeatedly ORDERED to use hate speech, which I REFUSED TO DO (it’s a firing offense at my job) and I had directly opposed the two women church members who demanded that I use it (including one retired woman who is a friend of the pastors/elders), while a member at GBFSV.  My opposition was not “harassment” to being ordered to use hateful, crass, unlawful language, but truth.  I refused to be friends with such women. We have nothing in common. They would be fired at any jobs in the real world in the San Francisco Bay Area if they aired their unlawful, lawsuit actionable, hate-speech views in the workplace. (Neither woman works, of course. The older woman used to work for Santa Clara County, where hate speech is a FIRING offense. She obviously NEVER told the County about her hate speech views as she would have been FIRED for it.) I take it that the GBFSV elders who work for corporate employers have NEVER disclosed to their employers their commitment to hate speech and that they want church members to use it and it’s “ok”. If they told their corporate employers this news they would be shown the door and FIRED, FIRED, FIRED. It’s time for these men to get candid with their employers, who deserve to hire or promote more professional people. Since these men want other church members to “walk the plank” at their jobs and get fired for unlawful discrimination, why don’t the GBFSV pastors/elders brave the waters and do it at their own jobs first?
  6. Hate Speech is Illegal in California/Firing Offense. The GBFSV pastors/elders also conveniently omitted telling hundreds of church members in their excommunication/shunning meeting about me that the hate speech I was ordered to use as a member of GBFSV is illegal in California and a firing offense at my job! Cliff McManis, Sam Kim (chairman of the elder board), Bob Douglas (associate pastor), Tim Wong (elder), and the other pastors/elders and ANY church member who makes these fabricated “harassment” accusations about me  (because I refused to use unlawful in California, firing offense, hate speech) orally or in writing to law enforcement can be arrested and prosecuted, and end up in jail, for “filing a false police report”.  We build jails in California for the likes of these liars, who are such cowards they refuse to file formal police reports and sign their names in the “under penalty of perjury” box and the statement that filing a false police report is a crime in California. Senior Pastor Cliff McManis’ 100% lying email not only made it back to the law enforcement agencies he lied about, but to the Santa Clara County District Attorney, San Jose Mercury News, major womens’ groups and their attorneys in Santa Clara County, and bloggers around the world who write about abusive churches. (I also have a paralegal education and was at the top of my class, A’s. I am getting an Administration of Justice degree, where I am also at the top of my class. My department chair, who knows me well, knows that I am perfectly sane and credible. She used to work for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s and knows ALL of the heads at the sheriff’s. My other professors, also long-time law enforcement professionals, can also vouch for me. I am their ‘A’ student and they know me well. My neighbor who is a long-time, high-ranking law enforcement professional also disputes the claims of the GBFSV pastors/elders about me and also vouches for me. My law enforcement neighbor is extremely glad that I am out of the abusive Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. So take that Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley lying pastors/elders!)
  7. No Boundaries At GBFSV/Demands for Personal Business. No. 1. At the bizarre Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley I was ordered to provide my personal business to a middle-aged woman who is an Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Codependent without an iota of boundaries. When I declined, she threw temper tantrums with me that I didn’t “trust” her. When she pulled her stunt with my family, they also declined and were offended by her level of aggression — demanding their personal business.  My family didn’t even go to the bizarre Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. I was then “ordered” in to meetings with the GBFSV chairman of the elder board Sam Kim and senior pastor Cliff McManis to “explain” myself. I refused. I don’t owe her – or them- any answers. She’s rude and so are the pastors/elders. They all lack basic, adult, healthy boundaries.Sam Kim had ordered me in to meetings when I had an acute lung condition, had been in and out of the hospital, was extremely ill for more than two months, couldn’t breathe properly, and I hadn’t been to church in more than five weeks because I was so sick! Sam Kim is such a rude person he never bothered to ask me how I was doing, but of course he wanted to waste my time on the daughter of an alcoholic who can’t be bothered to get herself to Al-Anon meetings and Codependents Anonymous meetings for her own screwed up life because she doesn’t believe in it.
  8. A GBF Member Who Likes Hate Speech. No Boundaries. Time No. 2 She uses hate speech against gays and wanted my sympathy. I refused. I work a job in the real world in which I can be fired for that. I have gay colleagues and a boss. She doesn’t work at all, runs her mouth, and collects a monthly disability check from the Social Security Administration.
  9. No Boundaries by GBF Church Member. No. 3. Free Babysitting. She volunteered my time to other people to take care of their children, without my knowledge, permission or consent – and when I told her that I had NO free time. Instead I got to be publicly embarrassed and humiliated as parents thought I was going to do what she offered them — take care of their children. I had to apologize in public for something I’d never offered. And parents were upset that I said “no, sorry no time.”
  10. No Boundaries by GBF Church Member. No. 4. Rude to Crime Victims. She also interfered in other peoples’ private business that was NONE of her business. That included admonishing violent crime victims to “forgive” a violent offender and “had they done this?” and taking his side, showing no justice, empathy, concern or common decency.
  11. No Boundaries by GBF Church Member. No. 5. California Courts, Laws, and Divorce Don’t Exist. When she learned people were divorced, she demanded that they call their ex-spouse their “current spouse” because according to her they “aren’t really divorced in the eyes of God”. Her orders to divorced people didn’t go over well. She caused fights with them and acrimony and ruined dinner parties and other events. According to her our judicial system and laws don’t exist. Listening to her bizarre, incoherent, illogical chatter was like listening to someone strung out on drugs. (She’s so arrogant and so bizarre that she even made her statements in front of people who work in law!)
