May 7, 2014

A Letter To Jeremy of the Phoenix ICC

Letter to Jeremy Ciaramella, Lead Evangelist of the Phoenix International Christian Church.

Jeremy, I am disappointed.

I was disappointed with your “help” when you and I met with Kip McKean to discuss how Victor Gonzalez, Sr. had lied to me, abused me, stolen money from me, and threatened me.

I was disappointed because you kept your mouth shut as I was told that I was mistaken, when you had heard the full confession of my abuser. You lied to try to make me look bad and then lied to try to make others look good (ICC leaders, of course). You tricked me into meeting with you by telling me that you "loved me" (God, that sounds weirder than hell.) And then, in a final, vain and twisted attempt to try to silence my story, you used your position to separate me from my friends, all with the goal of protecting the abusers, who continue in their positions and abusing people to this day.

I was disappointed because you had already heard Victor’s full confession. You listened to Victor describe how he had plotted over the course of months, building layer upon layer of premeditated lies to deceive me and separate me from my money. You listened to him confess detail after detail of the lengths that he went to to trick and lie to me. And then after hearing his full confession, you took me to a meeting with Kip with the promise that it was to “fix things.” But that is not what happened.

You silently watched me start to describe to Kip what Victor had done. You silently watched Kip interrupt me after less than a dozen words to staunchly disagree with my accusations and tell me to my face that the whole situation was merely an “innocent misunderstanding” and the Victor never had any ill intent.

You then silently watched as Victor presented a story to Kip that completely contradicted everything that he had just confessed to you and me only two days before. You sat there, silent, as Victor claimed that he now suddenly had no recollection whatsoever of what had happened between him and me. You were silent as Victor protested his innocence and declared me the “ungrateful,” bad-hearted one who didn’t “appreciate” all of his “help.”

You silently watched as I then complained to Kip about Victor’s habitually foul mouth. You sat silently as Kip asked me, “What words did Victor say? Fuck? Shit? Ass?”

And you sat silently as Kip told me that I was a much, much worse sinner than Victor was.

I walked out with my head spinning and wondering how I had allowed blatant lies to be presented as fact, and how I had allowed someone who had not even been there (Kip) tell me falsehoods about what had happened to me. And then I came to realization that you, Jeremy, had been sitting there the whole time, and never opened your mouth.

Jeremy, it was your job to open your mouth. It was your moral duty, simply as a non-evil human being, to say, “Kip, what Victor is saying now is a complete contradiction to what he so clearly confessed just two days ago. This guy here is not confused. Victor is lying.”

With your actions, you took sides to protect the abuser. With your silence, you defended Victor’s lies and turned me into the “liar.”

Jeremy, that was not good.

(It wasn’t much until later that I realized that you, Kip and Victor had already discussed the situation without me present, and the outcome of our sham meeting had already been determined long before I ever walked into the room.)

So I was disappointed, Jeremy, and rightly so. I was disappointed in Victor Gonzalez, in Kip McKean, and in Jeremy Ciaramella.

But I still gave you the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s fast forward just a bit. Kip and Victor both make it clear that it is their intention to destroy my family if I do not wish to submit to their authority.

So my family moves away from Los Angeles, and to Phoenix, partly due to the terror that these evil men instilled in my wife and that still was living in her heart. We move to one of the few other cities on the face of the earth that had one of Kip’s churches, since obviously, Kip’s franchise of churches are the One True Church and to move anywhere else would be to leave God and destine my wife to eternity in hell. (So she still had been conditioned to believe.)

In Phoenix, we continue attending church services at the Phoenix International Christian Church, which I had helped plant in 2006. I was hanging out with my friends there, including one who was a major church leader and someone that I helped study the Bible with and baptize. In fact, even my wife was someone that I invited off the street and baptized years before in this same Phoenix ICC - the first baptism the church saw.

You, Jeremy, were not yet the leader of the PVICC. Someone else was. But then Kip, I’m sorry, the “Holy Spirit,” who talks exclusively to Kip, decided to move that leader away and to move you here.

