"For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace." -Jeremiah 6: 13-14 NIV Bible Gateway
Today, we begin a new series, highlighting a story which is quickly garnering national attention. I want to thank our reader, Eagle, who contacted some of the folks involved in this situation.
Trigger warning: This series will involve allegations of child sex abuse. If anything graphic must be printed, we will warn that such a description is coming up by using the word *Graphic.*
As I have been delving into this story, I also realized that our readers could benefit by evaluating the red flags that frequently come up. I will call your attention to them throughout the story.
Some of you may ask how anyone could get caught up in a group like this. Sterling, Virginia is a wealthy and beautiful suburban community with a well-educated populace. This is not the place where you think that an alleged cult could get started. I believe that groups like this happen when we want to shape God into an easily manageable entity. Life would be so much simpler if we could just follow a list of rules and be assured that we are definitely saved and right with God. That grace stuff can sound somewhat loosey goosey…Surely there must be rules! I think you might find some elements of this thinking in the story.
I will be providing links to other stories or media reports at the beginning or end of each post so that you can look more closely at the various issues involved.
For the attorneys reading this post
This entire post along with subsequent stories and reports are allegations or claims against the church and pastor. Having read the various media reports as well as articles at their website and more, I believe that those involved are telling the truth. But, until things are proven in a court of law, please put the word alleged in front of every last word.
Introducing the website: Against Calvary Temple
Today, we are posting a history of the issues at Calvary Temple. This was written by Brandon, one of the founders of the blog Against Calvary Temple. This website was founded in 2012. Its mission is to expose, inform, and assist those affected by Calvary Temple. Please give this website a look. It is impressive in its detail through the years. This is a story that must be told.
The only thing I have added to Brandon's well-written history is some bolded subtitles. Some of those subtitles will be labeled *red flags*. Today's post is a bit longer than usual, but it is necessary to get a good background on the story.
Here is Brandon's biography at the website.
Brandon first experienced Calvary Temple when he was four years old. Calvary Temple was the vehicle in which the Lord used to bring Brandon’s parents to salvation and thus was a great influence on his growing up years. He was educated in Calvary Temple’s school from kindergarten through high school, though he was “disciplined” for behavioral issues and forced to spend one year as a church janitor before being allowed to graduate. Throughout Brandon’s childhood, teenage and young adult years, he was a devoted member of the church cult. He spent six months ministering in their Africa ministry, as well as another six months ministering at a Teen Challenge for teenage boys in south Florida. He was expelled from the church in December 2009, returned and made his final exit in August 2010. By the grace of God, he encountered Christ in a real and personal way never found at Calvary Temple and is living in freedom and victory.
A History of Calvary Temple
How Can These Things Be? (A Personal Story)
“I’m sorry, Joe. Dad sent me out here. You have to get out of my car.” My younger brother peered at me through tired eyes from the back seat of my 1998 Toyota Corolla where he had been sleeping. He nodded in resignation like a man who had just heard that he was going to have to sleep under a bridge that night and there was nothing he could do about it. He closed the car door behind him, walked down my parent’s gravel driveway, and disappeared into the lonely darkness. It was almost Christmas and it was snowing gently. He was fourteen.
When Joe was excommunicated from our church it was because he was not a Christian. Calvary Temple leadership had mandated that all members of the church were to send their children to Calvary Temple School so that they would not be polluted by the public school system. As a result, whenever a child was removed from the church, they were also expelled from the school. There is a verse in Deuteronomy 21 that says if an Israelite family had a rebellious son, they were to take him to the city gates and stone him to death. Calvary Temple’s 21st century interpretation of that verse is to shun their own rebellious children. To have nothing to do with them. To treat them as dead.
Recently I read the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, as found in John 8. The Pharisees said that according to Deuteronomy 22, she was to be stoned to death. They were technically correct, but Jesus responded to them that they ought to show mercy to others as their Heavenly Father had shown mercy to them, as is summed up in his reply “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Keeping in mind that the chapter and verse markings in Deuteronomy were added during the Middle Ages, it is important to note that the principle that Christ gave us in relation to Deuteronomy 22 probably applies to Deuteronomy 21 as well. Therefore, considering the textbook definition of the word, treating Joe as dead wasn’t very Christian.
