Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
New org providing support for multigenerational walkaways

(Also posting this on the LJ [info]woundedwarriors community)

A new organisation called RISE International has been set up specifically to provide not only pointers to therapeutic resources but--in an area that has been sorely neglected until now--also provides specific legal assistance to multigenerational walkaways seeking to leave coercive religious groups.

The group, which partners in the US with Children's Safe Passage Foundation, is presently active in the UK and the US; among other things, they are working to educate law enforcement and CPS personnel about religiously motivated child abuse and provide legal assistance to multigenerational walkaways who may need the assistance of the courts to escape (via emancipation proceedings) or who may wish to file lawsuits against the groups that abused them.

The group will also be conducting a specific seminar on specific issues of multigenerational walkaways and children in coercive religious groups. The group is also conducting a memorial to children who have died in coercive groups and a day of remembrance on 10 August.

dogemperor [userpic]
Two articles of note re Hillary Clinton's connection with "The Fellowship" nee "The Family"

Two articles of note--and I encourage readers to recommend them both:

Frederick Clarkson reports on revelations Hillary Clinton may be part of a cell-church group run by "The Family" nee "The Fellowship" along with efforts by Clinton's friends to perform spin control. (Notably, NBC Nightly News has begun its own investigation of the group, in part because of Jeff Sharlet's writing; Sharlet has a new book due out in May re "The Family".)

Also, I've done a wee article re the potential implications of this--pretty much almost *everyone* who's had experience with abusive "discipling and shepherding" groups in neopente dominionist orgs probably has their alarm bells ringing now over the revelation Clinton is in a cell-church.

dogemperor [userpic]
Breaking--official support for hategroup "Watchmen At The Walls" by Assemblies as a whole

(X-posted to relevant communities)

In regards to an ongoing followup on an article posted by Richard Bartholomew on Talk2Action (re a conference being held at which "Watchmen at the Walls" founder Alexey Ledyaev was speaking on political organising) in connection with the particular Assemblies church I am a walkaway from being linked (the church I escaped from, similarly to "Watchmen", is virulently anti-LGBT)), I have found some very disturbing info that indicates:

a) The conference in question is in fact essentially a powwow for the most hardline of the hardline re Assemblies "Joel's Army" churches;
b) Ledyaev is apparently director of media for both the conference and its parent organisation (a group called Second Billion);
c) A *very* large number of regional and national Assemblies of God leaders are directly involved in the organisation, including the national director of home missions for the Assemblies, regional directors throughout the US and the world, and a major "professor" for the Assemblies' mail-order seminary courses
d) Ledyaev isn't the only one *by far* in that org who calls for frank genocide against non-dominionists (the mail-order seminary "prof" is in fact the founder of Second Billion and insinuates the ancient Israelis weren't thorough *enough* with killing non-Israelis, and exhorts the members in a sermon to be even more thorough).

I have mirrored the article in which I have published this research widely:

Daily Kos mirror
Street Prophets mirror
Talk to Action mirror
NewsVine mirror (on Outing Dominionism community)

Please recommend and comment widely on this. Please mirror this if you can.

dogemperor [userpic]
SPLC's updated Hate Groups list now includes multiple dominionist orgs

Southern Poverty Law Center has now updated its hate groups list (featured in the Year in Hate issue of the Intelligence Report--and of note to this community, there are now multiple dominionist groups listed officially as hate orgs, largely for anti-LGBT and anti-non-dominionist rhetoric.

In its anti-gay section, the list is almost entirely comprised of dominionist groups--Watchmen At The Walls (a highly violent "Joel's Army"/"Joshua Generation" neopentecostal dominionist group with close links to Assemblies of God leadership including not only regional Assemblies heads as known "Watchmen" but also official VIP spokesmanship at large Assemblies evangelism conferences) and Abiding Truth Ministries (publishers of the Holocaust-revisionist "The Pink Swastika", used as anti-LGBT propoganda by "Watchmen" and other anti-LGBT dominionist orgs like American Family Association national and state affiliates in *exactly* the same manner that the forgery "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" has been used to sanction anti-Semitic hate crimes and the Holocaust) are the newest listed groups, along with Traditional Values Coalition (an old dominionist group and one of the very few 501(c)4 orgs of political dominionism), Family Research Institute (Paul Cameron's bogus "research" organisation which is the primary source of almost all anti-LGBT "statistics" used by dominionist orgs), Mass Resistance (a dominionist group fighting Massachusett's recent legalisation of same-sex marriage), and Chaldecon Foundation (an org that essentially has operated as the font of "Christian Reconstructionist" thought in almost the same manner that the "Assemblies family" of denominations has been the focus of neopente dominionist thought). I also know personally that there is ongoing investigation with other known dominionist groups--so that list may well be added to by next year.

