New TWW Series on Calvary Temple of Sterling VA: In a Nutshell

"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

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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

Comments

New TWW Series on Calvary Temple of Sterling VA: In a Nutshell — 180 Comments

  1. Pingback: The church from hell | Civil Commotion

  2. Unfortunately this reads (in extreme) just like my experiences in 2 separate Baptist churches. The stories aren’t as wild, but the same trademarks are there. This one is sickening to me. I’m sharing this on facebook.

  3. @ GovPappy:
    I am quickly coming to the conclusion that anyone can take the Bible, declare their theological bias and make it say whatever they darn well please. I hope to put it all together one of these days.

    The other day, a man told me that a pastor was correct in telling me his pastor will not let women who were abused remarry. They must live their life in singleness and hope their husband will repent.

    i asked him how his pastor came to his conclusion. he said “The Word of God.” I said “others read the Word of God differently so how does he know?”

    he said ” Well, he is the pastor.” Me- “So why do pastors disagree with one another.” he: “mine knows what he is talking about.”

    I take the Bible seriously and yet I know that there re things that are confusing and not clear. One thing I do know is clear. Child sex abuse by pastors and leaders is an abomination.

  4. Great article!

    The parts about the unwritten rules, the lying, and the final reveal of serious personality disorders and physical, sexual & emotional abuse ring terribly true.

    I experienced all of this at the hands of a mentally ill mother–who fooled (almost everyone) for many years.

    So terrible to have to report yet another horrendous abuse of power and precious people in a church.

    But, necessary for both the victims & as a potent warning to those who might be ensnared.

    Great post!

  5. I read Molly’s story on “Dear Calvary Temple” during a lunch break. What I read was so disturbing that I had problems concentrating at work. From what I read and I’m waiting to hear the story in detail I guess all of Molly’s sons disowned and cut off her parents and treat them as dead. Its gone on for years.

    http://dearcalvarytemple.blogspot.com/

    This is almost like SGM on steroids. Shunning is painful, shunning is uncalled for. But when a majority of the siblings do this…oh my God. So I contacted a few people and encouraged them to contact Dee and start to discuss this issue. Plus since there are new child sexual abuse allegations coming forward it would be nice if this blog which has had 16 million hits can shine a bright light on the evil ministry of Star Scott.

    One of these days I am going to have to observe the protests against this church. I drive through Sterling often on my way to Leesburg.

  6. molly245 wrote:

    Great article!

    The parts about the unwritten rules, the lying, and the final reveal of serious personality disorders and physical, sexual & emotional abuse ring terribly true.

    I experienced all of this at the hands of a mentally ill mother–who fooled (almost everyone) for many years.

    So terrible to have to report yet another horrendous abuse of power and precious people in a church.

    But, necessary for both the victims & as a potent warning to those who might be ensnared.

    Great post!

    Are we related? Because yep, BTDT. :p

  7. On thinking further about the victims, I realized how important being heard, listened to with great attention & Being. Believed. is to any true counseling, healing or consolation of the victims.

    Your posts provide this attention to details, proof of time spent really listening and also believing that what you post is true. It is invaluable to all victims!

    Thank you!

  8. @ dee:

    I just don’t know where we got this idea of “trust in the man of God at all costs”. They are men! Just men. At best. They have no more special access to God than I do.

  9. One other thing…allow me to pick my jaw up off the floor. When I read that Star Scott attended Fresno State and played football there I was stunned. Before I continue let me say a few things….

    I grew up in Fresno, I attended Fresno State briefly before transferring to Marquette in Milwaukee. I grew up with my family going to football games at Fresno State when I was young and in high school. I’ve got at least a dozen Fresno State t-shirts and a few sweatshirts. I watched Fresno State defeat the USC Trojans in Anaheim in December 1992, and I watched David Carr decimate the Wisconsin Badgers in Camp Randell in Madison in August 2001. I’m familiar with David Carr and read and followed him when he plays. My Dad knew Fresno State football coach Jim Sweeney, and when I was a kid I trick or treated at Jim Sweeny’s house and his son who was Fresno Stat’s Quarterback Kevin Sweeney used to pass out the candy. So I say all that to state the following….

    As Lloyd Benson once told Dan Quayle….

    I knew what a good Fresno State football player is Star Scott. My family lived down the street from the Sweeneys. I trick and treated from Kevin Sweeney and watched him play football….and Star Scott you are no Kevin Sweeney!

  10. XianJaneway wrote:

    molly245 wrote:
    Great article!
    The parts about the unwritten rules, the lying, and the final reveal of serious personality disorders and physical, sexual & emotional abuse ring terribly true.
    I experienced all of this at the hands of a mentally ill mother–who fooled (almost everyone) for many years.
    So terrible to have to report yet another horrendous abuse of power and precious people in a church.
    But, necessary for both the victims & as a potent warning to those who might be ensnared.
    Great post!
    Are we related? Because yep, BTDT. :p

    @Xian—we are most certainly brothers or sisters in spirit if not in the flesh!!

    It’s good to know i am not alone though 🙂

  11. Sickened. The culture that allows the abuse, the pastor “above reproach,” the lavish lifestyle funded by the congregation, the covering up of sexual crimes (even in himself)–all this grieves me.

  12.   __

    Does this church still require parents to sign a ‘legal’ form giving permission for the leadership of this church to spank your child while they are on the church property?

  13. It is so disturbing that this has gone on for forty years with no one speaking up to put a stop to it.

  14. Star Scott sounds a lot like L. Ron Hubbard, especially with the squirreling away of his every utterance.

  15. OK, can anyone see the SBC & Gospel Glitterati headed down this road, or is it just me? That Temporal Prime Directive stinks….

  16. This is so. well. written. Perhaps it’s because I came out of a Pentecostal flavored cult, but so much of this is familiar to me. Yet, I don’t think I could ever have expressed it half as well. The sheer arrogance behind this kind of thinking . . . “Pastors” like this have set themselves up in the place of Christ. But, then again, I’m probably just “bitter,” right?

  17. I don’t like to use the term cult, but this is what this Calvary temple appears to be in every sense of the word. Has the Assemblies of God denomination sent out warnings about this church? This church seems truly surreal.

  18. @ Mark:

    When your church believes they have more truth, revelation, or vision from God than any other church, it’s definitely walking on cultish ground. Or as my former cult used to say, “We’re sure there must be other churches with The Truth out there. We just haven’t come across them yet.” 🙂 Sort of like one of those “unspoken rules.”

  19. Having a narcissist in the family I was intrigued by this statement: ” Narcissistic Personality Disorder is often triggered by an extreme moral failure in early adulthood”. I haven’t previously heard about this as a potential trigger for NPD. Does anyone have any more insight?

  20. I hate to admit how easily taken in people are with this ministry. It all seemed so valid at first. Truly, you thought that what was being taught was the truth. You clung to it, wanting it to be true. When the light finally clicks on (or clicked on for me) you are so invested, so involved, so vulnerable, there is no where to turn. I was amazed that I ever allowed myself to be so manipulated. When I left, believe me, the decision was devastating. I had nowhere to go because everyone I knew when to the church. I had no friends, because all of my friends were at the church, people I truly truly loved, people that I was best friends with. I was shunned by my best friends. I was basically denounced by my family (my husband and his family, who all went there). I wasn’t contacted by anyone from the church, ever, trying to evaluate my spiritual state and coerce me into reviewing my decision. In the three-year separation between me and my husband before he filed for the divorce (because I wouldn’t), he didn’t really try to “win” me back (the reasons I left him are to vast to go into here but warranted). The last words that we spoke to each other went like this, Me: “don’t you ever just want to take me in your arms and kiss me, passionately or…[I won’t subject you to the other pleading rhetoric I spouted]…Him: “the only thing I can be to you right now is your brother in the Lord”. That was his tactic in winning me back. Trust me, for seven years of marriage, all he had been to me was a brother in the Lord, and that is all I will say about that. Secondly, the church that I was attending called this church and my pastor suggested that, since I didn’t feel comfortable going to there anymore, wouldn’t it be appropriate for them to release my husband and my current church we encourage me to go somewhere where my husband and I could worship together and find a way to restore our marriage. My pastor was told that they would never release my husband, that I was out of order, and the only way that we would be restored is if I came back to the church and repented. And again, they were so worried about my soul that guess how many people contacted me? That’s right! None!! Not one. My best friend, my sisters-in-law, the loving members of the church, who I had spent practically every day of my life with for eight years. Yep!!

