Jimmy Hinton’s article is from the website: http://wineskins.org/2014/04/08/what-place-do-pedophiles-have-in-the-church/
“After Jimmy Hinton’s previous article on “Protecting Our Children from Pedophiles” I asked him to write a follow up piece about what we can do as Christians to continue to understand how to interact with people who struggle with this as they are people just as in need of Jesus as anyone else. This article is Jimmy’s response to that question. Jimmy just presented on this at Tulsa last week and has some recommendations for churches in this article. We may not all agree on how this is handled but the conversation is as relevant and necessary as ever. Last, like Jimmy’s first article, there are some difficult things to read in this article but they are left in because this conversation is so vitally important that we are able to provide space to have an open and honest conversation on these things. – Matt”
by Jimmy Hinton
This is a subject that is deeply personal to me and I write from the perspective of someone whose dad is currently serving a life sentence for sex crimes against children. To make it more personal, my dad is the former minister at the same exact church where I now preach. To make it even more personal, I was the one approached by one of his victims three years ago. Three days later I reported my own father to the police, which eventually led to his confessions and subsequent 30-60 year prison sentence. My dad and I still communicate fairly often and have frank conversations about how he was able to abuse over 20 children and keep it hidden from us his whole life. He once wrote from prison, “You have no idea how many pedophiles there are in the church.” But there’s where he is wrong.
Now that I write and speak on this subject, I encounter stories of pedophiles in the church on a regular basis. It literally is an epidemic. We are fooling ourselves to believe otherwise. I just returned from Tulsa, where I spoke on abuse. Nearly ½ of attendees stayed after and told me stories of their or close family members’ abuse. . . horrible stories. Did you catch that? 50% of my audience had either been abused themselves or had a close family member who had. This is my experience everywhere I speak. There have been no exceptions.
There seems to be a nagging question to a private problem in the church—“Is child molestation the unforgivable sin?” I’ve heard a wide range of answers to this question. Some liken it to Paul who approved of the murders of Christians but then had a “Jesus moment” and became an apostle of the Lord. “Who are we to judge them if they’ve repented?,” the argument goes. Others argue that, since there is no cure for pedophilia, they will never be able to change. Therefore, we should not allow them in the church at all.
And so I offer my perspective—not to spark debate, but because I am in a unique position. I know some of my dad’s victims personally and have heard their stories. I am haunted by that. I listen to similar stories everywhere I go, and they are always equally painful to hear. I do not write as the final authority on this matter. Each congregation must make its own wise decisions. But I offer you my perspective as a minister of the Gospel and as one who knows the thought patterns of both pedophiles and their victims.
I will state my view upfront, then explain why this is my view. I believe that, while pedophiles can and should repent, the church is not in a position to welcome them into the assembly where children are present. In fact, we have written into our policy that any known sex offenders will be removed from regular worship and will be offered an alternative worship with a group of adults only. This can be at the church building or in a home. But for them to participate in worship with children present is an act of sheer insensitivity and irresponsibility.
Let’s begin with pedophiles (I am limiting the scope of this essay to pedophiles only). The medical definition of a pedophile is (1) someone who is aroused by, has intense, recurring fantasies, or is involved in sexual behaviors with prepubescent children (13 or younger), (2) someone who is aroused by, has sexual fantasies, or is involved with a child for at least 6 months, (3) someone who is at least 16 years old, and (4) at least 5 years older than the child(ren) he or she is attracted to. Pedophiles generally have cognitive distortions (self-lies) which they truly believe. While they groom their victims to think that the victim initiated sexual contact, ironically the pedophile also tells himself that the victim came on to him. There is a flat-out denial of responsibility here. Put another way, pedophiles tend to view themselves as the victim of the children who “came on to” them. One man, after assaulting his young daughter, told investigators, “I slipped on a bar of soap and my penis just went into her.” Another man, who repeatedly assaulted his 4 year old daughter, said that his daughter liked to rub her foot up and down his penis. He went on, “She ‘loves’ to orgasm. I’ll get her a vibrator. She’ll hold the handle against her peepee and giggle until she climaxes” (Salter, 18).