Several dominionist groups now listed as hate groups by SPLC (in their General Hate category--essentially a catchall of largely religious extremists) include Tony Alamo Ministries (a "Bible-based cult" that engaged in what amounted to a massive dead-agenting campaign), a group calling itself the National Prayer Network (which is carried in dominionist news services, but--in what apparently is something *very* close to the dividing line between "Joel's Army" groups and Christian Identity--is also known to be highly antisemitic), Jack Chick (likely for the highly anti-Catholic and in general anti-non-fundamentalist bent of their publications), and Texe Marr's "Power of Prophecy" (Marrs has been one of the major promoters of abusive "deliverance ministry" in the dominionist community, and is likely being listed due to virulently anti-pagan and anti-anything-not-neopentecostal writings; Ken Cuhulain's "Witch Hunts" (a documentary of anti-neopagan writings by dominionists including extensive coverage of promoters of "Satanic Panic") quite extensively writes up on Marrs).

dogemperor [userpic]
In news around the community...

a) Gothard now discovered to have links to Ken Blackwell and George W. Bush--including those periods where Dubya may have been initially recruited by dominionists. (Please recommend/distribute the first link widely.)

b) Watchmen At The Walls' Latvian leader will be front and center at a major evangelism conference/Assemblies of God powwow--one which is being held in conjunction with a Kiev, Ukraine church also linked with "Watchmen At The Walls". (This is particularly personal to me, in part, because one of the major presenters just happens to be the pastor of the very Assemblies church I am a walkaway from; the conference is also getting a lot of official Assemblies-level support, including reps from the Home Ministries division.) Again, please recommend and distribute widely--this may be a real danger sign that "Watchmen" is in fact being officially embraced by the Assemblies, and it may be a sign we need to start treating the Assemblies as a bona fide hate group.

dogemperor [userpic]
Hamilton Co (Ohio) commissioner begins investigation of Gothard programs

Recently got it up on DailyKos (and will be distributing it to the Other Usual Sources today or tomorrow), but Hamilton, OH county commissioner Todd Portune has launched an investigation into Cincinnati, OH's "Character First!" participation in part because of revelations of Bill Gothard's promotion of "Bible-based" child abuse.

This is extremely welcome news--Cincinnati was one of the "demonstration cities" for Gothard's program, and this investigation could well lead to investigations elsewhere (including the program Mike Huckabee ran in Arkansas). The more sunlight on this sort of thing, the better.

(And FWIW, as noted, recs/tips always appreciated. If you have specific tips about possible Governmental Misdealings with Huckabee and Gothard--or any other cities or states where a "Cities of Character" or "Character First!" program has been put into place--feel free to post it here or (if you don't want to post in public) I will accept tips at dogemperor(dot)dkos(at)gmail(dot)com.)

wyldraven [userpic]
Christian Black Magic aimed at Mikey Weinstein

From The Wild Hunt by Jason Pitzl-Waters

Christian Military and Malicious Magic

Excerpt. Click headline for full story. )

wyldraven [userpic]
More on the Huckabee threat to our freedom

BREAKING: Mike Huckabee member of Bill Gothard cult

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
Salon: Holy Constitution!
Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
You should all read both articles. And if you aren't seeing Nehemiah Scudder when you are done, maybe you need to read Revolt in 2100 (buy it here, or find it in the library).

And to those who will say, "So what, the President doesn't have the power to change the Constitution", I suggest you research the The Yoo position on the "Unitary Executive", and also martial law.

Current Mood: frightened
Choice quote from Huckabee...

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

Are you as disturbed as I am?

wyldraven [userpic]
I truly don't know what to make of this...

Christian right does not have the brains to govern, a founder of movement says
JewsOnFirst.org interview with Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
"It was like waking up after a three-day drunk." That is one powerful statement.

And before anyone else notes it, Godwin's Law doesn't apply. He was speaking in a phone interview, not online. And even if it did, Godwin himself said his law was only applicable where the comparisons were inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic.

wyldraven [userpic]
Huckabee wins Iowa

Huckabee, Obama enjoy huge night in Iowa

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
What does this mean for us at [info]dark_christian? Well, Rev. Stan Moody of the Christian Policy Institute has one view worth noting here.