I invited you over to my house several times to share a meal. In fact, tried to invite you over so many times that my wife got mad at me and said, “Isn’t it obvious to you by now that Jeremy doesn’t want to come here? Why do you make a fool out of both of us by still inviting him?” Well, it was because I mistakenly trusted you and erroneously thought that you were my friend.

Then I wrote about what had happened with Victor, and what happened later with Kip. Out of respect for you, I did not include your name. It was never my desire to make you look bad - in fact, although I needed to tell my story, I made sure to protect you by not naming you and also not describing your utter lack of usefulness.

So when I posted the link on my Facebook page, it was not out of malice. Not to you or to any person. Not to hurt or destroy the church. Yes to accurately describe the abuse of Victor Gonzalez, with the hope that he might be prevented from repeat offending again.

So I was disheartened when you got on my Facebook page and in a very deceptive and dishonest way tried to create the impression that I was being less than fair, or even dishonest, in what I wrote. Do you realize that all of my family and life-long friends read an emotional, heart-wrenching account of everything that I was subjected to by Kip and Victor, only to then read your comments that were designed to make me look like I was lying?

That, sir, was a VERY shitty thing for you to do.

Besides indirectly refuting the words of my personal testimony, “I’m not saying you are lying but ….” Actually, the only reason you would write that is to insinuate, that yes, I was lying and not accurately describing the events that transpired. And then you expressed several cherry-picked details to create a very false illusion of our meeting with Victor and Kip, designed to make me look like a liar and to make Kip, Victor, and yourself look good. Naturally, your motive was to try to “protect the flock,” which meant defend your leader and the image of “The Kingdom” at any cost, even if it meant being deceptive.

And then you tried to claim that you had never heard of the church trying to split up a marriage before. Really? Were you and I part of the same church? More likely, you think that “disciples” are justified in leaving their “non-believing” spouses, which is what Kip and Kip’s churches have practiced for decades. Kip did not stutter when he told me that he would try to get my wife to leave me. Kip repeated the threat, again without stuttering, when I went back to him a second time. And Victor, with the full support of Damon at his side, literally told my wife right in front of my face that she didn’t need me and that she should leave me. Fully supported by Kip, who defended Victor’s threat and repeated it himself to my face, twice, without stuttering.

Just in case you really are so poorly informed, which I find very difficult to believe, here are a couple of stories of marriages that were destroyed directly by Kip’s ministries convincing a member to leave a non-member spouse over the issue of membership.

http://reveal.org/library/stories/people/jeubanks.html

http://reveal.org/library/stories/people/jodill.html

But even then, in my foolish, trusting nature, I still tried to give you the benefit of the doubt in my mind. I thought, Jeremy doesn’t know what to do, and maybe he really sees things that way.

So when you asked to talk to me in person, I took it, again naively, as a friendly gesture, intended to try to help resolve things. Lord knows you were a witness to the verification of all of the abuse that I received.

And you can be the witness that I invited you, again, to my house to talk over a meal.

However, you insisted that we meet at a McDonalds. Ever affable, I accepted, not anticipating the blows to await me. I was just a bit nervous, asking you if you were going to bring Victor Gonzalez there for a surprise conference with me (to which you replied, “No, I’d never do that!”)

So after thereby leading me to believe that it would be a “safe” encounter, you will probably remember that you wasted not time in revealing the purpose of the meeting - to tell me what a bad person I was, and to ask me to please not set foot in the church again.

Seriously? This church that I helped build, and where so many of my years-old friends are? This church where I never spoke to anyone to dissuade them from their faith? This church where you yourself had just arrived to lead a few short months prior?

In the moment I was so stunned that I did not know what to say, so I said, it’s OK, I understand, don’t worry, it’s fine.

But… This is what I get for simply telling the truth about real events that transpired? If you could even tell me one tiny thing that I exaggerated, or modified, or left out, I could maybe understand.

You can’t.

My account was true and it is accurate, down to the very last detail.

Add that to the list of terrible things that you did.

Even at this juncture, against all odds, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. My “in-the-know” church friend told me days later that you only disinvited me because that was the instruction that you received from “Los Angeles.”

