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 ©
simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
“…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.
This helpful excerpt is by author Elizabeth Esther whose excellent book Girl at The End of the World I bought, read, and recommend. Elizabeth Esther’s list is important to keep in mind to avoid an abusive church. You can follow Elizabeth on social media. – Velour
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is: what are some signs of a spiritually abusive church? My book, “Girl at The End of the World,” tells my story of growing up in an abusive church. But I thought it might be helpful if I shared a list of “red-flag” warning signs here on my site as well. Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing. EE.
- Personality Centric: a pastor whose charming, charismatic, intense, persuasive and intelligent personality holds unquestioned sway over his/her congregation. He/she is treated like a celebrity. Not held accountable. Not held to same standard of morality as the rest of the congregation.
- Operates Independently: no oversight, doesn’t answer to an established denomination, there is no way for grievances to be filed or addressed, even in cases of outright abuse the police or civil authorities are not called.
- Engulfment: “true members” of the church devote their WHOLE lives to the church, center all their activities around church activities, discouraged to have friends outside the church, family members who express concern about the church are cut off, leaving the church is the same as leaving God.
- Busyness: a plethora of required/mandatory-without-saying-it’s-mandatory activities that fill up the weekly schedule, giving time and energy for free to various hard labor projects (cleaning and cooking for pastor’s family, for example).
- Stalking: Big Brother-type monitoring is called “just keeping each other accountable.” Calling to “just check in” if a member misses church meeting. Approving clothing, daily decisions, watching online activity for “problematic” opinions and posts–all under the guise of “spiritual care” for the person’s soul.
- Coded Language: an ingrown church has developed a special, insider language/lingo that only those who have been there for a long time understand. Sometimes common, everyday words are given different definitions particular to that church; ie. “keep sweet” is a phrase used in some polygamist circles that means women should behave in a church-approved way.
- Unrealistic Promises: members of an unhealthy church are often seduced by big talk about all the wealth, blessings and riches God will give them if they just devote their lives to this church. Delivery on these promises is rare. Those who do not experience God’s blessings are told they have “weak faith.”
- Courting Rituals: a man must seek leadership approval (above parental approval) before seeking “to court” (or date) a woman, courting couples must follow a prescribed set of rules according to arbitrary traditions established by the church; ie. no kissing until the wedding day.
- Shunning: if someone leaves the church, church leadership requires all other members to ignore this person until they “repent.” New church members are told to shun family members who don’t support the church. Parents are told to shun “rebellious” teenagers. Husbands are to shun “unsubmissive” wives. The church comes first in all relationships.
- “The Ends Justify the Means:” a spiritually abusive church justifies all kinds of oppressive behavior by saying they only desire to truly serve and love God. “We’re doing this for Jesus, so it’s OK!” ; ie. spanking children to “break the will” because the end result is a child who will love and serve God for his/her whole life. Be wary of a church that emphasizes “purity of doctrine” over the WAY it treats people. Methods and processes matter. The ends do NOT justify the means.
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
From Amazon: “Biography
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.”
“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:
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”.
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.
Article by Velour/ ©MtnShepherdess
Cartoon courtesy of David Hayward/©NakedPastor.Com http://nakedpastor.com/
Dear Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders (Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Tim Wong, Bob Douglas, and others) and church members/attenders:
In July 2016, Cliff McManis sent out an email about me to hundreds of church members. It’s all lies as the GBFSV pastors/elders desperately try to control the narrative, two years after I’d stopped going to Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley in 2014. The GBFSV pastors/elders have spiritually abused countless former church members (and probably current ones too). You spiritually abused Christians are not alone. When the GBFSV pastors/elders crossed me, they met their match. I’d seen them excommunicate/shun too many people (including a godly doctor in his 70’s), destroy peoples’ reputations, disrespect church members, interfere in other peoples’ business that is NONE of their business, order people to ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ to their ‘authority’ [they seem delusional and don’t deal with reality in the real world in Silicon Valley, that we’re voters, tax payers, adults, and we don’t have to ‘obey’ them].
