Monday, October 29, 2018

Parents Raise Serious Concerns About Grace Church Near CMU

We receive calls and emails daily asking for help and support in getting a loved one out of a cult or high control, high demand group.

This is a recent example of one of those pleas for help and how Central Michigan University is not taking any action to help protect students from such groups.

"Is Grace Church Mount Pleasant a tight-knit group of Christians, or is it a place of manipulation and spiritual abuse?

"Several alumni feel that this church is targeting your students. Is there anything this university can do to prevent that?” Catallo asked Heather Smith, CMU’s Director of Communications.

“At this point, there’s been no findings of criminal wrongdoing against this church,” said Smith.  “So, there’s really no means for us to be able to discriminate against this religious organization versus any other outside organization.”

“But parents and alumni have reached out to the university and asked you to not allow this student group on campus. What’s your response to that?” asked Catallo.

“Our student organization that’s affiliated with this church has had no complaints against it that would violate our student code of conduct,” said Smith.

Read the full story and watch the video interview.

https://www.wxyz.com/news/local-news/investigations/parents-alumni-raise-serious-concerns-about-church-near-cmu-campus?fbclid=IwAR0UlJeZT4HZe6lVi0QCZwPD-s5g5_It03BoIDRs8OHU4lQENot5_vmvViY

Parents and Ex-members have put together a website to tell their stories of abuse and manipulation
https://www.gracechurchexposed.org/

Parents and alumni have reached out to FACT for support. We've mailed them preventative education handouts which they will be taking to the campus and giving out to students. These free educational handouts were created to empower young adults through education - to give them the knowledge to protect themselves from predatory groups.

If you would like handouts to give out to students at your school or campus or in your area please contact us at Support@FamiliesAgainstCultTeachings.org

If you would like to donate to help us get another round of handouts and brochures printed it is very needed and would be very appreciated. You can do so here:

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fact

Thank you,
The FACT Team

Monday, October 22, 2018

Book Recommendation - Leaving the Fold by Marlene Winell Ph.D.

Leaving the Fold will help you if:
  • You have become uncomfortable with your religion and are in the process of leaving.
  • You want to understand more about Christian fundamentalism.
  • You have left the faith that was meaningful to you as a child, and you need to sort out the aftereffects.
  • You need to heal from growing up in a dysfunctional religious family.
  • You became "born again" as an adult, but you are now disenchanted with the belief system.
  • You are experiencing fear and anxiety, anger, or grief because you have left the fold.
  • You struggle with depression and confusion because you have lost your structure of meaning.
  • You have a family member or friend who is recovering from religious indoctrination.
  • You are a helping professional and want to improve your ability to help clients who are recovering from their religious experience. 





For more information and to order the book : http://marlenewinell.net/leaving-fold-former

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jerry Stocking Follow-up Expose

This is a follow up exposé to our Jerry Stocking expose.

It appears Mr. Stocking is now advertising on his Youtube channel that, “Psychedelics are for everyone, no matter how old. They light up life, need to be done carefully and legally, but make for a wonderful, generative, transformational experience.”

In his Youtube Video Jerry brags about how he has tried a few different psychedelics over 13 times and urges the public to do the same. Jerry then states that trying psychedelics 13 times is still not enough for him and he needs to experiment more. In our opinion, this is not a professional who should have a non-for-profit organization for self-improvement education. We believe Jerry Stocking to be under the influence of illegal drugs as he calls them, “psychedelics” unacceptable and even more so to influence the public to try these mind altering illegal drugs. We believe this is the exact opposite of how a self-improvement educational teacher should be setting an example in terms of safety for his students and others. 

Link to Youtube video: https://youtu.be/8kKzqBAb1Uo 

His company called ‘A Choice Experience’ is a non-profit organization created by Jerry Stocking for the purpose of self-improvement education (as listed on his Guidestar.org profile). Through the use of his 501c3, he is believed to be charging students for all of his self-improvement courses about $600 - $900 per course, and $95 per hour for private coaching / counseling. We will be forwarding all of our information to the IRS for their analysis to verify the legitimacy of the ‘A Choice Experience’ 501c3 approval. We believe a nonprofit should not be pushing for the use and experimentation of illegal drugs.

