Kanakuk Camp’s Joe White Claims He Knew Nothing About the Criminal Actions of Prolific Child Sex Offender, Pete Newman. I Don’t Think I Believe Him.

An aurora blankets the Earth beneath a celestial night sky-NASA

“And why did he use a kiss to show them, That’s not what a kiss is for?” Michael Card


Today is a sad day as we contemplate that Jesus so wanted us to be with Him for eternity that He dies to ensure that reality.  Michael Card wrote one of the most beautiful songs about this day called ‘Why?’ Read his words and I will end the post with the video of this song.

Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
And why did he use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for?

Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain

And why did it have to be a thorny
Crown pressed upon his head?
It should have been a royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead

It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all that would seek to love
A thorn is all the world has to give

Why did it have to be a heavy cross
He was made to bear?
And why did they nail His feet and hands
His love would have held him there

It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away
Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away.

David French exposes the Kanakuk abuse situation which raises questions for me about the connection that Bryan Loritts and Fellowship Memphis have to this story.

This past week, David French posted ‘They Aren’t Who You Think They Are’: “The inside story of how Kanakuk—one of America’s largest Christian camps—enabled horrific abuse.” Todd and I received an email asking for help on some information surrounding this story. Before we get into it, let’s take a side trip. When Bryan Loritts was the pastor of Fellowship Memphis, may have hired, paid, or allowed Pete Newman to work at or for his church AFTER Newman was indicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse and was awaiting trial while out on bond. Maybe Joe White wanted to get him out of Branson before the next season of well-heeled campers arrived, looking for recreation.

In 2016, I wrote the following post: Peter Newman, Serving 35 Years for Molestations at Kamp Kanakuk, Was Allegedly Hired by Fellowship Memphis While Awaiting Trial. At the time I wrote several posts expressing concern about Newman hanging around the church where there were many children. As usual, my concern was brushed away but due to the French article, it has come into the public eye once again. (Thank you, David and Nancy French.) A person who has first-hand knowledge of the situation is currently planning to write a post for TWW in the near future so stay tuned.

Obviously, this piece of information might raise further questions about the Guidepost Solutions report which I wrote about on Wednesday: JD Greear, Bryan Loritts, and the Guidepost Solutions Investigation: Moving Quickly From Caring Well to Couldn’t Care Less.

However, today I want to review some of the information in David French’s much needed and anticipated post. You see, I sent my two daughters to Kanakuk, a Christian camp that is touted as one of the finest Christian camps in the US. I bought the hype. At this time I was living in Dallas and my kids were attending Trinity Christian Academy which introduced us to the *things Christians should do if they can afford it.” Don’t get me wrong, the school was good but the rich and well-known in the Dallas Christian set had kids who attended there. It sometimes got tiring hearing about the fancy homes and incredible trips everyone took and I was glad to get back to North Carolina.

Going to Kanakuk was one of those expected things. My daughters had a good time there and both won certain awards that meant they were *good* or *athletic* Christian kids. My son, much younger, refused to go and for that I am grateful. He would have been in K Kountry and that was a hang-out for Pete Newman. He seems to have a better knack than his mom for avoiding molesters. He didn’t like SEBTS student and molester, Doug Goodrich, at my formed Reformed SBC church and stayed away from him because he thought he was weird.  He was more than right. Goodrich was a terrible molester who targeted teen boys. Pete Newman liked them younger.

Pete Newman was a monster. I believe him to be one of the most prolific pedophiles in Missouri history.

From this point, all quotes will be from the French article unless otherwise specified.

Pete Newman arrived in Kanakuk in 1995 and was there for 14 years before being caught.

He was a camp director at Kanakuk Kamps, one of the largest Christian camps in the world. Kanakuk is an immense operation. Since its founding in 1926, it claims to have served more than 450,000 campers. Its main campus is located outside of Branson, Missouri, but it has international reach.

Kanakuk and (Joe) White promoted Newman relentlessly, both within the organization and to the public at large. Newman rose through the ranks from camp counselor to camp director. It sent him on the road to recruit campers and to raise money. According to former members of the camp community, parents would sometimes compete for a coveted honor—hosting Newman in their home.

The number of boys he abused is incalculable.

They say he probably molested hundreds. Behind the scenes, some think it could be in the thousands. Yet this flew under the radar of the news media which had no idea of the importance of this camp and Joe White who owns the camp and who also has an international platform.

He groomed and abused boys in their own homes. He groomed and abused boys at camp. In fact, he abused boys across the world. On June 9, 2010, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexually abusing boys. He received a sentence of two life terms, plus 30 years. His guilty plea was but the tip of a terrible iceberg. A civil complaint alleges that there were at least 57 victims, but the prosecutor in his case estimates that the real number could be in the “hundreds.”

Newman broke all sorts of camp rules and the kids loved him for it, not realizing they were being groomed by the camp’s *abstinence expert.*

What is scary about this for me is that Newman’s actions were similar to Doug Goodrich’s actions in summer camps with the kids from my church.

Newman, however, obliterated boundaries for over a decade. In an email interview, a former camper told me Newman would hold conversations with him while they were nude in the showers. Other times, Newman would show off “his scars around his groin to the entire cabin.”

Victim accounts establish a common pattern. Once Newman conditioned the children to accept his nudity, he encouraged campers to disrobe with him during other activities, including basketball, swimming, running, and four-wheeling. Having established these intimate relationships, Newman then spoke to the kids about sexual topics like purity, masturbation, and porn.

And it got worse, much worse.  Warning: The following account is graphic.

Newman presented himself as an abstinence expert, offering to have awkward conversations with children to help keep them pure before marriage. Sometimes with parental consent, he talked to campers about sexual sin. Unknown to parents, instead of teaching the children not to masturbate, he gave them lessons on how to do it. According to victims and Newman’s own account, he masturbated them and taught them how to masturbate him.

This sexual activity, he explained, wasn’t biblically wrong, as long as the campers avoided lusting for women or looking at porn while he molested them

Nor did the abuse stop at masturbation. He performed and received oral sex. One victim claims that when he called his mother to ask her to pick him up early from camp, Newman took the phone from the camper, and convinced the mother to let him stay. Later, the victim alleged, Newman brutally sodomized him in a shower.

As time went on, parents became concerned. And just like in my own former church, it was blown off by the leaders as a *skinny-dipping thing.* In my SBC church they called it *locker-room humor.*

Here is a link to one of the civil suits. 

And so time passed, with a number of puzzling incidents.

Read the article for detail.

  • Did the local authorities blw off the resports, even one by Kanakuk?
  • Pete saw a psychiatrist and then was told to seek counsel from lawyers. Why? Maybe because conversations with lawyers are confidential? Did the psychiatrist tell them to call the police?
  • Pete was given new rules to follow but these rules were relaxed because he got married! Didn’t the leaders at Kanakuk understand that Pete wanted to have sex with kids, not his wife? How stupid was that?
  • Did Joe White blame Newman’s wife for not providing an *initial layer of accountability?!*
  • Joe White purchased land for Pete to buld a houuse on.
  • Right up untl Pete confessed, White denied  having no knowledge of what was going on.

Pete confessed in 2009 to White and others. Joe White began a series of actions that if true, is despicable.

White and the other leaders reportedly delayed in contacting the authorities.

Cooper allegedly began calling victims’ families to alert them of the abuse, while White traveled to inform others in person. In a telephone interview, Goodwin told us that “we reached out in a way that we thought was the right way. Joe was a part of reaching out to a lot of them. We offered them counseling. We offered to pay for it.” He argued that the camp went above and beyond to help victims. “In the world, that’s not something you do.”

One victim’s father told us White met with him and characterized the abuse as “no big deal. Childhood experimentation. I was naïve enough to believe that this was all that was involved.” The truth of their son’s brutal abuse only came out over the years. White also stressed the importance of forgiveness. He didn’t want “one bad apple” to ruin all of the good that occurred at Kanakuk. Later, White offered that family a payment of  $100,000.

…According to multiple families’ accounts, the camp sent victims’ families a copious amount of Kanakuk gear, PlayStations, iPads, iPhones, and snack baskets. They also directly reached out to victims, offering hunting trips and weekends away at White’s house.

It was so frequent and intense, one family filed a *restraining order against White.*

White continued to downplay Newman’s sick actions against the campers. In one instance, he or his representative (Aren’t they supposed to be the same?) insulted a camper. If anyone from the camp is reading this, if this is true, the camp *representatives* are despicable jerks in my opinion.

You need to understand the camping values. Athleticism is considered the greatest good. All kinds of awards are given for it.

In deposition testimony and in a memorandum from counsel, a Kanakuk mother told the story of an additional disturbing incident. Her daughter, a young Kanakuk camper, told her mother that she saw Newman intimately touching a young male camper. She told her mother, “Pete is gay, he likes boys my age.” She added, “They aren’t who you think they are.” The mother called the camp and reported her daughter’s story.

The mother testified she got a call from a camp representative who said the camp had completed its investigation, had talked to Newman, and invited her to talk to Newman as well. Then the conversation took a strange turn. The camp representative also allegedly expressed concern over whether the daughter who reported Newman’s conduct “had a heart for Christ” and said, “she’s just not athletic enough for our program.”

Ready to get even more upset. There were allegedly more molesters at Kanakuk.


Also, White appears to support a certain molester who sodomized his own 5 y.o.daughter.

I am going to say something which may get people mad at me. I find it hard how anyone could knowingly support a pedophile. White wanted to have this pedophile with him to rehabilitate him. This causes me to have many questions about White. He claims to have been close to Newman but also claims never to have seen any untoward actions. I must admit I have a hard time believing him and I wonder…but it is best to stop here.

During legal proceedings following Newman’s termination, families were shocked to discover White’s accommodation of another pedophile.  In 2000, Robert John Morgan, a pilot who flew White to various engagements, admitted to sodomizing his own daughter beginning at age 5.  White gave him housing at Kanakuk during the off-season while awaiting trial.  In front of Morgan’s daughter—a Kanakuk camper—White asked the judge not to imprison him, saying he had confidence “rehabilitation on this side of prison walls is much more healthy for him than rehabilitation behind prison walls.”

White also stated he would “trust [Morgan] around my daughters,” before the judge sentenced Morgan to 10 years for statutory sodomy.

In the end, did White or other leaders do anything about those who were supposed to be accountable for Newman?

Of course not. He then leaves it all in the hands of the court. White appears to have an incredible ability to blame everybody else except him. I guess his accountability circle is somewhere out past Jupiter (see the video to understand.)

Nobody resigned as a result of the failure to stop a decade of abuse. There was no disciplinary action against any of Newman’s supervisors, and Joe White is still the head of the camp today.

When we approached Newman’s supervisor, Kris Cooper, for an interview, his attorney responded with a telling statement. “The best forum for these cases,” he wrote “is a court of law—not the church or mainstream media. The key point in all sexual abuse cases is the quality and extent of the evidence or lack thereof. As such, the courts … have a well-established body of law that filters through what is a legitimate sexual abuse claim and what is not. Neither the church nor the media have the proper framework in place to do that. The courts do.”