At first he was allowed to stay in our home. Having been raised in the church from birth, he knew no one outside of the small school he had just been expelled from. My parents sent him to Potomac Falls High School where he behaved worse than most of their students—probably because he had just been abandoned by his entire community. Calvary Temple leadership told my dad to take him out of the public school and to lock him in his room day and night, only allowing him to come out to use the bathroom.
To punish his daily rebellions, which became worse after he was locked in his room, he was no longer allowed to eat the same food as his family. While we would eat steak, lasagna, or pizza for dinner, Joe was always given a plate of unsalted rice. I’m not sure why unsalted was important, except that salt was a privilege that he didn’t deserve. My dad desperately did everything the church leadership told him to do, but when Joe still couldn’t see the love of God in the unsalted rice, they directed him to kick Joe out of the house. That year was a cold December, and he waited for a few hours while his mother, father, two brothers, and sister went to sleep inside, then he hid in my car to stay warm. My dad suspected as much, and he told me to go out there and send Joe away and to lock my car doors from that night forward.
The Star Scott Story
Tucked behind the cul-de-sacs and strip malls of eastern Loudoun County, a middle ring suburb of Washington, DC, is a perfectly manicured and wooded property with flowering trees, picnic tables, a pond that reflects vibrant autumnal leaves in the fall and freezes to glass in the winter, geese, deer, and a Pentecostal church and school called Calvary Temple. A venerable institution amongst its constituents, my friends and I were taught and believed that growing up at Calvary was a rare privilege. As a child I was awestruck to have been born into the church of a modern day Charles Spurgeon, complete with a radio and television ministry, satellite churches across the country, and an international evangelism program which would eventually become sister churches I helped plant as a teenager in Kenya. But the property and media outreaches were all just the trimmings; the real pride and adulation were reserved for Pastor Star R. Scott, the pastor/evangelist/apostle/prophet who had received a vision from God that became Calvary Temple, and whom God had so richly blessed us with to lead our small flock in Sterling, Virginia.
Scott claims, besides being a football star, that he healed thousands and cast our many demons prior to arriving in Virginia. (Red flag)
Star Scott came to Calvary Temple in 1973 as an associate pastor from California when the church was then known as Herndon Assemblies of God. Young and ambitious, Scott preached with dramatic flair and conviction not uncommon among twenty something year old pastors. He was a product of the Jesus Movement, and he mesmerized the then rural congregation with stories of being used mightily of God in California to perform healings by the thousands at miracle rallies, to prophesy in Jesus’ name and in His name drive out demons and in His name perform many miracles. Equal to our adoration for his spiritual exploits was our reverence for the massive price he paid to come to Christ. Tall, well built, and attractive, the life Scott left to follow Jesus was the life many would easily leave Jesus to attain. A star football player on a full athletic scholarship at Fresno State, Scott was being groomed for the NFL and all of its associated accouterments: wealth, women, fast cars, and fame. We heard on many occasions how popular he was in high school and in college, how easy it was for him to get girls, and how he won brawls in which he and his crew were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. The life he left to be a Christian was something like the combined lives of Joe Montana and Tony Montana, and we loved him for it.
Then one day God knocked him off his horse in the desert with a blinding light and told him to leave everything behind. God had a special plan for Scott, and it wasn’t the path of stardom and success, it was to be a humble minister of His gospel. We heard many times how his family disowned him, telling him to choose between them or that Jesus of his, to which he answered unwaveringly that Jesus died for his sins, and he chose Jesus. The free ride was over. He lost everything: the housing, the scholarship, football. All he had left were the clothes on his back, his GTO, and twenty dollars. He used fourteen dollars to buy a King James Bible. He told us he didn’t eat anything for weeks, having only the words of God for sustenance. For fourteen to sixteen hours a day, he devoured them. Sometime later Scott met a church pianist named Janet, a fifth generation Pentecostal Christian and the daughter of the pastor. God told him she was to be his wife and they were married shortly thereafter. Scott responded to the call of God on his life and enrolled in Bethany Bible College, having hands laid on him and becoming an ordained minister for the Assemblies of God.
