“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― The Problem of Pain
What is this story about?
Akia began attending Kings Kingdom Ministry to seek spiritual guidance and direction from the Prophet whose teachings and ministries she admired. Instead, she alleges that she was manipulated by the Prophet to enter into a sexual relationship as well as to give money and take out loans to benefit the Prophet and Kings Kingdom Ministries. She courageously comes forward in the hopes that other women who have experienced similar pain will know that they are not alone.
Before I tell her story, I believe that the following information will help readers to understand that abuse of women is found in all types of churches and ministries and that clergy abuse and manipulation is a direct violation of Scripture. Luke 17:1-3 NIV
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
Sexual abuse and domestic violence of women in the African American church.
This blog started out discussing abuse in the US evangelical church. As times has progressed, we have added abuse stories coming out of Australia and the UK as well as USA mainline churches. It has always been a hope of mine that TWW could tell the stories of abuse coming out of the broader African American church. I have received calls from time to time but in most cases the women were afraid to tell their stories on a public forum.
This post is not pointing the finger at the African American church. For 10 years my finger has been pointing firmly in the direction of the mostly white evangelical community in the US. There are people who take advantage of the faithful to be found in every denomination, religious expression, church and ministry in the world. Such people go where there is money and trusting people to be had.
There is a reason for concern for the well being of women in the African American church which is well outlined in A nascent #ChurchToo movement could improve gender equality in the black church written by Susan Bell. This features the work of Najuma Smith-Pollard, a pastor and program manager with the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC Dornsife’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
The author points to widespread sexual and physical abuse of women in the black church. I highlighted a portion of the quoted article for emphasis.
Like #MeToo, the nascent #ChurchToo movement is starting to mobilize and empower women to address long histories of abuse. Smith-Pollard says concerns are growing in the African-American church that #ChurchToo will reveal widespread sexual and physical abuse of women within the black church — revelations that, as they ripple out across congregations, could be devastating for many church communities and their leaders.
Noting that the African-American church has traditionally been a man’s place, she pointed out that during slavery, a black church was the only place a black man could enjoy respect and authority. For women, it was a different story: The African-American church has long been a place of great suppression and oppression of women, including abuse and sexual assault, Smith-Pollard said.
And yet, it is female parishioners who invest most heavily in their church, she noted. Frequently the backbone of their congregations, women far outnumber men, devoting time, money and faith into a community that often plays a huge social and spiritual role in their lives. The knowledge that their church could potentially be destroyed by a report of abuse, Smith-Pollard noted, has historically caused many women to remain silent.
…Not only is there the fear they will not be believed — an almost universal concern for women in any circumstances when reporting sexual abuse — but, perhaps even more troubling for many is the idea of coming out with a serious complaint against their own spiritual leader.
What is clergy abuse?
Perhaps it is easier to back into this by first looking at the broader counseling community. Many people are under the mistaken impression that a sexual relationship between two adults should be viewed as consensual behavior. In fact, it is not. A person seeking counseling is vulnerable, dealing with a myriad issues for which they seek help.
The counselor has an unfair power advantage in the relationship. In fact, most experts say that sexual relationships in such situations is not about sex but about power. Abusive therapists who hold power and authority over a client are in position to manipulate a vulnerable client. In most states, such actions can lead to forfeiture of a counseling license and in some cases the counselor may be subject to prosecution.
What happens when a pastor, prophet, or bishop undertakes a sexual relationship with a person who comes seeking spiritual support and guidance? It is an unjust, unethical and unbiblical action that can have lifelong implications for the victim who trusted this spiritual guide. So many victims walk away from the faith, feeling like they were being used. And they were. Pastors and prophets should have higher standards than secular society. Sadly, their standards can be far lower.
What is even more concerning is that there are predators out there who prey on the faithful in order to gain money and sex. They hide behind the Bible in order to coverup their actual motivation. It can be difficult to determine who is a real spiritual leader and who is pretending to be a spiritual leader.
One only needs to look at the furor surrounding Tullian Tchividjian’s numerous affairs to see how the public, in general, perceives such behavior. Here is one of many article discussing clergy sexual abuse: What is clergy sexual abuse and how does it happen?
In Akia’s story, not only was there alleged sexual manipulation but alleged monetary manipulation as well. Money and sex are the key ingredients for a disaster. This is the ministry in which Akia entered in order to receive God’s strength, guidance and blessings. Instead, she experienced pain and rejection.