White and *representatives* made sure that those they settled with signed NDAs. Free the victims from the NDAs. Do you guys think Jesus would do this or do you even care?

Today and every day, nondisclosure agreements silence Newman’s victims,

Ready to cry? A camper committed suicide. Folks, this one is tough

In the course of our investigation, we came across a 2019 obituary in the Dallas Morning News of a young Kanakuk victim who took his own life shortly after settling his case with Kanakuk.  (Those close to him said Kanakuk took his life from him.)  The family included a telling detail in the death notice, saying their son was a “Kanakuk Kamps abuse survivor” who “for years fought valiantly against the trauma he suffered. He had a heart for others who were victims there as well, and he was a generous friend to those he could help.”

Where am I in all of this?

  • I will go out of my way to tell people to keep their kids away from this tony Christian camp.
  • I will be happy to write any story of those families and victims associated with Kanakuk. Just contact me.
  • Tonight, I will devote my prayers for these dear children harmed by a sicko as well as a weak and unimpressive group of leaders.
  • Lift the NDAs, Joe. Stop being a coward.
  • If any person who worked at Kanakuk would like to come forward and tell their story, let me know.
  • I will always remember that my son could have been a victim had he gone to the camp as I suggested. He was in the age Pete liked, with or without a wife. The age of the young man in the obituary.
  • I have to question the Christian life of Joe White and his compadres. Is it real or a game or a way to get money and fame?? At this point, I don’t know.

In the end, I believe that Joe White betrayed his campers by not paying close attention to his star abstinence expert. I would never recommend sending any kid to Kanakuk, no matter how *cool.*

Please pray with me tonight-this sad night of all nights.


Comments

Kanakuk Camp’s Joe White Claims He Knew Nothing About the Criminal Actions of Prolific Child Sex Offender, Pete Newman. I Don’t Think I Believe Him. — 194 Comments

  1. I’ve talked to my three kids many times about their Christian camp experience, and while there was definitely some spiritual abuse, none of them has said they were molested. I feel like we got lucky, knowing how many predators are being harbored and even nurtured throughout Evangelicalism (our background).

    Sorry for the mixup with my posts.

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  2. As soon as I see that NDA’s are involved, I think cover-up and corruption. I can’t imagine Jesus ever utilizing an NDA, I mean the very idea is preposterous. It goes against the teachings of the Bible to speak the truth and to be transparent. Well-meaning Christians go to unbelievable lengths to protect organizations that are nothing more than whitewashed tombs, shiny clean on the outside but filled with rotting decay on the inside. Thinking you have to protect an organization from the consequences of a disgraceful, damaging truth at the same time as convincing yourself it is a “Christian” organization of God is a level of cognitive dissonance I could not live with. How many kids could have been spared if the parents of the first victims had not been silenced?

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  3. Joe White should be in prison for life, (along with the sicko) for conspiracy. There is no way in he$$ Joe White did not know something was “off”. I am so sick of leaders, that go around touting their “leadership skills”, and then when the poo poo hits the fan, plead ignorance…..

    As someone that grew up in a “pre-puirty” fundy culture of uber Pharisee belief system ( young earth, anti-secular humanist thinking, no drinking, dancing, smoking, or going with girls that do, etc, etc, etc) I can first hand tell you that going to a camp like this as a kid, and then seeing this BS, let alone being physically abused, screws with your mind. I know of many classmates that have ABANDONED the faith, or become hard core conspiracy believers….that deny reality…. you should see the stuff these “Patriot American Christians” put on FB the last couple of years! These are MY classmates…
    (PS… my fundy school also had a pedo, who years later, at different school, was convicted for abusing boys, and spent many years as a guest of State of California)… when I posted in my fundy school FB, many classmates posted, always wondering about him, and why he “disappeared”… see, kids know..

    That girl that told her mother that the camp leader is “gay” and likes boys, while VERY brave, is far from the only one that saw it…. she is just brave, and will be( is) an independent woman….. that thinks for herself… and Camp’s response is “classic”….. go after her personally…. that is how these abusive church leaders operate… I know, I have experienced this type of verbal abuse my whole Christian life…

    remember, I am a heathen, practicing modern science, at a secular, humanistic institution… and horrors, I am part of the “deep state” that has been on advisory/review panel’s for the National Institutes of Health and The National Science Foundation on COVID detection technology… and even more horrors, we are concerned about the virus EVOLVING…

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  4. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    PS… I am not surprised AT ALL there is a suicide linked to abuse at that camp, given its size, and then number of years that sicko abused kids there….. my bet there are many more suicides than this one of victims that have ties to physical, and mental abuse by this sicko, and by responsibility as leader, Joe White..

    Just think, we all know how Evangelicalism is fixated on how evil homosexuality is; yet kids see this sicko elevated in Evangelicalism.. also remember, these are KIDS, not adults, and their frontal lobs are still developing… they have to learn how to control these new sexual urges, and this sicko is held up as “the model”???

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  5. “Did the local authorities blow off the reports, even one by Kanakuk?”

    Kanakuk has a large footprint on the Branson landscape. It adds to the aura of the family-friendly atmosphere the region tries to paint. It’s important to tourism and the revenue it generates for area businesses. Local authorities might be tempted to protect it if it’s just something to do with a little hanky panky out there … it wouldn’t look good if bad stuff hit the news, you know.

    I repeat: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period. Don’t take a chance with your kids – things are not always what they seem. Certainly, there are some good camps with good people working at them, but do you want your children to test that premise?

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  6. Max, you are so right about not sending kids to summer camp. Also, I suggest do not send kids to SS or youth groups. For that matter, only take them to church IF they are old enough to understand this truth:

    These days, we go to church not to be ministered to, but as a very fertile ground to evangelize the lost. The church is no longer where we are fed spiritually or find common ground and a source of community and caring.

    To go to church these days is akin to walking into a west Texas brothel in the 1870’s.

    Either you go as missionary TO the church or you worship safely outside the church.

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  7. Jeffrey Chalmers: these are KIDS, not adults, and their frontal lobes are still developing… they have to learn how to control these new sexual urges

    Until their frontal lobes are developed, keep them at home! My grandsons will be developing the anterior parts of their brains fishing and hiking with Papaw, while other kids go to who-knows-what-camp this summer. They would rather be with me anyway … they tell me that all the time.

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  8. Max: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period.

    As deeply as I respect your wisdom, I need to disagree here. Children need time away from their families, whether it’s an afternoon baking cookies with the neighbors or a year at public school or even two weeks at summer camp.

    On a related note, abuse happens at home too. Neighbors, schools, and camps can provide a lifeline for kids.

    What adults need to do: make places safer, don’t buy the sales pitch, and also (sigh) teach children to scream and yell and report bad things. Times HAVE changed in one crucial way: the whole world knows about the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Books about good and bad touch have been around since the 1980s if not earlier. By now every parent should be highly aware that these awful things can happen.

    Right now, some churches actively create and defend the ideal environment for criminals. THAT is what needs to STOP.

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  9. Friend,

    We currently have a politician from Fl, that is beyond his 20’s, but still has emotional, development issues… I really do not think showing off pictures of naked women that are your “conquests”, on the House of Rep floor is very mature….
    maybe the metric is just emotional/urge control??

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  10. Jeffrey J Chalmers: maybe the metric is just emotional/urge control??

    Honestly I don’t know how that could be measured and enforced. There is also no age at which people reliably know how to protect themselves from predators and assailants.

    Learning how to spot red flags, protect oneself, and report bad actions are only part of the answer. I’d rather live in a safe world than feel empowered as a potential victim or as a survivor.

    Rules help. Social rejection of bad behavior—early and often—helps. Scrutiny of exceptions helps: no matter how important, wealthy, powerful, or charismatic a person is, the rules still apply.

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  11. That tape of Joe White being deposed makes me want to through my computer out the window… Yup, first step is blame the wife!!!!
    As far as I am concerned, he incriminated himself in that tape.. I could go on and on, but…..
    Further, if the whole of the Bible tells us anything, it tells us that NO ONE is above serious failure, or worse… that is why the greater the stakes, the more oversight, do not take anything for granted is needed… This guy must not let the Bible really sink in..
    What greater stake is there than running a “spiritual camp” for over 20,000 kids a year???

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  12. Max,

    A thought question, not directed at you as Papaw. What should elders do if younger parents in the family decided to send their children to a summer camp? Should they help them size it up, warn them of dangers, honor their judgment as parents, or quietly defer to them just because they ARE the parents?

    Anecdote time: After we got married, WELL into adulthood, we got a dog. My parents went completely out of their minds because we had not consulted them. They thought we should get used to married life a while longer before taking on something as complicated as dog ownership.

    Needless to say, we took great care not to tell them we were planning to have children. 😉

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  13. Jeffrey Chalmers: Joe White should be in prison for life, (along with the sicko) for conspiracy. There is no way in he$$ Joe White did not know something was “off”. I am so sick of leaders, that go around touting their “leadership skills”, and then when the poo poo hits the fan, plead ignorance…..

    Many good Germans swore up and down that they knew nothing of the cattle cars going East and packed with Jews.

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  14. Jeffrey J Chalmers,

    With that guy on the taxpayers’ payroll, trafficking of minors is what’s getting him in serious trouble. Which can follow a predator right into old age without much change. If anything, intensity increases, as Epstein demonstrated.

    With this Kamp, it seems to have been, or maybe still is, a youth mill for predatory offenders. Find the vulnerable, target, & own.

    As you note about the video, the director doesn’t have a clue. It’s good to provide services to families and make a living. However, everything with children, requires a myriad of safeguards in place. It’s why many charter schools fail. They aren’t safe, they don’t teach, & they misuse taxpayer money; innovations and Jesus content do not compensate for malpractice.

    If it’s a “tony” place, for families of means, it can be more convenient for predators to roam and prey. Some wealthier families are less engaged with their children, and more reliant on camps, private schools, and training clubs.

    However, Sandusky, via his non-profit outreach, targeted the other end of the socio-economic spectrum, with ease. They, too, were needy, but seeking opportunity more than surrogate parenting. He was also active as he aged.

    Maybe working middle class is safer in some ways. In any case, no one should dump their kids into the arms of any program, church or otherwise, without careful scruples. Even during Sunday morning worship. And as Dee did with her son, we should all listen to our kids.

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  15. Friend: What should elders do if younger parents in the family decided to send their children to a summer camp? Should they help them size it up, warn them of dangers, honor their judgment as parents, or quietly defer to them just because they ARE the parents?

    make sure they know about it. And, if they choose to go ahead and do it anyway, stay silent and wonder about their judgment.

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  16. Friend,

    One thing to do…. grill the he&& out of the camp leadership… maybe surprise visit the place? This is actually a great question about ALL “Christian orgs”…
    I am fundamentally wondering if I want to financially support ANY Christian org… the flagrant disrespect of accountability we repeatedly see here on TWW, as well as elsewhere has got me wondering….