It sounds too extraordinary to be true, but these types of stories are the norm. And they don’t seem to change with therapy or verbal repentance. And they are prevalent in the church. Listen to this excerpt:
I want to describe a child molester I know very well. This man was raised by devout Christian parents. As a child he rarely missed church. Even after he became an adult, he was faithful as a church member. He was a straight A student in high school and college. He has been married and has a child of his own. He coached Little League baseball. He was a choir director at his church. He never used any illegal drugs. He never had a drink of alcohol. He was considered a clean-cut, all-American boy. Everyone seemed to like him. He was a volunteer in numerous civic community functions. He had a well-paying career job. He was considered “well-to-do” in society. But from the age of thirteen years old he sexually molested little boys. He never victimized a stranger. All of his victims were friends…I know this child molester very well because he is me! (Salter, 36-37).
Mr. Raines, the man quoted above, was in prison for a short time then was let out on parole. He almost immediately infiltrated a church and became the director of the children’s choir. He was incarcerated two more times after this. Dr. Salter, who met him in prison says, “I believe in my heart the next time Mr. Raines gets out of prison, he will successfully ingratiate himself in youth activities in a church once more. He will do this even though he now has at least three criminal convictions for child molestation and likely more, all of which any church could have discovered. But who will check criminal records for such an outstanding, polite, well-spoken young man? After all, volunteers are hard to come by” (Salter, 37).
I could go on and on and give example after example of this. Perceived repentance, tears of sorrow, promises to never do it again, stories that minimize what actually went on during the abuse—these are ploys to gain access to children. Pedophiles successfully molest children without us adults knowing it. This is what makes them successful. And here’s the catch—churches are welcoming them with warm embraces in the name of Jesus.
Let’s talk about victims of abuse for a moment. An estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys has been sexually abused as a child. I thought this number was exaggerated until experience told me otherwise. At every place I’ve spoken, more than ¼ of the audience revealed to me that they were molested or raped as children. And these are just the ones who are talking about it. I suspect there are more. I’ve heard firsthand the horror stories. “I tried to tell people—my mom, people at church—but nobody believed me and my dad continued to molest me until I was 16.” Another one, with tears rolling down her face, says to me, “I was forced to forgive him and was told that if I didn’t I would be kicked out of church.”
The gospel I read gives a different picture. Victims and the vulnerable—not the attackers—are supposed to be protected. Jesus did it with the woman caught in adultery. He did it with the woman at the well in Samaria. And don’t forget his infamous fightin’ words: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6 ESV). I know that we could go round and round with verses, some on forgiveness and mercy, others on judgment. That is not the point here. Believe me, I wrestle with this on a daily basis. I wish we could see a clean-cut version of crystal-clear repentance and redemption where we don’t have to question whether someone is still abusing children. But I also know what reality looks like with abusers, and it’s not promising.
What’s worse is that many churches are unknowingly siding with child abusers by allowing them into services with children. Imagine, for a moment, that you are in the shoes of a survivor of abuse. At 3 years old (my daughter’s age), you are forced to perform oral sex on your uncle when he takes you out for ice cream. You are told, as many victims of abuse are, that this is what good little boys and girls do, and that this is what God wants you to do. You believe that the sex is your fault, and that if you tell everyone else will think it’s your fault. So you keep it inside, as 95% of abused children do. Fast forward a few years. You are (reluctantly) at church. An elder gets up and tells the church that brother George has had attractions to children but has repented and we need to love him as Jesus does, no questions asked. “Forgive and forget,” he says. Warm hugs are exchanged and tears are streaming down their cheeks. Meanwhile George, as he’s walking back to his seat, tussles your hair along the way. In an instant, you begin reliving your childhood abuse all over again. These are the things that re-victimize children all the time. A survivor of abuse once told me, with her head in her hands, “How the hell can I ever trust God or the church again?” Until we protect our children and the vulnerable, it’s not going to happen.