The beginnings of Calvary Temple
Growing up at Calvary I never questioned the miracles Pastor Scott performed in California. It made sense to me that a Christian of his stature could be simultaneously called to all five fold ministry gifts. (Ed. note For those who are unfamiliar with this:from Wikipedia)
The fivefold ministry or five-fold ministry is a Charismatic and Evangelical Christian belief that five offices mentioned in Ephesians (Ephesians 4:11), namely those of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (or "shepherds") and teachers, remain active and valid offices in the contemporary Christian church.
I believed stories he told about preaching in mega churches in the United States and abroad, of people by the thousands rushing his pulpit to have his hands laid on them for healing. I knew with conviction he would be named alongside the greats in Christian history—Luther, Wesley, Whitfield, Scott. But I wondered with gratitude how such a remarkable Christian could be called to such an otherwise unremarkable church in unremarkable Sterling, Virginia. And I fleetingly wondered what happened to all the miracles.
The story itself is part of the pantheon of Star Scott lore, having been repeated often alongside his origins story. As a freshly minted pastor in Southern California, Scott was on fire, a rising star in the Assemblies of God and still in his early twenties. Offers to preach were being extended by every major mega church in the United States, some offering full time positions and asking Scott to name his salary.
But then one day Scott met senior pastor Ron Walrobe at a bus stop in California, and like Jesus making fishers of men, was simply asked by Walrobe to follow him to a small church in Virginia called Herndon Assemblies of God. And, like a true Apostle, Scott dropped his nets and followed. That was, by all accounts, 1973. Sometime later in the mid 70’s, having been the Senior Pastor since they arrived, Walrobe received a vision from Jesus. He, Walrobe, was not God’s man for this church or even God’s man for Washington, DC. Jesus told Walrobe in the vision that Scott was his man, and he needed to step aside. So he did, and the church was eventually renamed Calvary Temple and moved from its location in Herndon to its current location in Sterling.
A growing church is shattered by Scott's purported vision to centralize power in the pastor. (Red flag)
By the time I was a child growing up at Calvary in the 90’s, there were only a few members left from those days. In fact the majority of the congregation had arrived in the late 80’s or early 90’s after what was always described to me as a church split in 1986—the year I was born. By 1986 the church had blossomed to a thousand members, and the school was fielding competitive teams in the local high school football circuit. Plans were in place to expand the facilities, including an orphanage and a Bible School.
But then Scott received a vision from the Lord, who was displeased with the mingled seed and carnal Christians present in the church. There was no difference between the world and Scott’s church, and God admonished him to “choose the old paths”. All students were dismissed from the school and only a handful were invited to stay, including Scott’s two high school aged children and a few of their friends.
Furthermore, God showed Scott a New Testament model for running a church in which congregational voting was unbiblical, as was the power placed in the deacon board to manage financial affairs and vote whether to remove pastors. In a New Testament church, these decisions resided with the Senior Pastor. People left in droves for the stand Scott took for the purity of the Word of God.
By his own account the church went from a thousand members to around fifty in just a matter of months, but the leaven and worldliness were finally out. I will interject that I have always been confused by the story. It seems like if your church shrinks by nine hundred and fifty people because they were all worldly, then your stand for the Word was really a stand against yourself. How could the church have gotten to the point of being ninety-five percent worldly? What kind of preaching would you have to do to get nine hundred and fifty people to all leave? If you built a church from 1976 to 1986 without Christians, can you really take credit for that decade as being one in which God used you mightily?
Scott began to rebuild the church and started a racing ministry.
Free from the restraint of the Assemblies of God, the deacon board, the congregational voting, and the nine hundred and fifty now ex-members, Star Scott now had the freedom to rebuild and to do what the Lord had really called him to do. In the 90’s, a new outreach program was birthed. Finish the Race was a racing ministry that Scott started so that he could win the hot rod community for Christ. Before any of us knew it, he had half a dozen cars: Corvettes, Ferraris, Porches, and dragsters. Pastor Scott began to show his cars off at regional shows, and members would follow along and hand out tracts for him to the thousands of attendees.