  12. No Boundaries by GBF Church Member. No. 6. Willing to Ruin Any Social Event. She believes it is her right to be rude to people and she picks fights with people in record-speed time, ruining any social event by her self-centeredness. She only cares about herself and does not care about others. She refuses to respect basic, adult, healthy boundaries between people. Across the nation people who’ve heard about her bizarre conduct have called her “a nut case” and “crazy”.
  13. No Boundaries by GBF Church Member. No. 7. Rude and Ungrateful to be Invited to $600 Concert.  I made the mistake of inviting her, prior to her other acts of galling rudeness, to come with me to see Grammy award-winning Bluegrass musician Alison Krauss and her band Union Station at a mountain-top winery. I had saved for the tickets for more than one year and they were quite expensive. Tickets, a multi-course fancy dinner at the winery for both of us (plus fancy desserts and coffee drinks), and paid parking cost me a little more than $600. The GBFSV woman church member RUINED my evening by repeatedly insisting when we were in our concert seats that if Alison Krauss and her band used any profanity that we would have to “leave immediately”. Krauss and her band don’t use profanity. And “no”, I was NOT going to leave a concert that I waited more than 1-year for and shelled out $600 for. The histrionic, fear-mongering GBFSV woman church member kept saying the same thing over and over again. She just talked over me in her usual aggressive, self-centered fashion when I tried to stop her. She is beyond rude and tacky! I wish I had NEVER invited such a rude ingrate like her. She knew how long I’d saved for these tickets and how much they cost. Yet all she could talk about…was leaving because of some anticipated-disaster-that-never-transpired and that would supposedly offend her super-special evangelical Christian sensibilities, i.e. the world is going to implode if it doesn’t go “her way”. Sigh. And she expected me to be held hostage to her rudeness. I should have told her to start walking down the mountain that night as it would take her several days of walking to get home! Just a rude, tacky, self-centered and ungrateful person.
  14. Another Hate-Speech Filled, Crass GBF Church Member. I was ordered to use hate speech against gays because the pastors’/elders’ friend/church member (a retired woman) uses it and is relentless in her attacks on gays. I can get fired from my job for that speech. I refuse to conduct myself that way. She also ridiculed me for helping a neighbor/mom who had cancer. When I won an academic award she told me that I “didn’t deserve it” and the college was “wrong to have awarded it to [me]” (for my academic excellence).
  15. Crass Hate Speechers Ruin a Birthday Dinner. The Hate Speech retired woman and the Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Codependent are both such rude and uncivil people that at my birthday dinner they whispered to each other and ridiculed a lovely Christian woman/mother/wife guest’s white blouse and skin color, discussing how horrible she looked, how horrible her skin color looked, and how horrible her white blouse with lovely embroidery looked! Both low-class women REFUSED to apologize to me for ruining my birthday. If you’d like your special event ruined, just invite the low-class people from Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley! And they aren’t even SORRY!!!
  16. Crass Hate Speecher Rude To GBF Attenders. The Hate Speech Woman/Retired Woman told people who’d been laid off not to come to the Sunday fellowship meal/potluck lunch anymore until they “had jobs” and “could contribute”. They always contributed. (According to the rude and discourteous Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Tim Wong and Bob Douglas, because they hadn’t heard their abusive woman friend say these things to people she “hadn’t said them”. Oh puhhhhlssseeee. She most certainly did say  rude things to people and there were plenty of witnesses. She adored publicly humiliating people, especially men, who’d been laid off. They never came back to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley again. They are rude, rude, rude at that church. Stay away! Just nutcases.)
  17. Crass Senior Pastor and  Crass Hate Speecher Don’t Want People to Own Birthday Gifts. Senior pastor Cliff McManis and his older, retired hate-speech woman friend were offended that I had a cross in my living room and I was lectured that I should get rid of it. I was given a big speech about “false idols”.  Under a great deal of pressure from the two of them, I got rid of my own expensive birthday present, that costs hundreds of dollars, that’s all of the way from Italy, that’s beautiful art work, and that I have always loved. I wish I had walked out of that nut case church then. I never told them to get rid of their possessions in their homes, let alone their birthday gifts. Her apology for all of her abusive behavior consisted of, “I didn’t do it and she acts like God” before the chairman of the elder board Sam Kim and me at a restaurant. He was satisfied with her non-apology to me; I wasn’t. She never assumed responsibility and it was just more crassness.
  18. Incompetent GBFSV Pastors/Elders and Unlawful Practice of Medicine (a Crime in California). I was blamed by the pastors/elders for the genetically inherited brain disorder (Dyslexia) of the Adult Child of an Alcoholic church member. She has short-term memory problems, working memory problems, and auditory memory problems, and refuses to get medical care and be in support groups for her severe disability. She failed school growing up because of her disability, can’t work, and gets a monthly disability check from the Social Security Administration. According to the GBFSV pastors/elders her memory loss was my “sin” problem. They are nutcases at that church! What next? Blame a Christian for somebody else’s Diabetes or cancer? (They believe in Nouthetic Counseling, which is Biblical Counseling by completely untrained and unlicensed pastors/elders who have no clue what they are doing and are grossly incompetent and dangerous, and not medical care by bona fide trained and licensed professionals. The Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, which the GBFSV pastors/elders seemed to be doing in my personal experience about their handling church members’ medical problems, is a crime in California that can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor.)  No. Her memory problems were not my “sin” problem. She couldn’t remember entire events and said that I was “lying.” She told church members that the “truth about [me] would come out.”  None of what she told other people about me was true. (If what the woman and the GBFSV pastors/elders claim is true then she can be arrested and criminally prosecuted in federal court for defrauding the Social Security Administration by getting monthly disability checks for decades.)
