Akia and The Prophet of Kings Kingdom Ministries: Reckoning Comes to an African American Church #metoo #churchtoo


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“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain


What is this story about?

Akia began attending Kings Kingdom Ministry to seek spiritual guidance and direction from the Prophet whose teachings and ministries she admired. Instead, she alleges that she was manipulated by the Prophet to enter into a sexual relationship as well as to give money and take out loans to benefit the Prophet and Kings Kingdom Ministries. She courageously comes forward in the hopes that other women who have experienced similar pain will know that they are not alone.

Before I tell her story, I believe that the following information will help readers to understand that abuse of women is found in all types of churches and ministries and that clergy abuse and manipulation is a direct violation of Scripture. Luke 17:1-3 NIV

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.

Sexual abuse and domestic violence of women in the African American church.

This blog started out discussing abuse in the US evangelical church. As times has progressed, we have added abuse stories coming out of Australia and the UK as well as USA mainline churches. It has always been a hope of mine that TWW could tell the stories of abuse coming out of the broader African American church. I have received calls from time to time but in most cases the women were afraid to tell their stories on a public forum.

This post is not pointing the finger at the African American church. For 10 years my finger has been pointing firmly in the direction of the mostly white evangelical community in the US. There are people who take advantage of the faithful to be found in every denomination, religious expression, church and ministry in the world. Such people go where there is money and trusting people to be had.

There is a reason for concern for the well being of women in the African American church which is well outlined in A nascent #ChurchToo movement could improve gender equality in the black church written by Susan Bell. This features the work of Najuma Smith-Pollard, a pastor and program manager with the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC Dornsife’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

The author points to widespread sexual and physical abuse of women in the black church. I highlighted a  portion of the quoted article for emphasis.

Like #MeToo, the nascent #ChurchToo movement is starting to mobilize and empower women to address long histories of abuse. Smith-Pollard says concerns are growing in the African-American church that #ChurchToo will reveal widespread sexual and physical abuse of women within the black church — revelations that, as they ripple out across congregations, could be devastating for many church communities and their leaders.

Noting that the African-American church has traditionally been a man’s place, she pointed out that during slavery, a black church was the only place a black man could enjoy respect and authority. For women, it was a different story: The African-American church has long been a place of great suppression and oppression of women, including abuse and sexual assault, Smith-Pollard said.

And yet, it is female parishioners who invest most heavily in their church, she noted. Frequently the backbone of their congregations, women far outnumber men, devoting time, money and faith into a community that often plays a huge social and spiritual role in their lives. The knowledge that their church could potentially be destroyed by a report of abuse, Smith-Pollard noted, has historically caused many women to remain silent.

Not only is there the fear they will not be believed — an almost universal concern for women in any circumstances when reporting sexual abuse —  but, perhaps even more troubling for many is the idea of coming out with a serious complaint against their own spiritual leader.

What is clergy abuse?

Perhaps it is easier to back into this by first looking at the broader counseling community. Many people are under the mistaken impression that a sexual relationship between two adults should be viewed as consensual behavior. In fact, it is not. A person seeking counseling is vulnerable, dealing with a myriad issues for which they seek help.

The counselor has an unfair power advantage in the relationship. In fact, most experts say that sexual relationships in such situations is not about sex but about power. Abusive therapists who hold power and authority over a client are in position to manipulate a vulnerable client. In most states, such actions can lead to forfeiture of a counseling license and in some cases the counselor may be subject to prosecution.

What happens when a pastor, prophet, or bishop undertakes a sexual relationship with a person who comes seeking spiritual support and guidance? It is an unjust, unethical and unbiblical action that can have lifelong implications for the victim who trusted this spiritual guide. So many victims walk away from the faith, feeling like they were being used. And they were. Pastors and prophets should have higher standards than secular society. Sadly, their standards can be far lower.

What is even more concerning is that there are predators out there who prey on the faithful in order to gain money and sex. They hide behind the Bible in order to coverup their actual motivation. It can be difficult to determine who is a real spiritual leader and who is pretending to be a spiritual leader.

One only needs to look at the furor surrounding Tullian Tchividjian’s numerous affairs to see how the public, in general, perceives such behavior. Here is one of many article discussing clergy sexual abuse: What is clergy sexual abuse and how does it happen?