The GBFSV pastors/elders have enabled their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer to come to church, gave him church membership, leadership, access to everything and invited him to be around other peoples’ kids and the GBFSV pastors/elders told NO ONE.
They also invited him to volunteer at the children’s basketball camp with other peoples’ children who didn’t know that they were handing their kids over to a church that would give a Megan’s List sex offender access to their kids. The facility owners weren’t told either. I emailed the recent school that GBFSV rented a school gym from and said that if it all goes wrong and a child is abused on their property, they can get sued for it and their reputation can be harmed. Best not to rent to GBF.
In 2014 the Chairman of the Elder Board of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley (“GBFSV” http://www.gbfsv.org/) Sam Kim banned me from attending Sunday church services, banned me from attending any church events, banned me from having any communication with any church members (including my friends whom I’d known for nearly eight years), and told the Seventh Day Adventists who rent to GBFSV in Sunnyvale, California, (Silicon Valley) that I was banned from stepping foot on church property (just like the godly doctor, a senior citizen in his 70’s, faithful and loving husband to his wife of nearly 50 years, who was banned from church property and ordered to be excommunicated and shunned on trumped up charges by the spiritually abusive, dishonest, unethical GBFSV pastors/elders). I was then excommunicated and ordered to be shunned before hundreds of church members.
My “crime”? I had not committed any act of immorality. I would not bow to the authoritarian dictates of the chairman of the elder board who demanded that I apologize to all of the pastors/elders for telling him that I had a problem with their repeated threats to me about a Megan’s List sex offender at church whom I had discovered while doing a research project for a former sex crimes prosecutor. Sam Kim, Chairman of the Elder Board, closed a meeting in which the four of pastors/elders who were present including Cliff McManis, Tim Wong, and Bob Douglas had bullied me for wanting our children to be safe in light of their friend who is sexually attracted to children and is on Megan’s List of sex offenders. They said I was “destined for Hell” and “not one of us”. They also defended child pornography and said it “wasn’t a big deal”. It’s a violation of federal and state laws with serious prison time for those convicted of it.
My name joined the “banned from church property” list with the wonderful Dr. Luke (not his real name), a godly doctor in his 70’s, loving husband to his wife Mrs. Luke (not her real name). The Lukes have been married for nearly fifty years. Dr. Luke is also a loving father to grown children and a faithful evangelist at his office. The Lukes have accused the GBF pastors/elders of lying about them. Before them, it was a middle-aged professional woman in finance who left GBF for a saner church. She was ordered to be harassed by Cliff McManis and the elders (including Sam Kim and Tim Wong) for not “obeying” and “submitting” to her husband. She said the pastors/elders screamed at her.
Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders have invited their friend a Megan’s List sex offender, convicted for child pornography, to volunteer at the summer children’s basketball camp, unbeknownst to trusting parents and owners of facilities (like the Seventh Day Adventist School in Los Altos, CA). Parents who are members of the church, as well as those in the community (GBFSV advertised the basketball camp in a community newspaper) entrusted their children for five days to the church. They weren’t told straight up, and it wasn’t on the fliers, that a Megan’s List sex offender was invited. What parent in their right mind would trust their child(ren) to a church knowing that a sex offender could show up at any time? The pastors/elders said that “child porn wasn’t a big deal.” He was their friend and they would “trust him with [their] children.” The pastors/elders said their friend “was coming off Megan’s List” because “he said so”. The California Attorney General’s Office, which maintains California’s Megan’s List, called the GBF pastors/elders’ stories “all lies” and total lies”. The Seventh Day Adventists could get sued if a child was abused on their property. The SDA’s are a self-insured denomination with strict child protection policies and trainings.
I contacted the school that GBF most recently rented a gym from for the basketball camp. I advised them of GBF pastors/elders casual attitude about sex offenders, disrespecting everyone from the California Attorney General to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force [the sex offenders’ supervising law enforcement agency]. I said that it would be wise for the school to discuss this with their attorney, since the school could be sued if a child is harmed on their property, and best not to rent to GBF in the future. Additionally, if a child is sexually abused then the other organization’s reputation is toast once it hits the news media and whatever sterling reputation they had will be in tatters because of the irresponsible, incompetent GBFSV pastors/elders who pride themselves on a whole host of Dark Ages’ policies.