  19. GBFSV Pastors/Elders Defend Child Porn. For discovering a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer at church while doing a research project for a former prosecutor, the GBFSV pastors/elders had me in a meeting and screamed and yelled at me, defended child pornography and said it “wasn’t a big deal”, defended their friend, and said he was “coming off Megan’s List” (the California Attorney General’s Office called the pastors/elders’ story “all lies” and “total lies”). I was threatened with being “destined for Hell” by Sam Kim the chairman of the elder board, at the close of the meeting, about a serious subject – child safety.  Sam Kim had bookmarked a passage in his Bible and he opened it up and read this threat to me, with Cliff McManis, Bob Douglas, and Tim Wong listening. What a bunch of JERKS!!!
  20. Sam Kim Makes Threats. Following that, Sam Kim called me at home and threatened me some more, telling me that I was to never call or contact the police or the California Attorney General’s Office about the sex offender because the GBFSV pastors/elders “said so” (Sam Kim, Cliff McManis, Tim Wong and Bob Douglas). Those are crimes on their part – obstruction of justice, intimidating a witness, accessory after the fact (if a crime was committed), aiding and abetting (if a crime is going to be committed), not fulfilling their legally mandated jobs as Mandated Child Abuse Reporters which they are as members of the clergy in California (along with other church employees), and criminal conspiracy (agreeing among themselves to telling other people to commit criminal acts or to do nothing). A sick, toxic, abusive, destructive, and bizarre church.  The GBFSV pastors/elders can face arrest, prosecution, convictions and prison time for child endangerment when their arrogant, irresponsible, dangerous policies all go wrong, just like Penn State administrators:
  21. Sam Kim Tells Me, The Woman Who Changed California Law for Crime Victims, That I Can’t Contact Law Enforcement.  I have personally changed California law in the California legislature for high-risk stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence victims. I got an entire program passed into law after four years of very hard work and testifying in the California State Senate. I also landed a page 1 Sunday story in the San Jose Mercury News. No one — including Sam Kim delivering threats to me on behalf of ALL of the GBFSV pastors/elders (Cliff McManis, Tim Wong, Bob Douglas and others) — is going to tell me that I can’t contact the California Attorney General or law enforcement about matters of public safety. Sam Kim said I was “to obey [my] elders.” Tough luck, buttercup!
  22. Sam Kim Makes More Threats. Sam Kim, Chairman of the GBFSV Elder Board, also told me when he called me at home to issue his threats to me on behalf of the GBFSV pastors/elders that I was to “never reveal the name of the church [I] attended or the names of the pastors/elders to law enforcement or the California Attorney General’s Office” because the GBFSV pastors/elders [Sam Kim, Cliff McManis, Tim Wong, and Bob Douglas] ‘said so’. Again, Sam Kim is A JERK! He can’t deal with child safety issues in an adult manner? Has he ever consulted with the church’s liability insurance carrier for instructions? ALL of the big insurance carriers cover this, as it’s the No. 1 reason that churches are sued every single year — child sexual abuse. The Top 5 Reasons Religious Organizations Went to Court in 2015
  23. GBFSV Pastors/Elders Continue to Defend Child Porn. The GBFSV pastors/elders Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Bob Douglas, and Tim Wong defended the Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer because he is their friend, took ‘his word’ according to Cliff McManis and Bob Douglas, and did not do the responsible thing and vet him with his supervising law enforcement agency, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force. The Sheriff and the California Attorney General’s Office in Sacramento have called the GBFSV pastors/elders stories to me about the sex offender “all lies” and “total lies” and said he’s not “coming off Megan’s List” as the GBFSV pastors/elders claimed. That only happens in rare circumstances — a pardon by the governor or a judge signing off saying that a sex offender is rehabilitated. Law enforcement said that never happens and this sex offender is on Megan’s List for life.
  24. GBFSV Pastors/Elders Say That Mothers Can’t Protect Their Children From Sex Offender. The GBFSV pastors/elders told me in the meeting about the sex offender that if fathers permitted the sex offender to touch their children that their wives had ‘no say’ and that mothers were to ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ to their husbands. That is a criminal act in California for mothers and they are required by law to protect their children, even if their husbands don’t believe they should. A mother can be arrested and prosecuted including for felony crimes of child endangerment for her failure to protect her children. If she’s convicted she can land in state prison. If she gets felony strikes, she can face up to 25 years to life in prison. Child Protective Services can take away her children and put them in foster care. The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders are beyond dumb, they are downright dangerous! (They have been criticized by law enforcement agencies who have said that they don’t know what they are talking about.)
  25. Godly Christians Banned From Church Property by Sam Kim and GBFSV Pastors/Elders. Sam Kim, Chairman of the GBFSV Elder Board, banned me from church property (they rent from the Seventh Day Adventists in Sunnyvale, CA) for having a problem with the GBFSV pastors/elders repeated threats to me about the Megan’s List sex offender. Mr. Kim demanded that I “apologize” to him and the pastors/elders. I refused. No one deserves to be told that they’re “going to Hell” and “not one of us” for discussing child safety in light of a convicted Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer who is sexually attracted to children. Mr. Kim banned me from church services, all contact with church members, and all church events, until I apologized to them. I don’t owe the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders an apology, they owe me one. My name joined the “banned from church property” list with the upstanding, godly, conservative “Dr. Luke” (not his real name) — a man in his 70’s, faithful husband for nearly 50 years of marriage, faithful father to grown children, and a faithful Christian! I consider myself to be in excellent company to be on the same list with Dr. Luke! He’s a classy man. Same for his wife. The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders are nothing but low-class, lying trash. They have lied about countless former church members and those members have said point blank the GBFSV pastors/elders lied about them.