Stocking is also an author of numerous articles published by the ‘Elephant Journal’, an independent online publication. His articles mainly focus on the subjects of love, romance and relationships, with an obvious focus on sex. Very recently, he wrote an article where he admits to having paid women for sex through an “arrangement” website.

Some excerpts from his article:

“…I signed up for the arrangement site with zeal. In the first 24 hours, I emailed 23 women, most of them less than half my age…”

“In that month, I had three meetings with women, the rest turned out to be various flavors of unavailable or disinteresting.”

“I paid her for one month but only used her services twice. We remain in contact via text and email, corresponding much as an older, perhaps wiser, man and a younger, enthusiastic woman.”

“I won’t be on the site again, though the idea of it still tickles me, as does the idea of paying a certain, set amount for sex with someone I like but don’t want a long-term romantic relationship with.”

In our opinion, we believe no self-help teacher should be promoting the idea of a sex for money arrangement website, which is basically a modern day platform for prostitution. We believe his article shows his regard for women as mere sex objects for his own carnal gratifications.

A letter written to Jerry Stocking:

“What you left inside of ------- is unconscionable.  You are supposed to be caring for other beings by merging with them at the level of their suffering and taking responsibility for what you find - no matter what you find.  If you find sorrow then you work through that as your own.  If you find lust then you work through that as your own.  If you find greed then you work through that as your own.  You work through these things and free yourself then you have their liberation - the liberation you offer and that they are entitled to by coming to you.

I felt into her pain Jerry and you have been physically and emotionally abusive to her.  You should feel honored in your capacity to serve another and above all humbled in the presence of those that come to you.  Every single one of them. There is a clear distinction between cherishing another's soul and everything else.

If she was not your client then she would be an equal participant. But she is.”

Judge for yourself if you believe Jerry should be allowed to advertise himself as a self-help educational instructor with a non for profit 501(c)3 status.


The FACT Team

Victory Life Ministries - Greenville, Tx

We recently received a complaint about Victory Life Ministries in Greenville, Tx. Here is an article written about them from back in 2014.