In Akia’s story, not only was there alleged sexual manipulation but alleged monetary manipulation as well. Money and sex are the key ingredients for a disaster. This is the ministry in which Akia entered in order to receive God’s strength, guidance and blessings. Instead, she experienced pain and rejection.

Understanding Kings Kingdom Ministries.

Here is a Link to the home page of Kings Kingdom Ministries. Prophet Eric Okauru is a handsome, charismatic leader who is called The Prophet by the members of the ministry. He styes himself as a financial mentor who wishes to help those involved in his ministry to rise out of poverty. As the old saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”

His ministry is based in Raleigh, NC and also in NYC. Akia believes he is expanding the ministry to Dallas, as well. According to her, his title, the Prophet, means that he is at a higher level than a pastor and has special prophetic gifts.

The primary ministry, according to Akia, appears to be the Prayer Line which can be found on the home page of the ministry.

Note that it claims if you call in, you will receive a prophetic word which is from The Prophet himself. Although calling into the line is free, the suggestions on how to improve one’s life may involve proving one’s devotion by offering a *seed* which involves money. It is believed that the sewing of the seed seals the prophecy itself.

I attempted to reach the ministry for comment. Akia does not know how to view an accounting of the money coming in and going out of the ministry. I had hoped to hear from the Prophet in order to ask him about financial disclosures prior to posting. I left a message stating that I would be posting a story about the Prophet and his relationship with a woman. As of posting, there has been no reply.

Prophet Eric Okauru has multiple websites which discuss his interest in financial management.

Here are a few websites under the name of Eric Okauru. These all appear to be the Prophet Eric. There may be more.

  1. Eric Okauru’s WordPress website link

On this website, he does not list himself as the Prophet. Here is what he says about himself.

Eric Okauru, an internationally known pastor, leadership mentor, prophet, and author, operates Raleigh, NC-based Kings Kingdom Ministries as founder and overseer. During his work as a spiritual leader, he has presided over wedding ceremonies, delivered sermons, and led worship services, and does his best to live a life that encourages worship and spiritual insight. Eric Okauru spends much of his time praying, reading, and thinking about the Gospel in NC, and seeks to encourage that same mindfulness in those who follow him.

Eric Okauru also helps those who seek change in their approach to their financial and monetary issues.

2. Eric Okauru – Pastor in Raleigh, NC website link.

On this website he does not refer to himself as the Prophet. Once again, he discusses his financial ministry.

In addition to his responsibilities as a pastor, Mr. Okauru combines his spiritual leadership and prophetic gifts with a financial wisdom that he passes on to members of his church through a financial management mentorship program. The multi-phase program focuses on changing the individual’s fundamental relationship to finances and money management and includes strategies for setting financial goals, identifying ways of generating revenue, and developing a comprehensive savings and investment program. Over the years, Mr. Okauru has helped many members of his church escape the cycle of poverty.

   3.  Eric Okauru at Medium link

In this article, written by the Prophet, he discusses his financial and spritual background and touts his spiritual gifts assessment tool.

Akia’s story involves allegations of sexual and monetary manipulation by the Prophet.

Akia contacted me after reading about what I do at TWW in Washington Post. Akia asked for my help in telling her story with the hope that other women within the ministry would begin to come forward with their own stories  She has said this to me in every conversation that I have had with her and I believe her.

She travelled to Raleigh to meet with my face to face and as s we talked I found myself admiring her willingness to bravely tell her story. She is a professional woman who lives in another state.

The following is a timeline with an overview of Akia’s involvement with The Prophet