    It’s hard to imagine how you can allow yourself to be caught up in such a place. It creeps in and wraps itself around you until you are engrossed and don’t even realize it…hmmmm almost like sin.

    Be gentle and loving, kind and supportive to those who find their way out. Truly, they are crawling out of this deepest darkest hole…

    “Lord, I would not speak against the anointed of God, but I don’t believe that is the case here. In my humblest attitude, and if I am wrong, I ask your forgiveness, please deliver your people. Grace and mercy stop at the doorways of this place, leaving those that have decided to try and get out with a morose, depressing, doubting demeanor that you will no longer love them and accept them because they are leaving your will once they leave this place. My prayer or request as I would rather call it, is that you would remind them with all the love you continually bestow on us, that your mercies are new every single morning and that your grace is everlasting, that you do not “dust your feet off” and leave them to face the insult and disillusionment and disheartedness alone. That you are there and you are touched with the feelings of all of their infirmities [(in·fir·mi·ty inˈfərmədē/
    noun physical or mental weakness. “old age and infirmity come to men and women alike”
    synonyms: illness, malady, ailment, disease, disorder, sickness, affliction, complaint, indisposition, frailty, weakness)]. Please help them know, Lord”. I Love You and thank you that this is being done in your name, Lord. Vickie

  21. XianJaneway wrote:

    OK, can anyone see the SBC & Gospel Glitterati headed down this road, or is it just me?

    I think it may be possible for some in the future (it’s already happened with C.J. Mahaney). As Christians, in general, are being polarized more and more, I don’t see the good old boys club changing their direction anytime soon. They seem to be truly convinced that it’s them vs. the entire world.

  22. Incredibly well organized and detailed, this is easily the most exhaustive digest to date of the future true crime Star Scott television movie, premiering on Lifetime. I agree with BeenThereDoneThat, this is a well authored piece of, dare I say, journalism, and the bits about the Star Scott story through the church split are particularly beautifully written. 😉

  23. Moreover, we treated these books like these books needed to be widely distributed and read by everyone.

    Like Dianetics?

  24. 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.

    Just like L Ron Hubbard and Kim Jong-Il.

  25. 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.

    The key to a successful con is to get the mark/mugu so invested in the con — time, money, emotionally — that he cannot back out even when he knows he’s being taken to the cleaners. Because backing out means all that money and time down the drain plus having to admit to himself that he got taken. So he’ll defend the con man and pour even more money into the con.

  26. This is almost like SGM on steroids. Shunning is painful, shunning is uncalled for.

    In Scientology, shunning is called “Disconnect”.
    And the order to shun is “a Declare”.

  27. I read this story and showed the video to my oldest kid (teen) and commented on how serious, scary and destructive these cults were. He commented that people don’t understand or believe that men in suits preaching in normal looking churches could constitute a cult because people think that cults are housed way out in the woods in the middle of nowhere in dilapidated buildings where small children are forcibly raped, like in True Detective (tv show). He thought that if you wanted to help people understand how dangerous these places really are you needed to educate folks that this could happen in your suburban neighborhood and it doesn’t have to look like True Detective, San Angelo, Waco or Wells, TX. I’m not sure how helpful that is, but it seems like a reasonable paradigm that needs to be addressed. Maybe you could write a post explaining what makes a cult a cult. Thanks for all of your hard work! If you weren’t making a difference guys like Jared Wilson wouldn’t be trying to shut you up.

  28. Sorry you all went through this Brandon, I am sorry for the little part I played as an adult. So glad to have gotten out of there with what I did.

  29. molly245 wrote:

    I experienced all of this at the hands of a mentally ill mother–who fooled (almost everyone) for many years.

    I am so sorry for the pain that you experienced from you mother. May you find peace in the rest of your life.

  30. GovPappy wrote:

    I just don’t know where we got this idea of “trust in the man of God at all costs”.

    The *men of God* teach this until they are blue in the face.

  31. Eagle wrote:

    I knew what a good Fresno State football player is Star Scott. My family lived down the street from the Sweeneys. I trick and treated from Kevin Sweeney and watched him play football….and Star Scott you are no Kevin Sweeney!

    Well said!

  32. @ mirele:
    I really appreciate it when you make comments that compare evangelical abuse to Scientology. It helps me to see how the theology that allows this is not related to the Bible whatsoever. It’s just some guy making stuff up.

  33. XianJaneway wrote:

    OK, can anyone see the SBC & Gospel Glitterati headed down this road,

    Yes, especially with putting the pastor on a pedestal and believing that his words are somehow *special and anointed.* The unjust shunning and discipline is also seen in these circles.

    Sad thing is, though…they justify it by writing long treatises on “why they are silent.” Well, thankfully, there are many who no longer will be silent and who will use blogs and social media *zealously* (my new word) to speak out.

    I am so proud of all of these people.

  34. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    “Pastors” like this have set themselves up in the place of Christ. But, then again, I’m probably just “bitter,” right?

    Bitter-the go to shut up word!! 🙂 I wish this type of thinking was only found in Pentecostal circles then we could isolate them. It is found in today’s SBC, NeoCalvinist, Presbyterian, and nondenominational circles. We need to uncover this abusive nonsense and speak out *zealously.*

  35. Sopwith wrote:

      __
    Does this church still require parents to sign a ‘legal’ form giving permission for the leadership of this church to spank your child while they are on the church property?

    My parents signed the form giving the church/school permission to spank me. It was never just a simple spanking or correction. It was always so much more than that.

  36. Mark wrote:

    I don’t like to use the term cult,

    There are times when it is appropriate. If you watch the video at the end, one former member calls it that.

  37. rike wrote:

    . I haven’t previously heard about this as a potential trigger for NPD. Does anyone have any more insight?

    I have not heard of tie before but it sure sounds interesting. If I find out anything about it, I will post it here.

  38.   __

    ” 501(c)3 Pastorial Freedom From Restraint & Accountability?”

    zoom, zoom?

      Silence to injustice is maintained when power and authority are concentrated and 
    acountability is marginalized…

    Such appears to be the sad case and current delema or condition of the Calvery Temple in Sterling, Virginia…

    The victims are many yet the lesson not learned?

    Krunch !

    Once again, there is no one left to bring ‘sanity’ to this situation?

    (sadface)

    Sopy

  39. @ Vickie:
    Vickie

    I am so, so sorry. Do not be hard on yourself. You wanted to follow God and do the right thing. May people do. When someone seems to have a answer for everything, it seems good. You are not alone. Many, many people have been caught up by compelling speakers who seem to have it all together. Let us know if you ever want to tell your story here.

    Also, from reading between the lines, could your former husband be struggling with SSA and trying to hide it? That church would be a good place for him to hide out instead of dealing with his issues.

  40. dee wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:
    I just don’t know where we got this idea of “trust in the man of God at all costs”.
    The *men of God* teach this until they are blue in the face.

    It’s “ManaGAWD!!!!(TM).

  41. Vickie wrote:

    And again, they were so worried about my soul that guess how many people contacted me? That’s right! None!! Not one. My best friend, my sisters-in-law, the loving members of the church, who I had spent practically every day of my life with for eight years. Yep!!