JewsOnFirst: Mike Huckabee, Christian Zionist
Huckabee's proposals amount to ethnic cleansing of Palestine
Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
So the Republicans are apparently on track to nominate an avowed Rapturist, who will certainly further taint church state separation, and continue the failed policies of the Bush regime in the Middle East.

dogemperor [userpic]
CNN: A survivor of "prosperity gospel" speaks out

CNN has recently posted a very interesting and very sad article from a person who was pulled into the neopente dominionist "prosperity gospel" stuff--and ended up in debt to the point she had to borrow from neighbours and family just to eat.

Sadly, this is *not* uncommon with these groups, and hits *very* close to home for me--there were times my family had to charge groceries at salvage stores when I was growing up because my mother was giving thirty percent or more of our pre-tax income to the church for tithes, "love offerings" and "seed faith offerings".

The post ties in the three pastors the survivor donated to (Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and Paula White) in regards to the ongoing investigation of several "name it and claim it" promoters by Sen. Grassley (and there are some indications the investigation may soon expand beyond the six "name it and claim it" promoters to a general investigation of the televangelist industry--to which I say, it should have happened 20 years ago, but it's good to see it now).

Not noted in the article, but important to note--yes, this is related to dominionism and neopentecostal dominionism in particular:

a) Many of the parties specifically mentioned explicitly promote neopente dominion theology and deliverance ministry; both modern television and radio networks devoted to promotion of "name it and claim it"/"prosperity gospel" have been the primary conduits of promotion of political dominionism (and this is not a recent innovation; in fact, televangelism and political dominionism have been hand-in-hand since the very beginnings).

b) Political dominionism in and of itself--especially as practiced within the Assemblies of God and its "daughter" churches (including most of the big neopentecostal megachurches where "Prosperity gospel" is promoted--almost all of them are either Assemblies "stealth congregations" or "Assemblies daughters")--is *itself* a subset of "name it and claim it"; these groups teach in general that people can "open doorways to Satan" via the most innocent activities and that nations can be "oppressed by Satan" or--in many cases--have God "withdraw his blessing" for tolerating things outside the church "rules" (including things like equal rights for women, mere tolerance of non-neopentecostal religions, allowing LGBT people to exist, etc.).

Most churches promoting "name it and claim it" also promote some version of "Serpent seed" theology, which teaches that all people are either "children of God" or "children of the devil"; quite often it is taught that the "Elect" also have been blessed for the specific purpose of eventually converting people to dominionist theology (by force, if necessary) and to crush all those opposing.

The infamous "Joel's Army"/"Joshua Generation" theology popular in Assemblies churches--both in its modern incarinations and in its origins within "latter rain" theology--both stemmed from "name it and claim it" revivals; the "Joel's Army"/"Joshua Generation" stuff in particular is explicitly linked to a series of revivals triggered by Paul Yonggi Cho (and later, Rodney Howard-Browne) now known (rather inaccurately) as the "Brownsville Revival" or "Toronto Outpouring" (the "revivals" started long, long before the "Brownsville Revival" in the early 90s; there are indications the source of this "movement" should actually be traced to Yoido Full Gospel in South Korea starting in the mid-50s, and at least four churches in the Americas (including the church I am a walkaway from and New Life Church in Colorado Springs) which were Assemblies or "Assemblies daughters" (in the case of New Life; it's still not certain if New Life is truly an "Assemblies daughter" or possibly a stealth Assemblies congregation) promoted it all the way back in the 60s and 70s). Pensacola's main newspaper has written a particularly damning expose of the "prosperity gospel" revival credited with widely popularising "Joel's Army" theology (and mirrored at Rick Ross Institute); the "revival" had such bizarre claims as people spontaneously having tooth fillings changing to gold, etc.

wyldraven [userpic]
Mother Jones blog on Dominionists in the US military

Mother Jones: Merry Christmas From the U.S. Military

Excerpt. Click Headline for full story. )
Warning, there is explicit language in the article, quoting a threat received by Mikey Weinstein.

Texas considering accrediting Creationism school


I don't think this needs much comment.

sunfell [userpic]
User Info Update

I've gone ahead and copied the current rules from the Live Journal community to this one. I might tweak on them a bit, since this is an open community.

dogemperor [userpic]
Update on church shootings: Now religiously motivated child abuse involved

More and more, it seems the sad, sad case of Michael Murray and his nervous breakdown with semiautomatic weapons (which resulted in not only the loss of his own life but that of five others at a YWAM mission post at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada as well as New Life Church in Colorado Springs) is appearing to be a very sad and tragic case of someone raised in an incredibly coercive environment who snapped.