The GBF pastors/elders found out that I had warned the Christian school in Los Altos.
Since July 2016 enraged pastors/elders then sent this email out about me, none of it is true. I’ve highlighed the problem areas, the lies, in red to make it easy to understand. I’ve refuted it point by point. Again, I hadn’t been to GBFSV in 2 years, since 2014, when pastor Cliff McManis sent out his lying email about me. I was tipped off about the GBFSV email by church members who didn’t like the controlling, authoritarian, bizarre GBFSV pastors/elders and they said they had NEVER experienced this bizarre conduct at any of the churches they had been members of in other communities.
[From This Lie] One of our former members who is in the final step of church discipline, has recently been aggressively harassing some of our current members. She has been spreading malicious gossip The Mountain View police [GBF church deacon works for MVPD and DOES NOT SPEAK FOR DEPT.], the Sunnyvale police [GBF church secretary’s husband works for SPD and DOESN NOT SPEAK FOR THEM] and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department [supervises Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer and has ALWAYS called GBF pastors/stories “all lies” and “total lies”] all say she is unstable and should be ignored and or avoided. So if she sends you a text or email, they suggest you ignore it and delete it with no reply. They believe if she receives no attention, that in time she will stop.
In the meantime ask God for protection over the Body of GBF [to this lie. This email is 100% lies.]
Blessings in Christ,
- Sentence 1 – Former Member or 3rd Step of Church Discipline Process?
How can “a former member” be the subject of “final step of church discipline”?
The chairman of the elder board banned me from church property, Sunday church services, church events, and communications with members two years ago. Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley’s pastors/elders told the Seventh Day Adventist pastor who rents space to GBFSV that I was banned from church property, along with the good doctor before me.
- Sentence 1 – How Does Not Contacting Any Church Member = “Aggressive Harass[ment]”?
I have NOT contacted any church members via text, email, phone, in person or by any other means. My ex-pastor lied.
I have, however, been contacted through social media by church members who want to leave Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley as those members know something is terribly wrong with those pastors/elders. Worried members said the way they are treated at GBFSV is not how they have been treated at other churches.
- Sentence 2
My ex-pastor claims that the police departments said that three law enforcement agencies said that I was “mentally ill”, not having met me or interacted with me. How can a “mentally ill” person be guilty of “malicious gossip”? [My ex-pastor/elders were fond of calling any honest conversation “gossip”.]
The Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders (Cliff McManis, Sam Kim, Tim Wong, Bob Douglas, and anyone new since then) are fond of using the “gossip” word to shut down honest conversation. According to them, we’re not supposed to have adult conversations. It’s all dismissed under the term “gossip”. They also casually accuse people of “slander” who discuss the truth. And “bringing an accusation against an elder without cause.” In the real world, at real jobs, people have to answer questions and not cover up via name calling.
- Pastor, Provide The Names, Titles, And Dates Of Police Officers Who “All Say” She Is“Unstable”.
Law enforcement officers from three separate agencies who’ve never met me “all say” that I am “unstable”? They all got together and said this to my ex-pastor? When did they communicate that to him? What are their names, titles? How did they determine this?
I contacted the Mountain View Police Department, the Sunnyvale Police Department, and The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. NONE of them know what my ex-pastor Cliff McManis is talking about and NO they did not say that I was “unstable”. And NO, I have not contacted ANYONE AT CHURCH.
Additionally, I have worked in law offices and legal departments for years, have a paralegal education and graduated at the top of my class, and I’m earning an Administration of Justice degree. My department chair used to work for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department and knows all of the higher-ups. I am the top ‘A’ student in my department chair’s classes. I have also earned A’s in all of my other AJ classes, where I am also the top student taught by long-time law enforcement professionals who’ve worked at local law enforcement agencies for decades. All of them have vouched for my sanity and credibility. So has my next door neighbor, a long-time law enforcement professional for many decades, who has vouched for my sanity and credibility and is glad that I’m out of the bizarre, abusive, authoritarian Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.