Victory Life's discipline methods, fundraising criticized by former members

"A Hunt County-based Christian ministry aimed at helping drug addicts, alcoholics and the homeless turn their lives around has come under criticism from many former members, who say the organization’s punishment methods are excessive and their fund-raising methods are suspect.
But the center’s leadership and supporters counter that such methods are necessary when providing spiritual guidance to addicts.
Victory Life Ministry of Hunt County is run by Pastor Raymond Zifer, a self-proclaimed former drug addict himself who went through a similar program in Dallas, Victory Life Ministry of Dallas, run by Pastor Anthony Anderson.
“We have a nine month faith-based discipleship home,” Zifer said. “We bring in men and women struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or homeless and help them develop a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord and learn how to live a victorious Christian life.”
Zifer said this is accomplished through prayer and worship times, Bible Studies and discipleship program. But the facility does not employ the healthcare officials or trained counselors typically found in residential treatment programs.
Greenville resident Danny Draude is a former member of Victory Life. He eventually left the program and, like a dozen other former members, found help from the Greenville Salvation Army. Draude now has a full-time job and residence in Greenville after graduating from the Salvation Army’s shelter program.
“It’s like fishing,” Draude said of his experience at Victory Life. “You have the bait, the fish wants the bait, but the fish doesn’t know there’s a hook in the bait.”
The bait Draude is referring to is a roof over your head, three square meals a day and Christian instruction from Victory Life, according to Draude.
“It’s just a money-making scheme,” he said. “At first they are helping, providing a place and providing food, but at the same time they’re financially [benefiting], and they’re not giving back. When I went there, I didn’t have anything. I needed a place to go. After two years of helping them, and them helping me, I didn’t have [anything].”
Danny’s criticisms of Victory Life are common among the program’s ex-members. Complaints range from bizarre punishments for breaking strict program rules to a lack of an effective plan for graduating members from the program.
Banana Nut Bread
Victory Life is funded primarily by sending male members of the program to communities outside of Hunt County to share their testimonies and ask for donations. Small loaves of banana nut bread, which are baked in an industrial oven in Zifer’s house by members of the program, are given in return for a $5 donation. Members are given a quota each day, driven to locations outside of Hunt County and dropped off to raise money.
The pre-packaged bread does not contain information regarding ingredients, and the individuals preparing the bread do not have food-handler’s licenses, as they are not required to by Texas law. Zifer said his organization does not have a solicitation license, and equated the fund-raising program to a bake sale. He said the members raise money outside of Hunt County because many of them come to the program from outside of the county. But former member Johnny Mullins, who now works with the Salvation Army after having a fallout with Zifer, countered that Victory Life goes outside of Hunt County to maintain a low profile. He said members of the program selling banana nut bread have been “chased away” from areas in Greenville, Quinlan and Rockwall for solicitation.
“It’s effective for us in regards to teaching a guy to be trusted and to be able to be confident with sharing his testimony about what God has done in his life and spreading the word of Jesus Christ,” Zifer said.
However, rather than the elaborate bake sale described by Zifer, former Victory Life members described a complex operation that brought in hundreds of dollars a day in cash for the ministry that they claim is not completely distributed back into the ministry. Matthew Dollar, who was a member of Victory Life on several occasions, described a routine of baking hundreds of loaves of bread during the night, and sometimes fund-raising the next morning. He said the loaves cost between $0.50 and $0.75 a piece to make, and that Victory Life regularly raised between $500 and $1,000 a day.
Dollar described a trip to Shreveport with 700 loaves that he and a group of men from the program used to fund-raise more than $3,500. Mullins recounted a trip where he and several other men went to the Canton trade days and made $2,600 in three hours despite refusing to pay for a booth or vendor’s license.
“I hate it for them when the tax people come around,” Dollar said, adding that the ministry also draws food stamps. On the 990 form that Victory Life submits as a non-profit, the ministry claims to make less than $50,000 a year. Dollar estimated they take in hundreds of thousands per year.
Discipline
The punishment, or “discipline” as its referred to at Victory Life, for breaking any of the rules varies from repeatedly writing down the same Bible verse to accomplishing menial tasks.
“When drug addicts come off the streets, they’re not going to want to follow the rules,” Danny said. “But the way they discipline is extreme in some areas. The last time, I was forced to be outside for three days, not able to shower. Food was brought to me, and I wasn’t allowed to come in [the building] or have contact with any people. I slept on the ground.”
Mullins talked about having to wash cars with toothbrushes and picking weeds from dawn to dusk for days on end.
“I’ve never seen the mental degradation and spiritual abuse that I saw with Raymond,” he said.
Other former members said they were disciplined for not selling their quota of bread.
“They put you on discipline for not meeting the quota of selling bread,” Bennie Burrow, who stayed at the facility three months, said. “You had to pick weeds for 12 hours and dig a six-foot hole for 12 hours straight. You had to scrub floors with a toothbrush.”
Burrow added when they finished digging the hole, they were told to fill it back in for the next person who was to be “disciplined.”
Although Zifer said he had no knowledge of people having to pick weeds for 12 hours, he did not deny some of the other disciplinary actions people said they were put through.
“There is discipline. There is going to be some sort of consequence,” he said, comparing Victory Life’s discipline process to when someone breaks the law. “It depends on the situation. We don’t go around abusing people.”
Some graduates of the program countered that the tough love is necessary to break the cycle of addiction. West Tawakoni resident Ted Snowden said he is a graduate of the program from August of 2013 to May of 2014. Although Victory Life was tough, Snowden said he needed the discipline in order to conquer his addiction.
“It wasn’t the easiest thing in my life, but I didn’t need easy,” he said, adding his punishments for disobedience varied depending on the situation. “I had to pick weeds before because I got out of line. I was out there a couple hours.”
Snowden said most of the time he just wrote scriptures as punishment, including Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, four to five times as punishment.
After graduating the program, Snowden said he began his own business and lives in West Tawakoni.
But while there are success stories, and while even disgruntled former members recount positive experiences at Victory Life, the program’s lack of professional instruction for its members, poor exit strategy and questionable fund-raising practices are topics consistently mentioned by almost all of the former members who spoke with the Herald-Banner. Many former members were quickly able to better their lives after leaving the program, many through help at the Salvation Army, demonstrates that many of these people are willing and capable of transforming their lives outside of Victory Life.
Locations
The men and women in the program are housed at separate locations in Hunt County. The program has run in to opposition from individuals living near to their locations, particularly one in West Tawakoni.
Zifer moved into a house on Holly Lake Drive in West Tawakoni in 2010 and his neighbors said he told them he was simply renovating the house. Zifer said he informed a former West Tawakoni Code Enforcement Officer of his plans to use the house as a multiple person dwelling, but did not elaborate on his intentions. He said he was told to “pack them in as deep as you can.”
Current West Tawakoni Code Enforcement Officer Dwayne Hall said that while the city does not have an ordinance on the books that specifies how many individuals can live in a building, the subdivision where Zifer’s house is located does have a rule against operating a business.
West Tawakoni Police Chief Brandon Kilpatrick conducted an investigation into Victory Life in 2011. He concluded that Zifer was running a business out of his property in West Tawakoni, located on Holly Lake Drive.
Jerry and Judy Nunnenkamp live across the street from Zifer, who recently built a three-story addition to the house. They said men, women and children have lived at the house over the past four years, and that they’ve seen as many as 15-20 at a time. They were worried the program might be housing sex offenders, drug addicts and alcoholics, and they requested a list of the inhabitants from Zifer in order to run background checks on the program members, but they said Zifer refused to give them one.
“They use those people for labor,” Judy said, indicating that at times the members chant loudly and stomp. “They are operating like a cult.”
Victory Life has a second building, which they use for their women’s ministry, in the Easy Living subdivision outside of Quinlan. A couple of years ago, they began leasing a church building on the I-30 frontage road near Jungle Burger, although their lease is up soon and has not been renewed. The men’s ministry was moved to that location. Greenville Fire Marshal Greg McDonald said he did sign off on a certificate of occupancy for the building recently.
A fourth property, called “The Farm,” is located somewhere near Canton, according to multiple former members. They say the program plans on moving to the Farm sometime in the near future.
Hunt County does not have a fire code, so it defaults to Texas regulations, according to Hunt County Building Inspector David Jones. The Hunt County Office of Homeland Security, where Jones works, inspects such buildings, but only on a complaint basis, due to its small staff size. In 2011, Jones inspected the Holly Drive facility, and noted that it lacked several attributes required of a residential building, namely exit doors that swung out for evacuation, panic hardware for the doors and a hard-wired smoke alarm system. Jones filed a report saying that within 60 days, Zifer installed the necessary items and the building was brought up to code, but for no more than six residents."