Scott abruptly married a 19 year old woman after wife's death. (Red flag)
It was around this time that Janet, his wife, died of cancer. It was 2002. Two weeks later, at age fifty-five Star Scott was married to a nineteen year old girl from the congregation. He told us that in Leviticus, the high priest was not allowed to mourn the death of his wife, but had to take a virgin from among Israel as his new wife. He and Greer were married before anyone could raise an objection.
Scott is viewed as the Lord's *Chosen Vessel* and could not be questioned: (Red flag)
From that time onward, the doctrines at the church became more and more insular. Power was consolidated at the top. While the church had been rebuilt from fifty to almost four hundred and fifty, members began leaving in greater numbers, and all in the wrong spirit. Friends one day were to be treated as strangers the next day. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I trusted what the man of God was saying. He had gone to Bible college and had been used of God and was His chosen Vessel. It was a sin to speak against the Lord’s anointed, or to question the doctrines that he saw in the Bible.
The IRS investigated lavish spending. (Red flag)
In 2008, we were told that the IRS would be investigating Star Scott. It seemed the high end racing ministry had caught their eye, as well as other claims made in a Washington Post article about his lavish standard of living. The article talked about how Scott lived on church credit cars, buying what he wanted when he wanted. Tithe money was gambled away in Vegas casinos, spent on more cars, and ultimately used to give Scott a lifestyle that he described as the blessing of God for the stand he had always taken for the name of Christ. It was the combination of the Post article and the IRS investigation that really got me thinking for the first time, “maybe this place isn’t what I thought it was.”
Scoot's estranged son claimed that Scott molested young girls in California before moving to Virginia. (Red flag)
There was another event around the same time that jarred me. An email was sent to us from Star Scott Jr., Pastor Scott’s estranged son. In it, he told us how his father had molested young girls in his youth group while in California. For three years, he would drive to the house of two girls in his GTO while their parents were at work, and would sexually abuse them repeatedly, alternating between their rooms. I found out later that this behavior had continued when he arrived in Virginia. There is a police report stating that he had forcibly sodomized a young girl at the old Herndon building. Charges were eventually dropped, after Scott contacted her and she decided not to testify.
At the time I did not know all of this. I just knew what the email said. It was sent on a Wednesday morning. Within an hour, another email was sent by an associate pastor instructing us not to read the evil email from Star Scott Jr. My dad and I have always been early risers and had both already read it, and before mid-week service that night we talked about it together. What if it were true?
We decided there were a few possibilities. If it was true and he admitted it, there might be room to forgive him and to move on from it. If it wasn’t true, and he told us it wasn’t true, then that would be the end of it. Lastly, if it was true and he lied to us, that would require a different response. We both understood the difficulty of the final option, because we wouldn’t know if he was lying or not. We both went to service, where we heard that it was not true after all, that it had been a singular act of adultery that had happened once in California, that it had been someone he was counseling, and that it had been “dealt with.”
The Doctrines of the Church
When the plurality of elders did not work. (Red flag)
I have a theory that everyone leaves Calvary Temple eventually. My time came in 2010, when I was told to leave: a story which will have to be told some other time. I was shocked by this, but it opened my eyes to a myriad of problems within the church. There was no real accountability for the leadership team, in particular Star Scott. The way it was supposed to work was that the four associate pastors would keep Star Scott accountable—a doctrine he called “the plurality of elders.” However, in practice it seemed that whenever a pastor disagreed with him, he just replaced them with someone else. It also occurred to me that, if a pastor in the first century church had decided to stop feeding the widows and orphans and to instead start a high end chariot racing ministry, he would have probably been excommunicated. Unfortunately there was no church authority over Star Scott that could excommunicate him. I also thought it was strange that anyone who left our church was ostracized immediately.