[Note: GBFSV pastors/elders believe and teach in Young Earth Creation, also known on the internet by its other name “The Flintstone Doctrine” after the cartoon and for its Dark Ages, uneducated, anti-science, anti-logic, and anti-facts beliefs. Specifically that the earth is 6,000 years old and “what a miracle it is.”  The senior pastor Cliff McManis has a FAKE “Ph.D.” from an online, unaccredited diploma mill in Independence, Missouri. A real bona fide Ph.D. from an accredited university takes about eight years of very hard work to earn. It’s “a miracle” to me how proud the GBFSV pastors/elders are to be uneducated. My grandmother, who died at 102 years old, had a U.C. Berkeley education in science from the 1920’s, she and her friends worked on the teams of Nobel Prize-winning researchers, she became the first woman dean of a California Community College, and she a Presbyterian believed in an Old Earth. Ditto for her fellow scientists, who were also Christians. They aren’t mutually exclusive. I will be covering Young Earth Creationism in another post. The early church fathers did not believe in Young Earth Creation. Hebrew words in the Genesis text had different meanings in the text than they they do now in English.  The Hebrew word “Yom” in the Genesis creation story has fifty-eight (58) different meanings, NOT one meaning as Young Earthers simplistically proclaim. And a basic logic question: How can you claim a 6-day earth creation story when the sun and the earth hadn’t been created and that “a day” is contingent on the earth’s rotation to the sun?]