Monday, October 15, 2018

Blogger Wins Defamation Case Against Her by "Cult Leader" Serge Benhayon

"A wealthy NSW spiritual healer has suffered a significant defeat in his defamation case against a blogger after a jury found many of her posts were true, including that he's the leader of a socially harmful cult."

 The "substantially true" findings included that he "has an indecent interest in young girls as young as 10 whom he causes to stay at his house unaccompanied", preys on cancer patients and "is a charlatan who makes fraudulent medical claims".

The jury also found substantially true that Mr Benhayon had exploited children by having them vouch for UM's dishonest healing practices and "exploits cancer patients by targeting them to leave him bequests in their wills".

Read the full article here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/defamation-loss-for-nsw-spiritual-healer/news-story/ac8ef1934de9f0b26f474d27a2738b10


There are A Lot of "Snake Oil" salesman in this world - who prey on the vulnerable - Buyer Beware!


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

How Can My Loved Be So Blind? They Are in a Cult!

On a daily basis we talk to people who are struggling to understand how in the world their educated child, boyfriend, sister, mother or father, friend etc can be so blind as to not see they are involved with a high controlling abusive group, church or individual.

They lose sleep, work hours and are emotionally distraught trying to understand it and rescue them from it. It can be one of the hardest struggles to convince someone that what they believe is "wrong" or they are being deceived.  No one likes to admit they are wrong or have been duped.

In many cases it's not the religious "beliefs" that are in question but more the destructive policies and practices of the group pr leader to conform their members completely.

According to Steve Hassan's BITE Model, these are some of the main tactics cults and predatory personalities use to gain control over their prey.

Behavior Control
Information Control
Thought Control
Emotion Control





Some of the best possible ways to arm yourself, your friends and loved ones is to know ones own vulnerabilities, educate ourselves on how manipulation is done, the personality types that prey on the vulnerable and to have strong critical thinking skills to prevent yourself from getting caught up in such groups or relations.


Please Share.

The FACT Team