Scott contended that almost everybody at church was afflicted by some sort of general sin. (Red flag)
Oh to be sure, if someone were to leave another church in order to come to Calvary Temple, that was different. But it didn’t work the other way around. More and more, I would hear sermons about how utterly sinful we all were. They never had much to do with actual sin as described in the Bible, but rather this insidious spirit that was interchangeably called the spirit of lawlessness or the spirit of independence or the spirit of Korah and Dathan. We were all susceptible to this spirit, and if you succumbed to it, it would tell you all sorts of evil things. People who had left Calvary Temple were deceived by this spirit.
And it did not stop there. Once they were taken by the spirit of independence, it was followed by the spirit of bitterness. Or as I like to call it, the spirit of sore losers. If someone left the Church, we generally did not speak to them after that. If that person then said anything critical about Calvary Temple—in particular, about Star Scott—it was because they were bitter. And, because they were bitter we didn’t have to consider anything that they were saying: if God wanted to correct our pastor, He wouldn’t use a bitter person.
Leaving *well* was difficult. (Red flag)
There was also this fascination with Biblical Order. All things were to be done decently and in order. That meant that if you wanted to do anything of significance, especially something like leaving the church, it had to be done through God’s established Order. At the bottom of the order was the layman, followed by the layman’s deacon, the pastoral staff, and at the top Star Scott. If Star Scott said that you did not leave in order, then you were in sin by leaving. The only problem was, in forty years, every person that had ever left had done so out of order.
Do understand, we were all allowed to leave. They weren’t keeping us there. It just happened that everyone who did leave did it “in the wrong way.”
Those who left were shunned. Those who left were accused of divorcing their spouses and family members who remained. (Red flag)
Not only did the church shun people when they left, but oftentimes it broke up their families in the process. Star Scott never told anyone to get a divorce, they told us. No, these dissenters chose to get a divorce when they committed spiritual adultery by leaving the church, and as such they were under the purview of divorce as laid out by Jesus in the Gospels. Wives divorced departing husbands. Husbands divorced departing wives. Children were shunned by their parents because they didn’t obey their parents in the Lord. Parents were shunned by their children because the parents were no longer in the Lord when they left Calvary Temple.
Only Scott knew the truth. (Red flag)
Another strange twist was Star Scott’s doctrine about lying. I remember vividly as a teenager hearing from the pulpit one of his “actually” moments. An “actually” moment is when Star Scott would inform us that what everyone else outside believed about something was incorrect, and he would tell us what the truth “actually” was. Actually, one of his favorite lines was “Most people think the majority is always right. But how many of you know that the majority is actually wrong.” Aside from the word “actually,” you will soon discover—if you listen to him—that another one of his favorite phrases is “but how many of you know…” something that none of us really knew but we agreed with him because we didn’t want to feel like the one guy or girl that didn’t know.
I was talking about lying. This particular “actually” moment was as follows: “Most people would define a lie as saying something that is not true. But how many of you know that, what a lie actually is, is saying something that is not true for personal gain.” He went on to develop his point that a lie told for the spiritual benefit of others was not a lie at all. So if Star Scott lied, what he was actually doing was looking out for the spiritual benefit of others. Reading between the lines a little, since Calvary Temple is the best place in the world to be a Christian, he could do or say whatever it takes to keep them there because he is looking out for their spiritual well being.
The unspoken rules of Calvary Temple. (ed. note: well done!!)
Anyone who has come out of a spiritually abusive environment is familiar with the concept of unspoken rules. They are the things that everyone knows deep down to be true, but no one dares to say out loud. If you do speak of them, you are immediately censured by the leader and told “that is ridiculous, we do not believe that.” Of course they do believe that, but because it is never spoken, that line works. If you have come out of a spiritually abusive environment, then you are also aware that these unspoken rules are very real—often more real than the spoken rules. Some of the classic unspoken rules at Calvary Temple are:
- Star Scott is always right. Even if he is wrong.
- If you disagree with Star Scott you are always wrong. Even if you’re right.
- If you say the right thing in the wrong way, you are wrong. And your claims can be dismissed out of hand. Especially if you are bitter.
- You can ask a question, but don’t have a questioning spirit. Meaning if your question could imply wrongdoing on the part of Star Scott or Calvary Temple, don’t ask it.
