Apr 19, 2014

International Christian Church - Former Cult Member Speaks Out

There is another site that has popped up (icccult.com) that sheds light on the "true" experience of a member of Kip McKean's International Christian Church cult.

The writer describes his experience (lightly edited by me):

"...it became very obvious I had been part of a destructive, mind-control cult. I felt very depressed and traumatized that these supposedly nice people could transform into demon-like monsters so quickly...

"Looking back, all they wanted was people to be their slaves, making more converts and giving all they could to the cult leaders, who lived in luxury...

"The power of peer pressure in these groups should not be underestimated... It can overwhelm most people. Remember, most members don’t think it is a cult. Those sincere people lure you into what they think is a good thing, even while the leaders are taking all they can."

Is this just one more "bitter" and "ungrateful" ex-member, as Kip and co. would like you to believe? According to Kip, the only reason anyone leaves the church is because they are "in sin" or have a "bad heart." But does that make sense? Was Jesus in the business of recruiting mass followers so that he could live in luxury off of their donations?

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32 comments:

  1. Peace be with you.

    I was baptized into Christ in 1998 in the Los Angeles area.

    I too had a traumatic experience which had me exit the stifling teachings of faith in men, mimicking words, actions, their rules and doctrines rather than faith in His Word and walking by faith.

    To save time and not get into commiserating over valid points you have made throughout your blog, I would like to make the following point in the hope that you would not forget your calling and others reading this may take note:

    Although this brand of Christianity that Kip and company are pushing is not kosher in many aspects, be sure to write and reflect on grace. Remind people that it was, ultimately, their desire to know God which brought them into these circles, and that was not a bad choice on their part. Remind those hurt by the sins of others that the actions and words of others has no validity on their faith and relationship with Yeshua. It was the Name of Yeshua they were baptized into. It was the Lord Almighty they chose to pursue, in spite of how mismanaged and mislead they were.

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    1. While there are many, many valuable topics that I could write about, my focus is clear - helping people to see the hypocrisy in Kip McKean's actions, with the hope that they will be able to escape from under his control.

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    2. "Ed" or the author of this blog; please share with me the source you mentioned in another response where the stipend for the church servants ( the leaders / apostles / ministers ) in the first century equaled the stipend the widows would receive. Thank you!

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    3. Edmundo, it was from a scholarly book I was studying as part of some Bible classes I was taking a few years back. Unfortunately, I no longer have the books and do not recall which one I read it in. However, just the other day in a completely unrelated college-level class I ran across a similar statement, which was unfortunately without citation. It said that the apostles and early church leaders had to renounce all worldly possessions in order to enter leadership in the church. Completely antithetical to Kip's mentality, for sure.

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    4. Thanks for making the effort.

      Here's a decent source I just found:

      http://awildernessvoice.com/RethinkTithe2.htm

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  2. Just like some 1st century churches experienced some madness and sin ( and we can read about those issues ), they were still held within God's grace. He warns us to not be the hired hand nor the one who beats the servants... and I surely have repented from being misled as I am sure you have as well, so be sure to write and express that God is still there for people to walk by faith with Him.... regardless of the name of the group or the specific doctrinal differences the plethora of churches have the world over. Just like the 1st century disciples were not on a mission to convert people to being Jews and continuing on rituals which do not save, they didn't try to change the eating habits nor the cultures of people, so long as their activities weren't in direct conflict with the virtues Christ expressed and established. God sees the heart, and does not see people according to their group affiliation, but He sees if they worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and whether or not they are living sacrifices ( living out their spiritual act of worship, daily ).

    I had a taste of this type of leadership and I too became a hypocrite and cherished more my title, position and status among the congregation when I was 'raised up' into these circles... yet I began to deny the Voice inside of me which was letting me know things needed to be corrected. When I finally decided to never to return ( other than on rare occasions and for a ceremonious 'restoration' - it is God who restores us, not any sort of ritual or public ordination of men, btw - ), I would do so to see the brothers and sisters I had grown to love and to encourage them as well as being mutually encouraged. Although in the minds of many I am 'not saved' or 'not a Christian' because I don't repeat the weekly rituals they do and follow all of their inventions, I cannot change their minds. We / they truly are sheep and may they follow and obey the true Shepherd of their hearts. It is not my calling to open their perceptions that salvation isn't found by affiliation, but individually and simply because I don't participate in their brand of Christianity doesn't mean anything other than the Lord is using me in a different way as He is using them.

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    1. It doesn't matter what anyone says or thinks about you. You are free to be your own person, and you will be the first person to suffer the consequences, both positive and negative, of each of your choices and actions.

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  3. After returning for the periodic visit and seeing the world from a greater perspective, I recognized the fear the 'leadership' has of getting a real job and breaking their obedience to the man next up the food chain... and although I have done my part in warning them of disregarding what the Spirit is telling them, let alone not listening to nor supplicating the congregation's gripes and discomforts, it is their personal journey and their judgment they will be facing... yet I believe God is more graceful while judging correctly man's hearts, not I.