From what we know now, Matthew Murray apparently was raised in a "stealth Assemblies" church and was a member of the highly coercive Youth With A Mission before being dismissed for what amounted to a psychotic break; we also know that he was raised in what amounted to a highly coercive environment in general and apparently was a member of Ex-Pentecostals (a major online forum). Notably, the members of Ex-Pentecostals tried to talk Murray out of his planned bloodshed--and, when it became horribly clear what had happened at Arvada--desperately tried to warn the FBI to prevent the tragedy that would later unfold at New Life Church.

Sadly, it seems that Murray's troubles literally began at the cradle--an Associated Press article finally details the levels of hell which Murray experienced as a kid in a dominionist household</a>.

It also appears that Ex-Pentecostals wasn't the only walkaway forum he was on. He also seems to have been correspondence-schooled using one of the most coercive and abusive curricula packages known:

As if it weren't enough that he was raised in a cult and was involved in another cult, he was schooled in a cult too--namely Bill Gothard's stuff )

I did a bit of looking up of forums--as it turns out, Independent Spirits is a walkaway forum for survivors of Bill Gothard's tactics; Gothard himself is probably among the most explicitly coercive of all dominionist "Bible-based baby beating" promoters, and promotes not only baby-beating but a highly cultic system in general and is also a major promoter of the "Bible boot camp" industry.

Pagan groups may also now want to be aware that they may be targets of smears too--apparently Murray also attempted to join Ad Astra Oasis shortly before the shootings (he was rejected in October 2006).

dogemperor [userpic]
Update on shooting: Worst fears of walkaway community confirmed :(

I reported yesterday on what is in fact known regarding the tragedy of Matthew Murray--a person who was apparently raised in coercive dominionist groups, joined the highly abusive Youth With A Mission, had a psychotic break, was summarily drummed out, and--as a mentally ill throwaway who undoubtedly had PTSD, in part because he still lived in the coercive situation--eventually snapped and shot up a YWAM post in Arvada and New Life Church in Colorado Springs before being killed himself.

Yesterday, I also noted that there was grave concern on Ex-Pentecostals--one of the oldest online support communities for people escaping abusive neopente dominionist groups--that the shooter may have been a member of their forums; they do report having a series of "violent" posts on their forums between the two times of the shootings (all of their info on the person in question who had the account has been turned over to the FBI).

Unfortunately, it seems the worst fears of all of us in the walkaway community have been confirmed--and we may all be under some increased scrutiny in the next few months...as 9NewNow in Colorado has just (indirectly) confirmed that the worries by Ex-Pentecostals' admins did in fact have truth: :(

Info regarding Murray's last posts )

In a later New York Times article, the admin of Ex-Pentecostals is interviewed; they (sadly) confirm that the poster was apparently a regular on the forums under the username "nghtmrchld26", and apparently made at least 11 separate posts on the forums between the times of the two shootings. The NY Times article also confirms that Ex-Pentecostals admins forwarded the info to the FBI and at least one forum regular may have even called the FBI to warn them even *before* the second shooting.

Disturbingly, Matthew Murray--in a post on 6 October--noted the possibility of sexual abuse in the Arvada-area church he was made to attend and explicitly noted coercive tactics in his own church--again leading to the very real and very sad possibility he was mentally ill and (due to a combination of mental illness and coercive tactics causing some kind of psychiatric injury) essentially had a mental breakdown with semiautomatic weapons involved. :(

This is a bad, bad, bad thing for walkaways, folks. Almost undoubtedly this tragedy could have been prevented if the kid had been able to get appropriate mental help (unfortunately, this is not always an option without court intervention when the kid is being raised in an isolated dominionist household). Now that the fact he was on a walkaway forum has been publicised, there is the real chance we're ALL going to be tarred as "anti-Christian" trenchcoat killers :(

And with that--I would like to make a statement, as a walkaway from the sorts of groups that Matthew Murray was raised in, on behalf of walkaways and the walkaway community:

a) Most of us are grieving right now the dual tragedy here--the tragedy of the lives lost at Arvada and Colorado Springs, and the tragedy of a man who had apparently serious mental illness exacerbated by being raised and eventually thrown out of a coercive religious group.

b) The walkaway community as a whole condemns the violence that occured--as replies on Dark Christianity and multiple walkaway forums have noted, shooting dominionists only feeds into the "martyr complex" and is sick, sad and wrong. There are much more effective ways to deal with the harm caused by these groups.

c) One of the great concerns we have right now in the walkaway community is that Matthew Murray's actions may taint the viewpoints of people regarding walkaways. I will note that he was *not* typical; multiple people on the Ex-Pentecostals forum for months apparently tried to talk reason into the boy without success. There are indications that he had serious mental illness going on (either PTSD severe enough to cause a psychotic break or possibly the initial presenting signs of schizophrenia).