  • June 2015: She was first introduced to Kings Kingdom Ministries and called the Prayer Line on 7/15/2015 was able to speak to The Prophet and received a prophecy.
  • October 2015: The Prophet travelled to her home state for a prophetic service and ordained her as a minister in the church.
  • Money given before May 2017: He specifically instructed her to sow $5,000, $3,000 and other seeds to deal with various spiritual issues in her life, which she did promptly and without hesitation-she took out loans to sow the majority of these seeds.
  • April 2017: This is when she had her first sexual encounter with The Prophet in NYC while he was there to perform a prophetic service.
  • May 2017: The violent seed:  She traveled to Raleigh, NC to see the Prophet at his invitation. She had been to NC before for church but not to see the Prophet alone. While there, “he told me that he had a vision about my foundation and things that were being done to me spiritually and that I needed to sow a violent seed of $10,000.”
  • May 2017 (the next day after the above prophecy) ” I called the bank and applied for a loan, deposited the money into the Prophet’s account later that week when I got back home!”
  • Over the next two years (until 2019): Her sexual relationship with the Prophet continued. She traveled to NC several times to spend time with the Prophet and would join him whenever he traveled to various conventions the church would hold, especially in NYC. She would be present as a Minister of the church but she would also spend time in the Prophet’s room.
  • April 2018: The prophet convinced her to find a way to give him $50,000  “Wouldn’t you like to get to the place where money is not an issue and that you can have money anytime you want to travel” or something along those lines, she reports. He  told her that this was her opportunity and that $50,000 is what was needed-ask my dad, or whoever was necessary.  She asked no questions as she trusted him completely as a spiritual advisor and guide. That conversation took place on a Sunday and on Monday she called the bank and applied for a $50K loan. She was approved for $45K from her bank within 48hrs and transferred it via wire to the Prophet’s account. She took out a loan against her 401K to make up the other $5,000, which she gave in the form of a check to the Prophet in Statesville, SC where they were for a church convention.
  • She was regularly told to wait for the unexpected  *return on her investment* over the next year.
  • Relationship manipulation?
    She believed that he was hinting that he was going to marry her. On one occasion when  she was with him, he called his ex wife and put her on speaker phone. He appeared to want Akia to hear that his ex wife say that he had been a good husband and father.
    The Prophet prophesied to many people on the prayer line about marriage, even giving names of the coming spouse, where they would meet them even the month they would be married.  Whenever she would ask about her own marriage, his response would be something along the lines of: “It’s a secret because the person is so great, if you know who God has for you, you’d just be patient because it’s so big!” Whenever he would tell her this, she believed he was speaking about himself, otherwise he wouldn’t be so secretive about who her husband would be. She thought he was just waiting for the right time to reveal it to the church.
  • April 2019: She invited a friend to become part of the prayer line.
  • May 2019: She began to worry about this friend being a part of the ministry since her friend was now being called on to give money (not including required tithes.) Within the course of 3 weeks she had already given almost $1,000 to the ministry. The Prophet calls for seeds daily on the prayer line and the prayer line is on twice a day.  She mentioned her concern to the Prophet.
  • Later in May: They had a conversation in which she brought up marriage. It was intense and he said he didn’t want to be married again. He allegedly claimed that if he wanted to be married to her, he would’ve done it already. He also claimed that he didn’t have a relationship with her.
  • Was this a threat by the Prophet? “I don’t remember what I said to him, but I remember him saying to me,”You don’t know how powerful I am, I can make some things happen”  – which I now believe was a threat (physically and spiritually).”
  • The following Sunday: She went to church and he called her at her hotel and spoke to her for 3 hours. He appeared to be verbally coercive, forcing her to take responsibility for *everything.* “I basically said he was right, he never wanted marriage, I was the one who developed expectation, etc. I realize now he may have been recording the conversation, which is why he was speaking the way he was. His tone was always very calm, very collected, never displaying emotion”
  • Monday: A friend in the church alleged that the Prophet was known to have other sexual relationships and that some women had left the church quietly.
  • The Prophet was upset when he heard that she had confessed her relationship with him to another person. “He said I had now given this person power over him, among other things I can’t remember.  He made sure I understood there was nothing between us.  I kept apologizing and asking him to forgive me, because I felt that if he could see I meant no malice that we would continue our relationship, he was probably just upset in the moment.”
  • In 2018, it is alleged that another woman confessed her relationship with the Prophet and was required to leave the church.
  • Since that last conversation in May, she has spoken with the Prophet on two occasions. The first conversation was to ask him to repay the $50K loan. The second time she was contacted by the Prophet who reminded her that she was an adult and that they had a consensual relationship.
  • She intends to leave the ministry after she tells her story,

Here are some screen shots of texts from Akia’s phone. The one with the picture is from The Prophet.