I’ve also changed California law in the legislature for high-risk crime victims and I got an entire body of law and a special program passed into law after four years of hard work.
- Omission Of Conflicts Of Interest: Two “Yes-Men” At Church Work For Two Police Departments Listed In E-mail
The church secretary’s husband is a police officer for the Sunnyvale Police Department mentioned in the pastor’s email. A church deacon is a police officer for the Mountain View Police Department mentioned in the email. Neither two church members speak for their respective police departments in this situation and both can be the subject of Internal Affairs’ investigations. My ex-senior pastor omitted these conflicts-of-interest.I provided the pastor’s email to each of their Internal Affairs’ investigators. I also notified each of their City Attorneys’ offices, since at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley I was ordered to use hate speech against gays, which is illegal in California and a firing offense at my job. I refused. The pastors/elders ratified hate speech as ‘being ok’. For those of them who work for corporate employers, they’ve obviously never told their employers about this as they would be fired for it. Since the hate speech many of these members ratify, including these law enforcement officers at GBF ratify, is a firing offense with their cities, I turned them in to their City Attorneys’ offices.
The third law enforcement agency is the Megan’s List sex offenders’ supervising law enforcement agency, the Santa Clara County Sheriff. They have repeatedly stated, along with the California Attorney General’s Office, that my ex-pastor and elders’ stories to me that their friend the sex offenderis “coming off Megan’s List” was “all lies” and “total lies”. That law enforcement agency has defended me, not my pastors/elders.
- “unstable” , “she should be ignored or avoided”
Oh, Cliff McManis…you wish.
“ ‘Can’t Talk Rule’.
The most powerful of all unspoken rules in the abusive system is what we have already termed the ‘can’t-talk’ rule. The ‘can’t-talk rule’ has this thinking behind it: ‘The real problem cannot be exposed because then it would have to be dealt with and things would have to change; so it must be protected behind walls of silence (neglect) or by assault (legalistic attack). If you speak about the problem out loud, you are the problem. In some way you must be silenced or eliminated.” The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen, page 68
- Sentence 3
“So if she sends you a text or email, they suggest you ignore it and delete it with no reply.”
It is a crime in my state (California) to file a false police report, either orally or in writing. A person who does so can face arrest and prosecution and time behind bars if convicted.I forwarded my ex-pastor’s email, given to me by insiders at church, to the Santa Clara County District Attorney, the San Jose Mercury News editors, powerful women’s and child protection groups in Santa Clara County (that are well-funded and have attorneys on staff), and all of the law enforcement agencies and their respective Internal Affairs investigators.
I wrote in my email that since my ex-pastor and elders have made these fabricated accusations about me to please make certain they put them in police reports. Then arrest them and prosecute them for filing police reports.
- Sentence 4 “They believe if she receives no attention, that in time she will stop.”
Oh, Cliff McManis has such a hard time with logical thought. A person can’t “stop” something that they’ve NEVER “started” or done. Cliff McManis, however, is not known for his intellectual rigor. His “advanced degrees” including a “Ph.D.” –are FAKES — he bought from a store-front diploma mill in Independence, Missouri called Faith Bible College. His “Ph.D.” (cough) costs $299 from the diploma mill. Faith Bible College is NOT accredited according to the U.S. Department of Education. The bible college’s one “accrediting agency” (cough) was brought up on fraud charges by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and banned from doing business in the state of Missouri. The fraudulent group simply moved to Arkansas, set up the same business under a different name, and re-accredited all of the fake diploma mills in Missouri. I recently notified the Missouri Attorney General, “The fraudsters…are back! Go get ’em.”
A real Ph.D. from an accredited university takes about eight years of very hard work to complete.
- My (Ex) Pastor: “ask God for protection over the GBF [Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley] body.”