In conclusion, experience and education prove that pedophilia is a strong evil. Manipulation, lies, and secrecy drive the engine of sexual abuse. Because it is so secretive, it is impossible to gauge whether a sex offender is ever truly repentant. Good hard statistics show that the vast majority of sex offenders re-offend when put back into a high risk setting, such as a church. Why? Because they are tempted by children and because we give them access to the drug of their choice. I believe that, with good treatment and lots of prayer, pedophiles can repent. But make no mistake—they will always be attracted to children. And because they are attracted to children, and because they have successfully offended in the past, and because survivors of abuse fear their presence, and because we are called to protect the vulnerable, when we invite them in a gathering with children, and because there is no true test to know if they’ve repented, and because they prey on the naivety of church members, and because sexual abuse has such devastating spiritual, mental, and emotional effects, we owe it to everybody to keep children and sex offenders separate. Period.
So what place do pedophiles have in the church? Repentant pedophiles have no place with children any more than drug addicts have with drugs. But they do have a place in the kingdom. They still can volunteer in activities that exclude children. They still can serve, pray, even teach in the alternate service. Pedophiles need community the same as everyone else. God designed us to desire community. To exclude sex offenders from redemption is to play the part of God. We cannot decide whether God’s grace has covered them or not. We pray for the redemption of pedophiles the same as every other one of us sinners. We serve the same God. But to not take measures to protect the innocent is Christian malpractice.
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.
I have had NO CONTACT WITH CHURCH MEMBERS AND CLIFF MCMANIS IS LYING!
The law enforcement agencies said that they never said what McManis claims they said.
Cartoon by David Hayward/©NakedPastor.com in Canada http://www.nakedpastor.com/
Article by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
Cartoon courtesy of David Hayward/©NakedPastor.com in Canada
I posted this on another website, before I had my own. Here is my story.
This is the post excerpt.
Artcle by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
“Sometimes you have to make yourself the black sheep.” – cartoonist/former pastor David Hayward/nakedpastor.com ©
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.
This blog will be devoted to Spiritual Abuse, recovery from it, and other serious and mostly unaddressed issues in the church, especially NeoCalvinist churches.
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.
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.
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. The apologies that never came from the GBFSV pastors/elders but are overdue. They have never repented for their spiritual abuse of the flock.
- 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 a 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.) https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/avoid-fake-degree-burns-researching-academic-credentials
- 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 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. His screaming at you and threatening you is the crime of assault (putting you in fear; battery is touching). His not letting you 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.
- And then they did it to me. Excommunicated and shunned me https://gbfsvchurchabuse.org/2016/08/26/my-story-of-being-excommunicated-and-shunned-from-grace-bible-fellowship-of-silicon-valley/ Lied about me. https://gbfsvchurchabuse.org/2016/08/28/an-open-letter-to-the-pastorselders-of-grace-bible-fellowship-of-silicon-valley-filing-a-false-police-report-is-a-crime-in-california-ca-penal-code-section-148-5-pc/So 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 church in more than five weeks. I had a 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 do you go to that attacks you when you’re sick and haven’t even been to church in more than a month?” I thought long and hard, “What kind of church did I go 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 do 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.
- 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 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. 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.
- 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 Sam Kim, Tim Wong, and Peter Lam 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?
- The GBFSV pastors/elders also conveniently omitted telling hundreds of church members in their excommunication/shunning meeting about me that 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 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. 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. https://gbfsvchurchabuse.org/2016/08/28/an-open-letter-to-the-pastorselders-of-grace-bible-fellowship-of-silicon-valley-filing-a-false-police-report-is-a-crime-in-california-ca-penal-code-section-148-5-pc/ (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!)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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”. According to her our judicial system/court 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!)
- 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”.
- 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, dinner at the winery for both of us, 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.
- 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).
- 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’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!!!
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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. 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.) 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 charged under federal law with defrauding the Social Security Administration by getting monthly disability checks for more than thirty years.)
- 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!!!
- 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, 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: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/us/penn-state-graham-spanier-child-molestation-sentence.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0
- 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!
- 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 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.
- 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.)
- 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. http://godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_days_church_fathers.html 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 https://thouarttheman.org/2016/09/18/9marks-attempting-brand-enhancement/ . 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. https://gbfsvchurchabuse.org/2016/09/23/are-your-pastorselders-as-rude-as-the-ones-at-grace-bible-fellowship-of-silicon-valley/
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: https://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/BITE/bitemodel.php
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.
The BITE Model
I. Behavior Control II. Information Control
III. Thought Control IV. Emotional 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
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
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
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
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
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
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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