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  17. Jeffrey J Chalmers,

    I;ve been following this. Trying to figure out a way to weave that into a blog that talks about faith and down’t talk about politics. I think this is going to be story that end quite poorly. Dr jack Schaap
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-schaap-compassionate-release-st-0607-20200605-xdtlesygo5fv3b3di4tk5e266y-story.html

    Don’t get HUG going. We wrote plenty about this guy including a sicko sermon about a shaft.

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  18. Max: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period.

    I am going to agree with you and I am a mother who did plenty of that. When my son went to Boy Scout camp, my husband went along with him. As you know, the Boy Scouts covered up massive sex abuse. We used to raise money for them. I think a better way is to allow your kids to go spend time with trusted families on their vacations, etc.

    I believe that pedophiles have so infiltrated the churches and parachurch groups that we need to be very, very cautious. I came very close to my son being in the clutches of Pete. I learned an important lesson.

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  19. Max:
    “Did the local authorities blow off the reports, even one by Kanakuk?”

    Kanakuk has a large footprint on the Branson landscape.It adds to the aura of the family-friendly atmosphere the region tries to paint.It’s important to tourism and the revenue it generates for area businesses.Local authorities might be tempted to protect it if it’s just something to do with a little hanky panky out there … it wouldn’t look good if bad stuff hit the news, you know.

    I repeat: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period. Don’t take a chance with your kids – things are not always what they seem.Certainly, there are some good camps with good people working at them, but do you want your children to test that premise?

    I was supposed to go to Campfire Girl Camp when I was 11, but that June, out of the blue, I came down with pneumonia, so I couldn’t go. I was bitterly disappointed, as it was my one and only chance to go to a real *overnight* camp. (During previous summers, I’d gone to day camp.)

    Now I realize that my pneumonia may have been a providential godsend!

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  20. Jeffrey Chalmers: maybe surprise visit the place?

    Our offspring went to both church camps and sports camps. We investigated as best we could in advance, and planned our vacations around camp time. Not everybody can do that.

    We did NOT HAVE trustworthy relatives who would invite the kids to stay for a week. If our children were to benefit from time away from us, we had to find trustworthy adults outside the family.

    Yes, we paid surprise visits to camps. We also drove by when we knew they would be fishing or whatever. The camps we used did have specific policies about parental involvement, and we would not have used camps that had nutty policies.

    Our kids benefited from summer camp, staying in cabins in the woods and Real College Dorms. They met new people, picked up some skills, worshiped, saw different parts of the country, and developed a bit of independence.

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  21. Friend:
    Max,

    A thought question, not directed at you as Papaw. What should elders do if younger parents in the family decided to send their children to a summer camp? Should they help them size it up, warn them of dangers, honor their judgment as parents, or quietly defer to them just because they ARE the parents?

    Anecdote time: After we got married, WELL into adulthood, we got a dog. My parents went completely out of their minds because we had not consulted them. They thought we should get used to married life a while longer before taking on something as complicated as dog ownership.

    Needless to say, we took great care not to tell them we were planning to have children.

    LOL!! My dog is probably the most UNcomplicated thing in my life right now. Bless her little mongrel heart.

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  22. dee: I believe that pedophiles have so infiltrated the churches and parachurch groups that we need to be very, very cautious.

    Today Bill Palmer noted, “When someone brazenly commits crimes in plain sight, they’re usually committing worse crimes in secret.”

    With the scenarios covered at TWW, I would add, when someone covers up what is going on in plain sight, they’re usually hiding even worse in secret.

    Same with obvious lying. (RZ) What lies beneath may be depraved evil.

    Look long and deep. Consider hard and fast, engagements, particularly with children.

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  23. dee: I think a better way is to allow your kids to go spend time with trusted families on their vacations, etc.

    This assumes that children are receiving such invitations. Even when we took the lead and invited children to go places with our family, the invitations were not always reciprocated.

    We did take one kid on several vacations specifically to get them out of a difficult family. Fortunately that family never offered a return invitation, but DH and I absolutely had devised a kind way to turn them down.

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  24. dee: make sure they know about it. And, if they choose to go ahead and do it anyway, stay silent and wonder about their judgment.

    Given your experience of this, I think that’s a sound and balanced response. I would add that people can be the trusted relative in whom the child confides. Relatives can also be alert to sudden changes in a youngster’s behavior, grades, and so on, and gently help parents figure out possible causes.

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  25. Ava Aaronson,

    Of course predators have.. agains, years ago, I remember the paster’s kid, PK, that was a very obnoxious, arrogant teen boy…. We had a “revival”, and within 3 months he was “touring” with some evangelistic/revival team…
    The last I heard of him, maybe 10 years after high school graduation, he was arrested for either possession, or sale, of cocaine..

    I remember after the “revival”, I had my doubts about him…. but, who am I, just some “doubting Thomas”…

    My point, as long as outwardly sincerely, say the right words, the Christian Industrial Complex, eats it up… the more “great” the conversion, the better..
    my bet, this sicko had a past, and he claimed he was “saved from it”….. these monsters take years to get as sicko as he was..

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  26. Kanakuk Camp’s Joe White Claims He Knew Nothing About the Criminal Actions of Prolific Child Sex Offender, Pete Newman.

    “I KNOW NOTHINK! NOTHINK!”
    — Sgt Schultz

    (At least Johann Banner’s Feldwebel zu Luftwaffe had a reason for keeping his eyes and ears closed and not rocking the boat – surviving the war. That’s how you stayed alive in his situation. WHAT’S THESE GUYS EXCUSE?)

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  27. Maybe I’m the only one on here today with kids under 30, maybe not. My experience is that parents can’t win in any discussion about risks and supervision. We are mocked and derided as helicopter parents. Then we are told not to let our kids out of our sight. That’s not happening here, but this conversation takes place in the context of a whole society.

    I will attest to the enormous damage that a full year of isolation has wrought on children and young adults in the United States. Up to my eyeballs in this, every single day.

    Folks, we all need to figure out acceptably safe ways to restart life, as and when it gets safer to go outside. The rising generations are going to have an unprecedented need to develop independence and healthy friendships.

    Here is an early scholarly article about pandemic-related anxiety and depression in young adults: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/da.23109

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  28. Jeffrey Chalmers: Just think, we all know how Evangelicalism is fixated on how evil homosexuality is; yet kids see this sicko elevated in Evangelicalism..

    1) Rank Hath Its Privileges. Especially Gawd’s Speshul Pets.
    2) Remember that same-sex pedos self-identify as straight. A boy does not show male sexual characteristics – deep voice, facial hair, heavier body hair, prominent external genitalia – until puberty. Until then, their high voices, lack of facial hair, next to no body hair, smooth skin, and inconspicuous external genitalia are more feminine than masculine. So they’re not really male, so it’s NOT really Homosexual. (Especially factoring in the rapist’s mentality of “I’m Horny, so they’re Willing.”)

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  29. Jeffrey Chalmers: outwardly sincerely, say the right words

    … outward decorum, perhaps even wear the right “uniform”. It works as cover, and not just in polite church society.

    In above comments there’s mentioned someone on the taxpayer payroll engaged in trafficking minors. Their line of work aside, the crime makes this “leader” in society a criminal. No need to go there in terms of his line of work. It’s just pure evil. Evil is nonpartisan and crosses denominations of churches, in urban, suburban, and pastoral venues, we are learning via TWW. Truth.

    However, in some milieux, this is better handled. Dateline podcast tells the story of highly decorated Canadian Air Force Colonel Russell Williams. Proven to be a serial rapist/killer (shock!!!), he was stripped of rank and then they burned his uniform. NO ONE had a clue. However, he taped his exploits & there was DNA. He was a very distinguished officer, career military, successful and married to a lovely wife.

    Would the church ever strip a predatory pastor of title & burn his/her robes? Aren’t there stained glass windows some place … ?

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  30. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    A observation from over 50 years in “Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism”….
    Beware of an “religious leader” that harps on a “particular” type of sin…..

    You know a religious leader’s in trouble when they stop preaching what they’re for and only harp on what they’re against.

    All too often, the harping on a particular Super-Sin is preaching to themselves, attempting to self-medicate/self-treat a Deep Dark Secret with no one knowing.
    * Like Ted Haggard, second only to Fred Phelps until he got caught with a male prostitute (and all the gay sex shop clerks knew his face, even under his attempts at disguise).
    * Like Rush Limbaugh, Number-One Fanboy of The War On Drugs while hiding a secret Oxycontin addiction.

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  31. Divine Encounter?
    hmmm…
    Jesus cam to the house of his Jewish friends, to save them from their sins, yet they rejected him and his generous offer, so he offered to the gentile nations, an offer they count refuse. An offer without merit or return payment. HIS offer of eternal life is still available today, see your Bible for details. You’ll be glad you did…

    ATB

    Sòpy

    Inter MISSION,
    Last scene in the movie, Always,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSWIlf8QrdE

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  32. Jeffrey Chalmers: my bet, this sicko had a past, and he claimed he was “saved from it”….. these monsters take years to get as sicko as he was..

    Especially with Evangelical culture’s itchy ears for JUICY born-again Testimonies and the resulting testimony inflation.

    Just yesterday I found a YouTube video, a fake commercial for “Born-Again Testimonies” advertising Celebrity Makeovers and Hollywood Screenwriter-written Testimonies for otherwise Dullsville Christians to hit the lucrative Testimony circuit. AND I CAN’T FIND IT NOW! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY HITS “BORN AGAIN TESTIMONIES” GET YOU?

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  33. Friend: camps harbor criminals

    Select camps & any engagements with caution & lots of parental oversight? Train kids to contact parents, tell parents when something is off, ASAP? SOS?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel one of the most valuable insights of this post is when Dee had sent her daughters to this Kamp, but then her son would have NONE of it, and Dee BELIEVED HER SON! That was my YES!!! moment when I first read the post & saw the video.

    How often do kids send up red flags and we as caring parents are not paying attention. We need to encourage them with their INDIVIDUAL truth. Her son stood by what he saw (against the experience of his older sisters) and Dee stood by him (after her older daughters had great camp experiences).

    Take-away: Believe kids. Listen. Seek their input – encourage this.

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  34. This sexual activity, he explained, wasn’t biblically wrong, as long as the campers avoided lusting for women or looking at porn while he molested them

    Does that say “Jot-and-Tittle LOOPHOLE!” to you? It does to me.

    And I wonder if he and his enablers piously intoned on their knees “WE THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOORD, THAT WE ARE NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PEDO-PRIESTS OVER THERE…”?

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  35. I am going to say something which may get people mad at me. I find it hard how anyone could knowingly support a pedophile. White wanted to have this pedophile with him to rehabilitate him.
    I don’t find it hard, with the help of a sidebar scene from South Park‘s “Children of the Corn” parody episode:

    Pastor might have been a closet pedo, but too timid to do the deed himself.
    Biblically Counseling(TM) a Pedo in secret might be a way to do the deed vicariously, by listening (and encouraging) the pedo to tell him everything – especially the JUICY Details. And stay Respectable(TM) at the same time. Win-Win situation for the both of them.

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  36. Friend: Anecdote time: After we got married, WELL into adulthood, we got a dog. My parents went completely out of their minds because we had not consulted them. They thought we should get used to married life a while longer before taking on something as complicated as dog ownership.