Most of us on these forums are NOT out to shoot up a church. We're not out to hurt people. We're trying to recover from being badly hurt ourselves and educate people about the harm caused by the tactics used by many of these groups.

d) One of the things which has not been noted so far, but--in order to even have a ghost of understanding *why* Matthew Murray may have snapped and felt a need to go out in a blaze of glory--must be addressed (and, ironically, us in the walkaway community may be best suited to address this).

Namely, it appears Matthew Murray was raised and grew up in an environment of coercive religious practice. His parents were apparently members of a "stealth Assemblies" congregation in Arvada which is part of a denomination that promotes three pretty extreme forms of spiritual abuse: namely, deliverance ministry--which has many practices similar to Scientology; "Joel's Army" or "Joshua Generation" theology--a modern day of "latter rain" theology which promotes an extremely militarised version of dominionism; and finally dominionist "cell churches"--the newest name for the highly destructive "discipling and shepherding" model for which Maranatha became positively infamous in the 1970s. "Deliverance Ministry" itself is known to cause bona fide psychotic breaks in people (and this is fairly well documented by exit counselors at this point as one of the more destructive practices); it is also an integral part of "Prosperity Gospel" practices such as are practiced in New Life Church and Faith Bible Chapel and is also the basis of "Joel's Army" spiritual warfare theology. Youth With A Mission not only practices "deliverance ministry" but has actively extended it (as has "Joel's Army" theology in general), even going so far as to conduct "spiritual mapping" of specific areas for "territorial spirits" which must be exorcised--and on occasion the people involved being "exorcised" as well; no less than two separate exit counselors (Rick Ross and Steven Hassan) consider YWAM to be highly abusive. Cell-churches also are a part of YWAM's model; involvement in cell churches (of the sort popular in Assemblies churches) are known to cause documentable personality changes on both short-term and long-term levels that do *not* occur in non-abusive groups.

In addition to his parents' involvement in an abusive church and his involvement with YWAM, it appears his brother went to--and the shooter considered attending--Oral Roberts University, a college under a great deal of controversy due to an embezzlement scandal and whose board of directors is almost entirely comprised of "prosperity gospel" and "Joel's Army" promoters. It appears that Murray was educated almost from the cradle using dominionist "homeschool" correspondence-school materials, likely from an unaccredited source like ACE/School of Tomorrow (there is no record of him ever having received a diploma or GED, and it's not unknown for dominionist correspondence-schools to issue their own "diplomas"). Based on that level of isolation, it's not unlikely he was the victim of religiously motivated child abuse (which is often promoted in dominionist correspondence-school circles--in particular the Pearls and Ezzos and Bill Gothard seem to be popular in dominionist "home education" circles). It's actually surprising he had Internet access at all.

It is also known that involvement in coercive groups can be a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder, and in particular a variety known as complex PTSD; the DSM-V is considering a dedicated definition for complex PTSD that specifically notes involvement in coercive religious groups as a triggering factor for this particular psychiatric injury. As noted, some particularly abusive tactics cause their own specific types of psychiatric injury. People who are what are termed "multigenerational walkaways"--escapees from spiritually abusive groups who were raised in them--have their own spectrum of special problems in adjusting to the outside world that are only now being recognised by exit counselors--socialisation issues being a biggie. (It really is not unlike being raised by zombies and then being brought into the human world as a teen.) People who are "throwaways"--people who either must leave for their safety or who are thrown out of an abusive group and who do not make the decision themselves to leave--also have a specific set of issues, trust issues being a major part of this, as well as worse PTSD and socialisation issues than even multigenerational walkaways.

In the case of someone who has a pre-existing tendency to mental illness, PTSD and complex PTSD can trigger manifestations of full mental illness. (It's not unlike how your leg being broken or a bad burn (an equivalent to a psychiatric injury) can throw someone who has a genetic tendency to diabetes into becoming a full blown diabetic because their insulin goes out of control (an equivalent to a mental illness and the tendency towards it)). We will probably never know, but it is entirely possible that his home environment and his involvement with YWAM in particular may have made Murray's preexisting mental illness worse.

