Thursday, March 29, 2018

Part 3 of our Expose on Victory Outreach Church

Continuation of our Expose on Victory Outreach Church.

Please note: Our intention at FACT is never to libel or damage anyone’s reputation. The purpose of our work is primarily to educate the public, but also for Victory Outreach leadership to understand the severity of the allegations against them. Moreover, please know that all statements made in this expose are according to our opinion at FACT based upon signed affidavits, complaints and evidence we received from alleged victims of Victory Outreach and witnesses, and through our analysis of this information according to the B.I.T.E. model (developed by cult expert Steven Hassan).

This complaint, published on the Cult Education Institute’s website, is from an ex-pastor who was
involved with Victory Outreach for approximately 11 years:


“I was a Pastor in what I believe is an authoritarian and abusive organization. I was with this group for approximately 11 years. I was one of those who tried to stick it out and bring about change in the organization—a big mistake, you know how the story goes. I became a rebel and disloyal etc., in their eyes and I was finally so hurt, wounded, and fed up with what I experienced that that along with the full support of the leadership in our church we pulled our church out of the organization and found out their even deeper abusive character. I was undermined and discredited by them to the point that I knew that I could no longer continue to minister (I will explain that a little later) I moved myself and family to get away and rest. The ministry in question is Victory Outreach Ministries International, founded by Sonny Arguinzoni in 1967 in Los Angeles California. He is an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God. Victory Outreach is a ministry that exclusively reaches out to drug addicts and gang members. Of all the street type ministries I would say that Victory Outreach appears to be the most legitimate on the outside. which I believe makes them the most dangerous.”

“People are being used and not served in this organization. People are seen as commodities to promote their vision through the giving of their FINANCES and their TOTAL COMMITMENT to Pastor Sonny’s cause.”

“The financial pressure that the Pastor’s of Victory Outreach are put under is unbearable. Let me quote to you a portion of my letter of resignation (which I have enclosed) to Pastor Sonny:

"In regards to the financial pressure that is put on the Pastor’s of Victory Outreach I would like to show you by using my own church how out of balance this is using figures from my 1995 budget:

◦ $6,057.00 - Tithes to corp. Office - mandatory
◦ $5,000.00 - Corp. Building fund - mandatory
◦ $4,000.00 - 1995 world conference - mandatory
◦ $1,500.00 - U.W.C. - not mandatory but expected
◦ $1,200.00 - Yr. Ministers license fees - mandatory
◦ $1,200.00 - Men’s rehab. home fees - mandatory
◦ $635.00 - Misc. - mandatory
◦ $625.00 - 1995 youth conference - mandatory
◦ $450.00 - Women’s rehab. Fees - mandatory
◦ TOTAL = $21,467.00 - from our 1995 budget went to the Victory Outreach Corp. offices
Mandatory required giving that I believe is wrong!”

“It is not clear and is deceptive how the corporate structure of Victory Outreach and its local churches fit into that structure. All of the local Victory Outreach churches that I know of are under the umbrella of the Victory Outreach Ministries International Corporation (they are not incorporated at the local level as say with the Calvary Chapels), but they are considered separate entities under that corporate structure and they are each financially independent and are responsible for their own liabilities. The Corporation is set up in such a way as to protect itself from any liabilities at the local church level. The Victory Outreach Corporation had never at any time invested even one cent into the church that I pastored but they did pull thousands of dollars out of it as with the other churches as well. While with Victory Outreach I was never given a copy of the Corporate bylaws nor did I ever hear it even discussed at any time. They seem to know their corporate structure well—but we sure didn’t. I suggested in a conversation after I had left, to Pastor Sonny’s second in command Elder Saul Garcia (who runs the Victory Outreach Corporate offices), that maybe it would be a good idea to inform their Pastors of the Corporate Bylaws and structure—so that Pastors who are considering leaving the organization would know and understand the very structure that they are under. This was not well-received and Mr. Garcia’s only defense was—that he had never read all the Corporate Bylaws himself. He then tried to convince me that because I was hurt I was imagining things and that I couldn’t see things in proper perspective. He then proceeded to vent his full anger at me. The Victory Outreach Leadership and Corporate Structure is abusive and knows how to take advantage of people in situations such as mine. They know very well what they are doing and how to play the game—but you don’t. We were always told that we were "free to leave the organization at any time". However, if you do leave the Victory Outreach organization, they [may], without your knowledge, lay claim to all properties, assets, and equipment that you have acquired. I mean this literally—they will contact your landlords, leaseholders, banks etc. and claim everything as their property and discredit you to your business associates.”