Final summation:

I believe that Akia is telling the truth. I also believe that she is telling this story for a selfless reason. She believes that other women impacted by this ministry have similar stories to tell.

I can see their hurt.

She wants them to know that they are not alone. She gave her love and money because she believed that the Prophet cared about her long-term spiritual well-being. She believed he was looking out for her when he allegedly asked her to find any possible way she could get the money.This caused her total out loans which caused her to have debt.

Akia has bravely opened up her life by telling her story, knowing she maybe critiqued by those who still follow the Prophet. However, I think she has chosen the right place to speak her truth. She knows that TWW has many supportive readers who understand and/or have experienced abuse by members of the clergy. I expect that the comments will be supportive to her.

To those who read this and would like confidentially tell their stories, please contact me dee@thewartburgwatch.com.

If anyone would like to speak directly to Akia, please use that same contact and I will contact her on your behalf.

Comments

Akia and The Prophet of Kings Kingdom Ministries: Reckoning Comes to an African American Church #metoo #churchtoo — 45 Comments

  1. Thank you for telling your story, Akia. I know it is incredibly difficult.

    We’ve seen stories here that have gone on to change the landscape of giant churches, and of men who thought they owned the world and everyone in it, then found out their actions have consequences. I pray your story does the same.

  2. Reminds me of a African American preacher I listened to on the radio in the 80’s. His name was Reverend Roosevelt Franklin and his motto was, “Let me get you out of the ghetto and get you into the getmo… get mo money!!!” It was a serious yet shameless broadcas.

  3. Dee, You said “” abuse of women is found in all churches and ministries ” ….. That is just not true. You are doing a good work of ferreting out where it does occur, and sadly, it is far more widespread than many want to acknowledge, but blanket statements like that only make your good work seem less credible.I have attended two smaller churches where women were treated with respect and abuse did not occur. I have attended a bit larger church where I can’t say I would know if it did or didn’t.

  4. Akia, I believe you. I have encountered another so called “prophet of God” who operated similarly. I managed to extricate myself from his mental grasp before he got me to be one of his “spiritual wives.” But he did invite. I didn’t have money to give, but I did give him a gift of something that meant a lot to me.

    I have learned that his MO was to get people to open credit cards and give them to him. He actally targeted other pastors wives…

    I applaud your courage.

  5. It is interesting how these guys operate. The “Prophet” is fishing for those in need with the prayer line. He is fishing for people who are so desperate for hope, or answers, or relief that they call a stranger. That is a tough place to be in, they are vulnerable. He looks for the weak so he can prey on them while pretending to pray for them. Clearly, he underestimated you, Akia. Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

  6. Jean: .I have attended two smaller churches where women were treated with respect and abuse did not occur.

    My turn: Let me push back on your statement. You should say that *abuse did not occur* as far as you know. Unless you were with all of the people 24/7 it is always possible. Abusers are clever and not how to hide their actions through methods of intimidation. Remember, many people who’ve been abused do not come forward for decades.

  7. Akia, I am so sorry.

    Thank you for speaking out. I know how hard, scary, and painful it is. You deserve peace.

    Much LOVE!

  8. Does this Prophet remind anyone else of Tullian Tchividjian?

    He needs women to give him sex and money.

    Creepy con-men.

  9. Thank you Akia for bravely sharing. May your story be used by Jesus to set many others free. May the days of this man’s deception be over.

    Thank you Dee for making clear that
    Akias story isn’t about anyone’s particular racial/ethnic community but about religious fraudsters of every background who must be exposed.

    BBC recently posted an article about “seed” preachers.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47675301.

  10. Lance (the other one): The “Prophet” is fishing for those in need with the prayer line. He is fishing for people who are so desperate for hope, or answers, or relief that they call a stranger.

    A grifter is a grifter, is a grifter…

  11. Fisher: BBC recently posted an article about “seed” preachers.

    TBN and Daystar have em’ (seed grifters) comin’ out the wazoo.

  12. I believe Akia I have met her personally because I too was a member of that church at one point . Everything she has told is the truth and there is more than that. I do think that the actions of the leader is wrong because he mislead God sheep as well as took advantage of the fact that they trusted and respect him as a leader . As a leader you’re not suppose to lead people to sin you should appoint them to God . I pray for healing and deliverance to take place at that ministry as well as every person that has been affected by it .