    “Every day for eight years” until the Disconnect Declare came down from Flag.

  42. Jen wrote:

    He thought that if you wanted to help people understand how dangerous these places really are you needed to educate folks that this could happen in your suburban neighborhood and it doesn’t have to look like True Detective, San Angelo, Waco or Wells, TX. I’

    You have raised a perceptive son! He nails it. That is why this story is important even beyond the horrible abuse. It can happen in nice suburbs. In fact, I would venture to guess that it is happening more and more as these groups go where the money is.

    I was informed that one well loved group of churches that we have followed attempts to establish their church plants in wealthy suburbs for the money angle of things.

  43. Michelle in Denver wrote:

    My parents signed the form giving the church/school permission to spank me. It was never just a simple spanking or correction.

    Can you imagine turning your child over to the discipline of people that you don’t really know?

  44. @ dee:

    Anyone who uses the word “bitter” to describe a member or former member of their church is, ipso facto, an abuser.

  45. Is there a way to get the school shut down? How many allegations of abuse do you need to get these children out of danger?

  46. Vickie wrote:

    Be gentle and loving, kind and supportive to those who find their way out. Truly, they are crawling out of this deepest darkest hole…

    I have some idea of what you all are going through. I’m so sorry for the painful exit experience. I gather most people joined this “church” because they were seeking a deeper walk with the Lord. “Churches” like this usually look appealing on the surface. Like Headless Unicorn Guy wrote, you don’t see the con until you’re deeply invested. And the price to leave is hefty.

  47. Personal visions of Jesus in setting up this ‘church’ and living as though we are still under the law of Moses. Two warnings that to me alone spell trouble.

    Personal revelations nearly always seem to end up in cultic behaviour, not least because if God gives you a revelation, it cannot be questioned and doesn’t need to be authenticated. You can even understand the sufficiency of scripture types over against this kind of religious error and delusion.

  48. Breaks my heart. I grew up on 777 road for over 30 years. Back in the 80’s as teenagers we thought the place was weird. Then, 20 yrs later our kids would go on the church property to play and get kicked off.Normal churches wouldnt have a problem with young kids playing on their jungle gym. Our kids always laughed and said that place is a cult. They were right. (ed. note: deleted due to commenting policy). God is NOT in that church. Hope u find ur life again and the real god, not what u were brainwashed with. Unbelievable.

  49. dee wrote:

    Michelle in Denver wrote:

    My parents signed the form giving the church/school permission to spank me. It was never just a simple spanking or correction.

    Can you imagine turning your child over to the discipline of people that you don’t really know?

    NEVER. BRAINWASHED FREAKS

  50. The preacher of this church sounds pretty bad. He’s up there with this one from Ohio:

    “Report: Ohio pastor accused of genital exams, encouraging abortions”
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/10/14/ernest-angley-akron-church-abuse/17242139/

    “Former church members have reportedly accused Ohio pastor Earnest Angley of performing genital “examinations,” encouraging abortions and vasectomies, and even arranging a marriage between a congregant and a convicted child molester.”

    I guess you really need to keep your eyes open every time you go looking for a new church. There are a lot of control freaks, weirdos, and sexual predators out there in churches.

  51. @ dee:

    It must be really tempting for pastors to equate the modern-day position of pastor to the prophets of the old testament and the apostles of the New, but that’s so twisted.

  52. Ken wrote:

    Personal revelations nearly always seem to end up in cultic behaviour, not least because if God gives you a revelation, it cannot be questioned and doesn’t need to be authenticated.

    On this side of the Tiber, cults like the Baysiders and Hill of Hopers started with Personal Revelations (always from Mary and always pushing Tridentine Latin Mass). When Catholics flake out, it’s usually personal-revelation Mary Channeling. (And with a 2000-year historic trace, you can rack up a LOT of flakes.)

    That said, the Church’s official position on private revelations is if authentic, they are binding ONLY on the person receiving the private revelation. Others may follow the private revelation on a voluntary basis, but this is Not repeat NOT required.

  53. GovPappy wrote:

    @ dee:

    It must be really tempting for pastors to equate the modern-day position of pastor to the prophets of the old testament and the apostles of the New, but that’s so twisted.

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! DO *MY* PROPHET NO HARM!”
    — favorite verse of abusive pastors/wannabe cult leaders

  54. Ken wrote:

    Personal visions of Jesus in setting up this ‘church’ and living as though we are still under the law of Moses. Two warnings that to me alone spell trouble.

    Calvary Chapel and its affiliates are set up under the ‘Moses Model’ to this day. It was originally designed that way by Papa Chuck way back in the day when he captured the hearts and minds of the Southern Calif. beach culture.

  55. Sigh. Pathological liars. Continuous, ongoing lies.

    On the very day this was posted, I had just been reading about another exposed fraud. Belle Gibson is an Australian woman who claims she beat brain cancer “with only 4 months to live” by eating healthy and avoiding conventional cancer therapies. In most cases like this, the person who avoids conventional therapy still dies of cancer anyway, or is just one of the very lucky ones. Gibson is very healthy. It turns out the reason is, despite her claims. because never had cancer at all!

    Investigations are revealing schoolmates that tell of constant lying since high school, being dropped off at the doctor’s and then hiding instead of going in, changing stories such as casually mentioning being heartbroken at the loss of her child (wait–when did THAT happen?), and so on. Like this case, it unravelled when some in her OWN AUDIENCE just tried to follow the story and put it together.

    http://realitybasedmedicine.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-whole-fraud.html

    Of course, I hasten to add that defrauding people of donations to fight nonexistent cancer is NOTHING compared to a man who continually rapes young children for years. That liar is a fraud, this liar is a monster.

  56. Let me add an angry quote from the above article about liars. It may be one person’s opinion about someone else, but it sure seems to apply to Star Scott too:

    “…the liar holds the world in contempt. People who base their lives around lying, feel nothing but contempt for the rest of us. How could they not? We believe their lies! We’re stupid! We’re suckers! Compulsive and pathological liars have no respect for other people; they could not lie with abandon if they did. Thus, it should never come as a surprise when they do something so low as to “withhold” money from a charity. This would be part and parcel of the liar’s world.”

  57. Muff Potter wrote:

    Calvary Chapel and its affiliates are set up under the ‘Moses Model’ to this day. It was originally designed that way by Papa Chuck way back in the day when he captured the hearts and minds of the Southern Calif. beach culture.

    And now the abuse stories of pastor-dictators are coming out of Calvary Chapel as well.

  58. @ Muff Potter:

    Agree about Calvary Chapel, Muff. This church was Calvary Temple and I believe its affiliation ‘was’ Assemblies of God. He/it sounds like a lone wolf now 😉

  59. “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.

    I could barely continue reading after this paragraph. I did not think I could hate the vile, filthy whore the church in America has become more than I did until I read this. The almighty God can handle the slander to his reputation. A child like Brandon may never realize how precious he was to God, as he shuffled into the darkness. This truly made me physically ill. I should have heeded the trigger warnings.

  60. Ken wrote:

    You can even understand the sufficiency of scripture types over against this kind of religious error and delusion.

    Oh, absolutely. I would much rather have some antagonist say to me “the bible says…” than say “the lord gave me a word for you….”. In the first case at least there is something which can be confirmed or discounted. In the later case there is only “can you convince me it was ‘the lord’ that you were listening to.” That goes nowhere.

  61. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Like Headless Unicorn Guy wrote, you don’t see the con until you’re deeply invested.

    More like “you don’t see the con until you’re in it too deep to ever back out.”

  62. GovPappy wrote:

    @ dee:

    It must be really tempting for pastors to equate the modern-day position of pastor to the prophets of the old testament and the apostles of the New, but that’s so twisted.

    Remember The Humble One (chuckle chuckle)?
    Titled himself “Head Apostle (chuckle chuckle)”?