The numerous independent complaints online seem to corroborate some of the allegations being made against Victory Outreach of Santa Rosa, CA, and as such we believe that the negative issues regarding this church seem to be systemic throughout the entire organization and not isolated to this one church branch. If you have ever been manipulated, exploited and/or abused during your involvement in a Victory Outreach church, or know someone who has, please contact FACT with your story.

We will continue our Expose tomorrow in Part 4.

Thank you,

The FACT Team

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Victory Outreach Church Expose Part 1


Our organization, Families Against Cult Teachings, Inc. (FACT), received complaints about the nondenominational Victory Outreach Christian Church located in Santa Rosa, CA. The church is a branch of theVictory Outreach International Church started by Sonny Arguinzoni in 1967 that has an estimated overall membership currently of about 30,000 congregants worldwide. Our expose focuses primarily on the church branch located at 4042 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, headed by Pastor Jose Guadarrama with the website address:, but will include relevant information pertaining to the organization as a whole.

This report details our research, investigation and analysis of the complaints received in an effort to educate and potentially warn others about what we believe is a destructive cultic church (based upon the information wereceived and the numerous complaints published online).

Please note: Our intention at FACT is never to libel or damage anyone’s reputation. The purpose of our work is primarily to educate the public, but also for Victory Outreach leadership to understand the severity of the allegations against them. Moreover, please know that all statements made in this expose are according to our opinion at FACT based upon signed affidavits, complaints and evidence we received from alleged victims of Victory Outreach and witnesses, and through our analysis of this information according to the B.I.T.E. model (developed by cult expert Steven Hassan).


Concerned family members and friends of those involved with the rehabilitation home of Victory Outreach Church contacted our office with serious allegations against the church and head Pastor Jose Guadarrama. Shortly thereafter, an ex-member of the church’s rehab home also sent in an affidavit recounting his traumatic experiences (which led him to attempt suicide by ingesting 60 pills and require hospitalization). As per our understanding based upon the complaints, the court system in Santa Rosa, CA (and perhaps surrounding areas) are assigning people in need of substance abuse rehabilitation to Victory Outreach’s rehab home. According to the allegations, these highly vulnerable and susceptible individuals are being manipulated and exploited for labor for the benefit the church and leadership. Allegedly, church members work full-time hours seven days a week, including positions involving hard manual labor. Furthermore, the complaints state that those receiving rehabilitation all live at the church in subpar conditions and with members regularly being
deprived of sleep.

Fraud regarding donation solicitation with intent to deceive was also mentioned in the complaints, in addition to welfare fraud. Allegedly Pastor Guadarrama makes all individuals in his rehab program sign up for food stamps and general assistance, and then confiscates the stamps to use however he sees fit.

(Update: the Welfare Services Fraud Department of California investigated these claims and found them to be inconclusive.) To our knowledge according to the allegations, three rehabilitation church members have already received treatment at hospitals as a result of their experiences at this church, and family members worry that their loved ones have developed psychological issues such as negative changes in personality, warped sense of reality, depression and more, as stated below.

Those who filed complaints with our office had this to say about Victory Outreach Church in Santa Rosa,CA:

“Over the past year or so I have witnessed how pastor Jose use [church member name removed] in the [rehab] home with long work hours, and using extreme teachings with harmful activities and destructive techniques of brainwashing, coercive, persuasion, manipulation to break down [name removed] sense of self, making him very vulnerable.”

"I witnessed how pastor Jose controls [name removed] every minute of his waking time. [Member] is not free to work, think, or analyze, he is told what to do, where to go, whom, when, how, what, etc. Pastor Jose has totally taken away his freedom and all forms of decision making…I noticed [his] personality is changing for the worst. Pastor Jose makes him do and say things he doesn’t want say for his own benefit. I asked Pastor Jose what he was trying to do with [name removed], that he was destroying his life, and producing intense confusion, loss of perspective and a distorted sense of reality.”

“He [church member] works long hours with no pay. He is always tired. He has no privacy, no time to reflect, he is deprived of food and sleep. I have noticed personality changes for the worst. He has become distant from family and friends. He is flat; He lost all interest in all his goals. He has no voice. At times he looks scared, frighten, and confused. I just don’t understand these extreme personality changes.”

“Victory Outreach rehab is a fraud. The men in this rehab are being exploited, controlled, and deprived of food and sleep. And when they do have food, it is not adequate nutrition.”