    Whoah! Those are some high control parents there.

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  37. Ava Aaronson:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    You have a way with words and quotes. Clever, although sometimes beyond me. If you only knew how many LOL’s you afford, even though the subject is serious. Appreciated.

    Comes from the way my brain’s wired. I have this MASSIVE mental database with NO search engine, only free-association links. What comes up when I read triggers this mental semi-random linked-list cascade of related items & quotes. I have little control over it. And my memory these days is like a big wheel of Swiss cheese – lots of holes and incomplete fragments – so a lot of what comes up are “orphans”.

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  38. Friend: What should elders do if younger parents in the family decided to send their children to a summer camp? Should they help them size it up, warn them of dangers, honor their judgment as parents, or quietly defer to them just because they ARE the parents?

    Well, just because one is elder doesn’t necessarily make him wise. However, where proper honor is given to a parent/grandparent, younger generations can benefit from listening to and heeding their advice. Living long on planet earth gives one a perspective that fewer years don’t. When a warning is given from an old guy to a young guy, it would be prudent to consider it. I’m not one to defer to anyone when they are walking into a potential danger … I’ll scream if I need to in order to get their attention. If it means diplomatically interfering with my child’s parenting skills to prevent a grandchild from heading the wrong way, I’ll do it. I have actually been thanked for doing that on occasion. It takes a village, after all, to raise a child. As Christians, we are supposed to raise them in the way they should go … and that might mean not going to camp if parents/grandparents have good reason to believe they shouldn’t.

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  39. dee: When my son went to Boy Scout camp, my husband went along with him.

    My grandson is in a boy-scout-type Christian organization called Trail Life. My son-in-law volunteered with the group so he could monitor things, as well as to have more Daddy-Time with his son. Sadly, a parent just can’t let their guard down these days and send their children into the great outdoors with its great unknown. I was in Boy Scouts and never knew of or heard of any perversions with the leaders. Of course, that was during the good ole post-WWII days where times and people were better (even though some Wartburgers disagree). There was a thread of goodness woven in the American fabric in those days – unlike the cloth we have now.

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  40. dee: ;ve been following this. Trying to figure out a way to weave that into a blog that talks about faith and down’t talk about politics. I think this is going to be story that end quite poorly. Dr jack Schaap

    Sometimes faith and politics are too intertwined to separate them and still have a story with any meaningful context.

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  41. Friend,

    LOL. Only five still at home, though.

    Except for the two youngest (9 and 11), they’ve all been away from home for at least a week of camp: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, university summer program, volunteer camp staff, missions in Jamaica, professional camp staff, Coast Guard and Marine Corps boot camp …

    There must be something wrong with us, because none of our children has ever been invited to go on vacation with other families.

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  42. Max: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period.

    I certainly understand the sentiment, but I struggle with this, having many fond memories of summer camp as a child and teen, and I think my 3 children have had during their growing-up years as well. For me, the camps provided opportunities to do and learn about outdoors things that my parents weren’t ‘into’ and which I have continued into my adulthood.
    Boys went to Scout camp many years, Engineering camp, Geology camp, Rowing camp, sports camps; daughter to horse camp. As far as we know, there was only 1 ‘off’ experience when one of her counselors was either mentally ill or demon-possessed, but even with that she didn’t feel it took away from her overall positive experience with that camp x 9 yrs.

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  43. readingalong: I certainly understand the sentiment, but I struggle with this, having many fond memories of summer camp as a child and teen, and I think my 3 children have had during their growing-up years as well.

    I, too, have good childhood memories of camp. Our family had wonderful camp experiences. Then the news started coming forth about scouting abuses, church camp horrors, athletic camp nightmares, etc. While I suppose such things have been around for a while, the new millennium appears to have released the beast on our children. My children have decided not to take the chance with their children, but spend a lot of time outdoors with them. Sad that they won’t have good camp memories, but many children are having bad memories.

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  44. dee,

    Praying for God’s guidance, protection, and blessing in your work here, Dee, and the same for your team, like Todd. We are so blessed by what you all do, and thankful to God.

    Back in the day, observing stuff going on, then reporting and testifying and confronting and advocating as occasioned, I wondered when would there be public voices that speak up in the church with advocacy for children about this evil gnarly stuff.

    It seems God has raised up an army with an increasing number of voices. So this is an answer to prayer.

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  45. Max: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SUMMER CAMP! Anywhere. Period.

    I disagree. The two times I went up to Camp Two Sentinels with the Girl Scouts were both memorable and formative. We went overnight backpacking in the high Sierras, I froze sleeping near a small lake above the treeline, I learned about cooking with Sterno cans (not even Coleman stoves were allowed due to the fire risk), about having to treat the outhouses/pit latrines…. It was a weeklong break for me and my sister when we were both having to deal with our schizophrenic mother. Fifty years later, I still have fond memories of the place. I’m also going to suggest that an all-girls camp was helpful. Just seeing what other girls could do was very empowering.

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  46. Give thanks for Easter everyone…

    In light of the fact that today is Easter, and I support the “prime directive” of TWW, I wish to quote this verse… (I am NOT normally one of “those” Christians that goes around and quotes verses.. but):
    “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
    Matthew 25:40 KJV
    To me, this means we need to do all we can to protected the abused, ESPECIALLY when that abuse takes place within a “Christian” org..

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  47. Muff-I know from family experience those west Texas and eastern Oklahoma brothels were trafficking children. That is why I chose that metaphor. I agree, child molestation is at low as it can go. And given the state of the church, only those strong in their faith and old enough and mentally and emotionally strong enough to stand up to the evil and evangelize the lost need to be inside church doors today for the most part. There are good churches but we need to go in assuming the worst until proven safe unfortunately. And even then, bad actors can infiltrate at any time, so still children should be protected.

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  48. Muff Potter: Sometimes faith and politics are too intertwined to separate them and still have a story with any meaningful context.

    Especially today, when Christianity without any modifiers has gotten as politicized as anything in the old USSR or todsy’s DPRK. Over 40 years of Christianese Culture War has turned it into a new religion, unrecognizable.

    You’re going to have to confront that sometime or find yourself Left Behind(TM).

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  49. Max: My grandson is in a boy-scout-type Christian organization called Trail Life.

    I’m always a bit leery about Christian organizations that could be described as “Just like fill-in-the-blank, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!” This parallel Godly(TM) culture of Christianese knockoffs has already gone too far, pinching off Christians behind their own cozy little Event Horizon (to wait for the end of the world without risking Heathen contamination?).

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  50. readingalong,

    “…Engineering camp, Geology camp, Rowing camp, sports camps; daughter to horse camp…”
    ++++++++++

    career and industry-related camps seem like a safer bet to me.

    i feel that in religious contexts there’s an inherent turbo-charged vulnerable/powerful factor. a person of influence wielding the concept of God has enormous power.

    the whole point is to reduce the person on the end to greater and greater vulnerability. to be able to “surrender all”.

    people even put their voice to it, “I surrender all…i surrender all” in a group context. talk about breaking down barriers and reducing someone to butter.
    .
    .
    church contexts can convince many people to believe many things that are embroidered truth, complete falsehoods, dangerous to self and others. many of these things are simply the standard party line baptized with the word ‘biblical’.
    .
    .
    seems to me the evangelical industrial complex is a network of franchises. it all comes as a kit in a box, so to speak. you just follow the instructions and set up what’s in the box.

    since the salary comes as part of the kit and part of the program, you just go with the program in order to get it.

    since it’s all about ‘faith’, to question it seems like you don’t have faith. you run the risk of being discredited by influential others who lob flaming charges of “liberal!”.

    there is so little room for scrutiny and critical thinking.

    faith, theology, doctrine, and protecting one’s career all work against scrutiny and critical thinking.

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  51. elastigirl: the whole point is to reduce the person on the end to greater and greater vulnerability. to be able to “surrender all”.

    Saw this exactly – the altar call – every night at Bible camp. After someone went forward (like you write, reduced to butter), then the next night, they would be hailed as special by the guy altar caller. Intensely dramatic. A staged show. Chollywood, for kids. If the kid who went forward was a boy, they were especially reduced to butter. Again, intensely dramatic.

    Never connected how this would set kids up as prey, highly vulnerable to predators, until just now reading your comment.

    (Side note: Benny Hinn et al, they do this with grown-ups. Don’t know if he’s still around.)

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  52. Ava Aaronson: Saw this exactly – the altar call – every night at Bible camp.

    Our oldest boy almost got sucked into this his first year of college – got involved with a ‘Christian’ group that in retrospect was cultish (combination of skewed theology and control). After working with the new students for a couple of months in ‘Bible study’ (code for indoctrination, because they never responded to questions he had, always wanting to get through their material), they were invited to a fall conference in a nice place, all supposed to be leading up to the hyped-up night meeting where the new kids were supposed to get baptized (because baptism in other churches wasn’t valid, you know).
    Fortunately, something in him realized this wasn’t right, and he resisted going to that specific meeting and then left the group right after the weekend conference. They tried for months to get him to come ‘talk’ about it, but he never responded.

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  53. readingalong: Our oldest boy almost got sucked into this his first year of college – got involved with a ‘Christian’ group that in retrospect was cultish (combination of skewed theology and control). After working with the new students for a couple of months in ‘Bible study’ (code for indoctrination, because they never responded to questions he had, always wanting to get through their material), they were invited to a fall conference in a nice place, all supposed to be leading up to the hyped-up night meeting where the new kids were supposed to get baptized (because baptism in other churches wasn’t valid, you know).
    Fortunately, something in him realized this wasn’t right, and he resisted going to that specific meeting and then left the group right after the weekend conference. They tried for months to get him to come ‘talk’ about it, but he never responded.

    Was it Navigators? They sucked my older son in during his first year at Bama, then turned on him when they realized he wasn’t going to become a Calvinists.

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  54. Ava Aaronson: Saw this exactly – the altar call – every night at Bible camp. After someone went forward (like you write, reduced to butter), then the next night, they would be hailed as special by the guy altar caller. Intensely dramatic. A staged show. Chollywood, for kids. If the kid who went forward was a boy, they were especially reduced to butter. Again, intensely dramatic.

    Never connected how this would set kids up as prey, highly vulnerable to predators, until just now reading your comment.

    Another side effect of the Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.
    Bug or Feature?

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  55. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Ava Aaronson,

    It does set them up… I have seen it with my own eyes… whether there was physical abuse, I do not know…. but I lived it in my fundy 7-12 grade school..

    The whole point behind Forced Indoctriation (commonly called “braimwashing”):
    Break down the target’s personality completely, then when he/she is completely broken, rebuild it in YOUR image – the personality YOU want it to be.

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  56. readingalong: Our oldest boy almost got sucked into this his first year of college – got involved with a ‘Christian’ group that in retrospect was cultish (combination of skewed theology and control).

    Like I did – a Heavy Shepherding/End of the World “Fellowship”, cult compound and all.
    Over forty years later, the damage is still there. Took 10-15 years after breaking contact with “My (ONLY) Brothers in Christ” for the flashbacks to go away.