- If Star Scott tells you to do something wrong, then it is a higher obedience to obey God’s chosen vessel than to disobey what Star Scott told you to do. God will honor your higher obedience—you don’t have to worry about God judging you for doing the wrong thing.
- There is nothing wrong with leaving Calvary Temple. But if you want to leave, there is something wrong with you.
- Christians at other churches are probably not real Christians. Or at least, they could benefit from switching to our church.
- When Star Scott speaks, he is channeling the Holy Spirit. What he says to you is what God is saying to you.
- Star Scott is the high priest, the chief apostle, the head elder, a prophet, a gifted teacher, a star football player, a model husband, an exemplary father, David, Paul, Peter, Boaz, Samuel, Moses, and Aaron. I have literally heard him refer to himself as each one of these at one time or another.
- Star Scott is not a charlatan, a false apostle, unqualified for eldership, a false prophet, an inept teacher, a wolf, a hireling, a liar, a thief, proud, boastful, a cheating husband, an abusive father, a child molester, king Saul, Demas, Diotrephes, or an average football player. If you think any of these things are true, you must be bitter.
- Star Scott always hears from God perfectly, even during the Y2K thing. He has been persecuted, criticized, stolen from, taken advantage of, maligned, mistreated, and malnourished because people’s hearts are hardened when they hear the word of the Lord for them from Star Scott’s humble mouth.
- If you think it is unnecessary to give three tithes, or to go to church twice on Sunday, once on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and every other Saturday, or to attend outreaches on Monday nights, or to clean the church in your spare time, or to read Pastor’s books, or to listen to his sermon tapes, or to hand out fliers for the outreach events, or to go to the college outreach meetings, or to spruce up Pastor’s yard during Young Adult workday, or to go to the Young Adult retreat, or to give up promotions to be at church more, or to buy a house closer to the church so you can be there more—if you think any of these things are not necessary, you are in spiritual danger and need to get your act together. We’re living in the Last Days, man.
Scott's book and booklets were required reading. (Red flag)
Other oddities include a dozen or so booklets that Star Scott has written. They are odd because he did not in fact write them—dare I say, I have no proof that the man has ever written a complete sentence in his entire life. Even when I was at the church I thought it was humorous that he couldn’t just sit down and write a book. Moreover, we treated these books like these books needed to be widely distributed and read by everyone.
After I was told to leave, I did go back and read some of the books out of curiosity. When I was no longer under the spell that these books are awesome, I realized that these books are pathetic. As in, they are poorly “written” and often don’t make any sense. Personality cults tend to develop a particular speech pattern that is unique to their group—originating from their leader. The way that Star Scott talks would be considered nonsensical, incoherent, or simply unusual by anyone not accustomed to listening to him, and reading his booklets produces the same response once you’ve been removed from the Calvary Temple speech pattern for a few years.
Scott is restoring early church doctrine through his sermons. (Red flag)
There is also a library of the past 40 years of his sermons, which have been meticulously preserved for future generations of Christendom in the form of transcripts, tapes, audio CDs, videos, and online digital content. Understand that, they believe Star Scott’s doctrine is restoring the early church’s doctrines. This is not to be confused with the way that Mormons believe Joseph Smith’s doctrine was restorative of the early church doctrines, or the way that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Charles Russell’s teachings were restorative of the early church doctrines. Star Scott’s restoration of early church doctrine isn’t the same thing at all, because they were obviously wrong and Star Scott is obviously right. And with the same painstaking precision of a Jewish scribe, Star Scott’s sermons are transcribed weekly. The transcribers are not supposed to change a single word—whether it is grammatically correct or (often) otherwise. It has to be verbatim what God spoke through Star Scott.
Scott: a great and amazing teacher or a theological moron?
Speaking of being obviously right, there was a phrase that I heard practically every day of my life until I was kicked out of Calvary Temple. And that phrase is this: “we are so well taught,” in that we were so well taught the actual meaning of the Bible. I have literally never heard anyone else say that in any church I have visited before or since leaving Calvary Temple. It was repeated daily, like a Buddhist mantra.