So it’s clear where your loyalties lie. Was it with our teamwork working together in ministry activities and working on the “Internet ministry” of the SODM websites? No. Was it with our 5+ years of “real” friendship that spanned 3 cities and 3 states? No.

Was it with God? Was your loyalty to the the TRUTH and with telling the truth?

NO. Not even.

Your loyalty lay with doing whatever Kip McKean and your human “leaders” told you to do, right or wrong.

Was God threatened by me describing what had happened? I doubt it.

I still didn’t realize at the time that you were stabbing me in the back, throwing me under the bus. Even at this juncture, I foolishly and stubbornly gave you the benefit of the doubt. You know, Jeremy is just doing what he thinks is right.

But then you unfriended me on Facebook, and I realized how stupid I was to ever think that you and I were friends in real life. You were just using me. As long as I was translating Kip’s articles into Spanish for the “Movement,” you were my friend. As long as I was giving my contribution, you were my friend. (More on your role in the cynical manipulation of my money on Kip’s behalf another time.) As long as I kept hidden what Kip wanted hidden, you were my friend.

So I am disappointed in you, Jeremy Ciaramella. Disappointed that you choose church bureaucracy over being a decent human. Disappointed that you, whether out of fear, or lack of character, or for whatever reason, refused to speak the truth you knew to refute the lies at the appropriate moment. Disappointed that you came on to my Facebook page and used dishonest and misleading words to try to smear my reputation in front of all of my friends and loved ones and falsely portray me as a liar. Disappointed that you chose to protect the abusers and attack the abused. Disappointed that you chose to separate me from my long-time friends in an attempt to prevent people finding out the things that happened. Disappointed that you violated my trust over and over again. And disappointed in myself for making the mistake trusting you over and over again.

Postlogue:

But some good came out of it. First, the moment, the very moment that my wife found out that you had “uninvited” me from the Phoenix ICC, she was done with you and with Kip’s churches. She finally was able to break free from the mind control that had been placed over her by Kip’s stooges. I actually appreciate the fact that no-one from church ever called her or contacted her, to my knowledge, ever again. Even though I am sure that “before God” it was sin and hypocrisy on their part. It clearly revealed the heart and motives of the church and its leaders.

My wife now realizes how foolish it was of her to trust the “disciples” of the ICC. And I thank you, Jeremy, for that.

And your complete ******ness, when added to that of Kip and Victor, is what has motivated me to continue writing and warning people about the ICC. My comments on the ICC have now been seen by over 18,000 people on this site alone, which is a direct result of your actions described above. You may have prevented few dozen people from seeing my face in church service, but you have motivated me to take my message to many, many, many more people around the world. And I will continue to do so.

You acting like such a **** helped me realize that it isn’t just Victor, it isn’t just Kip - the ICC / SODM itself is a user and abuser of people. Use a person for as much time, talent and money as humanly possible, and then as soon as they are longer “useful,” toss them to the side like so much trash, and then move on to use someone new. That is not a compliment of you or your church in any way. It is, however, an accurate description of a movement well-known for it’s incredibly high turnover rate.

You were the straw that broke the camel’s back. So pat yourself on the back for all of the people who won’t get baptized, thanks to the efforts that you have inspired.

In your defense, I do realize that you, as well as the other ICC leaders, are currently a victim of mind control yourself, and that this will eventually wear off. (Of course, the paycheck doesn’t hurt, either.) You would never do the things that you do if you were not being led to do so by Kip. However, Kip is a true master of the art, so I don’t expect you to snap out of it any time soon. When you do eventually break the cycle, you will become acutely aware of the folly of your previous actions, of all of your lost years, and of the trail of broken people you have left in your wake. And you will join the hundreds of thousands of former members who warn others against Kip and his unhealthy, abusive ministries. You never know, maybe you will even write your own post for this site or another one like it.

PS I know how hard it was for you when you first came to Phoenix and how such a large part of the church was not welcoming or accepting of you, and even fought actively against you. I hope for your sake that that has improved. But even more, I hope that you will soon be able to renounce the control of Kip over your life and worship of "the Kingdom," and begin a path of healing.