“All they [church members] do has to be approved by Pastor Jose… They are not allowed to speak to anybody outside the church. This Victory Outreach is not a church; it is a place where they are exploiting/controlling these men, in order to make money for the company. They deprive them from food, sleep, and also control every aspect of there lives.”

“All the men get paid by the hour. Each gets paid for the work they do. All the money earn goes to Pastor Jose at Victory Outreach. I witnessed how hard these men work, and the lunches they bring to work was not enough for all the hard work they do. All the men that come to work from Victory Outreach go to work without eating. And the lunch they bring to work is a sandwich made by just bread and mayonnaise, that’s it. And sometimes just bread, mayonnaise, and mustard. Or bread with mayonnaise and cheese, with water, and that’s it. The lunch they bring to work is terrible, and not enough for all the hard work they do.”

"I have witnessed pastor Jose Guadarrama, time after time lying, manipulating, and controlling [member] at everything he does. Pastor Jose moves in and takes control for his own advantage.”

“I started Googling controlling pastors and it showed cults, spiritual abusing churches. And what I was reading shocked me. I thought to myself this is exactly what is going on with this church…”
Perhaps the most telling of all the complaints that we received was this statement submitted by ex-church member Diego Venegaz, who lived in the church’s rehab home for over 8 months:

“I went to Victory Outreach rehab on June 10, 2016. I went there because I needed help with my addictions. The first thing pastor Jose made me do is to go apply for General assistance and food stamps. I was getting $400 on EBT card which means money on a card from general assistance, but I was not allowed to use the EBT card, Pastor Jose took the ebt card away, and said it was for rent. And we were not allowed to use the food stamps. Jose took the food stamps away. We were only allowed to eat food that was donated, and the food most of the time was expired. We didn’t get nutritious, healthy food. Pastor Jose controls the food we are told when to eat, what to eat, they force me to fast 21-30 days when I was on discipline, can only eat vegetables. We never had fresh vegetables, only can vegetables from donation food. No breakfast! We get a lot of donuts through donations. We eat a lot of donuts. We are treated like slaves always working everyday Monday through Sunday. No days off. We get up at 5:00 am. When I was on discipline I got up at 2-3am to wash all the cars from the church, then at 5:00 am go to work. We worked long hours with very little food. My lunch to work was 2 pieces of bread with peanut butter and water. One of the jobs we went to for was Encore Events. We unloaded trucks,tables, chairs, etc. Greg from Encore events talked to Pastor Jose and told him that encore events was paying him $15,000.00 a month for 10 guys. A lot of money for Pastor Jose to send the guys to work with a crappy lunch. I was tired all the time. We had no privacy, too much noise, too much activities, to much work, to much worship, praying, reading for hours and hours. Too many chores, no time to rest, our minds were overloaded.

You can not be by yourself at anytime, always in two’s, that’s called accountability. We are always tired, lack of sleep, not enough nutritious meals, with a lot of work, with no rest. And you have no choice you are forced to do it; they really treat you like a slave. You are forced to be silent. We are not allowed to talk, they silent you. They intimidate you, harass you, and scare you, until you submit.
I think Pastor Jose never like me, because I was not submissive, loyal or wealthy. I always said I didn’t like it there. I was not allowed to say that. You were only allowed to say good things about the church. If you talked about the church business you would get in trouble. I was always in trouble, on discipline for talking. I faced public humiliation, harassment, intimidation, and they made fun of me, everybody was against everybody. They make up lies to fight each other. I was bullied; they made me feel worthless, like I was nothing. If you are not submissive, loyal, you get disciplined. They take away your visits and phone calls. You are not allowed to talk to your family. They create a lot of drama and conflict against each other. They create animosity, gossip, lies, and bully people around. I got bullied because of my heavy accent. According to them I’m not worthy and loyal. In my opinion, Victory Outreach church is a living hell, and Pastor Jose is the devil.