  63. Daisy wrote:

    “Former church members have reportedly accused Ohio pastor Earnest Angley of performing genital “examinations,” encouraging abortions and vasectomies, and even arranging a marriage between a congregant and a convicted child molester.”

    “Genital examinations” — Riiiiiight.
    Like he couldn’t be more obvious?

    And as for “arranging a marriage between a congregant and a convicted child molester”, where have we heard that one before? (Hint: “PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!”)

  64. 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.

    Like the stories coming out about Bill Cosby?

  65. Star Scott copes with being a molester by believing that he is also a messiah. His spiritual gifting outweighs his sexual deviancy.

    Sounds like Jim Jones, doesn’t it?
    Calvary Temple, People’s Temple…

  66. This church is close to my neighborhood. When we first started looking for a Christian school for our kids, we asked around about Calvary Temple. Even 10 years ago, the word on the street was “that’s a cult.” The extreme control was evident even from casual encounters – friends who visited were required to send their kids to the kids’ program (they left the service instead), year-round school limited to CT families only (don’t want our pure children mixing with your kind…), etc.

  67. @ Janet Varin:

    Your reaction seems very healthy to me. If this article were about my former “church” I would feel encouraged by your response. For me, there’s nothing worse than having the truth about your “church” exposed to find that nobody really cares.

  68. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    More like “you don’t see the con until you’re in it too deep to ever back out.”

    This sounds a little similar and might also account for why some people stay in an abusive church far longer than they ought (or why they do anything far longer than they should):

    “How the Sunk Cost Fallacy Makes You Act Stupid”
    http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-makes-you-act-stupid.html

    Here is an example from that site:

    [the fallacy]: 2. “I might as well keep watching this terrible movie because I’ve watched an hour of it already.”

    [response]: … It doesn’t matter that you’ve already invested time into whatever media you are consuming. If you don’t like the movie, you can walk out of it.

    I figure you can substitute certain phrases there to come up with:

    “It doesn’t matter that you’ve already invested time, relationships, and money into “X” church. If you don’t like that church or preacher, you can walk out of that church”

  69. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Genital examinations” — Riiiiiight.
    Like he couldn’t be more obvious?

    I at first thought that too, but after reading several articles about that preacher, it may not be a repressed same sex attraction, but that he has odd ideas about family.

    He supposedly pressured his church members not to have children (including telling women at the church to get abortions IIRC), because he wanted all married couple’s money and time to be directed to his church, and he was afraid if they had kids that their money and time would be spent on kids, not him and his church.

    There very well could be some sexual issues going on with him and the genital examinations, but like I said, after reading several reports about it, there could be other, non-sexual, but very weird rationales behind that, because he has some strange ideas about church, marriages, family, etc.

  70. XianJaneway wrote:

    @ Michelle:
    I hope you will one day tell us your story.

    No, it is not just you.
    My mother has been SBC for well nearly 75 years now, and she is concerned about what is next for the SBC Church she attends.
    The present minister is about 20 months from retirement. And he is right now afraid of his job, so is overly political. Wants to hang on for his pension.
    Her concern is what is next? Who will they get?
    Not a huge church, about 300-400 a service but so many in the church are getting old.
    Who will be attracted to the church and what is the seminary in Ft Worth or actually New Orleans (will probably be where the person comes from ) turning out?
    Are they going to throw the old folks under the bus? Will this be an all ” bells and whistles” / ” dog and pony” show type services?
    Will the ‘ tithe’ be the most important thing?
    She wanted me to join her church to try and fight for a pastor ” worth a hoot.”
    I told her that I just couldn’t do it. While I grew up Baptist, I don’t want to go there….
    It might not have been so bad, but about a week after Mom and I talked about the church, another member of the same church asked me to ” join….and help them out….”
    And in truth, what would I do if I pick a ” loser” of a minster? And in this day….it is a real possibility.

  71. Daisy wrote:

    He supposedly pressured his church members not to have children (including telling women at the church to get abortions IIRC), because he wanted all married couple’s money and time to be directed to his church, and he was afraid if they had kids that their money and time would be spent on kids, not him and his church.

    Pressured parents to abort their kids so the kids wouldn’t siphon money away from Tithing (i.e. Pastor’s Pocket)?
    Effectively abort the kids for Pastor’s own personal monetary gain.
    Now I HAVE heard everything.

  72. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    For me, there’s nothing worse than having the truth about your “church” exposed to find that nobody really cares.

    I wonder if this is the actual (not Pastor’s) meaning of John 3:19 and/or 2 Thess 2:11?
    (And neither of those Biblical one-liners is a complement.)

  73. It’s really funny how CT members are now waving to everyone in the neighborhood, when for the past 10 years they always looked the other way. So please, if you see some funky CT cult member waving, just look the other way. What a joke and hope the Loudoun Co. Sheriffs office doesn’t drop this like they did in the past.

  74. dee wrote:

    @ GovPappy:
    I am quickly coming to the conclusion that anyone can take the Bible, declare their theological bias and make it say whatever they darn well please. I hope to put it all together one of these days.

    And that’s the *massive* problem with basing your morality and your life around a single book like the Bible, that has the power of being “the Word of God”, and thus unquestionable. I’m an atheist (though I was raised in the Assemblies of God), and we often refer to the Bible as the “Big Book of Multiple Choice”. You can justify slavery with the Bible, or you can justify being against slavery. As a document about how to be a moral person, it’s honestly really bad because there are so many mixed messages. Some non-theists will give some lip service to, “Well, Jesus was a moral example, but there’s no evidence that he was God.” – but even he was a jerk in quite a few instances.

    So many of these spiritual abuse situations seem to be made worse by the fact that rather than saying, “What’s right and wrong? What are the facts? Who has caused harm to who?”, the leadership or the perpetrators can wrap people up in Matthew 18 or other issues of “respect for spiritual authority”. These are part of the Bible, so people in the Christian framework have a lot of trouble saying, “Well, maybe the Bible is really crappy at building a dispute resolution framework around…” – when that’s the obvious fact. Church governance is the same way, I think. These guys center power around themselves, point to a few verses, and nobody argues – when if you just took the time to look at things from a secular perspective, you’d see the problems immediately.

  75. Yep, our beloved SBC is definitely on this trajectory.

    I’ve recently questioned leadership of the local SBC with two very specific questions: has this church officially embraced 5 point Calvinism? Is this church connected to the 9Marks organization?

    Those are simple questions for well educated leaders to answer. I’ve yet to get a straight answer. I get replies like “I’m not sure what Calvinism means to you so I cannot answer that.” Or “where did you hear about 9Marks and why would you ask?” Or “we do not like to use labels.”

    In my opinion, leadership knows the answers to those questions. It is a huge red flag that they refuse to simply answer them.

    We’re done.

  76. JohnD wrote:

    I hasten to add that defrauding people of donations to fight nonexistent cancer is NOTHING compared to a man who continually rapes young children for years. That liar is a fraud, this liar is a monster.

    You do know that Mark Driscoll’s naturopath lost his license over pretending he was giving people cancer shots developed with Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2014/10/20/was-mark-driscoll-disqualified-or-wasnt-he-time-to-cut-through-the-bull/

  77. Tex wrote:

    t’s really funny how CT members are now waving to everyone in the neighborhood, when for the past 10 years they always looked the other way.

    Looks like they might be afraid.

  78. Also, for what it’s worth, this guy is far away from the typical Assembly of God church that I grew up in. I mean, they were tongues-talking fundamentalists, which is its own kind of ‘special’, but I don’t recall any of red flags that we see in this article (though I’m sure that abuses have happened at individual AoG churches here and there).

    I think that the main problem is that in fundamentalism, critical thought is never prized in and of itself. You could maybe do some critical thinking in the context of Bible studying and arguing about what verses meant – but critical thought about God, inspiration of the Bible, etc., or just saying, “Hrmm, maybe what the Bible says isn’t actually important.” was never going to be a part of accepted discourse.