  13. I attended that church and everything Akia said is the truth . She is not lying and there is more than just that .

    MOD: Jj and Anonymous seem to be the same person. Don’t do this. GBTC

  14. drstevej:
    Reminds me of a African American preacher I listened to on the radio in the 80’s. His name was Reverend Roosevelt Franklin and his motto was, “Let me get you out of the ghetto and get you into the getmo… get mo money!!!” It was a serious yet shameless broadcas.

    1) Wasn’t “Roosevelt Franklin” also the name of a Muppet on Sesame Street?

    2) At least this Roosevelt Franklin was “Honestly Dishonest”; it’s the guys with the unshakable Angel of Light mask you REALLY got to watch out for.

  15. Guest: Does this Prophet remind anyone else of Tullian Tchividjian?

    He needs women to give him sex and money.

    “Most cults are started so the Cult Leader can (a) Get Rich, (b) Get Laid, or (c) both.”
    — my old DM, in a post-game talk session in the apartment parking lot

  16. Why does “The Prophet” casting around for $eed$ remind me of this Coffee With Jesus strip?

    CARL: And he said if I “sowed a seed of faith”, you’d bless that gift and increase it ten, a hundred, a thousand fold!

    JESUS: So you called the toll-free number, pledged some money, and now you’re expecting me to give you a return on your investment.

    CARL: Well, those rates are a whole lot better than I’ll get at any bank, Jesus.

    JESUS: Did you happen to notice, Carl, that the man pitching this scheme was seated on a gold throne and wearing a three-thousand dollar suit?

  17. I am sorry you were deceived Akia. This was no ‘prophet’, but a con man. And many, many people are taken in by con men, who are really good at deception and manipulation. If they weren’t, they would have to get a real job. I don’t condemn you, or the countless others who have been taken in by such con men.

    I pray that as more and more victims of deception and abuse come forward that a picture will begin to arise of the problem with ‘church’ and ‘ministry’ as it exists in the modern world. It has been turned into a platform whereby charismatic con men can get what they want from needy, trusting people.

    One possible first step might be to eliminate all who benefit personally from the ‘ministry’. No, I’m not suggesting a firing squad, but a reconfiguration of how we ‘do church’. It might help to eliminate the giving of money to men or institutions, and simply allow and encourage believers to assist one another as the Spirit leads. Sure, you will still have con men who seek to get something from others, but it will not be institutionalized robbery. You will not have a man, or group of men, preying upon the naive in the name of ‘tithes’ or ‘gaining God’s blessing’.

    This isn’t rocket science, right? Why can we not just come right out and condemn church as a money-making scheme, once and for all? No more fancy cathedrals, no more high-paid staff, no more campaigns for this and that . . . just. stop. giving. them. money. I know it’s not that easy. People want someone to marry them, bury them and whatever else they need in between. But I’m not so sure we couldn’t look to a humble class of servants, who do not grow rich off the backs of others, but make tents to provide for their own needs, to act something more like the shepherds of scripture.

  18. First off thank you Dee for bringing forth the story and Thank you Akia for being so brave and forthcoming in sharing your story. So many times we are told in the African American community to stay quiet, no more. Stories need to be shared and I pray that other women will feel safe in coming forward and knowing they are not alone. No one should have this kind of so call power. He will answer to God. It’s not our job to judge, only to love and support those who are in need. Akia, my prayers are with you now and always. Thank you for standing up and for being the voice of many. How very brave you are and I’m proud of you. Love & Blessings to you. Mo

  19. i’m very sorry for these abominable circumstances, Akia. it sucks… it just sucks.

    i hope for peace for you, and justice and restitution somehow.

    i understand you’re leaving this church / ministry. i hope you find a safe and quiet place to just “be” — for as long as you need to.

    i’ve been tricked and taken for a ride, “in the name of God”, too. I now avoid the institution but pray with friends every week. it’s very spiritually productive and efficient. There’s no waste — of time, energy, money, or other resources.

    i hope you find the right faith community on your own terms, owning your own faith and spirituality.

    your faith, spirituality, and relationship with God are your’s, as much as any other part of your life. Your’s to arrange as you see fit. No middle man required. No other human being has the right to manage it for you. You own it, not them.

    that’s how i see it, at least. Thank you for listening to me rattle on, here!