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33 comments:

  1. Kip's church is not a church but a cult pretending to be a cult, thanks for exposing the inside of the cup of these hypocrites, hopefully people will leave and find a true church and not support these fake cult pretenders.

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    1. should have been "pretending to be a church".

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    2. I only wish that I had known getting into the church everything that I learned over the years. It would have saved me 15 years of my prime, tens of thousands of dollars, and probably extended my life expectancy by reducing stress and needless BS. Hopefully my accounts can help others escape before wasting as much time, money, and life force as I did.

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  2. I'm sorry my friends, but True Faith in Jesus Christ is Grace through Faith Alone in Christ Alone, and once saved, you are eternally secure. This ICC Church is likened unto a Jim Jones Cult with the Kool Aid on the way. Kip is that Jim Jones type, and is very dangerous. I know, I was in The Church myself for a time, The ICC teaches false heretical doctrine (that you must be baptized to be saved, that you can lose your salvation if you leave the Church, you can't lose salvation once you have it period, and that you submit to a discipler rather than guided by the Holy Spirit). It is a cult on so many levels, and to believe that you are saved by baptism and not by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, is blasphemy on so many levels. I'm sorry to say, that all these disciples will be in subject to Matthew 7:21-23 when they die. Kip is leading himself, his wife, the Sector Leaders, and the rest of his 'flock' to Hell for this heretical teaching. I will pray that ALL you deceived people will get out while there is yet time. God Bless.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. In my opinion, the problems with the ICC go far beyond even what you suggest. And while I don't scope the ICC out as the type to fall into mass murder or suicide, many former members of Kip's ministries have killed themselves, and the "body count" of the emotionally traumatized is in the hundreds of thousands, and growing.

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  3. Sadly, Jeremy will be finding himself living out your story. Not sure when, but at some point, the loyalty he feels compelled to exercise will eventually be walked across.

    Whatever line Jeremy has (weather he is aware that he has one or not) will be crossed. You will eventually get a private message where he expresses his regret and hopes you forgive him.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. I hope so. I think that aside from his cult-influenced actions, Jeremy has a noble heart and would not want to hurt anyone. The hard part is that now he has so much invested in "The Kingdom" that his natural tendency as a human being is to try to be consistent with his past actions and carry on has he has. But we know well that people can only endure the nonstop pressure of church life for so long. (Even at that, I think that church leaders have a much higher level of support than most of the "rank and file" members.)

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  4. Cult leaders like Kip and Jeremy are COWARDS they run away from the truth and hide behind lies.

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    1. I agree that Kip has practiced deceit, and Jeremy as well, for the benefit of "the Kingdom." In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize that most of what seemed to me, as a member, like the most impressive aspects of the ICOC and ICC were pure illusion, manufactured by Kip and handed down by his lackeys. For example, the supposed lack of financial and sexual scandals, which was more about suppression of information through force and mind control techniques than actual righteousness. I've already written about a portion of the financial scandals and will be writing more details on sexual scandals, including one about Kip individually and another about Kip and one of the WSL's.

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    2. And you wonder why Kip was dethroned from the "old" ICOC, and why it took a couple years to fix the church. And why the ICC is planting churches next to ICOCs, with the express purposes of bringing back the "Remnant of Israel" (aka ICOC members). No one in the ICC will admit it, but members of the ICC are moving to the ICOC. Those that left the "old" ICOC, and then "restored" to the ICC, are finding out nothing changed - and returning to the ICOC. So, more and more are realizing the new ICOC is far better than the ICC, that Kip has not changed since the "letter" came out 11 years ago.

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    3. Ed......we are all on pins and needles.....please share about the Sexual scandals that are being suppressed....SOMETHING DIFFERENT....Im also still waiting for these"supposed" financial scandals as well.....please provide actual evidence.....not a ..."he told me......she said.......OR i once heard someone saying...."

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    4. Let's see.. Recent history.. 21-year-old teen worker in the CAICC commits statutory rape with 15-year-old teen under her care at the CAICC. Church leadership knows about this but does not report the rape or the rapist to the legal authorities. Teen is left devastated and heartbroken, leaves the church. Sexual predator teen worker avoids all legal consequences, moves to another city and is "restored" in another ICC franchise location.