A better prayer: Pray for protection for all of the children that they have endangered, their parents, former church members who’ve been lied about, excommunicated and shunned, those current church members being subjected to false teachings including NeoCalvinism, Authoritarianism, Complementarianism/Patriarchy, and other soul-crushing teachings that have NOTHING to do with The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Those Of Us Who Work In Conservatorships Handle People Who Lack “CapacityProfessionally, Ethically And With Dignity
I have worked in law offices for many years, including on conservatorships for people who lacked capacity and needed a court-appointed conservator such as a licensed social worker to supervise their care. Everyone involved in a conservatorship – judges, county government attorneys, court investigators, physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and private attorneys and their staffs – has displayed professional and ethical conduct. No one has ever ridiculed a person who lacks capacity. No one has ever sent out an email to hundreds of people ridiculing a person who lacks capacity.
My ex-pastor should choose one story and stick to it. If it’s the “unstable” and “lack of capacity” argument than Cliff McManis and the GBFSV pastors/elders should be consistent.
“Lying is like a boomerang. About the time you think ‘all is well’ it hits you in the back of the head.”
If anyone at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley would like to stick with this bogus story about me, any claim that you make that I’ve contacted members when I have not is FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT, A CRIME IN CALIFORNIA, that you can be arrested and prosecuted for and land in jail. Think very carefully about the consequences of lying.
From The San Francisco Police Department's website.
“California Penal Code Section 148.5 PC
FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT
We advise anyone who files a police report to consider the following information:
IT IS A CRIME TO FILE A FALSE POLICE REPORT, This includes:
- MAKING A FALSE REPORT OF A CRIME – No crime occurred.
- USING A FALSE NAME OR IDENTITY.
- PROVIDING FALSE DETAILS OR INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT.
- MAKING A FALSE REPORT OF THEFT OR DAMAGE.
- KNOWINGLY MIS-STATING TRUE VALUE OF ITEMS STOLEN OR DAMAGED.
Penalties include jail and fines for each separate count of a false report.
USING A FALSE NAME OR USING SOMEONE ELSE’S IDENTITY: Knowingly giving a false name to police or using the identity of someone else on any police report, other official or financial report is a crime, a Felony under Penal Code Section 529 PC – Click here to read the section.
FALSE REPORTS FOR INSURANCE CLAIMS: If the police report is made or required for filing an insurance claim, knowingly providing false information, including a false report of a theft or loss, false report of damage or false value of insured property, it is considered insurance fraud. The false report will be prosecuted as Felony insurance fraud under Penal Code Section 550 – Click here to read the sections.
All reports received and processed using online reporting forms are read, screened and verified by a police officer to confirm information and reduce fraud. San Francisco Police Department prosecutes all false police reports, insurance fraud and cases of false or assumed identity. Using the Online Report system to file “hoax” or “joke” reports, is also a false report. We will file cases against offenders and our local District Attorney’s office does prosecute these offenses.
Please read the following excerpt from the 2000 Edition of the California Penal Code. Use this link to read this and other Penal Code sections relating to offenses against public justice:
- California Penal Code Sections 142 through 181 – from www.leginfo.ca.gov
- California 2000 Penal Code Online edition – from www.leginfo.ca.gov
Penal Code Section 148.5 – Falsely report crime.
148.5. (a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, district attorney, or deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.
(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b), every person who reports to any employee who is assigned to accept reports from citizens, either directly or by telephone, and who is employed by a state or local agency which is designated in Section 830.1, 830.2, subdivision (e) of Section 830.3, Section 830.31, 830.32, 830.33, 830.34, 830.35, 830.36, 830.37, or 830.4, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as an agency employee and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is an agency employee engaged in the performance of the duties described in this subdivision.
(d) Every person who makes a report to a grand jury that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This subdivision shall not be construed as prohibiting or precluding a charge of perjury or contempt for any report made under oath in an investigation or proceeding before agrand jury.
(e) This section does not apply to reports made by persons who are required by statute to report known or suspected instances of child abuse, dependent adult abuse, or elder abuse.”
Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley tries to silence any opposition. They are like many authoritarian groups. Thankfully California has an Anti-SLAPP [Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation] law. Here is more from Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project:
Note: This page covers information specific to California. For general information concerning Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), see the overview section of this guide.