  20. TS00,

    “One possible first step might be to eliminate all who benefit personally from the ‘ministry’. No, I’m not suggesting a firing squad, but a reconfiguration of how we ‘do church’. It might help to eliminate the giving of money to men or institutions, and simply allow and encourage believers to assist one another as the Spirit leads.”
    ++++++++++++

    i think this has merit:

    take money out of the church equation. no salaried professional christians but volunteers instead.

    if there are expenses (facility rental, modest purchases like basic mics/speakers/monitors, etc), an offering is taken: bills are paid right then and there, whatever is leftover is given to well-chosen charity.

    by the end of the meeting there is zero balance.

    blimey, that would be bloody refreshing!

  21. Monique,

    “No one should have this kind of so call power. He will answer to God. It’s not our job to judge, only to love and support those who are in need.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    if something is wrong, i would say it is our job to judge.

    to say, “This is wrong. You are in error. You have done x, y, z. You have enriched yourself by exploiting and harming others.”

    if something has the whiff of a crime, of injustice, contact authorities.

    seems to me the average person is not aware that some things are actually indeed crimes. there are aspects to a situation that can be prosecuted which the average person would not know.

    my view is that it is our personal responsibility as human beings who happen to be christians to publicly say “This is wrong. No more.” And then to participate in bringing change, and accountability for wrongdoers where it is needed.

    my observation is that those outside the christian community marvel at how accomodating christians are when their own do things that are atrocious, egregious, immoral, unethical, and criminal.

    they marvel at how tolerant and enabling christians are. at how they seem to have no standards on right and wrong, except for abortion and gays. except for the outrage of being “liberal”.

    they marvel at how the christian community doesn’t police itself but allows and enables egregious behavior amongst its own.

    note to christians: when something is wrong, speak out. Judge it to be the wrong that it is. Protest publicly. Take a stand. Demand what is right, fair, and honest.

  22. When I first started looking into church related scandals and the websites that act as watchblogs I came across one that specialized in covering scandals in black churches. It is called pimppreacher.com and it highlighted many cases where this exact scenario was playing out. It covered various “prophets” and “prophetesses” and “bishops” who were scamming money and keeping their own harems on the line, among other scandals. The site went cold about three years ago. So none of this is anything new.

    My brother recently played an old Richard Pryor movie where he played various roles, including a “pastor” who was trying very hard to have affairs with every pretty lady in the congregation. My brother just laughed at the jokes. It just reminded me of pimppreacher.com and how severely disgusting it is that men and women too now are doing this kind of thing.

    Jesus plainly stated that we cannot serve both God and Money. Those who understand that will not be interested in what these charlatans are selling.

  23. TS00: No more fancy cathedrals

    Cathedrals—at least the medieval and neo-Gothic kind—are probably the least of our worries. The structures are built to last thousands of years. Some are huge inside, but always with little chapels for small gatherings and private prayer. They welcome people of all faiths and nationalities, and receive funds from myriad sources.

    The local night-club church or mega, on the other hand, is constantly being demolished, expanded, renovated, and abandoned. Most serve only the members, who shoulder every new debt.

  24. Jean: I have attended two smaller churches where women were treated with respect and abuse did not occur.

    Respectfully, it is hard to know what goes on behind closed doors. I attended a smaller church where women were treated with respect (complementarian church, but women could lead worship, serve as deaconesses, etc.). But on two separate occasions, two separate women complained in a woman-only group conversation that I happened to be a part of about their husband “teasing” them by grabbing their forearms and bending their arms backwards to physically force them to the ground. Both women were physically small, married to physically large men. One of the couples was (and still is) on staff in college ministry.

    A friend did something similar to me once in college, and it terrified me. And if I saw someone do this to one of my children, even in a “teasing” manner, Mama Bear would be prepared to do violence.

    All this to say that, yes, I agree with your statement that abuse of women does not happen in all churches or ministries. But one type of church, at least in my experience, is no more immune than the next. (I was going to add that I’ve only attended complementarian churches, but then remembered that Willow Creek is not complementarian, so, there goes that.)