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    5. Specifics please......That's a very serious accusation....so, if you know about this situation, why didn't YOU call the authorities????? I would have! It sounds like something very horrible has occurred...WHATS YOUR PROBLEM????....If this is true...you are as much a part of the problem as the people involved were. Or, did you just HEAR about it?....Because I know of an incident that YOU were a part of, that involved your girl friend at the time, and another woman.....The difference is, what you did isn't a crime.....

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    6. You are making things up, since I did nothing whatsoever with anyone. Unless, of course, you are suggesting that my girlfriend did something with another woman? Possible, although highly unlikely. I notice that you use multiple time-tested Kip techniques of bullying and always throwing things back in the face of the "rank and file" or church detractor. And somehow, you try to suggest that the abuse in the church was MY problem. Anything to try to make the "Kingdom" and leadership look good. Don't you get tired of it?

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  5. Karl.....dude.....move on. Get over it.....

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    1. I appreciate your concern for me. I also appreciate your not-so-subtle subtle way of suggesting that I am in error, not the guys who threatened my family or the guy who worked to try to protect them afterwards. Why is Victor Gonzalez still employed? Why is he not deported? Why do ICC leaders feel the need to lie to cover for Kip and each other? Why does Kip need a six-figure salary? Why do you not realize that you leave an ever-growing trail of broken hearts and lives in your swath? Why don't YOU move on and realize that you are promoting a sick and broken system that failed before, and you know full well is going to fail again? Oh yeah, maybe because you get elevated into a position of authority over others, respected, glorified, and paid well, too.

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    2. Again....Ive made a whole lot more money doing other things! Ive never, not one time lied to protect kip, or anybody....I don't really care how much Kip makes, but you do.....in regards to Vic sr....I don't know the answers to your questions.....Im not involved with your situation. But, wasn't that a few years ago.....so again I say...DUDE, MOVE ON!.....but, I'm going to come to your side on this issue....lets say, they said all those nasty, hurtful things you say they said....Man, that is horrible. I do agree with you. And to a certain extent, I think I might feel the way you did...hurt, betrayed, lied to, not protected....i totally get it. however, I'm not sure I would waste my time, especially at this point, talking about it. I would want to heal and get as far away as I could from those people. I would want to spend my time with my wife letting her know how much I love and appreciate her. How I will never put her in that kind of a situation again.....If it were me. But, since I'm sure you won't be doing that, and I think you will continue to be hurtful yourself.....I will be right here with you, opposing you. it will be fun.........

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    3. If I had known how much Kip made, I would not have been as quick to give him over $40,000 of my hard-earned money over the years. I know what you care about is silencing church critics. That's one of the techniques that Kip and his guys have done for decades to try to consolidate power. However, the things that he and those under his power are doing are no different than what he has been doing for so long. My testimony is so important because I was there and can verify that Kip and the church not the reformed version that they try to sell to new members. My testimony doesn't become less important with time, any more than the testimonies of others who have spoken before me and who will speak after me.

      You know who I am, but I don't know who you are, so I have to guess. JB?

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  6. To Anonymous May 15th, 8:16am.
    This is his blog and it's his to do with what he wants. You suggested that he move on. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. It's a free country so leave him alone. Rather than spending your time opposing him, wouldn't your time be better spent by telling your wife how much you love her and appreciate her?

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    1. For promoters and defenders of the ICC, telling me to "move on" is an attempt to reframe the situation to one where I appear to be the offending party for letting people know the abuses that went on in the church. It does not stem from a true desire for me to be better - it is their attempt to protect the organization of the church and the reputation of its leadership. I, for one, now spend the overwhelming majority of my time and energy on other projects, but still recognize value in making events known to others who may be lured into the same traps that the same people have been laying for decades, destroying now generation after generation of new lives.

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  7. learn to defend yourself and stop waiting for other people to fight for you.

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    1. Welcome, current ICC member! Thank you for your advice!