Here is my YELP review which was taken down, because GBF doesn’t like the truth. Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley scrubs the internet of all negative reviews. From YELP to Google to Amazon* and anywhere else. *Note: After writing a negative review on Amazon beneath Cliff McManis’ book, and describing the abusive church he leads, the church had Amazon revoke ALL of my customer reviewing priviledges, which I have given mostly 4-5 stars for other products, been a customer of Amazon’s for years, and have ordered many products for myself and as gifts for other people. I wrote the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, about the problems with GBFSV, the excommunications and shunnings, and the Megan’s List sex offender. Jeff Bezos RESTORED my customer reviewing priviledges. And I just started this blog because I refuse to see that level of abuse that goes on at GBFSV, be subjected to it like they did to me, and turn around and be silent.  One review that I wrote can be found in a blog discussion here . I’m a “she” and not a “he” as 9 Marks thought in an article about my Amazon review written by Jonathan Leeman.  

My thank you article to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, here:

[A Negative YELP Review in 2017 by a Man Who Went to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley:

“This church is pretty much as far right as is possible to find in the Bay Area. If you’re extremely conservative, and into biblical literalism (young earth, anti-evolution), reminders of the coming of the end, slickly presented opinionated dogma, Calvinism, and patriarchy, then this is a great place to explore and grow in that. Personally, it wasn’t for me, and I found it distasteful.”