We were so well taught, our youth pastor told us, that we seventh graders knew the Bible better than ninety percent of the pastors in America. We were so well taught, Star Scott told us, that to go to another church would be tantamount to accepting less than God’s best for you. What I have come to realize is that we were so poorly taught. Star Scott, it turns out, is a theological moron. Or if you prefer, a biblical idiot. And I do not use those descriptions flippantly—I mean them literally. In all candor, it seems the man is completely incapable of expositing a single verse of the Bible without twisting it to his personal gain. Our mantras were nothing more than tribal chest beating, and our adulation of Star Scott was nothing more than a ruse that he had carefully engineered for decades.
On the subject of adulation, everyone at Calvary Temple thinks that Star Scott is the most amazing guy ever. He is humble, selfless, and passionate about God. The only thing that matches their reverence for Star Scott is their vitriol towards any criticism of him. He is an undiscovered John Wesley, or George Whitfield, or future president of America. It’s just that no one else is willing to give the poor guy a chance—if only they knew how incredible he was. And, by the textbook definition, he truly is quite incredible.
The Story I Never Heard
Molestations and lies
In 2010 I was contacted by a former member who wanted to share some things with me. I went to his house, and for about two hours he showed me the truth about Star Scott. He had contacted members of Star Scott’s youth group in California, and the email was true—he really had molested young girls for three years. As an aside, there now exists an audio recording in which Star Scott admits this fact in private, so there really is no further debate to be had: Star Scott lied to us that Wednesday night. Not only was it not adultery, but the “counselee” was a thirteen year old girl. Scott was in his mid twenties at the time. Not only that, but the molestation had continued in Virginia. The police report about forcible sodomy occurred at the old Herndon building.
According to his former youth group, Star Scott had done no miracles in California—they were all made up. More than that, Star Scott wasn’t a star football player for Fresno State, en route to unlimited success in the NFL. Looking at a list of Fresno State’s lettermen since 1950, his name is not listed. He attended Fresno City College, where he earned an Associate’s in Arts. And the Bethany Bible College story? I realized afterwards that he never actually said that he graduated, it was always just implied that he had and we naturally filled in the blanks. In truth he only completed his freshman year of studies, which happened to coincide with the same time period he was molesting young girls.
It ought not seem strange that the abject horror that is now yours should be considered an appropriate response to these stories. Yet Star Scott has seared the consciences of his congregants with notions that, since God forgave him, these things never happened. If you have never heard it before, what Star Scott preaches is that the phrase “God remembers our sin no more” is actually the same thing as “your sin never originally occurred.” So when congregants observe our horror at these revelations, they attribute it to the spirit of bitterness. The spirit of sore losers.
Forgiveness means it never happened. Lying is allowed if it is for someone's spiritual well being. (Red flag)
However, consider this: Star Scott believes that God’s forgiveness means “it never happened.” He also believes that lying is not lying if it is done for your spiritual well being. Those are the two reasons why he was able to get up there that Wednesday night and blatantly lie about what happened for three years in California. So how can we trust him when he also says that it never happened again? I mean, considering the basis of his behavior, couldn’t he have molested someone just yesterday and asked God for forgiveness yesterday night, and if you asked him today if he did it, wouldn’t he just look at you in all sincerity and tell you it never happened?
Part of the reason that current congregants have such a hard time believing us is that they have heard so many stories about all the supernatural things that Star Scott has done. In reality they have heard the same dozen stories over and over again for forty years. There was rarely a week that went by that I did not hear one of the twelve stories in his repertoire. However, what I have realized is that the only reason I ever believed them was because I was told them so often from such a young age. When I told the stories to outsiders, they just kind of reacted with this knowing smirk, sometimes tactfully proposing to me that perhaps the stories were not entirely true. I would just look at them blankly and reply, “Why would he make that up?”
As it turns out, the entire story of Star Scott leaving it all for the gospel was untrue. He was just an average guy who was really good at one thing: lying. But he did it for your spiritual well being. Not out of self preservation. Star Scott brought his embellished (and often fabricated) stories with him to Virginia, and he used them to establish himself as superior. He created spiritual credentials out of thin air, having accomplished none of the things he said he had. But it doesn’t end there.