  25. Jean: I have attended two smaller churches where women were treated with respect and abuse did not occur.

    Wild Honey: But one type of church, at least in my experience, is no more immune than the next.
    +++++++++++++

    it could be just one staff member, volunteer, or member/attender in highly selective circumstances, where nothing is ever said.

    many things fly under the radar.

    i put nothing past any church.

    when an organization operates on money (as of material necessity),

    on trust & unity (as of ideological necessity),

    on the concept of “God” (who purportedly operates through the org as His/Her direct conduit and who’s supernatural hands are tied unless the org keeps going),

    and on the concept of “Satan” (who is believed to be under every rock, ready to jump on every opportunity to ‘divide’ through unsupportive individuals),

    ….the conditions are all just too ripe for people to be taken advantage of.

  26. Wild Honey: it is hard to know what goes on behind closed doors. I attended a smaller church where women were treated with respect

    You are right: abuse can happen in any family. I think the scope of this piece is abuse committed by church personnel. But bad behavior at home can hint at behavior in church roles. It’s interesting that women in your church, including a ministry volunteer married to another, felt comfortable sharing their stories about husbands assaulting them in a “teasing” way.

    How did other women respond to these stories?

  27. Friend,

    With metaphorical shrugs of the shoulder, and conversation turned to other topics. If I’d known then what i know now, I would like to think that I would have asked questions, but who can say.

  28. elastigirl,

    Wondering if this could be prosecuted as financial fraud?

    This, of course, does nothing to address adultery, lying, misuse of church funds, etc.

  29. I indeed believe Akia! I have listened to the prayer line and Eric has a gift of prophecy and teaching. God will not disappoint His people because of man’s frailties. The Holy Spirit had begun to reveal to me the financial manipulation with seeds (money) being used to give prophecy. I was given a true word by a real prophetess that God would give me the answer about this ministry today!!! Today I received this unfortunate news but important to many souls. I pray Eric will repent and repay to those he took advantage. I pray Akia will heal and continue to share her story of freedom and victory!

  30. This is wrong on so many levels. Once again, abuse of power #metoo #churchtoo . I will certainly be posting this article to my social media page, with hopes of it going viral. The more we keep quiet, the more this kind abuse continues. Many suffer in silence and think it’s something they may have done — ENOUGH! Who has access to major publications #washingtonpost #nytimes #cnn. SHARE!

    elastigirl I agree, I wonder if this could be prosecuted as a financial fraud and looked into by the #irs, or other regulatory agencies.

    Akia, you are brave for sharing your truth. I pray for your peace, strength and your safety, especially if he is as powerful as he says. Dee help keep her safe–which is more of a reason why this story should go national.

  31. Bridget,

    I truly wish i could answer that. along with a host of other legal questions.

    (i could have been a good lawyer. perhaps it’s not too late.)

  32. This makes my heart hurt. I am so sorry, Akia.

    When I was a young person, I would hear stories about the amazing, great things God was doing in other peoples’ lives. I didn’t have any stories like that, when I prayed nothing miraculous happened that I could see. I had troubles and worries in life, like everyone, and wished I could see God intervene in a way I could recognize, and have my faith strengthened and reassured, but my troubles just went on and I had to slog through as best as I could.

    When you are in a position like that, you can become vulnerable to the idea that God hears some people’s prayers more than others. You know it isn’t happening in your life, but these other people talk so convincingly about all the amazing times God has stepped into their lives and done things in answer to their prayers. You start to wonder, ‘well, maybe if this person prayed for me, I would get an answer, too. God would help me, too.’

    When a person gets a reputation that they are closer to God, that God treats them special, and they act like an authority and have confidence, many people will flock to them, hoping that that that person’s prayers will get God to notice them and take care of their needs, whether they are monetary or relationship or worries or troubles.

    Soon that person will find that they can take advantage of all these needy people and use them to their own advantage. All they have to do is suggest that they ‘prove’ they are serious by giving their money or themselves.