– a man reviewer on YELP about his experience at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley]

My YELP review of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley

“It was very disturbing to be a member of this church and to see the level of mistreatment shown by the GBF pastors/elders to adult Christians, an iron-fisted authoritarian control over adult Christians’ lives and demands for ‘obedience’.There were excommunications and shunnings ordered of dear Christians for any independent thought.

Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is one of the growing number of authoritarian, NeoCalvinist churches spreading across the U.S. and it’s not *Biblical*.

*Heavy Shepherding.  GBFpractices the 1970’s heavy-Shepherding movement’s un-Biblical control of Christians’ lives by the pastors/elders. The Florida founders repented for its abuses and un-Biblicalness. The GBF leaders have not repented and the damage is growing in the lives at GBF.  GBF copies Mark Dever’s (Capitol Hill Baptist, Washington, D.C.) 9Marks organization. It is a heavily criticized model, including by conservatives, who have said that there is only ONE Biblical mark of a healthy church: Love. The other 9Marks are un-Biblical and it’s the Heavy Shepherding Movement all over again.

**[Added on 10/29/2016] Inerrancy of Scripture. Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley teaches this based on the Chicago Statement signed by a group of men in the 1970’s. What GBFSV pastors/elders do not tell Christians is that the Chicago Statement proponents believe in the overthrow of the U.S. government, believe in the overthrow of state and local governments, want a Biblical Patriarchy like the Old Testament [Jesus gave us a new Covenant in the New Testament], and want groups of ten local church men to be in charge of local governments and take over the nation from there. The group also supports slavery and believes that “non-Christians” should be enslaved, basically anyone who isn’t in lockstep with their crazy beliefs. Additionally the group denies that the Holocaust occurred and they have a hatred for Jews. These men simply wanted a forum and some form of ratification of their bizarre beliefs. And at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley it is shoved down peoples’ throats without telling them point blank what it means. I reject the Chicago Statement because the men behind it are pure evil.

*Membership Covenants. Members are told to sign them because they’re *Biblical* and back to a Biblical basic. In point of fact they aren’t Biblical and are used to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives. Jesus required people to sign how many pages to follow Him? Correct answer: 0 pages. (Don’t sign!)

The GBFSV pastors/elders are such rude people that they tell Christians not to come back to worship if they aren’t willing to sign an authoritarian Membership Covenant.

According to the GBFSV pastors/elders everyone needs someone with a fake Ph.D. to boss them around and run their life and the guy with the fake Ph.D.  — Cliff McManis — wants to run your life. Just “say no”.

*Congregational vote.  GBF wants your money but doesn’t believe in a true Biblical church honoring the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians’ lives and giftedness [i.e. there is NO congregational vote among church members from the budget (which is hidden) to all other issues of importance].  It is more authoritarian control exerted by a few yes-men over the Body of Christ, hobbling the power of the Holy Spirit to truly work.  I will never go to a church again that is run like GBF. I will never give money to one again.

*Women. GBF pastors/elders promote Complementarian/Patriarchy doctrine that women are to “obey” and to “submit” and be 2nd class citizens. (The big ‘heros’ of this movement who espoused it have been brought up on sex crimes charges, of course. Only sick and twisted people with an agenda don’t want other people to have boundaries.) At GBF they live under the old Covenant and not the new one in Christ. GBF pastors espouse the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood which teaches a Semi-Arian Heresy by Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem called the Eternal [a lie] Subordination of the Son to justify the subordination of women. It is untrue and is trinatarian heresy. GBF has put this man-made doctrine on par with The Gospel. If you reject Comp you reject The Gospel. Nonsense. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for more info. [Additional Note. 9/6/2016. Former church members who have a Complementarian marriage and are Calvinists pointed out to me today that despite their conservative views that they don’t support the practices of the GBFSV pastors/elders and the mistreatment of the flock, that it has nothing to do with Comp or Calvinism but with these GBFSV pastors/elders choices to harm the flock. They have said that Cliff McManis is into other people ‘obeying’ and ‘submitting’ and his ‘authority’. Chauvinism as well. That’s not what this nice,conservative Christian couple believes or practices. Fair enough. Duly noted.]