In addition, there is a disturbing tendency in neopentecostal dominionist communities that embrace "deliverance ministry" for them to go away from conventional psychiatry--mental illness is all too often dealt with in "deliverance services" or in harmful "theophostic counseling" (which uses tactics very similar to those in Scientology and can definitely make preexisting mental illness worse; many of its promoters pushed "recovered memory therapy" in the 70's and 80's and spurred on a "Satanic Panic" (based on bogus claims of large, secret diabolist covens) that ruined the lives of thousands of people). There are actually entire "alternative" mental health systems used by the dominionist community that have been promoted as alternatives to "secular psychiatry". Use of dominionist "cures" for mental illness can be and has been fatal in past--Deanna Laney is a particularly infamous example (her mental illness was seen as a "prophetic gift" by her church, and eventually her "gift" told her God wanted her to stone her children as she and Andrea Yates were to be the "tribulation prophet martyrs" which are a part of Assemblies end-time eschatology).

dogemperor [userpic]
In regards to the recent shooting at two dominionist groups in Colorado Springs

(Crossposted to Dark Christianity @ LiveJournal, as well as [info]woundedwarriors on LJ)

By now, most of you know of the shootings at two dominionist groups in Colorado Springs--I've deleted the original post because there was too much talk that could be interpreted as supporting such action (and yes, kids, this is against our rules and will result in smackdowns), but I did want to put up another post detailing what we know so far about this.

Media reports have indicated that a gunman (and it is now suspected that it IS the same person) went first into a Youth With A Mission post in Arvada and killed two staff members (and injured two others); the gunman is now thought to have also targeted New Life Church twelve hours later and shot up the Sunday evening service--killing a teenage girl and another churchgoer before he was shot and killed by church security.

There are strong indications this was a preplanned attack, in the case of New Life Church; multiple pipe bombs and "other suspicious devices" were found at the church after the shooter was killed, and apparently pipe bombs and other IEDs have been found at the attacker's home--indicating he may have been planning to attack *multiple* dominionist churches in the area. Whilst the two YWAM posts are not connected, there's also indication that he may have been targeting Youth With A Mission specifically--New Life Church works *very* closely with YWAM on multiple things, including projects on converting other people of the book.

Update 4:10pm 10 December: CNN News has confirmed Matthew Murray was not only the shooter at both churches but was a YWAM walkaway--pointing out the very real possibility of a mental breakdown being the ultimate cause of this tragedy.

Update 4:26pm 10 December: Shooter Matthew Murray was apparently not a member of New Life Church, but per media sources was a member of Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada; reportedly the church has an extremely heavy emphasis on Christian Zionism and especially in targeting Jewish people for conversion, and also seems to have been heavily involved in dominionist politics as well. Faith Bible Chapel appears to be a neopentecostal church whose affiliation is not broadcast on its website, and it uses quite a lot of "Joel's Army" buzzwords in its website; based on the church's history page, it seems to be a daughter of Bethel Biblical, a neopente church in the area that is likewise heavily into conversion of Jewish people. Both are likely "stealth Assemblies" congregations; "Faith Bible Chapel" seems to be a very popular and common name for Assemblies churches in general, and there are indications that the Dream Center of Denver, CO is run by Faith Bible Chapel ("Dream Center" is a chain of "faith based rehabs" run by the Western Conference of the Assemblies of God, and any linkages between churches and "Dream Centers" are in fact dead giveaways these are in fact Assemblies-affiliated).

Update 5:01pm: Still more info coming out; apparently the shooter was largely homeschooled and the state of Colorado has no educational records of him past the third grade; the shooter also apparently was still living with his parents and had attended Colorado Christian University for a course or two (CCU has a bibolatrous statement of faith, and has attempted lawsuits against Colorado Department of Education officials who refuse to render state financial aid to the university due to its sectarian nature; CCU has claimed falsely to be nondenominational, but is in fact a Southern Baptist Convention-run college).

More and more, this is looking like a tragic case of a walkaway who snapped :( With the increasing emphasis on isolation of dominionist's kids in the manner that Matthew Murray was apparently isolated, one fears how many more cases we may see like this.

Update 10:17pm: More details have come out which--more and more--point to a very unfortunate case of someone raised in an abusive group whose life ended in tragedy. Among other things, there is evidence to suggest he is not so much a walkaway but a "throwaway", someone kicked out of a coercive religious group; apparently he was let go by YWAM in 2002 due to health issues "preventing him from being a missionary", and was also apparently kicked out of CCU and had planned to attend Oral Roberts University before being discouraged by costs of tuition. His brother is apparently attending ORU, and apparently the entire family is deeply dominionist and all of the children have been correspondence-schooled using dominionist curricula from their earliest childhoods. In both the case of YWAM and CCU, it appears that Murray may have been sending them hate mail ever since.

