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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Re-post of Red Flags

One of the most talked about posts was called Red Flags. With some additions, I am reposting it here. As past members of Calvary Temple continue to sound a warning to the community concerning CT, we would like to remind the CT members that you have a responsibility to confront the sins of Calvary Temple leadership. By staying in Calvary Temple, supporting the pastors with your tithes and offerings, and giving the appearance of 100% support, you are part of the problem. You cannot claim innocence because you are not in leadership. We are all responsible to speak out against sin.

Calvary Temple is being investigated by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police.  Links to the articles, blogs and updates are here.

Members of my family and I attended Calvary Temple for many years. During that time we noticed many things that were very troubling. They were either scriptures that were misused or misapplied or events that were disturbing. Unfortunately, we overlooked them.

I was recently reminded of Star Scott once saying: "The Bible read says that {your sin} is cast into the sea of God's forgetfulness, amen?" (There is Yet One Man Pt 12 December 9, 2012). In reality, the scripture he was referring to do says something quite different. It actually says You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. I was struck by how forcefully he mis-quoted a scripture and pulled the congregation into agreement by saying "amen?" and waiting for the "amen!" response. Everyone happily agrees to a scripture that doesn't exist.

I began to think of other red flags that I or my family had allowed to go by without challenge. Many of the following can be found in other groups when studying abusive churches and cults but the following list should especially be taken note of as they are particular to Calvary Temple.
  • families or marriages breaking up when one member stops attending Calvary Temple 
  • misquoting and twisting scripture to say something other than its actual meaning (as in the above example or the now infamous "high priest" being required to marry a virgin)
  • encouragement to read only those books in the church bookstore  (that have been pre-approved by leadership)
  • being encouraged to follow Star Scott and leadership rather than the Holy Spirit (because they hear from God more than us)
  • continual emphasis on obeying the pastor
  • bible studies or book clubs requiring approval by leadership
  • discouragement of marriage counseling or marriage-related events (such as cruises) outside of Calvary Temple
  • complete lack of financial transparency or accountability
  • marriages taking place within a few short weeks without the time of getting to know each other
  • directing children to find other families to live with in the event parents stop attending CT
  • separation and isolation from natural family
  • continual criticism of other churches and pastors
  • maligning of character from the pulpit (especially of those who have stopped attending CT)
  • the respect of persons, those in the "inner circle"
  • unwritten rules - we all knew what we could say or ask and what we couldn't
  • constant adulation of Star Scott ("propping him up")
  • fear of losing salvation if you leave CT
  • warnings of bad things happening if you leave CT
  • elitism (see previous post
  • encouraging members to recruit from other churches
  • lack of accountability for the leaders
  • being told we might have to move to the church-owned rural property
  • being told we might have to bring our resources to the "feet of the apostles"
  • the cutting off from the Assemblies of God
  • insults (and false witness) directed at former members 
  • father's authority in home being weakened and even removed (I remember  Star Scott telling fathers that their only job is to enforce what is being said from the pulpit)
  • unscriptural marking
  • our children hearing intimate details of Star Scott's sex life (by Scott himself)
  • telling kids to miss college exams when young adult retreat was rescheduled to another weekend
  • daily bible reading being controlled along with assigned prayer lists rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to direct reading and prayer
  • being told that we should be studying only what Star Scott is teaching during our own study time
  • statements such as "...we can't go into the details but...."  or "I can't remember exactly but...." and saying enough that everyone in the congregation knew exactly who was being talked about 
  • statements such as "that's the kind of woman I would like to punch in the face", or they are "daughters of satan"
  • extreme corporal punishment - sometimes leaving severe bruising and causing parents and teachers to be very concerned
  • a wife being put into a hotel room for 91 days to "break" her
  • rumors of child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse
  • rumors of the above being covered up and not reported to the police
  • being told God had placed us here and therefore could not accept a job transfer
  • being told we could not date someone we met somewhere other than inside Calvary Temple
  • the exodus of many long-time members (even those in leadership) 
  • being told to avoid or not talk to those who have left ("we have it under control")  ("if we can't convince them to do the right thing, why do you think you can?")
  • learning that our pastor had covered his sin and then misrepresented the nature of the sin when it was revealed
  • Star Scott rebuking the congregation for buying a $5.00 cup of Starbucks while his wife shops in Bloomingdales and on Rodeo Drive
  • Criticizes people taking an "expensive" vacation while he and his wife and extended family travel first class
  • Continuing to buy expensive luxury vehicles, jewels, clothing, etc. Continuing to indulge his own passions while members foot the bill
  • The pastor is always right and you are always wrong if you approach leadership with a disagreement
  • Accusing a woman of "dumpster diving" to obtain copies of credit card receipts when in reality it was his own son who revealed the extravagant purchases made and listed on the receipt
  • blaming the victims rather than the perpetrators, Star Scott admitting he had committed grievous sin that affected his family out west
I have not elaborated on these Red Flags; those of us that attended or currently attend Calvary Temple are familiar with these incidents and characteristics. Calvary Temple is a dangerous place; on the surface it is biblical but underneath it is depraved and abhorrent. When your eyes are opened to the control and abuse, you find yourself sickened that you never saw it before and thankful that you see it now.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Albert Einstein

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. Abraham Lincoln

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible--and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:20