*Teaching. GBFSV does not permit Godly women to teach the Word of God. They base this on the writing of the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote Timothy about one woman — original text in Greek said “the woman” — teaching one man error. Paul wanted her to learn correctly first. The issue wasn’t her being a woman, the issue was error – and that would be true if it was a man in error. Manipulative anti-woman Bible translators conveniently changed the text to something Paul never wrote to prohibit all Christian women for all time from teaching. Paul never wrote that.

*Nouthetic Counseling.  GBF leaders believe that Bible is sufficient counsel for everything. They have no training and licensing, do not follow Cal. law, and frequently cross over the line into the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine (a crime in California that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony).  This bogus form of non-counseling comes from the un-trained Jay Adams and his books. It is malpractice.  GBF pastors/elders did not get an older woman alcoholic to the care of a physician to supervise her treatment and spent months with members discussing “gossip” and drawing pictures on the blackboard.  In the end this woman, her adult children, and church members were harmed. [Note: According to the U.S. Department of Education the “college” where senior pastor Cliff McManis claims he earned his “Ph.D.” from and another advanced degree IS a diploma mill (Faith Bible College) in Independence, Missouri. The degrees ARE FAKES! The diploma mill’s only “accrediting agency”, not a bona fide one recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, was brought up on fraud charges by the Missouri Attorney General and banned from doing business in Missouri. The “accrediting agency” simply moved to near by Arkansas, renamed their business, and has done the same thing in Missouri again. I recently advised the Missouri Attorney General that the group was back in Missouri and to “go get them”. A real Ph.D. from an accredited university takes about eight years of hard work to earn.]

Additionally, the GBFSV pastors/elders held me responsible for the genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – of a woman church member who refuses medical care.  She can’t remember entire events and accuses other people like me of lying. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem but a memory problem.

Excommunications/Shunnings/Stalking. A godly woman left GBF for a saner church and was harassed by church members on the orders of the GBF pastors/elders. A godly doctor was excommunicated for dissenting in private. I was excommunicated because the GBF pastors/elders blamed me for someone’s memory problems. A bizarre church!!!

*Credentials. Snr pstr’s *Ph.D*. is from a MO. diploma mill.

GETTING OUT: Don’t tell them. Send a certified/return receipt letter & resign, no details. Call 911 and contact an attorney if they bother you. Read: The Wartburg Watch blog for details. According to the GBFSV pastors/elders members can’t leave Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley without the pastors/elders’ permission. This is ILLEGAL and unconstitutional, violating the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The Appellate Courts have ruled that religious organizations are voluntary and that people can leave whenever they wish. The GBFSV Bylaws and Membership Covenant are illegal and unconstitutional. Under NO circumstances do you have to “obey” the GBFSV pastors/elders. Under NO circumstances do you have to tolerate their harassment for leaving. Call the police and an attorney. Have an attorney send the GBFSV pastors/elders a cease and desist letter. If need be, sue them. Call the police if the GBFSV pastors/elders harass you or order anyone else to  harass you. File a police report, including for stalking. 

According to the GBFSV pastors/elders, church members are required to “obey” the pastors/elders in the commission or omission of illegal acts. No, in point of fact you aren’t. In the United States it is ILLEGAL and UNENFORCEABLE to “contract” (including via a church membership contract) for unlawful acts. Just “say no” to the GBFSV pastors/elders/tyrants.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Women – call domestic violence shelters/support groups for help getting out. Call 9-1-1. Read: A Cry For Justice blog by pastor/cop.

Child Endangerment in California:



BOOKS: Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE online).

Recovering From Churches that Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE below). [Note: I started reading this book first and I read Dr. Enroth’s other book second.]