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  8. Holy CRAP! I often suspected this but the church always did a good job of covering stuff like this up!!! When questions arose about Corey Blackwell's separation from his second wife and J*** S*****'s divorce from his first wife, leaders would feign ignorance.

    "And then you tried to claim that you had never heard of the church trying to split up a marriage before. Really? Were you and I part of the same church? More likely, you think that “disciples” are justified in leaving their “non-believing” spouses, which is what Kip and Kip’s churches have practiced for decades. Kip did not stutter when he told me that he would try to get my wife to leave me. Kip repeated the threat, again without stuttering, when I went back to him a second time. And Victor, with the full support of Damon at his side, literally told my wife right in front of my face that she didn’t need me and that she should leave me. Fully supported by Kip, who defended Victor’s threat and repeated it himself to my face, twice, without stuttering."

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    1. Yes, the church works extra hard to cover up it's dirty laundry. Kind of makes you sick once you find out about all of the deceptions on so many levels.

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    2. Interestingly, after the divorce from their non-believing wives the two men mentioned above went on to marry younger, sold-out wives and are now "living out their kingdom dreams" (as Kip puts it) and are in the full-time ministry. Tim Kernan is grooming one of the men to be an evangelist in the newly planted Toronto church.

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    3. Really! J.S. is an acquaintance of mine from since he was baptized in the ICOC many years ago. I warned him about what was going on but then never heard back from him. I know without a doubt that he will come to deeply regret his time with Kip's groups.

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    4. PS Tim K tried to convince me to get married to the lady who is now J.S.'s wife ....

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  9. adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of god. All the great preaching someone does and maybe helps thousands enter the kingdom. He will not! but will labor in vain and any shepherd or disciples that don't tell that person will be guilty as well.Moses did not enter the promise land because he disobeyed God instead of speaking to the rock he used his staff. Yes! his partner Aaron didn't either most likely cause he didn't stop Moses and TELL HIM THE TRUTH! All true disciples must repent of all worldliness and unholiness. Even if it means being ask to leave based on your views. God wants a holy spotless blameless church. so he can come back and take us all home. Amen!

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    1. I encourage you to take some time to really study some college-level science courses in depth. I'd hate to see you spend your whole life thinking that anything that you just wrote about is "real" in any sort of objective sense.

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  10. Wow. As another person commented earlier, JC will likely be in the same boat down the road. Interestingly enough I am an ex-ICOC member. Haven't even looked up anything for quite some time. Just to see where the state of this world was for fun I looked up some things on line and found your blog. I'm still friends with some of my real friends in the group, but the majority (who I had known for years) I haven't heard a thing from. Even spent some time in the ministry. My short stint in the Bay Area was up with where JC and his wife were and my wife and I actually "discipled" them for awhile. My apologies for not being able to utilize that short time to learn some sense myself and transition it on to them.

    Ultimately, I feel pity for them. It's a fear driven culture, it's a money driven culture, it's a numbers driven culture. Hard to see until you're in deep and by that point it seems normal. As a past full-time ministry member I believe every single thing you've said. I've been in conversations where people questioned "how do we walk with someone about leaving their spouse". Whether they realize their mistakes eventually or not, who knows. My hope is they do. Life is much more enjoyable outside of that cult experience.

    Fortunately for me I never experienced someone personally stealing from me, but I feel like thousands upon thousands of $ were stolen for "special missions contributions" and other thing and not knowing where any of that went. I also know with bigger contributions the leadership puts an effort to have stronger relationships with you. So much for the penny that the poor lady donates being worth more than the gold of the rich.

    Glad you're able to talk about your experience. Be encouraged. You're on the path to healing, if you're not already there. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments, and I'm glad you were able to escape the evil orbit of these ministries. Please stop back and visit this page again sometime, and I'd love to hear any more stories about what you experienced.

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  11. Yes the way to God´s hearts will go through Jesus bloods victory and no oteher the way are to use and we love that the way whom is the lord him self with the Holy Spirit and the word of God in alot promises and in the truth and holy life with holiness ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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    1. Thanks for visiting us Keijo, best wishes.

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