    Although Kip left the group he started, he left in his wake the same mindset and program, which some still adhere to by default, while some others have found peace in their freedom and their faith has grown in reflection to the loosening of the reins. I have spoken to the current man at the top of the group Kip started and heard some painful things regarding Kip, his words and his actions... and although it is not too difficult to find fault in any single man ( even the current leader of the ICOC ), I must keep myself from judging too strongly any other man considering the Lord is in absolute control.

    I went through my time of testing in the desert after leaving the safety net of the congregation and it was the Lord Himself who restored me; not only my sanity but also my faith in Him... and gave me a heart that can still pray for the likes of Kip and his clones. I don't share this as a boast, but as a battle won over my pride and desire to physically remove such as these from their positions... but again, the Father is in absolute control and I took what was good and removed what was bad from what Kip and company have done.

    Again, please remember to remind people of their faith in Christ, to remember to forgive sinful people... and to remember that the actions of others is not a reflection of their relationship with the Holy Father.

    If you or anyone would like to contact me, please do so.

    Peace be with you!

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    1. Edmundo, thanks for reading and commenting! I understand your points and appreciate your advice, although my journey has led me for the moment away from Christianity and towards science, as I describe in My Journey from Faith to Reason. But I agree that we should forgive Kip and the abusers and I wish well on everyone. Specifically, that those under Kip's spell can be released to go on to lead normal, self-directed lives, and that Kip can enter a stage of life where he is no longer damaging and controlling others. Peace be with you and please feel free to leave any additional comments.

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  4. I just responded to the other post and, hoping not to overrun your own blog, would like to make a few statements here in response to your response, lol. Please forgive my long-windiness, for I am still working on saying more with less words.

    Thank you for your kind response, first off!

    Regarding Kip and the world of others like him: it is written some have come to know the truth but yet began to teach some wild extra-peripheral doctrine ( they did this either by choice or by being fooled / mislead / who knows? ), some others saw the gift of the Holy Spirit and desired to purchase the ability ( surely not knowing what in the world they were even saying / asking for, but we can identify the darkness in which they were enveloped be seeing things in this manner )... and when I consider Kip and the influence a charismatic guy with a resume such as his has, this is why God's prophets were not public figures in the sense that they were 'all over the place' in public view or has so many in direct influence, but lived near secluded lives and weren't too welcomed by the vast majority. I say this to state not that Kip is a prophet ( far from it in my personal opinion ), but his near-prophet adoration that those close to him give over to him, makes it evident that one who is in such close relationship with the Father would be more mindful of his words, actions and the follow-out of their words and actions... for God Almighty would be reprimanding him at every turn!

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    1. It's true that Kip's followers treat him as they would a prophet, even if they don't use that word for him. It's also clear that Kip sees himself that way and wants others to see him that way. It's also true that if Kip were humbler and more "spiritual," he would constantly direct people's attention toward Jesus and people other than himself. However, he has shown over and over, and even sometimes admitted, that he loves the limelight, being the star and the object of adulation.

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  5. To explain the fact that both you and I embarked on a journey from the efforts of his and people like him ( in their desire to spread the gospel of Christ, albeit him and others being like the conductors of a train falling apart at all ends, but still chugging along in all its ugliness ) is to explain an act of faith on both our parts, aside from his personal failures. We can see that Paul spoke of thorns in his side which God was not willing to remove, although Paul prayed the taught "three times" for their removal, but it wasn't the Lord's will for Paul to be removed them... this in order to keep him humble! I'm working on my thorns, lol. I can go into listing the thorns of Kip, but it is his job to have them listed not only in his heart, but for those near him to ever remind him of them.

    What I mean is that, objectively speaking, I would not desire to be in such a position as his, where he cannot see his own shortcomings ( as any person, believer or not, should be able to soberly do when looking at themselves ), and this is of great concern, not only for himself but for all around him. It is a great responsibility to speak out loud things of faith, and even greater when a mechanism such as an organized religion is derived from that occupation.

    In short, perhaps Kip suffers from a belief of not being good enough before God. There is a psychological theory that people view God as they view their mom and / or dad. If their dad was kind, loving and affectionate, they most likely will see God in this manner. If their parent(s) were demanding, tough and always ordering them around, most likely and subconsciously the person will view the Holy Father in this manner. These thoughts are not my own, but I picked them up in a book called "The Road Less Traveled" by Peck. It is such a great read, I recommend it to all... but it must be read in its entirety. I don't recommend nor read too much of what men write in terms of faith, for one is reading into the mind of another man, fallible as each of us are, and in that one may derive a corrupted view of what is already portrayed in scripture and of which only the Spirit can make clear to us.

    Perhaps Kip's dad, being an admiral in the empire's military, demanded a near-perfect attitude of accomplishment... it is no surprise to see Kip forward and reflect this culture and attitude onto those around him. In Kip's own writing from the 'first principles' he goes into decent detail as to what made him do what he did when disappointed with the organized religion he was a part of... and even in his own writings one can see the psychological reasoning and nearsighted application of being hurt and disappointed.

    So yes, let us remember that we are all fallible and we have our own baggage to carry in our lives, lolol.