You can use California’s anti-SLAPP statute to counter a SLAPP suit filed against you. The statute allows you to file a special motion to strike a complaint filed against you based on an “act in furtherance of [your] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16. If a court rules in your favor, it will dismiss the plaintiff’s case early in the litigation and award you attorneys’ fees and court costs. In addition, if a party to a SLAPP suit seeks your personal identifying information, California law allows you to make a motion to quash the discovery order, request, or subpoena.
Activities Covered By The California Anti-SLAPP Statute
Not every unwelcome lawsuit is a SLAPP. In California, the term applies to lawsuits brought primarily to discourage speech about issues of public significance or public participation in government proceedings. To challenge a lawsuit as a SLAPP, you need to show that the plaintiff is suing you for an “act in furtherance of [your] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue.” Although people often use terms like “free speech” and “petition the government” loosely in popular speech, the anti-SLAPP law gives this phrase a particular legal meaning, which includes four categories of activities:
- any written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
- any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
- any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or
- any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.
Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(e)(1-4). As an online publisher, you are most likely to rely on the third category above, which applies to a written statement in a public forum on an issue of public interest.
Under California law, a publicly accessible website is considered a public forum. See Barrett v. Rosenthal, 146 P.3d 510, 514 n.4 (Cal. 2006). The website does not have to allow comments or other public participation, so long as it is publicly available over the Internet. See Wilbanks v. Wolk, 121 Cal. App. 4th 883, 897 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001).
Many different kinds of statements may relate to an issue of public interest. California courts look at factors such as whether the subject of the disputed statement was a person or entity in the public eye, whether the statement involved conduct that could affect large numbers of people beyond the direct participants, and whether the statement contributed to debate on a topic of widespread public interest. Certainly, statements educating the public about or taking a position on a controversial issue in local, state, national, or international politics would qualify. Some other examples include:
- Statements about the character of a public official, see Vogel v. Felice, 127 Cal. App. 4th 1006 (2005);
- Statements about the financial solvency of a large institution, such as a hospital, see Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc. v. Fitzgibbons, 140 Cal. App. 4th 515, 523 (2006);
- Statements about a celebrity, or a person voluntarily associating with a celebrity, see Ronson v. Lavandeira, BC 374174 (Cal. Super. Ct. Nov. 1, 2007);
- Statements about an ideological opponent in the context of debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, see Neuwirth v. Silverstein, SC 094441 (Cal. Super. Ct. Nov. 27, 2007); and
- Statements about the governance of a homeowners association, see Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club, 85 Cal. App. 4th 468 (2000).
In contrast, California courts have found other statements to be unrelated to an issue of public interest, including:
- statements about the character of a person who is not in the public eye, see Dyer v. Childress, 147 Cal. App. 4th 1273, 1281 (2007); and
- statements about the performance of contractual obligations or other private interests, see Ericsson GE Mobile Communs. v. C.S.I. Telcoms. Eng’rs. 49 Cal. App. 4th 1591 (1996).
Although the anti-SLAPP statute is meant to prevent lawsuits from chilling speech and discouraging public participation, you do not need to show that the SLAPP actually discouraged you from participating or speaking out. Nor do you need to show that the plaintiff bringing the SLAPP intended to restrict your free speech.
Protections for Personal Identifying Information Sought in a SLAPP suit
In addition to providing a motion to strike, California law also allows a person whose identifying information is sought in connection with a claim arising from act in exercise of anonymous free speech rights to file a motion to quash — that is, to void or modify the subpoena seeking your personal identifying information so you do not have to provide that information. Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.1.
How To Use The California Anti-SLAPP Statute
The California anti-SLAPP statute gives you the ability to file a motion to strike (i.e., to dismiss) a complaint brought against you for engaging in protected speech or petition activity (discussed above). If you are served with a complaint that you believe to be a SLAPP, you should seek legal assistanceimmediately. Successfully filing and arguing a motion to strike can be complicated, and you and your lawyer need to move quickly to avoid missing important deadlines. You should file your motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute within sixty days of being served with the complaint. A court may allow you to file the motion after sixty days, but there is no guarantee that it will do so. Keep in mind that, although hiring legal help is expensive, you can recover your attorneys’ fees if you win your motion.