Understanding Kings Kingdom Ministries.
Here is a Link to the home page of Kings Kingdom Ministries. Prophet Eric Okauru is a handsome, charismatic leader who is called The Prophet by the members of the ministry. He styes himself as a financial mentor who wishes to help those involved in his ministry to rise out of poverty. As the old saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”
His ministry is based in Raleigh, NC and also in NYC. Akia believes he is expanding the ministry to Dallas, as well. According to her, his title, the Prophet, means that he is at a higher level than a pastor and has special prophetic gifts.
The primary ministry, according to Akia, appears to be the Prayer Line which can be found on the home page of the ministry.
Note that it claims if you call in, you will receive a prophetic word which is from The Prophet himself. Although calling into the line is free, the suggestions on how to improve one’s life may involve proving one’s devotion by offering a *seed* which involves money. It is believed that the sewing of the seed seals the prophecy itself.
I attempted to reach the ministry for comment. Akia does not know how to view an accounting of the money coming in and going out of the ministry. I had hoped to hear from the Prophet in order to ask him about financial disclosures prior to posting. I left a message stating that I would be posting a story about the Prophet and his relationship with a woman. As of posting, there has been no reply.
Prophet Eric Okauru has multiple websites which discuss his interest in financial management.
Here are a few websites under the name of Eric Okauru. These all appear to be the Prophet Eric. There may be more.
- Eric Okauru’s WordPress website link
On this website, he does not list himself as the Prophet. Here is what he says about himself.
Eric Okauru, an internationally known pastor, leadership mentor, prophet, and author, operates Raleigh, NC-based Kings Kingdom Ministries as founder and overseer. During his work as a spiritual leader, he has presided over wedding ceremonies, delivered sermons, and led worship services, and does his best to live a life that encourages worship and spiritual insight. Eric Okauru spends much of his time praying, reading, and thinking about the Gospel in NC, and seeks to encourage that same mindfulness in those who follow him.
Eric Okauru also helps those who seek change in their approach to their financial and monetary issues.
2. Eric Okauru – Pastor in Raleigh, NC website link.
On this website he does not refer to himself as the Prophet. Once again, he discusses his financial ministry.
In addition to his responsibilities as a pastor, Mr. Okauru combines his spiritual leadership and prophetic gifts with a financial wisdom that he passes on to members of his church through a financial management mentorship program. The multi-phase program focuses on changing the individual’s fundamental relationship to finances and money management and includes strategies for setting financial goals, identifying ways of generating revenue, and developing a comprehensive savings and investment program. Over the years, Mr. Okauru has helped many members of his church escape the cycle of poverty.
3. Eric Okauru at Medium link
In this article, written by the Prophet, he discusses his financial and spritual background and touts his spiritual gifts assessment tool.
Akia’s story involves allegations of sexual and monetary manipulation by the Prophet.
Akia contacted me after reading about what I do at TWW in Washington Post. Akia asked for my help in telling her story with the hope that other women within the ministry would begin to come forward with their own stories She has said this to me in every conversation that I have had with her and I believe her.
She travelled to Raleigh to meet with my face to face and as s we talked I found myself admiring her willingness to bravely tell her story. She is a professional woman who lives in another state.
The following is a timeline with an overview of Akia’s involvement with The Prophet
- June 2015: She was first introduced to Kings Kingdom Ministries and called the Prayer Line on 7/15/2015 was able to speak to The Prophet and received a prophecy.
- October 2015: The Prophet travelled to her home state for a prophetic service and ordained her as a minister in the church.
- Money given before May 2017: He specifically instructed her to sow $5,000, $3,000 and other seeds to deal with various spiritual issues in her life, which she did promptly and without hesitation-she took out loans to sow the majority of these seeds.
- April 2017: This is when she had her first sexual encounter with The Prophet in NYC while he was there to perform a prophetic service.
- May 2017: The violent seed: She traveled to Raleigh, NC to see the Prophet at his invitation. She had been to NC before for church but not to see the Prophet alone. While there, “he told me that he had a vision about my foundation and things that were being done to me spiritually and that I needed to sow a violent seed of $10,000.”
- May 2017 (the next day after the above prophecy) ” I called the bank and applied for a loan, deposited the money into the Prophet’s account later that week when I got back home!”