  79. okay i have been lurking for a little bit and feel enough courage to comment so go easy please :p one thing i noticed in this story that i do not recall anyone commenting on is the guy who was the pastor at the time pastor ron walrobe who it was that brought him from california ostensibly(unless of course he really did find him at a bus station?)knowing or having some clue as to his prior history and then after awhile had this “vision” in which he says jesus told him to step aside and hand the ministry over, what ever happened to him? and how did he get off the hook for obviously getting it so wrong?

  80. NotARealPerson wrote:

    , what ever happened to him? and how did he get off the hook for obviously getting it so wrong?

    Great question. I will ask those who know the story.

  81. linda wrote:

    “I’m not sure what Calvinism means to you so I cannot answer that.

    Did you know that this is a suggested answer by the Calvinistas on how to get into churches and hide that you are one? I think we wrote a post on this. I will try to find it.

  82. Whoever commented on Calvary Temple members not waving to neighbors reminded me of when I first left Covenant Life Church and had a party that included people from CLC and people from my new church. The CLC people tended to sit and talk together and I think most of my new friends felt slighted. Quite an eye opener.

  83. Well written Brandon. I’ve known you from a little boy and have always admired you. I’m proud of you. You’ve captured everything so well. I didn’t know some of these facts and I was there most of my life.

    It took me a while to recognize the truth. Why, why why… Why did it take so long? It was only my own decision to sit under it. My own decision solely to believe what I heard to be true. Brandon, you hit the nail on the head – you hear stuff over and over and over again and never think it’s not true. Even when the Holy Spirit *Himself* quickens your spirit with warnings, you just push that down until you grieve Him. Choosing this “vision” over God over and over. But God is faithful, waiting for you to truly wait on Him. I believe He is working in the hearts of those there – quickening their spirits. Then…it is their decision. All they have to do it stop going to the meetings. That’s all. Just stop and start living, really living…elsewhere.

    If everyone who really wanted to go, those who are really genuinely uncomfortable with what they frequently hear, those who are troubled with how people are spoken of from the pulpit. If they each one just left, it would be massive. Because there are quite a few people who are troubled within. I know it to be true.

    Now I have a wave of sickness – like a rock in the pit of my stomach. I’m so sad…

  84. Mom!!

    Can I recommend you add the websites Against Calvary Temple and Dear Calvary Temple to your blog list?

  85. Brandon: Thank you for taking this stand against all these abuses and alleged crimes. I hope that awareness will be raised by your protests and that law enforcement will get involved. You are a hero in this pain-filled saga. I applaud all the people standing with you outside of CT.

  86. 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.
    For those of our readers who are not aware, this (or similar) is a giant red flag that you are almost certainly dealing with a cult.

  87. @ Richard:

    “…when if you just took the time to look at things from a secular perspective, you’d see the problems immediately.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    I think this is very true.

    I believe in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit (trying to shed labels & get down to brass tacks here), & go to a church sometimes. In the last several years I’ve removed myself from Christian culture. I feel like I’ve emerged from a stuffy tent and can finally breath fresh & cool air, and at long last can see with crystal clarity what I couldn’t see before.

    Aside from the birth of my kids, it’s been the most amazing, wondrous thing.

  88. Reading the story in the Loudoun Times of the conditions inside this “church” I’m horrified. I’m on the other side of the country but if I were local I’d want to be there standing shoulder to shoulder with those demonstrating against Calvary Temple last week. Please, if you are in the community, ask the leadership of churches in the community to join in, they have a responsibility and cannot stand idly by.

  89. So sad what these families have gone through as a result of this cult. What kind of Godly religion would demand that anyone divorce their parents? Or put someone in a hospital for three weeks due to physical or mental abuse? A lady on the video has grandchildren she may never know who were taken away by this cult. The shunning and breakup of families is sad. Hope these people continue to protest this church. The protests against this cult kind of remind me of similar protests against another cult, Fairhaven Baptist church.

  90. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Vickie wrote:

    Be gentle and loving, kind and supportive to those who find their way out. Truly, they are crawling out of this deepest darkest hole…

    I have some idea of what you all are going through. I’m so sorry for the painful exit experience. I gather most people joined this “church” because they were seeking a deeper walk with the Lord. “Churches” like this usually look appealing on the surface. Like Headless Unicorn Guy wrote, you don’t see the con until you’re deeply invested. And the price to leave is hefty.

    And, it seems, by the time you’re ready to leave, if you’ve been in for any length of time, you’re so beaten down, so well-indoctrinated into the idea that you can’t trust yourself, your instincts, your feelings, that you question your own impulse to leave. And they make it sound as if you’re the one with the problem, and what you really need to do to “leave right” is to “get right” with the church — try harder, in other words — and of course, once you have “gotten right” well then, there’s no reason to leave anymore, is there?

  91. Daisy wrote:

    The preacher of this church sounds pretty bad. He’s up there with this one from Ohio:
    “Report: Ohio pastor accused of genital exams, encouraging abortions”
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/10/14/ernest-angley-akron-church-abuse/17242139/
    “Former church members have reportedly accused Ohio pastor Earnest Angley of performing genital “examinations,” encouraging abortions and vasectomies, and even arranging a marriage between a congregant and a convicted child molester.”
    I guess you really need to keep your eyes open every time you go looking for a new church. There are a lot of control freaks, weirdos, and sexual predators out there in churches.

    Sounds like this story I remember reading here some time ago:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/18/the-real-doug-wilson-encouraged-presided-over-the-marriage-of-serial-pedophile/

  92. Muff Potter wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    Personal visions of Jesus in setting up this ‘church’ and living as though we are still under the law of Moses. Two warnings that to me alone spell trouble.
    Calvary Chapel and its affiliates are set up under the ‘Moses Model’ to this day. It was originally designed that way by Papa Chuck way back in the day when he captured the hearts and minds of the Southern Calif. beach culture.

    Calvary Chapel? Not associated with Calvary Temple, I assume?

  93. I’m glad you are out of there, Brandon but please let us know what happened to Joe. I hope he had friends to go to that snowy night and that he is ok now. I am horrified that such things can happen in the 21st century.

  94. dee wrote:

    @ GovPappy:
    I am quickly coming to the conclusion that anyone can take the Bible, declare their theological bias and make it say whatever they darn well please. I hope to put it all together one of these days.
    The other day, a man told me that a pastor was correct in telling me his pastor will not let women who were abused remarry. They must live their life in singleness and hope their husband will repent.
    i asked him how his pastor came to his conclusion. he said “The Word of God.” I said “others read the Word of God differently so how does he know?”
    he said ” Well, he is the pastor.” Me- “So why do pastors disagree with one another.” he: “mine knows what he is talking about.”
    I take the Bible seriously and yet I know that there re things that are confusing and not clear. One thing I do know is clear. Child sex abuse by pastors and leaders is an abomination.

    Dee, I agree with you. It seems that everyone believes they are “right” and they have Scriptures to “prove” it, yet so many come to diametrically opposed conclusions. So how can they all be “right”?

  95. @ So Sad:
    Thank you for reaching out to Brandon.

    Please do not be too hard on yourself. Many, many people get taken in by these ministries. We all want to serve God and seek to find the right way to do it. This blog is dedicated to outlining abusive behavior to help people to see how to avoid such pastors, etc.

  96. Pam Palmer wrote:

    You are a hero in this pain-filled saga. I applaud all the people standing with you outside of CT.

    This comment is from one hero to another!

  97. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    For those of our readers who are not aware, this (or similar) is a giant red flag that you are almost certainly dealing with a cult.

    Thank you for pointing this out. I do think it is a red flag as well.