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    1. That could be. Kip was the product of a wealthy, high-powered family, and for him to live up to his dad's accomplishments in the Navy, Kip has to make good money have a high social position, and be in charge of / able to order around lots of people.

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  6. I would like to share some details in private / not publicly, for it is of a sensitive matter... how can I go about doing that?

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    1. If you do want to communicate with me directly, you can send me an email in the contact box in the column to the right >>

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  7. Scratch that request, what I wanted to share would have been spreading gossip ( what was told to me in a two person meeting ). I decided not to continue to drop bombs on Kip’s head or condemn him, for from what I’ve learned about Yeshua, I believe Kip ( even with all his sins and all the pain he’s caused so many because of his sin ) is still in God’s grace. This is NOT because of the work Kip has done, but because of God’s mercy… and let us both realize that again, nothing happens outside of God’s will… and all things happen for a reason and for a greater purpose. Perhaps Kip’s madness is a lesson to the rest of us of how the ‘mighty’ can fall, so we should do our best never to let our hearts get so hardened that we can’t see the mess we get ourselves into… nor think too highly of ourselves as He warns us.

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    1. My plan is not to hurt Kip (or anyone else for that matter), but rather to help protect people from getting hurt, used and abused.

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  8. Good site, are you going to do any articles on getting people out of cults? That would be helpful.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Right now I am focusing on providing information about the ICC so that people can make better informed decisions about whether or not they should be members or not. I actually don't have much experience in getting people to leave cults beyond the fact that I myself was part of a cult and then left it. What helped me was seeing the leaders and the organization unmasked for what it is - a business that seeks first to extract as much as possible from its victims.

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  9. I remember when a member is falling away or has fallen away, the older members would say, "He [or she] is becoming very selfish" or "she is now a very sad person."
    Yes, peer pressure...

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    1. It is a mind control technique called "framing," or creating a story and reference point for people to view situations the way you want them to. If a person leaves the church, it is because something is wrong with that person, not the church. Even the term "fallaway" was created to conjure up the image of a person leaving God rather than just leaving the church. The church always wants you to believe that life on the "outside" is much worse than life inside the church

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  10. Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Yeshua replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

    - Luke 17:20-21

    Yeshua told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

    “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

    “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

    “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

    - Matthew 13:24-30

    “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

    “Do not stop him,” Yeshua said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.

    - Mark 9:38-40

    If anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

    God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Yeshua. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

    - 1 John 4:15-21

    ( cease your judgment of people you do not know, you have allowed the teachings of men divide your love for strangers )

    ( repent of your condemnation of your brothers and sisters, for you cannot see nor know their hearts )

    ( cease dividing the kingdom of God, which is unseen and thus one cannot 'see' who is and who is not in it )

    ( cease believing the rantings of one man who cannot see past his pride and ego, who justifies the pain and damage he has caused many by his myopic view of grace, who pushes the rigid religion he has formed around himself; humbly accept the Word of God planted in you and the Way of Christ, which is love, peace, forgiveness and humility )

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    1. Not sure I totally understand your comments, but I write from personal experience and with the goal of helping other people to escape or avoid the abuse that I and thousands of others have already suffered at the hands of Kip McKean and his followers, both through the ICOC and the ICC.

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    2. I was responding to the guy who simply copied and pasted his entry blog here. I know you write from personal experience as I have... we are both in agreement as to the nature and method of converting people by fear tactics and not by loving them... and depending on contributions instead of serving people for no return of the investment of time and effort.

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  11. Gods hand is upon any movement and disobedience to his will makes god not a happy camper. Moses did not with aaron enter the promise land. he didn't listen and obey god. he touched the rock instead of speaking to it. God will judge his people its a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living god

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    1. Be careful that you don't treat a work of historical fiction as a work of historical fact. Much of the events in the Bible did not happen, at least not how they are described therein. Take it as literature, and observe that the morals that it promotes are cruel and unusual - not suited for any modern, developed people.

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  12. So I have read everything on this posting and I have to tell you I havent read one thing that is concrete. Just a lot of emotionally charged hype. "It was mind control" "They wanted m to be a slave" etc but no substance. Give actual facts or youre not helping me.

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    1. Jamison, thanks for commenting. I'm guessing that you are a current ICC member? Please read some other articles on this site, which contain very specific "substance" and "actual facts." You might want to start with http://www.exicc.org/2012/11/why-im-no-longer-part-of-city-of-angels.html or anything else you see a link to over in the right-hand column.

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  13. Jamison, I have stated the various actions and attitudes followed and implemented by this organization.

    Here are some:

    - fear-based motivation to convert
    - they are the only organization with the truth
    - all or nothing commitment to organization
    - financial support of organization's goals regardless of transparency and scriptural based use
    - obedience to man is paramount to obedience to conscience and scripture
    - leadership delegates labor to volunteers while only administering / managing ( reflecting the way the world conducts secular business )

    Please identify where I was emotional in what I shared above. I will gladly respond and identify more or clarify these if need be.

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    1. Edmundo, that is a great, short list of examples of some of the tactics used by Kip's ministries to manipulate and control people.

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