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  57. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Was it Navigators? They sucked my older son in during his first year at Bama

    Sorry to hear – we often want our kids to seek out Christian fellowship away from home, and then they have these kind of experiences. No – my son was at CU Boulder, and the ‘ministry’ was through Denver Church of Christ.
    I was involved with Navs in college (Northeast), was ok but had the reputation of ‘Navigators Never-Daters’ because romantic relationships would take away from your focus on God. We’ve had worse (than Navs) experience with Campus Crusade in the past (CRU now), though some of the experience may depend on the local leadership the campuses get.

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  58. Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    You got me thinking, since we are similar age, and from CA….A number of groups come to mind..

    The group I was mixed up with was called “Koinonia House Christian Fellowship”, occupying one or two older houses in Whittier CA (and a fourplex apartment somewhere in the area), recruited at Rio Hondo JC and Whittier Blvd on Cruise Nights, known active around 1973-76. Did not seem to be involved with or attached to any other group. (Though I do remember a P&W all-nighter at some actual church, but no details.) About 10-15 years later I ran into someone who also knew about them and that “a lot of their members had to be deprogrammed”.

    One odd thing about Koinoina House was the one or two old Craftsman houses (roughly WW1 vintage) in Whittier they occupied. They had dug out the crawl spaces under the houses into basements they called “barracks(?)” and built crude bunks in them; all involved Christians were pressured and love-bombed to move in with them and live in these “barracks” away from the Heathen. Once I think they had a fourplex small apartment building, single story, with doorless doorways knocked in the walls to connect all four units. And something about how they owned some sort of cleaning service and all members were pressured/love-bombed to work there. No single leader I could see, just a bunch of 20-year-old “Elders” and a LOT of Groupthink.

    After discovering D&D and going out of contact with them (with some last-minute love-bombing), I encountered both Campus Crusade and Navigators at Cal Poly Pomona (1976-78). And one local independent group called “Studies in the Word of God” that out-Navigatored the Navigators. The last might have been attached to some small Fundy church in the Pomona area.

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  59. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    Over 40 years later, here’s the things I now recognize as Big Red Flags:
    1) Pressure to move into the compound, away from Heathen contamination (like your family) that Will Cause You To Backslide.
    2) Everyone working for the group’s business and living in the group’s houses as a sign of committment.
    3) They were the Only True Christians, all others were False. There could be no Salvation outside of the group (and Hal Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earch).
    4) Wretched Urgency Witnessing, since The Rapture could come any minute and you’d have to explain your failures before The Great White Throne (like the guy in Jack Chick’s “This Was Your Life”).
    5) What I now recognize as the carrot of love-bombing alongside the Big Stick of Rapture/Armageddon.

    They helped me through my mother’s death in June 1975 and provided a sort-of refuge from my dysfunctional family, I’ll give them that, But given the above Red Flags, I think I dodged the bullet discovering SF litfandom and D&D just in time to pull away.

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  60. readingalong: I was involved with Navs in college (Northeast), was ok but had the reputation of ‘Navigators Never-Daters’ because romantic relationships would take away from your focus on God.

    When I was at Cal Poly Pomona (1976-78), the Navs had a reputation for the highest flunk-out rate and burnout rate of any group.

    We’ve had worse (than Navs) experience with Campus Crusade in the past (CRU now), though some of the experience may depend on the local leadership the campuses get.

    Campus Crusade DID vary a lot from campus chapter to campus chapter. (Though they all had some antics that made me face-0palm a lot.) For instance…

    During that period I was pulling all-night D&D games at Cal State Fullerton every Saturday Night/Sunday Morning and Fullerton’s Campus Crusade was very hostile to the gaming club. Full-honk Satanic Panic years before it hit critical mass. Say what you will about pencil/paper/funny dice gaming (“Games with Dungeons and DEMONS and the occult” in a Christianese commercial of the time), we never had anyone die of alcohol poisoning or drug OD or suicide. And we never heard of anyone getting pregnant or STDs (though that may have been that gaming at the time was almost all nerdy white-boy geeks lime me; “girl gamers” were very rare).

    Contrast that with Cal Poly Pomona CCC at the other end of Brea Canyon; two guys I knew who were active in CCC there (including one of my dorm roomies) were not only gamers, they introduced me to the LARP Killer (fictionalized as “TAG: The Assassination Game”) and said it was popular with the CCC staff.

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  61. Headless Unicorn Guy: I think I dodged the bullet discovering SF litfandom and D&D just in time to pull away.

    I’m grateful that you got away and recovered as well as you did. Presumably you were some sort of Christian (maybe nominal, cultural) before encountering the “Only True Christians.” They harmed you, and you sought refuge in legitimate but secular groups and activities. If they were trying to grow the Kingdom on Earth, they shrank it instead, pending your recovery and any return to faith/worship.

    Parallels today are even more troubling, as people are leaving intense and abusive church experiences in favor of a single-letter organization.

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  62. Headless Unicorn Guy: During that period I was pulling all-night D&D games at Cal State Fullerton every Saturday Night/Sunday Morning and Fullerton’s Campus Crusade was very hostile to the gaming club. Full-honk Satanic Panic years before it hit critical mass. Say what you will about pencil/paper/funny dice gaming (“Games with Dungeons and DEMONS and the occult” in a Christianese commercial of the time), we never had anyone die of alcohol poisoning or drug OD or suicide. And we never heard of anyone getting pregnant or STDs (though that may have been that gaming at the time was almost all nerdy white-boy geeks lime me; “girl gamers” were very rare).

    Boy that brings back memories. I was more into SF RPG’s like traveller and a brief foray into Shadowrun.

    Then we moved into strategy games like axis & allies.

    I nearly went to a group called “university bible fellowship”. A good friend talked me out of it. One of his pals got sucked in. Big time cult.

    I think the cult like atmosphere at these religious camps feed on that youthful idealism. “Mission from God” stuff a la Blues Brothers.

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  63. Jack: Boy that brings back memories. I was more into SF RPG’s like traveller and a brief foray into Shadowrun.

    I have been doing a LOT of articles for FreelanceTravellet.com (online Trav zine) for several years. My latest article series (a special issue, cover & all) has been in limbo for over a year thanks to burnout and COVID lockdown/cabin fever. Trav was an “orphan game” where I was, and FreeTrav lets me actually do something with it.

    Oh, yeah, Shadowron. Cyberpunk with Elves, Dwarves, etc. (Elves, Dwarves, etc; Elves, Dwarves, etc; Elves, Dwarves, etc; ANcient Egyptian Elves, Dwarves, etc; Japanese Elves, Dwarves, etc; Victorian Elves, Dwarves, etc (not making any of those up); I went into “beastfolk” – Furries in a fantasy milieu – just to get away from Elves, Dwarves, etc.

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  64. Friend: I’m grateful that you got away and recovered as well as you did. Presumably you were some sort of Christian (maybe nominal, cultural) before encountering the “Only True Christians.”

    Actually, I was raised completely non-practicing. Geniuses have to be atheist and all that. Introduction to Christ was by JW Watchtowers shoved under our door and running across Jack Chick tracts. Bad Craziness. (This was many years before I enountered that group; I’d read anything I could get my hands on.)

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  65. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Thx for this helpful list.

    I also appreciate everyone’s anecdotal contributions.

    Much to unpack. Grooming, love -bombing, IOW, manipulation, intimidation, domination.

    Several professional couples were persuaded to turn over their earnings to a faith group pool and move into the commune in Colorado Springs. After they lost everything, they relocated and started over professionally, penniless, in Boulder. Done. They were done. This was during the Jesus people movement.

    You’ve explained what happened.

    Dee’s post is about kids. Well, apparently sincere and seeking adults get faith-scammed, too.

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  66. Ava Aaronson,

    This was during the Jesus people movement.

    That group I was mixed up in was also an offspring of the Jesus People Movement. I distinctly remember the Hollywood Free Paper being at its peak on or around that time and I think the “elders” referenced it at some time. But that could just be the Hollywood Freep was so common in those circles.

    Has anyone done a historical study on how much of the Jesus People Movement went sour?

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  67. I couldn’t even read through everything it’s so upsetting. I mean the article is well written and I thank the Lord that Dee is writing about these abuses we need more people like her. It was just so difficult to read and then not grieve for these children and of course think of my own son. The grooming alone is what gets me. My son’s perpetrator did the same thing in attempting to groom him before the full on attack. This involved putting on pornography , nakedness, and ultimately well you can read above and his perp was 15 years old doing this to him. I apologize if this is to graphic I don’t mean to mention it especially since I keep it out of my mind 99.9% of the time. I normally can’t go there unfortunately we need to hear the ugly truth. I can’t stress enough what these types of acts do to the mothers. Billy is doing great and I have found so much healing with time. However time will never be enough to erase moments I have of grief I just thank the Lord that they are few and far between these days. I look forward to the man God is turning Billy into today and it is incredible. Jesus has taken this beautiful boy and is turning him into a smart, vibrant, motivated, wonderful young man and I never imagined he would be looking forward to life and have the goals which he has set for himself.
    Anyways I wanted to share that the children who are most likely now young men if they never received support or no one knew will have a time of struggling with the past abuse. My prayer is that they will find support as billy did. For the mothers the parents my prayer is that God with time will heal their hearts and put together the broken pieces. It has taken 7 years for God to piece some of my heart back together. I am so incredibly grateful for it.

    These men who seem to exert some sort of authority over people astounds me. It’s unbelievable how we give man so much power. How we give someone else power over us to make decisions or trade our liberty in some way and for what? For their interpretation of the scriptures? No thank you! Man can keep his opinion and interpretations to himself. I will seek the Lord for all of my needs physically and spiritually.

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  68. From infancy I would have liked more detail on what comes next / going on with God but it didn’t seem to be forthcoming in my childhood milieu.

    At my secular school in the 1960s when we were 14 (fourteen), teachers “suggested” we should “consider” “having” sex outside marriage (note this was backed by authority). I think this turned a whole generation into bad tempered people. Note this was Savile time. I consider the present rebellion by children – mainly girls – at Highgate, Brompton and Dulwich schools is a turn up and a wake up call to us all that have been mentally assaulted as well as the assaulters.

    (Later I met a traumatised BBC – studio – cameraman.)

    A teacher that was supposed to supervise Christian Union had been carrying on with a boy (the teacher left, the boy stayed). The school didn’t bother with new supervision for CU. The atmosphere at the CU – which I later joined – was hysterical (not good among mixed ages).

    Later at a “house fellowship” a “chief elder” held an inappropriate conversation with me (they were rebaptisers too).

    Later at a big and old denomination (which had publicly abolished belief and prayer, and just before it went for trendy fogeyism) there were hysterical “retreats”. Both there and in a “reputable” interdenominational movement sentimental and manic ways spilled over into socialising (some OLD men tried to cast a devil out of a man whose speech was affected by stroke because “the devil is the author of confusion”).

    After that I was in an ambiguously affiliated movement for 28 years (not 2 months lol) (the rest of them apart from early dropouts, plus two more that walked out and several that passed away, are still in it), I’ve mentioned it before. I call them “dungeons and dragons”.