    As it turns out, over many years of observation, I have noticed that these people who seem so close to God are simply dishonest. They ‘spin’ every event that happens to them to make it sound like God did something amazing when really nothing out of the ordinary happened. They are liars, spin doctors and actors. They give themselves positions and titles,use fancy speech, and sometimes wear fancy robes or clothing. They get the trust of others so that they can manipulate them.

    As it turns out, no one is any closer to God than anyone else. No one’s prayers are more listened to or effective. God doesn’t have special pets. If God is not answering your prayer, he is not going to answer this other person’s prayer, either. It’s all a sham.

  33. WOG: I was given a true word by a real prophetess that God would give me the answer about this ministry today!!!

    I’m sorry, but I’m having a really hard time understanding this line of thinking. As a believer, I do not require a “prophet” or “prophetess” to reveal something to me that is not already found in God’s Word. I have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit who reveals truth, wisdom and knowledge to me and I have a direct line of access to the Son who sits at the right hand of the Father, who intercedes on my behalf.

    It’s heartbreaking to see that these “prophets” manipulate and exploit the desire that people have for an ‘inside track’ or ‘secret revelation’ from God especially just for them. However, Scripture makes it quite clear that we already have that and much, much more through our relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. What more could we possibly want or need than that? We require no mediator with a special word for us since “…there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. (I Tim. 2:5) ALL believers have this access!

  34. Bridget: Wondering if this could be prosecuted as financial fraud?

    The amounts of money in this story shock me, even though I have read other stories of people sending “seed money” to sham ministries. Donations of that size would be a lifelong hardship for most people—on top of the emotional betrayal.

  35. May God comfort and heal Akia, and may He bring all evil false shepherds to exposure! Thank you Dee for helping her.

  36. Bridget,

    Wondering if this could be prosecuted as financial fraud?

    It’s not clear that the perp has fiduciary responsibility; the structure of these scams is such that if things don’t work out in the donor’s interest, it’s the donor’s fault, or “God’s will”. And fraudulent “prophecy” is pervasive in US, and probably is a “constitutional right” in terms of “freedom of speech.”

    I suspect that a more fruitful line of inquiry might be IRS investigation of the 501(c)3 corporation that receives the gifts. It’s not hard to imagine that corners may have been cut.

  37. Lance (the other one): The “Prophet” is fishing for those in need … for people who are so desperate for hope, or answers, or relief that they call a stranger … He looks for the weak so he can prey on them …

    Sounds familiar:

    “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

    “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44)

    “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10)

    “That enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8)

    Folks, the enemy of the church still roams planet earth … he goes to church … you can even find him in the pulpit. Pray for discernment.

  38. A bit of bizarre coincidence woth the name “Akia”:

    During the 1920s, the acronym “AKIA” was also a recognition countersign of the Ku Klux Klan, an alphabet-soup code abbreviation for “A Klansman I Am” used in reply to the question “AYAK?” (“Are You A Klansman?”)

    (I know this because it’s a bit of local history; in the Roaring Twenties, the second incarnation of the KKK took over the town I’m posting this from, and it took a Resistance movement centered around the Knights of Columbus several years to dislodge them.)

  39. Root 66,

    You believe whatever you are led to believe. I know God for real. He does work through the prophets. Just because we have false ones I will never give up on the real ones. BTW God had already spoken to me before I received confirmation. I am not a baby Christian. With the love of the Lord have a great day!

  40. I reached out to you through your email but there was no response back . I would like to come forth to tell my story because God wants me to do so . This is the season of exposing and I don’t want any other female to experience what Akia , myself and all the other woman experienced. I pray and I hope that everyone joins me to pray that every person will come forth with the truth . This has been pushed under the rug for to long and I kept searching for answer as to why the church pushes this under the rug while the people that have had bad encounters walk away in silence and are depressed along with a lot of mental and emotional trauma. I do believe that everyone has to take accountability for their actions but if you’re in Christ and still struggle with certain things instead, the leader you’re under should not be leading you into sin or preaching a lifestyle he is not living . That ministry is a true cult filled with witchcraft.

  41. Sade,

    I saw your email late yesterday afternoon. I had planned to contact you today.If you email me again, give me a contact number and time you are available. I want to tell your story. I am sorry. I was tied up yesterday with my elderly mom and a medical procedure and then I had to write a post.