- Over the next two years (until 2019): Her sexual relationship with the Prophet continued. She traveled to NC several times to spend time with the Prophet and would join him whenever he traveled to various conventions the church would hold, especially in NYC. She would be present as a Minister of the church but she would also spend time in the Prophet’s room.
- April 2018: The prophet convinced her to find a way to give him $50,000 “Wouldn’t you like to get to the place where money is not an issue and that you can have money anytime you want to travel” or something along those lines, she reports. He told her that this was her opportunity and that $50,000 is what was needed-ask my dad, or whoever was necessary. She asked no questions as she trusted him completely as a spiritual advisor and guide. That conversation took place on a Sunday and on Monday she called the bank and applied for a $50K loan. She was approved for $45K from her bank within 48hrs and transferred it via wire to the Prophet’s account. She took out a loan against her 401K to make up the other $5,000, which she gave in the form of a check to the Prophet in Statesville, SC where they were for a church convention.
- She was regularly told to wait for the unexpected *return on her investment* over the next year.
- Relationship manipulation?
She believed that he was hinting that he was going to marry her. On one occasion when she was with him, he called his ex wife and put her on speaker phone. He appeared to want Akia to hear that his ex wife say that he had been a good husband and father.
The Prophet prophesied to many people on the prayer line about marriage, even giving names of the coming spouse, where they would meet them even the month they would be married. Whenever she would ask about her own marriage, his response would be something along the lines of: “It’s a secret because the person is so great, if you know who God has for you, you’d just be patient because it’s so big!” Whenever he would tell her this, she believed he was speaking about himself, otherwise he wouldn’t be so secretive about who her husband would be. She thought he was just waiting for the right time to reveal it to the church.
- April 2019: She invited a friend to become part of the prayer line.
- May 2019: She began to worry about this friend being a part of the ministry since her friend was now being called on to give money (not including required tithes.) Within the course of 3 weeks she had already given almost $1,000 to the ministry. The Prophet calls for seeds daily on the prayer line and the prayer line is on twice a day. She mentioned her concern to the Prophet.
- Later in May: They had a conversation in which she brought up marriage. It was intense and he said he didn’t want to be married again. He allegedly claimed that if he wanted to be married to her, he would’ve done it already. He also claimed that he didn’t have a relationship with her.
- Was this a threat by the Prophet? “I don’t remember what I said to him, but I remember him saying to me,”You don’t know how powerful I am, I can make some things happen” – which I now believe was a threat (physically and spiritually).”
- The following Sunday: She went to church and he called her at her hotel and spoke to her for 3 hours. He appeared to be verbally coercive, forcing her to take responsibility for *everything.* “I basically said he was right, he never wanted marriage, I was the one who developed expectation, etc. I realize now he may have been recording the conversation, which is why he was speaking the way he was. His tone was always very calm, very collected, never displaying emotion”
- Monday: A friend in the church alleged that the Prophet was known to have other sexual relationships and that some women had left the church quietly.
- The Prophet was upset when he heard that she had confessed her relationship with him to another person. “He said I had now given this person power over him, among other things I can’t remember. He made sure I understood there was nothing between us. I kept apologizing and asking him to forgive me, because I felt that if he could see I meant no malice that we would continue our relationship, he was probably just upset in the moment.”
- In 2018, it is alleged that another woman confessed her relationship with the Prophet and was required to leave the church.
- Since that last conversation in May, she has spoken with the Prophet on two occasions. The first conversation was to ask him to repay the $50K loan. The second time she was contacted by the Prophet who reminded her that she was an adult and that they had a consensual relationship.
- She intends to leave the ministry after she tells her story,
Here are some screen shots of texts from Akia’s phone. The one with the picture is from The Prophet.
I believe that Akia is telling the truth. I also believe that she is telling this story for a selfless reason. She believes that other women impacted by this ministry have similar stories to tell.
I can see their hurt.
She wants them to know that they are not alone. She gave her love and money because she believed that the Prophet cared about her long-term spiritual well-being. She believed he was looking out for her when he allegedly asked her to find any possible way she could get the money. This caused her to take out loans which caused her to have debt.
Akia has bravely opened up her life by telling her story, knowing she maybe critiqued by those who still follow the Prophet. However, I think she has chosen the right place to speak her truth. She knows that TWW has many supportive readers who understand and/or have experienced abuse by members of the clergy. I expect that the comments will be supportive to her.
To those who read this and would like confidentially tell their stories, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
If anyone would like to speak directly to Akia, please use that same contact and I will contact her on your behalf.