    (At a secular charity for the disabled I got unwittingly sucked into a public role play and “spoiled” it for them because I didn’t stick to the script I hadn’t been shown – this stuff gets everywhere.)

    I later joined a sly church (they wouldn’t tell me what the row was about, and then they told me “the nasty people have left”), and then an utterly manic and chaotic church (the latter because I wanted to strengthen some friends who were there, but we all got obliterated) (the latter belonging to a very big denomination).

    I get overly damning in my mind towards some church leaders / helpers that are not so bad, and have got to learn to pray and share my gifts once more. My prayer life is mainly a string of Glory Be’s.

    What if judges, politicians, leaders of commerce in the US have been to Kanakuk? (Or frats, “greek” societies, hazing?) Or in the UK, the kind of school Richard Dawkins went to? Huge numbers of vicars have been appointed by the Ball / Smyth / Fletcher element. To become a lawyer or doctor or join an army unit in England there is hazing so it has emerged. Make a man of them will it? It’s not just “liberalism” that tips people that way.

    What if people with learning differences are / aren’t in their midst (not taught to negotiate adjustments to the manipulations)? Why isn’t thought given to what people are being burdened with for the rest of their lives, and through them yet others?

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  69. Headless Unicorn Guy: how much of the Jesus People Movement went sour?

    … and when God is doing something wonderful in the community, is the enemy trying to copycat an imitation? Snake oil? Fake? Knock-off?

    Thinking of the Book of Acts, did the disciples run into one guy trying to do miracles & charge $$$ for them, and another trying to do miracles & create a name for himself?

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  70. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    I’ve been studying cults for some years. I even took a class in identifying cults in seminary, which I suspect was a move by GGTBS for seminary students to be able to identify the abusive tactics of New Calvinism. It was an all seminary class the week before the Phoenix convention and just before Dr. Akin took over at SEBTS.

    Cults are not cults because of theology. Any belief system can become cultic, as can secular groups.

    Most cults share:

    -authoritarian leadership
    -a belief that they have special knowledge that others do not and can not have
    -an emphasis on believing the leadership over others and self
    -pushing for members to separate themselves from ouutsiders to isolate them and create dependence on the cult
    -assumed control over members time, decisions, and money
    -money flows up and how finances are used is not shared with members
    -you are not allowed to leave freely and without punishment

    I think the easiest way to identify a cult, whether inside or out, is on the last point. If a group is okay with people leaving and doesn’t try to heavily dissuade or punish members for leaving, or uses someone leaving to scare current members into staying, then they might be abusive, but they are probably not a cult. I think how authoritarian the leadership is can be another big hint.

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  71. I’m going to toss this out and see what ya’ll think. Our church is, I believe, a good one. However, this week one of the leaders had a letter to the editor just all but cussing out the medical profession’s response to covid. He thinks they are ego filled power hunger dictators because they promote masks, vaccines, social distancing, etc. He is angry that to be admitted to the hospital he had to have a covid test. He is angry that visitors are limited somewhat, though not like they were. He is angry that the hospital requires visitors to wear masks and screens them with a temp/symptom check desk.

    I blew that off as one man’s opinion. Our town is not out of the woods yet, positivity rate still over 10% but the city council let the mask order lapse. There are still some restrictions on size of gathering. Our church says all mitigation efforts are voluntary, and almost no one masks. So we remain watching on live stream. Yesterday we could hear some with deep heavy coughs and lots of dry hacking. Could just be allergies, we do not know.

    What I DO know is this: the pastor in his sermons categorizes those of us still attending by live stream and receiving communion privately with masking and social distancing as sinful because we are giving in to fear. Um, no. I am not afraid, am fully vaccinated, but there are some high risk folks that persist in coming and not taking care of themselves. I cannot attend right now and be sure I am loving my neighbor as myself.

    What is your opinion of this situation? Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will? Or is this over reaching spiritual authority bordering on verbal abuse? About 1/3 of the congregation is still only doing live stream.

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  72. Headless Unicorn Guy: Has anyone done a historical study on how much of the Jesus People Movement went sour?

    It would probably make a good masters degree thesis.
    If history has anything to teach (sorry for being so ‘clicheish’) it’s that all ‘movements’ succumb to the very inertia they sought to overcome in the first place.
    And the grand irony? Before long, most of em’ turn into bowel movements.

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  73. elastigirl,
    Max,

    It is kinda the Baptist seminary that everybody forgets. And I just looked them up, too. Apparently, they’ve changed their name to Gateway Seminary, but are still affilated with the SBC. I wonder if this will be the new trend for all the SBC seminaries? Just like all the SBC churches who pretend they are not SBC…

    The new SBC church here is apparently telling people they are not affiliated, but it took me 5 minutes to find them on the SBC search as well as at 9 Marks.

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  74. linda: Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will? Or is this over reaching spiritual authority bordering on verbal abuse?

    You are doing the right thing by staying out of the church building.

    Warning: I’m not a scientist (although I read about covid every single day). A lot of well-established vaccinations (like the one for smallpox) cause sterilizing immunity, meaning that the vaccinated person won’t get the illness AND won’t transmit it either. Scientists are not yet sure whether the new covid vaccine causes sterilizing immunity. It is not clear whether a vaccinated person can remain well but still pass along covid. Also, 80% to 90% effectiveness is still not 100%. A person might still get a mild case.

    Offhand I’d say the ego filled power hunger dictators are the men ordering church members and newspaper readers around!

    Keep protecting yourself and your vulnerable neighbors. And maybe check out another church’s live stream. 😉

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  75. linda: it must have been His will

    The pugs are inspecting my comment about vaccines, but I have another thought. Do these pastors ever go to the doctor? If one of them had a heart attack, would he leave it untreated? If their child fell and broke an arm, would they have the arm set, or just let the child grow up with a misshapen arm? Are any of these pastors aware that some Christians work as doctors, nurses, and EMTs? I could go on all day…

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  76. linda: What is your opinion of this situation? Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will? Or is this over reaching spiritual authority bordering on verbal abuse?

    IMO, the leader’s rant is absolutely wrong and overreaching.
    We were happy to hear (also still watching on-line) our pastor recently thank God in prayer for the people working on the vaccine (which you wouldn’t hear in many churches, who are actively discouraging people from getting the vaccine).
    Protecting yourselves and others from COVID shows love, not fear.
    I still like the quote from my (now deceased) Pastor Emeritus, who liked to say “All truth is God’s Truth” including truth derived from science. Science and faith/Bible do not need to be in conflict, and God created the world which we are studying with science. Our understanding of both (faith and the world through science) is imperfect of course.
    Anyway, red flag from that leader, hope that’s not the thoughts of most of the church or leadership!

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  77. Muff Potter: Sometimes faith and politics are too intertwined to separate them and still have a story with any meaningful context.

    Hello, this would be a possible route, I think, fending on whether the USA and/or relevant states signed the Protocol which has been on the books for 20 years –
    Article 3

    “Use of terms

    For the purposes of this Protocol:

    (a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;

    (b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used;

    (c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article;

    (d) “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.“

    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ProtocolTraffickingInPersons.aspx

    I am assuming the USA is a signatory because the Special Rapporteur visit the country in 2018 to ask what they were doing..

    Imo this could have been used in other recent high profile cases as well.

    You will find a wealth of free information on the UNODC website

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  78. linda,

    “…one of the leaders had a letter to the editor just all but cussing out the medical profession’s response to covid. …

    …I blew that off as one man’s opinion.

    …the pastor in his sermons categorizes those of us still attending by live stream and receiving communion privately with masking and social distancing as sinful because we are giving in to fear. …I cannot attend right now and be sure I am loving my neighbor as myself.
    +++++++++++++++++

    my opinion? i think the leader who wrote the letter to the editor and the pastor are self-centered, non-thinking gits.

    I could make a long list of things for which these men are “sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control of”, which they would never risk exposing themselves or their families to.

    you have integrity and are a higher caliber human being than these duplicitous-by-stupidity-or-on-purpose nincompoops.

    well, there’s my opinion.

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  79. linda: see what ya’ll think

    I have read it suggested in secular settings that “COVID is a stress test for state and national public health systems, and for economies.”

    I think one could argue that it is “stress testing” all sorts of forms of social organization, including the churches.

    I won’t offer a reviling judgment about the situation you describe, but perhaps it is worth contemplating this situation through the lens of a question:

    “Is the response to the stress of this situation revealing good or bad in this individual or group?”

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  80. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Wasn’t Koinonia House Christian Fellowship was that the brainchild of conspiracy nutjob and con artist of the now-deceased Chuck Missler? Looks like it was the spawn of some Jesus People/Calvary Chapel convert who was sent out way before he was mature in his faith.

    You know my tabletop RPG background and my board game background from other forums. Jack: My military board game of choice is Advanced Squad Leader.

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  81. linda:

    What I DO know is this:the pastor in his sermons categorizes those of us still attending by live stream and receiving communion privately with masking and social distancing as sinful because we are giving in to fear.Um, no.Iam not afraid, am fully vaccinated, but there are some high risk folks that persist in coming and not taking care of themselves.I cannot attend right now and be sure I am loving my neighbor as myself.

    What is your opinion of this situation?Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will?Or is this over reaching spiritual authority bordering on verbal abuse?About 1/3 of the congregation is still only doing live stream.

    So would those homebound and / or with immunity concerns being “sinful“ if they distanced during peak flu season? It’s one thing to talk about not being dominated by fear and to consider the benefits of fellowship etc. in a commonsense manner. It’s quite another if there is adjudging and assigning sin to the varied responses to real life situations of congregants.

    The first part of the 14 chapter of Romans come to mind, including these specific verses:

    Romans 14:1 “Now receive the one being weak in the faith, not for passing judgment on reasonings.”

    Romans 14:4 “Who are you, judging another’s servant? To the own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to uphold him.”

    Romans 14:10 “But why do you judge your brother, or why also do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

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  82. Ava Aaronson: This is interesting since a common criticism of seeker sensitive churches has been their disguise or break with the traditional look of church. Correct me if wrong but the SBC would place itself on the other end of the church identity continuum. IOW, not a part of the seeker sensitive xhurch movement. Not church in disguise.

    I think it’s an old fashioned recruitment technique. One reason people were so into starting seeker sensitive churches is that they grew very quickly. They could spout all the theology they wanted, but I think a lot of the motivation for them was $$$.

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  83. Ava Aaronson: This is interesting since a common criticism of seeker sensitive churches has been their disguise or break with the traditional look of church. Correct me if wrong but the SBC would place itself on the other end of the church identity continuum.

    The SBC-YRR movement within SBC would be considered sorta “seeker sensitive”, IMO. The young reformers in my area draw in the seekers with big screens, fog machines and skinny jeans. Many “seekers” these days are not looking for the Lord, necessarily … they are looking for comfortable, more contemporary places to do church, with coffee in the lobby, loud band, young preacher-boys, etc. SBC-YRR church plants are just too cool for the 20s-30s to ignore while looking for “churches” which are not as stuffy as the oldtimers go to. On the other hand, traditional SBC churches would be on “the other end of the church identity continuum” for the most part.