The security guard who ultimately shot Murray</a> has since been interviewed (warning: interview is likely to be triggering to walkaways from neopente dominionist churches); apparently she only fairly recently joined the church, but has worked as a security guard for Messengers International and as a police officer in Minneapolis in the 1990s. Messengers International is a ministry operated by preacher John Bevere; Bevere's ministry is connected with the Assemblies and in particular Hillsong A/G in Australia, and is a "Joel's Army" practitioner who has his own section on Deception In The Church (an evangelical Christian site highly critical of neopente dominionism). Bevere explicitly promotes "Prosperity Gospel", has been specifically noted in histories of "latter rain" theology (the theology ancestral to "Joel's Army" theology), is explicitly neopente dominionist in both the theological and political senses, and also explicitly promotes Joel's Army theology as a "restoration of the church". (Yes, you're reading this right: the "security guard" who had her own gun in church is apparently a security guard of a particularly nasty Joel's Army preacher.)

There are also indications of another, all-too-frequent and all-too-sad common occurence in neopentecostal dominionist groups in particular. Namely, it seems Matthew Murray ended up a throwaway from YWAM due to a psychotic break--either the result of psychiatric injury (people have ended up being hospitalised due to psychotic breaks directly caused by Assemblies-style "deliverance ministry" services) and/or as initial presenting signs of schizophrenia. (Another sad, fatal case of an Assemblies church's failure to recognise signs of mental illness and refer the person in question to appropriate mental health facilities is with Deanna Laney, who murdered her children (and left one in a persistent vegetative state) by stoning after stating visions she was seeing in psychotic breaks as "prophecies" at her church.)

And with that noted, here are a few other thoughts and notes:

a) For starters, this gives more evidence to New Life Church being a de facto Assemblies church or at least an "Assemblies Daughter" so closely wedded that it essentially operates as an "autonomous Assemblies" church; the shootings involved not only New Life itself but a Youth With A Mission post at the associated World Prayer Center. (YWAM itself is an Assemblies frontgroup, and New Life has been known to host some Assemblies ministries popular in megachurch "Assemblies daughters" like the Royal Rangers.)

b) I've said it before, I'll say it again: Violence, at least against groups like this, is dumb and wrong (self-defense is another issue, but I'm talking about someone shooting up a church or vandalising churches and such). It makes us all look bad.

As a related aside, this community will not tolerate posts in this thread advocating violence against dominionists. As I will note below, there is likely to be some amount of increased scrutiny of pretty much all forums where walkaways are a signifigant part of the population; this is something that can also get the community in serious trouble, even banned. People who promote this stuff WILL be shut down. 'Nuff said.

c) If the guy was trying to take out YWAM (as is now speculated to be the case)...I strongly do not approve of his actions, but at the same time I am also sadly not entirely surprised that such a tragedy would eventually happen. YWAM is easily one of the most coercive neopente dominionist groups known, and probably the most abusive of the fifty-odd or more known frontgroups of the Assemblies of God (and, like many of the Assemblies frontgroups, plays itself off as a "parachurch" org); multiple exit counselors consider YWAM to be highly abusive including Rick Ross Institute and Steve Hassan's Freedom of Mind Institute. In addition to "Joel's Army" theology, the group actively promotes cell-church models (in a similar manner to Maranatha and in the Assemblies as a whole), an extensive theology of "territorial spirits" and "spiritual mapping" that pulls on Scientology-esque practices in "deliverance ministry" common to abusive neopente dominionist groups.

As noted below, the fact he was a throwaway likely exacerbated any existing issues.

It should be emphasized that his actions were *not* in any way appropriate, though. There are far better--and far more effective--ways to fight coercive groups that do NOT involve shooting up a church.

At the same time, there is also a chance that PTSD or something similar may be involved. We may never know the full story.

d) It is now known that the shooter was a "throwaway" from YWAM and possibly active on at least one walkaway forum--so *all* forums in which walkaways are active are likely to get increased scrutiny over the next few days to weeks.

According to a mail from an Ex-Pentecostals admin that was sent out to all members of the community this morning, reportedly an unknown individual posted a number of threatening posts on the forums between the time of the two attacks; the FBI has been forwarded the info, and there is apparently enough concern that provisions are being made for backup forums.