Pastor Jose has no compassion. He is not considerate of others. When somebody goes to the hospital, Pastor Jose never visits. He treats everyone like a slave. Pastor Jose thinks he is better than everyone else. He is arrogant, conceited, and thinks the whole world is about him. Pastor Jose made us wash his black Lexus two times a day, everyday in the hot sun. He would make guys wash his rims. The last time I washed his black Lexus car; he came and said to us there is a spot. Nobody saw a spot. The car was clean, it gets washed twice a day, so I got mad and said why don’t you clean it. He said to me, “Come to my office, Pastor Jose said why do you talk to me like that. And I was discipline for three weeks for saying that. When it comes to chasing your goals and dreams Pastor Jose discourages you by telling you that it is selfish. That God has better things for you, so that you stay at church. They make fun of your goals. Your goals are harassed. They break your goals and dreams. They kill your motivation leaving you with no motivation. I always had the feeling of helplessness, trapped, with no way out. This is how I felt being at Victory Outreach. On March 7 2017 the day I was feeling very depressed, because I felt trapped, helpless? I didn’t want to be at Victory Outreach, but I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless, trapped, with no way-out. I was going through some personal stuff. I was bullied by everyone, they made me feel worthless. I swallowed 60 pills with the intent
to harm my self as a result I was sent to the hospital. The name of the Hospital is Ukiah Valley Medical Center. 275 Hospital Drive, Ukiah, CA. 95482 Then I was sent to the mental facility. I was there for eleven days. The name of the mental facility is Restpadd, 2750 Eureka Way Redding, CA 96001. Currently I’m living on my own, out of Victory Outreach. And I have never felt better in my life. I feel free, I’mtrying to find a job, and I’m trying to adjust to the real world.”

We will continue our Expose on Victory Outreach tomorrow and the rest of the week. If you have any experience or know someone who does with Victory Outreach, feel free to comment, send in your story to us and share this Expose with others.


The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Announcing New Online Support Group

We are very happy to announce our new Private Online Support Group on Facebook for anyone leaving high control groups / cults and abusive situations and relations or those who have family or friends involved in these types of situations. We receive daily calls and e-mails from people who are looking for support and advice and we are excited to offer this Support Group as a more private platform for people to share their views, struggles and experiences and get input and support from others who have had or are going through similar experiences.

We are happy to also announce we'll be working with Cathy Harris, who will be a guest moderator once a month in this Support Group. Cathy is a "Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years' experience helping people get beyond traumatic experiences and on to their best life."  Cathy offers coaching for ex and exiting members of cults and high-control groups. Friends and family members may also benefit from coaching to cope with their concern. Coaching is goal-oriented and can help you transition out of an oppressive system to freedom. While Cathy Harris is a licensed therapist, she is not operating in that capacity in this role as guest moderator. She will be facilitating discussions, but will not be offering advice, therapy, or any input on what a member should or should not be doing outside of their involvement as a member of this forum.

If you or someone you know would like to join this Private Online Support Group for discussions, ideas, thoughts and questions surrounding the topic of Cults, Abusive Situations etc feel free to join our Private Support Group :

We look forward to all the discussions and dialogue and hope this platform will be educational, enlightening,useful and a place we can all learn and grow from. 


The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Healthy Boundaries in Groups, Churches and Leaders?

In recent posts we've reviewed topics such as the Symptoms of Undue Influence/Mind Control, What is Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotional Control - based on Hassan's BITE Model, today we're focusing on what Healthy Boundaries are in group settings and with "leaders".

We get calls and emails daily about abuse and what can be done. The most effective way to combat abuse, manipulation or coercion of any kind, is Preventative Education! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It's absolutely Okay to question people, group policies or "rules", and its also Okay to Say "No I disagree or I do not accept this" for my life or my family etc. Knowing what healthy boundaries are and being assertive about where you stand is essential to protecting yourself and your loved ones.

A Safe Group, Church or Leader:

Will answer your questions
Will disclose information
Will try to be democratic
Will not vilify or excommunicate former members
Will not have a negative paper trail (court cases, media articles)
Will encourage communication & existing friendships
Will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations
Will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and self esteem
Will admit mistakes and accept constructive criticism
Will not be the only source of knowledge and learning

If you or someone you know would like to Report a Cult, Need Help and or Support or want to Tell Your Story please feel free to fill out and submit one of the forms on our website:

If you would like to help us in our efforts to Educate the public about Spiritual, Mental & Emotional Abuse, our Exposes and providing Support for those leaving or struggling with these plethora of topics you can do so here:

Any contribution is extremely appreciated and goes a long way in this fight of darkness! On behalf of Victims and Survivors Thank you in advance for your support!

Please feel free to comment and share this with friends, family, on social media platforms etc.


The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings, Inc 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Complaint Filed: Open Door Baptist Church Stonington, CT - Pastor Frank Spaulding

I spoke to the person who filed the complaint at length this week about the situation their family was in. They are extremely distraught, afraid and trying to pick up the pieces of their life.  