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  84. Max: The SBC-YRR movement within SBC would be considered sorta “seeker sensitive”, IMO. The young reformers in my area draw in the seekers with big screens, fog machines and skinny jeans.

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”
    — Emerson Lake & Palmer, “Karn Evil Nine, First Impression Part 2”

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  85. linda: What is your opinion of this situation? Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will? Or is this over reaching spiritual authority bordering on verbal abuse? About 1/3 of the congregation is still only doing live stream.

    He’s a bully(.) That is no way to address people in his congregation(.) He is pushing his ‘opinion’ on everyone in his church

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  86. Samuel Conner,

    “I have read it suggested in secular settings that “COVID is a stress test for state and national public health systems, and for economies.””
    ++++++++++++++++

    seems so dystopian-ly far fetched.

    but even if it were the case, the hospital let alone the doctors themselves wouldn’t be privy to such things.

    even if they were (which is getting more outlandish by the second), would the hospital & the doctors have any choice but to go along and operate by the rules/guidelines?

    (not that you were suggesting otherwise)

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  87. Lowlandseer:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,
    They’re still going HUG

    https://khouse.org/pages/mcat/about_us/

    I suspect this is another group with the same name; their history in “About Us” does not match what I remember; for one thing, they seem to have started later from a Calvary Chapelite who split off to church-plant and become his own Papa Chuck. That would put them as starting about 5-10 years later, as Calvary Chapel didn’t exist at the time I got sucked in. I also did not see any direct mention of the Jesus People Movement.

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  88. Samuel Conner: I have read it suggested in secular settings that “COVID is a stress test for state and national public health systems, and for economies.”

    I think one could argue that it is “stress testing” all sorts of forms of social organization, including the churches.

    Like a dynamomoeter test on a car engine —
    Vou never know how a system willreally perform until you put it under load.

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  89. ishy: Cults are not cults because of theology. Any belief system can become cultic, as can secular groups.

    Yet during my time in-country, all the CHRISTIAN CULT-WATCH groups and CULT experts defined “Cult” ENTIRELY by Theology. While they were parsing Theology letter-by-letter, abusive Not-a-Cults flew right under their radar. Like Golden Compass slipping past (even getting into Chrsitian school libraries) while all the Christians screamed about Harry Potter.

    Didn’t hurt that the Cult Experts’ theology was exactly the same as the group which got me – Rapture Ready YEC Fundaagelical. At that point it became “One of Us! One of Us! Gooble! Gobble! One of Us!” and the not-a-cult leaders would use their clean bill of health as a further weapon against their people.

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  90. Muff Potter,

    “…acronyms…It’d probably make good SNL skit.”
    +++++++++

    i imagine we all could keep a comment stream going for days going back & forth dreaming up random acronyms – like,

    TTON

    and others respond with what they stand for – like,

    Tirading Turtles Of Namibia
    .
    games….silly, childish games…
    .
    .
    (long ago when my employer first got the hot new “email” technology, a co-worker and I wasted tons of time doing just that – so much fun)

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  91. elastigirl,

    I think my language was poorly chosen — I was not implying that the pandemic was pre-meditated for the purpose of stressing systems. The point I have read was simply that in practice, it is having the effect of highlighting what does not work well. Pretty clearly, US public health system is not passing this “test” well. Many other aspects of society and economy, likewise.

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  92. Thanks all! To be clear I do think highly in general of our pastor, leadership, and church. But the pandemic seems to have revealed a level of….selfishness for want of better word, which leaves me judging and in need of the Brief Order of Confession and Forgiveness myself. Our people have stepped up to the plate financially, so no one’s jobs are on the line. We seem to have high levels of participation either in person or livestreaming. Our church is small so our pastor does work another part
    time job consistent with his training. We have only taken Communion a few times in the last year, but I do know this system could be untenable for him and am content if he needs to drop that. We are an older congregation, with those around 70 and up being most of the congregation. About 1/8th of the congregation has contracted covid in the past. I don’t know about the church but we had a mass vax event that covered pretty much all the willing and able older folks in our county.

    All that said, cdc recommendations are still not to gather in moderate and larger groups (most churches here ignore that quite vocally), to mask, and to social distance. Our positivity rate is still high even though case count and deaths are falling rapidly. We have a large parking lot and could very easily meet there and have more or less church as usual. But we don’t.

    Sadly, the whole issue of vax, masks, distancing, meeting, etc became quite political early in the pandemic in our town, which spilled into the church. Add to this there is one couple I had started avoiding due to bad vibes before the virus. Only during last summer’s political turmoil did I realize many of the things I was finding “off” are typical signals and signs of identifying with a particular white supremacist group. I fear this is also infecting many in the congregation when it comes to virus safety.

    There is this idea running amok that “I prove I am willing to die for my country and my freedom by NOT adhering to ANY public health measures.” Somehow that is akin to fighting on Iwo Jima in their eyes. My dad fought in the South Pacific for our freedoms. He did not fight so I would have the freedom to make OTHER PEOPLE sick.

    I am quite sure all that makes me super sensitive to what I keep hearing from the pulpit. But I am fast getting over hearing that those adhering to cdc guidelines are fearful, or sinful.

    NO. Just no. I grew up with science being basic dinner table discussion, have family in emergency medicine, and will gladly dance my way more into public when our county meets those guidelines.

    Trusting the science and following guidelines means NOT living fearful. Thanks for affirming that for us!

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  93. CM: Wasn’t Koinonia House Christian Fellowship was that the brainchild of conspiracy nutjob and con artist of the now-deceased Chuck Missler?

    Yes it was. Missler could spin a yarn with Scripture and wrap up a shtick with it like no other. He could make you believe that Jewish dwarfs saved The Ark of the Covenant and hid it away just before Titus burned the Temple Mount to the ground.
    Indiana Jones ain’t got nuthin’ on him.

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  94. linda: many of the things I was finding “off” are typical signals and signs of identifying with a particular white supremacist group.

    That’s rather terrifying. Good for you for keeping an eye open.

    This mentality has been lurking in churches all along. When I was a kid, a family used to visit us and try to indoctrinate us about keeping the races separate and all manner of other things. They dropped off outrageous tracts. They mourned the demise of George Lincoln Rockwell. This family was very active in their very ordinary church, and considered all their activities to be what Christ wanted. [shudder]

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  95. linda: My dad fought in the South Pacific for our freedoms. He did not fight so I would have the freedom to make OTHER PEOPLE sick.

    My dad survived 25 missions in a B-17 in the air-war over Germany (1944).
    Same here, it was NOT DONE to cover some clergy and their followers who refuse vaccination based on a misbegotten belief that it somehow violates their ‘freedom’.

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  96. Jeffrey Chalmers: I can not get my head around a “preacher” politicizing COVID.

    This has been a truly disturbing aspect of resistance to COVID recommendations/mandates from government officials. The Church should be setting an example in their communities of obeying those in authority during this public health crisis. This is not a free speech restriction, don’t tell us what to do situation … lives are depending on conformance to scientific counsel. Digging in with an anti-mask, anti-vax, anti-public health attitude is a sorry display from Christians.

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  97. Joe White owned the Kamp. He hired Newman to run the Kamp, etc. “Pete Newman arrived in Kanakuk in 1995 and was there for 14 years before being caught [as a pedophile].”

    In the video deposition, White defends the hire with “evidence” of Newman’s accountability:
    – Newman’s wife, “completely honest, forthright”
    – Newman’s family of origin
    – Newman’s dad, a pastor, Green Bay Packer chaplain, 22 years
    – Newnan’s three brothers “in the ministry”
    – Newman’s “finest family you ever met in your life”
    – the Kamp’s team of directors, working with & traveling with Newman
    – career law officer who apparently travelled with Newman on mission trips
    – a dad who claims he didn’t see/know his own son was abused by Newman
    ———————-

    Not one of these adults is the target (of a pedophile). So, irrelevant.

    These adults were groomed as cover, obviously, which is what pedophiles do. Here’s where their relevancy kicks in – they are cover, which White is actually explaining. They are the mask of the pedophile. This is what pedophiles do in society or in community, including church communities, to have access. If this is how White runs his services to children, God help these kids. It’s a huge flaw in White’s operation, that he actually defends in his deposition.

    Adults who were given correct information from victims/kids, and reported, were not listened to. (Doesn’t fit the masquerade of Newman that White promotes. So, obliterated. Silenced.)

    Victims, minors, who reported, were not listened to, not believed. (Again, doesn’t fit the masquerade of Newman that White promotes. So, obliterated. Silenced.)

    Grooming the community is a common evil deception used by pedophiles. Are Christians who run their Christian programs for children so uninformed as to not know the ins and outs of this?

    The owner needs to own this – ignorance, denial, unfit to run anything for children. He owns a camp for children. He is responsible for being informed (about pedophilia, for example) and protecting children in every instance of child engagement with the camp & camp personnel. An operation that hides & protects criminals would seem to be at its core, a criminal operation.

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  98. linda: But I am fast getting over hearing that those adhering to cdc guidelines are fearful, or sinful.

    The line of rhetoric you describe reminds me of something that I have observed in broader Evangelical churches (less so in traditional in the limited Reformed exposure I have had): “faith” is set into opposition against “wisdom.”

    It would not be hard to find warrant in the Old Testament for scrupulous adherence to public safety measures in a time plague. Pv 22:3 and 27:12 come to mind:

    the prudent see danger and seek refuge; the foolish carry on and suffer

    That obedience to the OT call to wisdom — if you only get one thing, get wisdom — is being characterized in Christian churches as unbelief and sin suggests to me that these churches have come unmoored from their biblical foundations and are serving something other than the God of both Testaments.

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  99. Samuel Conner: serving something other than the God of both Testaments

    The teachings and traditions of mere men have pretty much pushed God out of the picture in much of Christendom … and Jesus warned us not to do that! Oh, the organized church gives Him lip service but conduct themselves as if He is not sovereign over His Church. Indeed, the authority of Christ is waning in the American church; He no longer has much influence in what churchgoers do. Why seek godly wisdom when the pulpit will tell you what to do? Why read the Word yourself and seek the Holy Spirit as the teacher of it when church leaders will brief you?

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  100. Samuel Conner: That obedience to the OT call to wisdom — if you only get one thing, get wisdom — is being characterized in Christian churches as unbelief and sin suggests to me that these churches have come unmoored from their biblical foundations and are serving something other than the God of both Testaments.

    This was kinda my last straw before stopping going to church. I see so little wisdom in the Christians around me. The Christians I know who seem to have been made better by their faith I can count on one hand, even though by now, I’ve known thousands. They refuse to get help and claim God will fix their problems, and their problems just get so bad that they are actively hurting those around them. Or they have become so consumed by pride or greed that they are abusing others and proud of it.

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  101. Max,

    Sobering and irrefutable. I’m sure your children made a nuanced decision. You have made it clear that a discussion took place, with agreement about what to do instead of summer camp.