  98. elastigirl wrote:

    I feel like I’ve emerged from a stuffy tent and can finally breath fresh & cool air, and at long last can see with crystal clarity what I couldn’t see before.

    I am so happy for you. In the past week, I have met and talked with three people, committed Christians, who have done the same thing.

  99. Bill M wrote:

    Please, if you are in the community, ask the leadership of churches in the community to join in, they have a responsibility and cannot stand idly by.

    There is an unwritten rule amongst conservative pastors. “Thou shall not diss another pastor.” They protect themselves first and foremost.

    In the six years of writing this blog, I have rarely seen any pastor ever mention the victims of child sex abuse within their own community.

  100. Mark wrote:

    The protests against this cult kind of remind me of similar protests against another cult, Fairhaven Baptist church

    What do you know about this church? Where is it located?

  101. refugee wrote:

    And they make it sound as if you’re the one with the problem, and what you really need to do to “leave right” is to “get right” with the church — try harder, in other words — and of course, once you have “gotten right” well then, there’s no reason to leave anymore, is there?

    You are so right. If you haven’t already done so, please read The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse,

    http://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Power-Spiritual-Abuse-Manipulation/dp/0764201379/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428499594&sr=8-1&keywords=the+subtle+power+of+spiritual+abuse

  102. refugee wrote:

    Not associated with Calvary Temple,

    Correct! Well, at least in affiliation. There are some similarities in certain interpretations of Scripture.

  103. Tina wrote:

    Dee, I agree with you. It seems that everyone believes they are “right” and they have Scriptures to “prove” it, yet so many come to diametrically opposed conclusions. So how can they all be “right”?

    They can’t and that is a major problem for everybody. We have John Piper who says no one can ever marry again after being divorced, even for adultery of a spouse. We have Mark Dever who will not let people take communion if they believe in infant baptism. We have Presbyterians who will not let people take communion if they do not baptize infants. Everyone is convinced they are 100% correct.

    There needs to be a big dose of reality and humility injected into our understanding.

  104. @ Tex:
    I think it’s important to remember that the people who attend(ed) CT are fully loved by God. They are probably hurt, confused, etc. and need others to help them out. I mean that literally: help them get out of CT. Shunning them is likely to push them to cling tighter to what they know, rather than risk leaving.

  105. Anyone who is local to Calvary Temple: There is a facebook group (Expose Calvary Temple) and a website (exposecalvarytemple.com) that will have information on protests should you wish to participate. There’s one coming up this Saturday (April 11, noon-4pm).

  106. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    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.

    Just like L Ron Hubbard and Kim Jong-Il.

    Except that at Calvary Temple, they’re not etching Scott’s priceless words on titanium plates and sealing them up in an atomic bomb-proof vault. At least, not yet.

    And perhaps never, since Scott would probably have to sell a few precious race cars to pay for that.

  107. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Except that at Calvary Temple, they’re not etching Scott’s priceless words on titanium plates and sealing them up in an atomic bomb-proof vault. At least, not yet.

    Any plans for a HUGE mansion (bigger than Furtick’s) surrounded by a ring of gun emplacements?

  108. dee wrote:

    We have John Piper who says no one can ever marry again after being divorced, even for adultery of a spouse. We have Mark Dever who will not let people take communion if they believe in infant baptism. We have Presbyterians who will not let people take communion if they do not baptize infants. Everyone is convinced they are 100% correct.

    And they do NOT hang out together.
    The Universe cannot have two centers.

  109. dee wrote:

    There is an unwritten rule amongst conservative pastors. “Thou shall not diss another pastor.” They protect themselves first and foremost.

    “These five Kings said one to another:
    ‘King unto King o’er the world is Brother’…”
    — G.K.Chesterton, “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon”

    also op cit “The Code of Blue” cited by abusive mini-Moses (Bob Greiner and Tony Jones) who made sure to become Police Chaplains.

  110. dee wrote:

    There is an unwritten rule amongst conservative pastors. “Thou shall not diss another pastor.” They protect themselves first and foremost.

    Sigh, unfortunately you likely are correct. At 60+ in age I’ve found similar, pastors don’t appear willing or able to police a bad actor in their own denomination let alone in a different franchise.

    I don’t want to malign the whole lot, there are many good men and women in leadership but far too many should take Matthew 23 to heart.

  111. @ dee:
    To add – as an engineer I’ve found the state engineering review board doesn’t police engineers. You also shouldn’t take a complaint about medical treatment to the AMA.

    Granted, I’m speaking in generalities, but people don’t police their own, unfortunately pastors included.

  112. @ Bill M:

    You should take your complaint about medical treatment to the state licensing board of where the physician is licensed. This is not the job of the AMA. Quite a few physicians are disciplined in my state all the time. Which makes me mad of course, because if we can do it then pastors can/should.

  113. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    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.
    For those of our readers who are not aware, this (or similar) is a giant red flag that you are almost certainly dealing with a cult.

    There has been a lot of that urging people to take their kids out of public school, but not always from cults. When and where I was young there were lots of catholic schools associated with catholic churches and some people complained that they were under a lot of pressure at church to send their children to catholic schools. IMO the church had legitimate reasons for this at the time and that this was not a cult. And those schools have tended to be top notch academically right on.

    Today there are a lot of problems with the public schools in behavior management, curriculum choice, teaching methodology (math right now), and at some schools here in my district there is on campus crime and some violence. Private including religious schools are staying open even in this recession. Two of my grandchildren are in private religious schools, one catholic and one lutheran. Again, nothing cult going on with either group at either place.

    So, yes, it might be a red flag in some situations, but I would hate to see private schools lumped together and warned against as a group.

  114. Bill M wrote:

    Granted, I’m speaking in generalities, but people don’t police their own, unfortunately pastors included.

    And this why people get hurt. They expect their pastors to live up to a higher standard and are often taken aback when they find out that pastors can do some pretty bad things.

    Folks: Your pastor is a sinner just like you. Do not trust that they are somehow better than the average Joe.

  115. Nancy wrote:

    Quite a few physicians are disciplined in my state all the time

    One of my light reading interested is reading the revocations, discipline, etc. of the monthly NC medical news letter. My husband and I often discuss the various incidents reported.

  116. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Pressured parents to abort their kids so the kids wouldn’t siphon money away from Tithing (i.e. Pastor’s Pocket)?

    Yes, that is the way it was explained in the articles I read. He was afraid if married couples had kids, the parents would spend all their time and money on their kids, not on him and his church.

    This is unusual, because many conservative Protestant churches neglect the childless and singles by harping on “family,” and pushing marriage and procreation constantly. This guy from the Ohio church was the opposite – he was okay with marriage, but took exception to couples having children.

  117. Hah … they used to chase my son away and even threatened him once. The irony is my son grew older and became a mechanic. He worked on one of Star’s vehicles and was personally invited to look at his fleet. My son said he was a very nice pastor and was really cool having eight $100K+ sports cars parked in his garage. I warned him to stay away from that place and think god that he did.

  118. @ Tex:

    The groupthink that takes place in cults like CT can be pretty bizarre. When they are expected to treat outsiders as beneath them they do. But, in my experience, when a crisis necessitates that they elicit support, they can be disarmingly friendly. It’s a PR move. Some of these members are probably not even aware that they have been manipulated to behave this way. It’s very frustrating to outsiders experiencing the mercurial changes, and it’s very sad.

  119. A little bit of synchronicity on the subject:

    Over Easter weekend, I attended a My Little Pony fan convention near San Fran, and one of the highlights was a special screening of the new Season 5 premiere.

    IT WAS ABOUT A CULT, set up in an isolated town far off in the ponies’ land. And for a show targeted for six-year-old girls, they didn’t pull any punches. The love-bombing, the conformity, the “discipline”, the brainwashing, the Cult Leader’s Special Privileges at the expense of the rank-and-file cult members. Even the appeal of a utopian cult to someone who’s been bullied and (implied) abused in the past and seeks safety.