Complaint Filed this week:

"Name of Cult Group or Church: The Open Door Baptist Church

Where: Stonington, Connecticut

Leader(s): Frank Spaulding

Please describe the cult activity:

Too much to list,but shunning,counseling members to divorce if he didn't get the spouses to conform to what he viewed to be appropriate such as tattoos,hair color,or length.
Threatening to tell authorities you are a bad parent for disciplining your child by taking games for not doing chores. Advising things like transportation be sold to save money and use church vehicle's then sabotaging jobs by taking them.This way we'd have to come to him. Had forbidden us not to pay rent because he was putting us in a church members rental,then telling husband he'd no longer have a roof over his head unless he sent me back to NJ & because they have tons of foster kids/parents they'd take my son,give him a vehicle,a bank account,and anything else.
Had another women in mind for him.Told deacons to convince him to leave me.We fled Rhode Island with just our clothes.
Never new members.All because I had purple hair and refused to change it.This all in the midst of having breast cancer and kidney issues.
My husband was a commercial fisherman when we started there & it was a bad time of year so money was hit or miss.He forbid him to go fishing because church came first and he wouldn't give him anymore work to make ends meet if he did.
My husband just wanted to take care of his family.Pastor admitted telling others to counsel husband to leave me.
Was very proud of it and refused to apologize or say he was wrong.
Was very proud of his efforts.No members will speak against him
Only report things back.
He controls members finances,and churchs
No one buys anything past groceries without his approval.

1) When did you/they get involved & for how long?
May 24th 2017 to December 28th 2017

2) How did you/they get involved? How were you/they directly recruited?Pastor picked my husband up walking home in rain. Played nice buying him 1000 dollar wardrobe,Paying him to work at church slowly manipulating control over him

3) Are there other family members involved?

4) Has their been a disconnection of relationship(s) with family, old friends?

5) What are the circumstances currently?We moved to another state due to threats.
We didn't want to stay in our original hometowns in New Jersey because they knew where that was.

Impact from group: Please describe how you believe to have been harmed and/or wronged by this group. Be as detailed as possible, and send any supporting evidence via the email below.
We lost EVERYTHING Home,jobs,vehicle,furniture...EVERYTHING."

If you have any information or experience with this group or Pastor please feel free to come forward and tell us your story.

We will be helping this family in any way that we can get stable and back on their feet.

If you would like to make a donation to help FACT with our efforts you can do so here

It is very needed and appreciated.

Thank you for your continued support!


The FACT Team

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Symptoms of Undue Influence and or Cult Involvement

What are the specific symptoms someone might display when involved in a high control group, relationship or cult.

Look out for Personality Changes: Maybe major mood swings or the person may be "happy" all the time, but a superficial kind of happy...always be positive or upbeat kind of attitude instead of displaying authentic feels when situations warrant them.

Keep a look out for Drastic shifts in beliefs and or values.

Changes in diet and or sleep patterns: Maybe they are fasting now, or only eating once a day, or has been reported by former Scientologists, some only eat rice and beans for days or weeks at a time as punishment. Weight loss is an indicator to keep an eye on. If they are looking gaunt, worn out etc it's likely they are not getting the proper sleep. This is how many high control groups and cults gain control over their members, the members are so exhausted that they don't even have time to "think clearly". 

Not attending important family functions: Always to busy or making excuses not to attend family functions where as before they would have.

Inability to make decisions without consulting leader, guru, spiritual guide: The need to seek advice or "council" from others or another instead of being able to make decision on their own.

Sudden use of a new ideology to explain everything:

Black and White thinking, simplistic reasoning:

New vocabulary and complex jargon: Many insulated groups have their own language of sorts. Abbreviated terms that are used a lot, which members understand but outsiders have no idea what these terms mean or refer to. Example: In Scientology they use the word communication a lot, to shorten it and save time they abbreviate it and just say ""comm". Another example is "no case on post" - which refers to - no getting upset, showing unpleasant emotions or attitudes while working.

Insistence or invitations to do what they are doing: Recruiting new members is heavy in cults and high control groups.

These are a few of the main symptoms people display.

If you or someone you know would like to Report a Cult, Need Help and or Support or want to Tell Your Story please feel free to fill out and submit one of the forms on our website:

Please feel free to comment and share this with friends, family, on social media platforms etc.

Thank you again for all your continued support in this fight of darkness.


The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings, Inc 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Complaint Filed on Sai Maa in Denver, CO

We received a Complaint about Sai Maa in Denver, CO.

A young lady has been involved with Sai Maa and her group for about a year now.

According to the report, the young lady no longer speaks to either of her parents, her personality and values have drastically changed along with a number of other alarming red flags.

If you have any experience, stories or information regarding Sai Maa and her group please feel free to let us know. If you would like to file a complaint you may do so here:

Thank you.


The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses 

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