    Not about you: Shocking figures can be used to justify any ultimatum. Plenty of adults turn bad news into this: “No kid of mine is going to take gymnastics!” “If you send that child to public school, I’m going to cut you out of my will!” “I know your brother went to college, but you’re a girl, and it’s not safe for you.” These decrees often come down with the stamp of the church or parental authority, with everything in black and white, and no observation or consideration of the child’s needs, talents, or wishes.

    Trusting too much is lazy parenting.

    Ultimatums are also lazy parenting.

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  102. As in real estate, location is everything. Where I live, deep in Trumpland, politics invaded everything, even the grocery stores this past year.

    I appreciate the affirmation that seeing what is “off” is important, and we have to stand against it. As to the one church leader, I have learned the person is struggling with some serious health things and may be angry that science and medicine cannot fix everything. As to the pastor being slightly off center from his usual right on the bullseye, I am going to be wary, be outspoken, and be loving. He is very young and this has certainly been quite a year of experience. Some of us have lived longer and are maybe just a tad more seasoned. I believe him to be a good guy and he will learn with time.

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  103. Samuel Conner: That obedience to the OT call to wisdom — if you only get one thing, get wisdom

    Anecdote from the time I was curious about and sampling Pentecostals:

    Before laying on hands, Pentecostals would always ask “What Gift of the Spirit do you want?” And everybody would say “Speaking in Tongues”. EVERYBODY. “Speaking in Tongues”, “Speaking in Tongues”, “Tongues”, “Tongues”, “Tongues”, “Tongues”, “Tongues”, “Tongues”, and “Tongues”.

    I always answered “Wisdom”. The reason was obvious: WISDOM IS THE COMMAND CONTROL OVER ALL THE OTHERS. WISDOM TELLS YOU WHEN TO USE THEM — AND MORE IMPORTANT, WHEN NOT TO. Why was this so hard for the others to understand?

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  104. Ava Aaronson: These adults were groomed as cover, obviously, which is what pedophiles do. Here’s where their relevancy kicks in – they are cover, which White is actually explaining. They are the mask of the pedophile.

    1) Not just “as cover”, but as Allies and Weapons. If the victim(s) ever speak up, they are completely surrounded by the abuses Allies pre-groomed to Always Beliieve the Pedo over the Victim. Just in this environment, even God has been weaponized as an additional Enforcer — “GOD SAITH!”
    2) Not just pedophiles, but any SUCCESSFUL Sociopath and/or Manipulator. WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT RABBI FROM TARSUS MEANT WHEN HE WROTE “SATAN HIMSELF CAN TRANSFORM HIMSELF TO APPEAR AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT”? HE WAS TALKING ABOUT SOCIOPATHS BEING MASTERS OF CAMOUFLAGE AND MANIPULATION!

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  105. Ava Aaronson:
    – Newman’s wife, “completely honest, forthright”

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”

    – Newman’s family of origin

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”

    – Newman’s dad, a pastor, Green Bay Packer chaplain, 22 years

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! UNTO THE SECOND GENERATION!”

    – Newnan’s three brothers “in the ministry”

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! AND MY ANOINTED’S HOUSE!”

    – Newman’s “finest family you ever met in your life”

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”

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  106. Max: Jeffrey Chalmers: I can not get my head around a “preacher” politicizing COVID.

    This has been a truly disturbing aspect of resistance to COVID recommendations/mandates from government officials.

    It’s already being called “Jesus Christ, Superspreader”.

    Get your head around it, Max. American CHRISTIANS(TM) are as politicized as anything in the old USSR. Anti-Vaxx, Global Warming Hoax, COVID Hoax, Truthers, Birthers, QAnon as SCRIPTURE, Trump as LORD (gold-plated fiberglass statue and all) — they don’t need that pesky Rabbi from Nazareth any more, except maybe as a Celebrity Endorsement. He didn’t win them the Culture War. He didn’t enthrone them in their Entitled place over the Heathen, so the went form someone who WOULD.

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  107. CM: Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Wasn’t Koinonia House Christian Fellowship was that the brainchild of conspiracy nutjob and con artist of the now-deceased Chuck Missler?

    As I said above, I don’t think the two Koinonia Houses are connected; the timing doesn’t match up. Unless this Missler guy was active well before Calvary Chapel and was SIth-Lord good at keeping in the background. Or Missler might have inherited it. Or founded a group with roughly-simiilr background with the same name – I don’t think “Koinonia House” was a trademarked/copyrighted name.

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  108. linda: Somehow that is akin to fighting on Iwo Jima in their eyes. My dad fought in the South Pacific for our freedoms. He did not fight so I would have the freedom to make OTHER PEOPLE sick.

    My dad wrecked his hearing shoving powder bags into the breech of a six-inch gun in Number-Four Main Battery turret of the USS Cleveland (CL-55).

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  109. Max:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,
    “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” shouts the carnival barker.

    More than your usual carnival barker.
    Here’s the lyrics for the first half of the EL&P piece I cited:

    “Step inside! hello! we’ve the most amazing show!
    You’ll enjoy it all we know!
    Step inside! step inside!

    “We’ve got thrills and shocks!
    Supersonic fighting cocks!
    Leave your hammers at the box!
    Come inside! come inside!
    Roll up! roll up! roll up!
    See the show!

    “Left behind the bars, rows of bishops’ heads in jars!
    And a bomb inside a car!
    Spectacular! spectacular!

    “If you follow me there’s a speciality
    Some tears for you to see –
    Misery! misery!
    Roll up! roll up! roll up!
    See the show!

    “Next upon the bill in our house of vaudeville
    We’ve a stripper in a till
    What a thrill! what a thrill!
    And not content with that,
    With our hands behind our backs,
    We pull Jesus from a hat!
    Get into that! get into that!
    Roll up! roll up! roll up!
    See the show!

    “Welcome back my friends!
    To the show that never ends!
    We’re so glad you could attend!
    Come inside! come inside!”

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  110. linda,

    “My dad fought in the South Pacific for our freedoms. He did not fight so I would have the freedom to make OTHER PEOPLE sick.”
    +++++++++++++++

    that’s a great line.

    i’ll have to remember that one. “Linda’s dad fought in the South Pacific….”

    (with all due respect, and all my sincerity)

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  111. linda: What is your opinion of this situation? Are we guilty as charged of sinning and not believing or trusting God to be in control and if we catch it and die or kill someone else it must have been His will?

    What if you changed the context for this question? Would you still reach the same conclusion?

    If you wear a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle, are you living in fear?

    Does the pastor condone driving under the influence, since God could really keep people from dying in a drunk-driving car crash if he really wanted to? (I only say this by way of illustration; it’s not something I believe.)

    Or is he really perturbed at someone else telling him what to do more than anything else?

    The pastor deciding for himself what kinds of risks he’s willing to assume is one thing. Using his authority and platform to pressure others to assume the minds of risks HE thinks are acceptable for THEM to assume is another matter, I think.

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  112. Jeffrey Chalmers: I can not get my head around a “preacher” politicizing COVID. It is just wrong…

    Nor can I Jeffrey.
    How did we come to this?
    50 years ago, vaccination would never have been a political issue from the ‘pulpit’.
    Pastors who downplay the pandemic and refuse vaccination have enormous sway over their flocks and are being downright irresponsible.

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  113. Muff Potter,

    ‘’Twas ever thus. From the history of anti-vaccination – “The history of anti-vaccination movements is as old as the technology itself. The 1867 Vaccination Act in the UK, which threatened imprisonment to parents who didn’t immunize their children, stirred particularly heated opposition, including the National Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League created in 1874 and the London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination in 1879. William White, first editor of the London Society’s magazine Vaccination Inquirer, suggested that, from Jenner onward, the pro-vaccine camp had dissembled, lied, fabricated evidence, and hidden the truth about the efficacy and safety of vaccination. “Over and over again,” he said, “it has been proved that vaccinated patients dead of smallpox have been registered as unvaccinated.” Meanwhile, he argued, the elevated death rates of those who’d been given the vaccine had been covered up.”
    And that was just in the UK.

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  114. Friend: Fifty-plus years ago, pastor would have made an announcement about the polio vaccine being available for children after services. In the church social hall. Via sugar cube. Amid much rejoicing.

    AMEN!! Now that’s a “plague” when both wisdom and common sense from the pulpit prevailed. I had classmates who contracted polio. The rest of us gladly lined up when the sugar cube polio vaccine came to town.

    Does the Bible say anything about COVID? No. But does it say anything about common sense thinking, deciding and acting appropriately? Yes. When I think about the poor leadership coming from certain American pulpits during the COVID crisis, the following Scripture comes to mind:

    “Whoever heeds instruction (e.g. scientific fact) is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray” (Proverbs 10:17)

    “The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools” (Proverbs 15:7)

    “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly” (Proverbs 16:22)

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  115. Lowlandseer:
    Muff Potter,

    ‘’Twas ever thus. From the history of anti-vaccination – “The history of anti-vaccination movements is as old as the technology itself. The 1867 Vaccination Act in the UK, which threatened imprisonment to parents who didn’t immunize their children, stirred particularly heated opposition, including the National Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League created in 1874 and the London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination in 1879. William White, first editor of the London Society’s magazine Vaccination Inquirer, suggested that, from Jenner onward, the pro-vaccine camp had dissembled, lied, fabricated evidence, and hidden the truth about the efficacy and safety of vaccination. “Over and over again,” he said, “it has been proved that vaccinated patients dead of smallpox have been registered as unvaccinated.” Meanwhile, he argued, the elevated death rates of those who’d been given the vaccine had been covered up.”
    And that was just in the UK.

    The science in the 1860s was pretty rudimentary. The distribution of that vaccine in the late 1800s was almost barbaric. HOWEVER, smallpox has pretty much been eradicated from the world. So, there is that!

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  116. Max: Does the Bible say anything about COVID? No. But does it say anything about common sense thinking, deciding and acting appropriately? Yes. When I think about the poor leadership coming from certain American pulpits during the COVID crisis, the following Scripture comes to mind:

    So how in the blue-blazes did they hijack the Bible over the last 50 years or so to promote an agenda?

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  117. Been involved with Kanakuk for 35 years , kids went to Kanakuk camp , became counselors and now my grandchildren go. There is no better place on earth than Kanakuk. We are not rich people but wanted our children to experience this place. Million go to Kanakuk and have e life changing experiences for the good. Pete Neman and the other Auburn student who abused children were not products fashioned by Kanakuk ( Or Auburn University) they were fashion by Satan and sent to destroy lives. They did just that.
    Let me ask this , How many million of cases of sexual abuse happen right under our noses in our own homes? An uncle , a friend even your very own grandfather or father. Do you accuse the parents of neglect and condemn them for something they should have known. Listen people satan is real and it can happen anywhere.
    Joe White is a wonderful person and the staff work their hearts out to reach kids for Christ. They did not see what these guys were doing , they trusted too much just like we do with people we know. I will continue to send my grandchildren to Kanakuk but teach them to be aware . Just like I do in our homes and neighborhood. IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE ON THIS EARTH. AND SATAN IS THE PERPETRATOR.

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