    And the most important — the hero(ine)s come in expecting a terrible monster, and what they find is a letdown, just a unicorn mare. Who IS the “terrible monster” — a cult leader who is really skilled at camouflaging what she really is. Until she makes her move and has the hero(ine)s in her power. (The first half actually parallels the runup to the Jonestown Massacre, with the hero(ine)s in the role of the Congressional fact-finding trip to Jonestown making contact with dissidents who want out, at which point all hell breaks loose.)

    A bit of foolish things (like cartoon ponies) confounding the wise (like these pastor-dictators), making an impression on kids who might later find themselves in a cult recruitment situation?

  120. @ dee:

    Tina: “…yet so many come to diametrically opposed conclusions. So how can they all be “right”?”

    Dee: “They can’t and that is a major problem for everybody. We have John Piper who says no one can ever marry again after being divorced, even for adultery of a spouse. We have Mark Dever who will not let people take communion if they believe in infant baptism. We have Presbyterians who will not let people take communion if they do not baptize infants. Everyone is convinced they are 100% correct.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What comes to mind is a song from the ’70s by Jamie Owens Collins called “Charity”.

    The final line of the chorus is “Jesus, reduce me to love”

    I really like that. With regard to myself, christian culture and instituational church, boil off all the ideological gobbledeeguk, keep cooking down until all the character clutter has evaporated.

    I actually really dislike the word “love” — so often it’s either devoid of meaning, or else distorted by too much meaning (people tether their ideas to the love train to try to sell their self-serving agenda, because ‘love’ sells).

    i’d much prefer singing “Jesus, reduce me to treatingotherpeoplethewayIwanttobetreateeeeeeeeeddddddddddddd”

  121. Dee–yes, I knew that Calvinistas teach their people to obfuscate. In fact, I had just read a form letter on line detailing how those involved with SGM and 9Marks (both) should respond. Lo and behold, opened my email to find it right there.

    It isn’t a hard question. It isn’t a trick question. Shoot, if I asked the local Nazarene pastor if he is or isn’t Wesleyan he would know. Or, since that denom is not dispensational but many of the people and pastors are, I could ask that. I sure would expect someone with two master’s degrees from seminary to know the answer as to their personal opinion OR what the official stance of their church is.

    To us, the bland “no idea” answer WAS a chilling answer.

  122. @ elastigirl:
    that is a *very* good song, and one of the few that I still remember from the era.

    “If I have not charity / if love does not flow from me / I am nothing / Jesus, reduce me to love”

  123. @ Nancy:
    The good parochial schools are still good, but you must take into consideration that lots of religious who had NO calling to teach and no aptitude for it were thrown into classrooms with little kids. They had no say in the matter, and a lot of those kids (now middle-aged people) were seriously harmed in the process.

    Most parochial HSs and Jr HSs that operated back when I was young enough to go to them were not like that (most were exceptional), but the elementary schools had the good, the bad and the ugly as far as religious who taught there. Sadly, for so many.

  124. dee wrote:

    I really appreciate it when you make comments that compare evangelical abuse to Scientology. It helps me to see how the theology that allows this is not related to the Bible whatsoever. It’s just some guy making stuff up.

    I’m glad it’s helpful. And you’re right, it’s just some guy making stuff up. One comment I’ve heard from ex-Scientologists and people who have listened to Hubbard’s bloviations (there are literally hundreds of hours) is how you just KNOW he’s making this stuff up, but he can be charming and entertaining and he holds out the promise of eternal life plus getting rid of your problems in this life. So you keep listening and you get sucked in. I’d be curious to find out from ex-Calvary Temple people if Star Scott is like that.

  125. @ mirele:

    “but he can be charming and entertaining and he holds out the promise of eternal life plus getting rid of your problems in this life. So you keep listening and you get sucked in”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    not wholly unlike many Christian pastors/speakers/church environments.

  126. @ linda:

    “In fact, I had just read a form letter on line detailing how those involved with SGM and 9Marks (both) should respond”
    +++++++++++

    that would make for some interesting reading. Can you tell me how to get to it?

  127. “This guy’s got a nice collection of some really hot exotic sports cars! And he’s a pastor! Maybe I should visit his church sometime!”

    I can’t help to think that at least a few of the (current or former) members of CT were initially drawn in by Scott’s “racing ministry” (likely *allegedly* funded by tithes.) My middle school science teacher did the same thing, so fast cars are a draw for a certain subset of the population. Of course, once they’re in, the brainwashing, indoctrination, and abuse starts.

    I think it’s high time this “Star” began to fall.

  128. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ken wrote:

    Personal revelations nearly always seem to end up in cultic behaviour, not least because if God gives you a revelation, it cannot be questioned and doesn’t need to be authenticated.

    On this side of the Tiber, cults like the Baysiders and Hill of Hopers started with Personal Revelations (always from Mary and always pushing Tridentine Latin Mass). When Catholics flake out, it’s usually personal-revelation Mary Channeling. (And with a 2000-year historic trace, you can rack up a LOT of flakes.)

    That said, the Church’s official position on private revelations is if authentic, they are binding ONLY on the person receiving the private revelation. Others may follow the private revelation on a voluntary basis, but this is Not repeat NOT required.

    And a very good policy that is. It limits the spread of belief in such things, or at least slows it down…..And yet, look at all the “true believers”!! (One book I once read described how Mary appeared to the author, & told him to leave his wife & marry his secretary. Apparently, his wife had objected to his keeping up two households……..Needless to say, that was the end of me & reading that piece of hogwash).

  129. AnonInNC wrote:

    I think it’s high time this “Star” began to fall.

    I wonder if ‘Star’ is his given name or if he changed it to accommodate his self image?

  130. elastigirl:

    I don’t have the link as I was web browsing. But several things will get you started. I’m pretty sure it was chasing links from the 9Marks website. I think I remember it as being in one of the blogs on the right hand side. I think it was tied in to “wrong reasons to leave a church.” If I get time today and find the link I WILL come back and post it.

    Also the issue has been covered here at TWW. Dee, did you find and post that link?

    You can find the ideas, but not a letter to send to errant church members, simply by googling “stealth Calvinists.” You will get their own ideas and you will find many testimonies of people who have had their churches taken over.

    You can also check the archives at SBCVoices. Sometimes despite being Calvinists they have some really good stuff. But they also have some really abysmal stuff, especially in the comment stream. You can find out PDQ what Calvinist preachers think of anyone in the pew who disagrees with them.

  131. Ok–tracked back through my computer on history. I state upfront I plan to do a thorough scan of my computer later today as it is running slowly. So there is the theoretical chance the letter is still up and I cannot open it.

    But I did find that I was chasing links from founders.org. It would either have been at that website or on a blog from there.

  132. mirele wrote:

    One comment I’ve heard from ex-Scientologists and people who have listened to Hubbard’s bloviations (there are literally hundreds of hours) is how you just KNOW he’s making this stuff up, but he can be charming and entertaining and he holds out the promise of eternal life plus getting rid of your problems in this life.

    I first saw clips of Elron’s bloviations in that recent HBO documentary. I was impressed by his public-speaking voice; the man had quite a presence and sounded very persuasive. I can see how he was able to start a cult.

    My roomie pointed out several pics of early Elron had a subtle “I put one over on you!” facial expression (as opposed to pics of Miscavage, whose expressions always came across as “dangerous psychopath”). He figured Elron started Scientology as a flat-out con job (“If you want to make a million dollars, start your own religion”) and as it went on came to believe his own PR — like that old Twilight Zone episode or the Tragedian in “The Great Divorce”, he wore the mask so long one day it became his face.