THIS is why we can't tolerate promotion of violence--we're *all* going to be under the microscope. We can help out much more by educating people about the coercive nature of these groups, how they damage people, how many of these groups have had a fifty-year plan of essentially taking over the US and setting up these coercive tactics as the law of the land. Threatening violence is just like wrestling with a pig here--you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

e) As noted, the shooter is in fact not only a multigenerational walkaway--someone raised in a coercive group--but also a throwaway. Throwaways are walkways who end up as walkaways who did not voluntarily leave their group, but were forced out; throwaways probably have the greatest recovery issues of any type of escapee from abusive groups, because they did not choose to leave and because (as a general rule) throwaways are multigenerational walkaways to boot. The "Lost Boys" of the FLDS communities of northern Colorado and some members of the Phelps family (largely disowned by the familial cult) are classic examples of "Throwaways", as are many LGBT people who were raised in abusive neopentecostal churches who have had to run away for their personal safety; a study of "throwaways" who were raised in the Exclusive Brethren show quite a lot of longterm issues with socialisation and trust, a great deal of which are related not only to having been raised in coercive groups but some of which are directly related to the abandonment.

f) One thing of note, too--there are also indications mental illness may have been involved. Coercive religious groups (and YWAM certainly qualifies, as do many Assemblies churches and the denomination as a whole) do have biases with recruitment of mentally ill individuals, and psychiatric injuries (of the sort caused by involvement in coercive groups, including especially those promoting "deliverance ministry" and cell-churches) are known to trigger mental illness in susceptible individuals; in general, as well, neopentecostal dominionist groups are far less likely to refer mentally ill members to appropriate aid (often labeling them as "possessed" and in need of "deliverance", or--even more disturbing--on occasion confusing psychotic breaks as utterances from God).

dogemperor [userpic]
Cold-calling Dominionist pollsters?

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]multiclassgeek)

A friend of mine asked for help in attempting to get a handle on the source of a particularly unpleasant cold-call. It seems as if some pollster got hold of their (ex-directory) number, and was looking to do some *very* selective sampling for their survey.

Reposted, with permission )

Whilst I realise this may not be a Dominionist group behind this, it sounds like the sort of thing they might try and pull (especially since the city where she lives has an Assemblies Megachurch in it), but I'm not aware of it having happened in the UK before. I was wondering if there was any precedent for it in other Dominionist groups? Are there any factions which have it as a 'signature tactic'?

Ideally, we'd like to try and get an idea of what (if any) Dominionist group is behind this, so that Action Can Be Taken, but any help that any of you can provide will be welcomed, even if it's just eliminating a Dominionist-friendly group as a probable/possible source of this.

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dogemperor [userpic]
In re the LJ Buyout, and what this means to Dark Christianity.

In regards to the recent buyout of Livejournal by SUP Inc. (which is apparently a company owned by friends of present Russian President Vladimir Putin), and also in regards to concerns that multiple people on my LJ friends' list have raised in regards to this recent buyout:

a) In the specific case of Dark Christianity I don't expect any major changes in how we do business here. The major areas where we *have* discussed Russia and the former USSR have been in regards to Orthodox Christianity's version of the ultramontaine movement and--more directly--in regards to neopente dominionist groups that have been invading Russia and other ex-USSR countries. (Of particular note, we've discussed "Watchmen On The Walls"; its leader is a Latvian-Russian national who is prohibited from entering Russia itself under its laws against hate crimes, but who has accomplices within Russia and who has actively fomented hate crimes against LGBT people in the US, Latvia, and Ukraine.)

Unless Russia goes dominionist, it's unlikely they'll crack down on this group--but it is understandable why people would be worried, what with an increasingly poor press freedom record within the USSR.

b) If things go bad, we *do* have backup plans in place, and we have for quite some time (since the Warriors for Innocence debacle back in May of last year, in fact). Not only do we maintain regular backups of posts here on Dark Christianity (including comments), we also have backup communities set up ready to "go live" in case anything bad happens.

Users of InsaneJournal--which is becoming a very popular alternative to Livejournal, especially for people who are concerned about SUP's buyout of LJ--will want to know that a Dark Christianity RSS feed exists for the LJ community on InsaneJournal; I am also (as we speak) mirroring all Dark Christianity posts over to the InsaneJournal Dark Christianity community as an additional protective measure in the event that this community leaves Livejournal.

There are also other community options that can be put in force if need be, including Wordpress-style communities if necessary. We are not letting the community go away.

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