SEARCH TERMS: Spiritual Abuse, Membership Covenants, Authoritarianism, NeoCalvinism, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board,Steve Hassan. [See links on the Blog Roll on the right side of this page.]

Steve Hassan. Psychologist/author/Thought Reform expert:

Brad/FuturistGuy (Christian blogger/researcher) article about Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist at Yale, former Air Force psychiatrist, researcher, studied Communist Chinese Thought Reform, which is also how other authoritarian groups work:

I learned that I know more than I thought I did & I will never listen to authoritarian men again!”


Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley does what psychologist/author/cult expert/Thought Reform expert Steve Hassan calls the BITE Model.

“Steven Hassan’s BITE Model of Cult Mind Control

Many people think of mind control as an ambiguous, mystical process that cannot be defined in concrete terms. In reality, mind control refers to a specific set of methods and techniques, such as hypnosis or thought- stopping, that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Like many bodies of knowledge, it is not inherently good or evil. If mind control techniques are used to empower an individual to have more choice, and authority for his life remains within himself, the effects can be beneficial. For example, benevolent mind control can be used to help people quit smoking without affecting any other behavior. Mind control becomes destructive when the locus of control is external and it is used to undermine a person’s ability to think and act independently.

As employed by the most destructive cults, mind control seeks nothing less than to disrupt an individual’s authentic identity and reconstruct it in the image of the cult leader. I developed the BITE model to help people determine whether or not a group is practicing destructive mind control. The BITE model helps people understand how cults suppress individual member’s uniqueness and creativity. BITE stands for the cult’s control of an individual’s Behavior, Intellect, Thoughts, and Emotions.

It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mindcontrolled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently.

We are all subject to influence from our parents, friends, teachers, co-workers… When this influence helps someone grow and maintain an internal locus of control, it is healthy. Influence which is used to keep people mindless and dependent is unhealthy. To download a PDF of the Influence Continuum graphic, click here.

Destructive mind control is not just used by cults. Learn about the Human Trafficking BITE Model and the Terrorism BITE Model.

The BITE Model

I. Behavior Control
II. Information Control
III. Thought Control
IV. Emotional Control

Behavior Control

1. Regulate individual’s physical reality
2. Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates
3. When, how and with whom the member has sex
4. Control types of clothing and hairstyles
5. Regulate diet – food and drink, hunger and/or fasting
6. Manipulation and deprivation of sleep
7. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence
8. Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time
9. Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet
10. Permission required for major decisions
11. Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors
12. Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative
13. Discourage individualism, encourage group-think
14. Impose rigid rules and regulations
15. Instill dependency and obedience
16. Threaten harm to family and friends
17. Force individual to rape or be raped
18. Instill dependency and obedience
19. Encourage and engage in corporal punishment

Information Control

1. Deception:
a. Deliberately withhold information
b. Distort information to make it more acceptable
c. Systematically lie to the cult member
2. Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including:
a. Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media
b.Critical information
c. Former members
d. Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate
e. Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking
3. Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible
b.Control information at different levels and missions within group
c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when
4. Encourage spying on other members
a. Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member
b.Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership
c. Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group
5. Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including:
a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media
b.Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources
6. Unethical use of confession
a. Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries
b. Withholding forgiveness or absolution
c. Manipulation of memory, possible false memories

Thought Control

1. Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
a. Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
b. Instill black and white thinking
c. Decide between good vs. evil
d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
2.Change person’s name and identity
3. Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words
4. Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts
5. Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member
6. Memories are manipulated and false memories are created
7. Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including:
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
b. Chanting
c. Meditating
d. Praying
e. Speaking in tongues
f. Singing or humming
8. Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
9. Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed
10. Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful

Emotional Control

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish
2. Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt
3. Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
4. Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guilt
b. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt
5. Instill fear, such as fear of:
a. Thinking independently
b. The outside world
c. Enemies
d. Losing one’s salvation
e. Leaving or being shunned by the group
f. Other’s disapproval
6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are horrible sinner
7. Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
8. Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
a. No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group
b. Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.
c. Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
e. Threats of harm to ex-member and family”.

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