    In the process, OTIII/Xenu and the past-life treasure hunt in the Med sounded like he was also into a “Can I Top This? How Crazy Can I Get Them To Believe?” before Elron The True Believer took over and “I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own!” locked in permanently.

  133. Bridget wrote:

    AnonInNC wrote:

    I think it’s high time this “Star” began to fall.

    I wonder if ‘Star’ is his given name or if he changed it to accommodate his self image?

    In the Bible, isn’t “Star” an idiom for “Angel”?
    As in “Stars Falling from Heaven” for Fallen Angels?

  134. linda wrote:

    To us, the bland “no idea” answer WAS a chilling answer.

    “I KNOW NOTHINK! NOTHINK!”
    — Sgt Schultz

  135. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    Personal revelations nearly always seem to end up in cultic behaviour, not least because if God gives you a revelation, it cannot be questioned and doesn’t need to be authenticated.
    On this side of the Tiber, cults like the Baysiders and Hill of Hopers started with Personal Revelations (always from Mary and always pushing Tridentine Latin Mass). When Catholics flake out, it’s usually personal-revelation Mary Channeling. (And with a 2000-year historic trace, you can rack up a LOT of flakes.)
    That said, the Church’s official position on private revelations is if authentic, they are binding ONLY on the person receiving the private revelation. Others may follow the private revelation on a voluntary basis, but this is Not repeat NOT required.

    Thank you for sharing this. The RCC is sensible concerning personal revelation.

  136. OK, ran the scan and cannot find diddly now. Can someone else tell me if the founders.org website is down, if it has been down for ages and I was looking in the wrong files, or if it is just me that cannot open any of their links now.

  137. @ elastigirl:
    The Founders site is down! I just checked it. However, others had commented on it. Here is one:

    http://theaquilareport.com/documents-related-to-how-to-smoke-out-a-calvinistic-pastor-in-your-church/

    Tendency to be evasive about their theology during the pastor search process. They will say things like: “I believe and preach the historic doctrines of Southern Baptists just like many of the great Baptist preaches or the past.” Many laymen will be satisfied in hearing the statement, “I believe and preach the Bible”. Without more intense questioning, the committee will not be fulfilling the sacred duty their church entrusted to them.

  138. Tina wrote:

    Dee, I agree with you. It seems that everyone believes they are “right” and they have Scriptures to “prove” it, yet so many come to diametrically opposed conclusions. So how can they all be “right”?

    That really is the questions, isn’t it, Tina? I would love to hear any other responses to your comment. God Bless You.

  139.   __

    “Declare the bible fantasy and be done with it?”

    hmmm…

    The miracles of the holy scriptures were published that they might produce saving faith in the individual heart who hear them…

    Have saving faith today, – believe on the Lord Jesus and be ye refreshed by streams of living water…

    ATB

    Sopy

    @ elisabetta

  140.   __

    “Refreshment Now!”

    hmmm…

    The faith which the scriptures produced bring Christ into greater prominence. Believe and enjoy Him today! Out of your heart will flow streams of living water…

    Blessings!

    Sopy

  141. elisabetta wrote:

    I would love to hear any other responses to your comment.

    @ Tina:

    Here is where I am today on this subject. No one disagrees that we have a Creator God, a sin problem, a solution through the Cross and Resurrection, and a promise that one day all will be made right.

    My salvation occurred at the very moment I said I believe and my life took a turn. It was evident immediately although I knew nothing of the Bible and I really mean nothing.

    I believe the Bible is clear on some points in which it must be clear. The rest of the stuff is secondary which, unfortunately many people raise to primary status.

    If God really want it to be clear, it would be clear.

  142. mirele wrote:

    I’m glad it’s helpful. And you’re right, it’s just some guy making stuff up. One comment I’ve heard from ex-Scientologists and people who have listened to Hubbard’s bloviations (there are literally hundreds of hours) is how you just KNOW he’s making this stuff up, but he can be charming and entertaining and he holds out the promise of eternal life plus getting rid of your problems in this life. So you keep listening and you get sucked in. I’d be curious to find out from ex-Calvary Temple people if Star Scott is like that.

    As an ex-CTer, I would say that Bob Scott a.k.a. Star Scott, is sort of like Hubbard, but I think that congregants attend most services because of the sanctioned gossip spoken by Bob Scott from the pulpit…who will he target next? Who’s story will he twist from the pulpit, but not use names…he gives just enough of the story so that every other person sitting there thinks that either he is talking about them, or he is talking about someone else and they breathe a sigh of relief. They keep going back service after service to find out what the next drama is. Who is being marked next? Who is bitter? Who is rebellious? It is all about control for Bob Scott. He can’t control a lot of us who have left, but he can control those within…and he does it masterfully.

  143. dee wrote:

    I am quickly coming to the conclusion that anyone can take the Bible, declare their theological bias and make it say whatever they darn well please.

    I do it all the time and am one of the few who will admit to it.
    ===> (smiley face goes here)

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

  144. Bridget wrote:

    @ ex-CTer:
    That is sad. Do you happen to know how SS went from Bob to Star?

    @Bridget
    He is still Star Scott, or Star Robert Scott, or Star R. Scott, and I believe there are occasions when Star is spelled with two r’s…but supposedly his “friends” call him Bob. I have a hard time calling him Star…it actually makes me feel queasy. I also like “BS” short for something else, and representative of the majority of what comes out of his mouth. Not “bitter” just speaking the truth.

  145. @ Richard:
    I see what you’re saying. As a Christian myself, I was raised to see every line of Scripture as prescriptive to my life. I now do not believe that that is its purpose. The evidence is contrary. Paul says it is written for our learning, not necessarily obeying. There’s plenty of truths in the Old Testament, but it’s not to be taken as commands in spite of common sense and moral decency.

    I believe I know what God wanted to communicate to man – it’s embodied in His Son and what he did for us on the cross. That is the central, pivotal account of Scripture. I believe that partly from Scripture, and partly from history. Undue focus on anything else tends to lead to abuse. Morality? I can get that anywhere with some common sense, including Scripture, but not just Scripture. I think I stand with CS Lewis in “The Abolition of Man” and what he describes as “The Tao”. I hope in your quest for truth anywhere it is found, God leads you to his Son. That’s a bit of my worldview. ;-]

  146. linda wrote:

    OK, ran the scan and cannot find diddly now. Can someone else tell me if the founders.org website is down, if it has been down for ages and I was looking in the wrong files, or if it is just me that cannot open any of their links now.

    Julie Anne over at Spiritual Sounding Board takes screen shots of websites in hot topics before they are taken down, and she has taught the rest of us to do the same. I’d recommend you also take screen shots.

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  148. @ ex-CTer:
    You are exactly right. The years I sat in CT, I always looked forward to going to the service when I knew we were in the midst of some drama.

  149. ex-CTer wrote:

    I would say that Bob Scott a.k.a. Star Scott, is sort of like Hubbard, but I think that congregants attend most services because of the sanctioned gossip spoken by Bob Scott from the pulpit…who will he target next?

    They keep going back service after service to find out what the next drama is.

    i.e. “JUICY! JUICY! JUICY!”

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  151. Gosh…As a guy that knew Ron Walrobe (who has been dead for quite a while now), I hate to see his name get caught up in this. He may not be your cup of tea but I will tell you this… he is no Star Scott. I’ll take Ron in my foxhole any day of the week. I would like to know if the authors account is complete or just regurgitated from Scott.

  152. What makes me the most mad is when we-(a bunch of church members) were honored to tear out and replace his driveway, 3-4 feet of mud having to drain the water. To save money, we are going to do this on our own (members taking vacation days and sick days) while he went on 5 star hotel vacations.

  153. same here-yet where was the teaching of gossip. The flesh really doesn’t change.Ellen wrote:

    @ ex-CTer:
    You are exactly right. The years I sat in CT, I always looked forward to going to the service when I knew we were in the midst of some drama.

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