One of the benefits of the anti-SLAPP statute is that it enables you to get the SLAPP suit dismissed quickly. When you file a motion to strike, the clerk of the court will schedule a hearing on your motion within thirty days after filing. Additionally, once you file your motion, the plaintiff generally cannot engage in “discovery” — that is, the plaintiff generally may not ask you to produce documents, sit for a deposition, or answer formal written questions, at least not without first getting permission from the court.
In ruling on a motion to strike, a court will first consider whether you have established that the lawsuit arises out of a protected speech or petition activity (discussed above). Assuming you can show this, the court will then require the plaintiff to introduce evidence supporting the essential elements of its legal claim. Because a true SLAPP is not meant to succeed in court, but only to intimidate and harass, a plaintiff bringing such a lawsuit will not be able to make this showing, and the court will dismiss the case. On the other hand, if the plaintiff’s case is strong, then the court will not grant your motion to strike, and the lawsuit will move ahead like any ordinary case.
If the court denies your motion to strike, you are entitled to appeal the decision immediately.
In addition to creating the motion to strike, the statute also allows a person whose personal identifying information is sought in connection with a claim arising from act in exercise of anonymous free speech rights to file a motion to quash — that is, to void or terminate the subpoena, request, or discovery order seeking your personal identifying information so you do not have to provide that information.
When you make your motion to quash, the court “may” grant your request if it is “reasonably made.” In reviewing your motion, the court will probably require the plaintiff to make a prima facie showing, meaning he or she must present evidence to support all of the elements of the underlying claim (or, at least, all of the elements within the plaintiff’s control). See Krinsky v. Doe 6, 159 Cal. App. 4th 1154, 1171 fn. 12 (Cal. App. 6 Dist. 2008). If the plaintiff cannot make that showing, the court will probably quash the subpoena and keep your identity secret.
If you are served with a SLAPP in California, you can report it to the California Anti-SLAPP Project and request assistance. The California Anti-SLAPP Project also has two excellent guides on dealing with a SLAPP suit in California, Survival Guide for SLAPP Victims and Defending Against A SLAPP. In addition, the First Amendment Project has an excellent step-by-step guide to the legal process of defending against a SLAPP in California.
What Happens If You Win A Motion To Strike
If you prevail on a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the court will dismiss the lawsuit against you, and you will be entitled to recover your attorneys’ fees and court costs. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(c).
Additionally, if you win your motion to strike and believe that you can show that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in order to harass or silence you rather than to resolve a legitimate legal claim, then consider filing a “SLAPPback” suit against your opponent. A “SLAPPback” is a lawsuit you can bring against the person who filed the SLAPP suit to recover compensatory and punitive damages for abuse of the legal process. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.18 (setting out certain procedural rules for “SLAPPback” suits). Section 425.18 contemplates bringing a SLAPPback in a subsequent lawsuit after the original SLAPP has been dismissed, but you might be able to bring a SLAPPback as a counterclaim in the original lawsuit. You should not underestimate the considerable expense required to bring a SLAPPback, like any lawsuit, to a successful conclusion.
If your successful motion to quash arises out of a lawsuit filed in a California court, the judge has discretion to award expenses incurred in making the motion. The court will award fees if the plaintiff opposed your motion “in bad faith or without substantial justification,” or if at least one part of the subpoena was “oppressive.” Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.2(a). But note that if you lose your motion to quash, and the court decides that your motion was made in bad faith, you may have to pay the plaintiff’s costs of opposing the motion.
If you successfully quash a California identity-seeking subpoena that relates to a lawsuit filed in another state, the court “shall” award all reasonably expenses incurred in making your motion – including attorneys’ fees – if the following conditions are met:
- the subpoena was served on an Internet service provider or other Section 230 computer service provider;
- the underlying lawsuit arose from your exercise of free speech on the Internet; and
- the plaintiff failed to make his prima facie showing.
Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.2(b).
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.
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.
- 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’. https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/avoid-fake-degree-burns-researching-academic-credentials
- 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.
- 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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?http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-google-speech-termination-20170808-story.html
- 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. 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!)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!!!
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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!!!
- 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: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/us/penn-state-graham-spanier-child-molesA
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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. 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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