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Friday, April 17, 2015

Hidden in Plain Sight

One of the dangers of the closed leadership of Calvary Temple is the ability to further close ranks if necessary.  If the pastor decides an incident must be dealt with in-house, the cover-up begins.  In fact, there have been multiple incidents of physical and even sexual abuse that have been hidden by the leadership. The machinery is set in place to quickly sweep things under the rug and move forward as though nothing happened.  You will hear whispers about the incident but it is entirely possible for the average church member to be unaware of true events.  If you are listening between the lines, you may hear something from the pulpit that alludes to the recent occurrence.  But Calvary teaches and trains its members to remain oblivious to or silent about sin if it is thought that leadership is handling it.

The leadership's ability to control information is so firmly in place that abuse can happen right under your nose and all you hear are what the pastors want you to hear.  "We are dealing with it".  "[Name] is on visitor status.  Don't go and talk with him/her, we are handling it." " [Name] is under discipline."  Everyone knows to have nothing to do with that person and especially not to ask any questions.  Only problem is, that person beat a kid until he/she was black and blue and emotionally damaged, but we are told to let leadership handle it. Or that person sexually assaulted children for years and we are told all is forgiven. There are no real consequences for the perpetrator.

Some actions are illegal and should not be handled in-house.  They should be reported to the police. And no one should prevent that from happening.  Titus 3:1 admonishes us to be subject to government authorities. Romans 13:3 tell us rulers hold no terror for those who do right but for those who do wrong. We all understand that we do not obey the authorities if we are asked to go against the word of God.  But breaking of God's law and the law of the land are to be turned over to the authorities.  It is not the pastor's prerogative to allow abusers to escape legal consequences.

Many years ago there was an incident that took place by a deacon against a young girl. Back when it happened, I remember hearing rumors of sexual abuse.  I knew the young girl had reported a crime against her and I knew leadership was in extreme cover-up mode.  Soon we began to hear comments being made - a whisper campaign -  about the veracity of this very young girl. The deacon was being portrayed as a victim and the young girl was portrayed as a "story teller".  But extensive studies show that children almost never make up stories of abuse and, if anything, tend to underreport what actually happened to them. Family pressure is effective in getting children to recant their story even when there is actual visual and physical evidence of abuse.

In one situation in Calvary Temple, arrangements were made, by the encouragement of leadership, to rearrange work schedules to prevent the perpetrator from being around young girls.  He was seen as a threat to the safety of a young woman and yet his reputation is untarnished.  He was accused on more than one occasion of abuse.  And yet he walks free without ever having to face his accusers in a court of law.  The victims continue to carry the burden of severe spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.

I was recently made aware of a Calvary Temple woman saying to someone outside of CT  "I never saw anything".  May I ask her "what did you expect to see?".  Did you think abuse would take place in your sight?  No, these things are kept under cover.  But let me ask you this:  Have you seen children put out of their homes with no place to go?  Have you seen marriages ending in divorce for no biblical reason?  Have you seen families divided because one member left Calvary Temple?  Have you ever seen (or heard of) a child being beaten until they are unable to attend school?  Have you heard of a child being called a liar for accusing someone of sexual abuse? What more evidence do you need that the fruit of Calvary Temple is rotten?

Your blindness and denial do not mean it didn't happen.  I ask Calvary Temple members once again:  Why would we lie?  (all liars will find themselves in the lake of fire).  Star Scott is not worth going to hell for.  Star Scott and Calvary Temple are not worth our reputations being destroyed for.  Our children, grandchildren, spouses, parents or friends are not worth going to hell for.  I have loved ones inside Calvary Temple but I will not lie for them.  I will only tell the truth for them.

2 Timothy 3:13  While evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Corinthians 11:13  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ

Matthew 18:6  Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We are Speaking Out

Events of the past week have moved forward rapidly.  The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office seems to be taking the investigation of alleged sexual and physical abuse in Calvary Temple very seriously.  Numerous news reports have been published, and the nationally known blog The Wartburg Watch has picked up the story.  Calvary Temple is becoming a national headline. Local news stations are broadcasting every few days and news broke today that Frontline is doing a story even as I am writing this.

During the years Calvary Temple has been in existence, many of us have felt unable to tell our story.  Reasons for being silent or unheard are varied.  Some felt fearful of retaliation by the Calvary Temple leadership. Speaking out could be frightening, we knew there were consequences. We knew that if we did leave CT our only hope of speaking to family members or friends still inside was to avoid at all costs the heinous sin of "reaching in".  None of us quite knew what that meant but we kept quiet in hope that somehow we would be one of the lucky ones. (we never were).

Our families were so relieved that we were finally out of CT, they really didn't want to rehash our stories day in and day out. We felt somewhat ashamed and embarrassed that we had fallen for the cult of Calvary and we were happy to put the whole sordid mess behind us.  Years of hurting our families by having very little relationship with them is good enough reason to "just move on".  In addition, we often felt we had no avenue to voice our concerns.  Blogs were not as commonplace, and many older folks were not accustomed to social media. Some of us just didn't care anymore.  After years in a spiritually abusive church there was little or no desire for some to pursue a spiritual life, feeling too wounded to try.  Most of us had been labeled "bitter" - a convenient title for any "sin" ranging from telling the truth to warning our families to being angry for having our families destroyed. Character assassination can be a strong motivator to keep quiet.

Others tried to speak out as much as possible - and there were occasional glimpses of a crack in the Calvary Temple fortress.  (The Washington Post Article and the blogs Against Calvary TempleDear Calvary Temple, and Tactics of Calvary Temple were the most effective).  Many tried to speak out when they could, but all were aware there was a price to pay for going against Calvary Temple.

But now we have more than just a voice, we have many voices.  The community of Sterling, VA has rallied around the victims of Calvary Temple and the nation is taking notice.  The few that had carried the torch of speaking against Calvary Temple now have the support they desperately needed and deserved.  People are listening and responding. Is the end near for Calvary Temple and its leadership?

For more information, including links to many protest events,  resources and media attention,  please see the Expose Calvary Temple website.

As a reminder - if you have anything to report to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, please note the following numbers:

           For abuse of a non-sexual crimes please call:  703 777 1021
           For abuse of a sexual crime please call: 703 777 0475

Please remember, even if you are not sure if your story qualifies as a "crime" - calling and telling your story contributes to the complete picture that investigators need to have.

And finally, thank you to the many people that have contributed to our cause. We are exceedingly grateful for all the support in ways too numerous to recount.  I believe we will soon see the fruit of all our labor.