After tracking down ex-members who were around at the time, I found out that the church split in the 80’s wasn’t about Scott’s stand for holiness at all—no, it was about allegations of sexual abuse, financial irresponsibility, and consolidation of power just like we are seeing today. This led me to ask the same question I had previously asked, but this time to myself out of a genuine interest to know the answer and not dismissively to someone else in defense of Star Scott’s credibility: “Why would he make that up?” In 2011, during the IRS investigation, Scott answered that question for us.
Scott was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (Red flag)
As a part of the IRS investigation, he was ordered to have a psychiatric evaluation done and he was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Of course, at the time that he told his congregation that, the way he structured it was intended to garner sympathy from them. Which, by the way, is a very narcissistic thing to do. If you aren’t familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the Mayo Clinic defines it as:
“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you're not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.
If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don't receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.
At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.
Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it's not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.”
I still have not figured out how that went largely unnoticed by the congregation. Basically, it describes Star Scott to a tee, and it’s just the kind of tee that should not be your pastor. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is often triggered by an extreme moral failure in early adulthood; for example, molesting girls in your youth group for three years. Star Scott copes with being a molester by believing that he is also a messiah. His spiritual gifting outweighs his sexual deviancy.
Worse Than We Thought: Children have been allegedly sexually abused from the very beginning of Calvary Temple.
Unfortunately, the story of Calvary Temple doesn’t end with Star Scott’s own alleged criminal behavior. While we did not know it at the time, it has come to light that the leadership at Calvary Temple has been sexually abusing children since the beginning. At this very moment, I am aware of eight victims who all claim the same story: someone in Star Scott’s leadership team sexually assaulted them as a child, and Star Scott did nothing about it.
What he doesn’t understand is that in consolidating power and making himself the sole trustee of the church and the school, he has a legal responsibility to report these events to the police. Instead, he silences victims. Whether out of a mafia code to not snitch on his own inner circle, or in an attempt to preserve the facade that Calvary Temple is superior to other churches, Star Scott covers up sexual abuse by intimidating, ridiculing, and getting rid of victims. One girl was dropped off at a gas station with nothing but the clothes on her back. She had come forward about how she was being sexually abused by a deacon. She was fourteen.
Many, many alleged victims…
As the stories continue to come out, I am amazed at the sheer magnitude of victims. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, spiritual abuse. Some illegal. Some just wrong. The stories all have common themes. The victims of sexual abuse span every decade of Scott’s ministry—women who do not know each other and have not met, yet they share the same story. Physical abuse that has not stopped. It continues to this day. The mental and spiritual abuse is also agonizing. The Bible is twisted this way and that until it says what Scott wants it to say. Families are destroyed for life. Our hope is to help those who have come out of Calvary Temple find a landing point. We want to help those inside the walls who have questions. We want to see justice brought to the abusers and healing to all.
Lastly, I would ask that you pray for the members of Calvary Temple. Some of them are evil, but most are just deluded. I have noticed that young adults seem more willing to leave, probably because it is an easier hurdle to clear to realize that you had no choice to be born there. To leave in your early twenties means you can still rebuild most of your life—whether you want to build that life for Jesus or not. It is the adults—the men and women who came to Calvary Temple in their early twenties and are now in their forties and fifties—that especially need your prayers. These are the ones who have cut off all four of their children, who have divorced their spouses of thirty years, and who have ignored their extended family for decades. They are the ones who have been fired from jobs for the gospel of Star Scott, who have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Star Scott retirement fund, and who have arranged every detail of their life around the hope that Star Scott is not a complete liar.
Can you imagine what it would take—what courage it would require to even begin to allow yourself to think that all of that was for nothing? That your children didn’t victimize you by leaving the church, but that you victimized them by cutting them off and treating them as dead? That you are responsible for the broken family life that has been yours for decades? These are the people that have gone all-in, and frankly it is much easier to continue to live in their fantasy-land than to admit that they could be to blame for the problems in their own life. It is much easier for them to just dismiss us out of hand than to go through the dissonance of considering maybe this place isn’t what I thought it was.
MRC TV covers a protest outside Calvary Temple on 4/2/15