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REVEAL: Stories From the ICC

An Alphabetical Index of
Stories about ICC Recruits, Members, Family, and Friends

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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A

o A Personal Encounter with the International Churches of Christ, by Tony Adams, former member (1992)
Tony Adams was a college student in Brisbane when recruited into the Brisbane Church of Christ. This is an intensely told, detailed account of his recruitment, months in the group, and process of recovery.

o Seven Years in the Boston Movement, by Jane Akshar, former member (1986-1993)
Jane was a convert in the London Church of Christ. She was converted in 1986 and left in 1993 with her husband, Ayman Akshar, and their daughter. The London Church of Christ has had a number of serious problems, even by ICC standards. This story illustrates many of them.

o Natercia Alves's Story (under "Medrano")



B

o The Journey from Legalism to Grace, by Marisa Boonstra, former member
Marissa was a member for over two-and-a-half years at the New York City Church of Christ as a college student. She describes her experiences of legalism and oppressive discipling and some of the things she's learned since, to correct for the false teachings of the ICC.



C

o The Nashville Story, by Debbie Campbell, former member (1993-1997)
Debbie's husband was recruited by the Nashville Church of Christ in 1992. For some time Debbie resisted, but in 1993 she agreed to go to a marriage retreat in hopes of finding something to help with their shaky marriage, agreed to "study the Bible", and was baptized a few months later. This is the story of her four years in the ICC, including a painful and brutally honest account of a "breaking session" she endured at the hands of a leader in the Nashville Church of Christ.

o Your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules, a letter to ICC leaders by Jose Casanueva, former member (1999-2002)

Jose Casanueva was a member of the Houston ICC congregation when he wrote this letter to ICC leaders. He starts by expressing admiration for Kip McKean for stepping down in late 2002. He then shares his observations of similar sins in the Houston leadership. By the time Jose finished writing this letter, he had decided that he and his family needed to leave the movement.

o Letter on Leaving and Journal, by Ian E. Charleton, former member
Ian was recruited into the ICC during his freshman year in college, in 1995, and was a member for about six months. During his short membership he experienced a typical pattern of recruitment, discipling, and disruption to his plans and his life, and tells about these things with unusual clarity.

o The Emperor's New Clothes, by Sue Condon, former women's counselor
Per Jim and Sue Condon's request, Sue's diary extract titled The Emperor's New Clothes has been removed from the REVEAL site. The original request has been posted here.

o My Story, by Randy Cooper, former member (1981-1985)
Randy was a member of a Crossroads movement congregation for four years, and had sporadic contact with the movement for seven more years before leaving it entirely. He was recruited from the mainline Church of Christ during college, in 1981, and was actively involved through his graduation in 1985. During his time in the movement he was a member of the Athens, Georgia Church of Christ, and several mainline Churches of Christ which had some contact with the Crossroads movement and, later, the ICC.

o Deer in the Headlights, by Lauren Covarrubia, recruit and ex-girlfriend of member (1999-2000)
Lauren was a college student in California when her boyfriend became a member of the ICC at Cal State Long Beach. She tells her poignant story of losing a boyfriend to the ICC, and feeling she nearly lost her identity in the process.

o My Story, by Matt Cramer, former recruit (1998)
Matt spent several months attending the Greater Cleveland Church of Christ, and went through most of the "First Principles" Study series, but in the end chose not to join the GCCC. In this story he tells of his time with the GCCC, and how he came to see it as a cult.

o An Open Letter
Matt gives his reasons for ceasing to attend the ICC and deciding not to join the group.



D

o Why I Left the ICC, by Dutch Dasanaike, former member
This is Dutch's "open letter" on leaving the Triangle Church of Christ in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

o The ICC Took My Son, by Mark Davis, father of an ICC member's child
In 1988, during college Mark met, dated, and fell in love with a young woman whose family were ICC members. She became pregnant. The family and the church refused to allow Mark any contact with his child, threatening to "disappear" unless Mark consented to the child's being given up for adoption to church members. The church members who adopted him have not kept in contact, as they promised, and Mark has had no news about his son since 1989.



E

o A Search for Truth on a Path of Lies, by Linda Estabrook, former member (1997-1998)
Linda was recruited by the New York Church of Christ's campus ministry at Purchase College, and joined during spring of her freshman year at college. This is her story of this process.

o The Second Truth, by Lois and Gordon Estabrook, parents of a former member (1997-1998)
Lois and Gordon's daughter Linda was recruited by the New York Church of Christ's campus ministry at Purchase College during her freshman year at college. This is the story of her recruitment, conversion, and months in the group from her parents' point of view, and of how they found out what she'd gotten involved in and helped her extricate herself from it.

o The Story of John Eubanks, by John Eubanks, husband of an ICC member
John Eubanks tells the story of how his marriage fell apart when he persisted in refusing to join the ICC, of which his wife was a member.



F

o A Parent’s Perspective: Dealing With the International Church of Christ, by Pamela Foust, parent of a former member (2001)
When Pamela's son was recruited into the ICC, she decided to take an active role in getting him to leave the group. She chose to hold a professionally-run intervention. Her story provides a rare glimpse into the preparation and execution of an intervention.

 


G

o 1988 Letter to Boston Elders, by Ron Gholston, former leader
Ron Gholston was a "mainline" Church of Christ minister for several years before moving to Boston to work with the Boston Church of Christ in 1985. He wrote this 1988 letter to Al Baird and Bob Gempel, then the elders in Boston, pointing out "Anti-biblical" teachings and practices regarding church authority and asking the Boston elders to change these things. Rather than acknowledging the issues raised by him, Gholston says he was fired and "disfellowshipped." Fifteen years later in 2003, after many ICC churches had apologized for their teachings on authority, Gholston allowed REVEAL to post his old letter to demonstrate how long senior ICC leaders had been aware of these issues.

H

o The Story of Aaron H., by Aaron H., former member
Aaron was recruited as a high school senior in Orlando, Florida, and remained a member of the local ICC congregation for two years. His story was unusually difficult to tell, and he asked that his last name not be used in the public story, although he told us who he was. Read this, and you will understand why.

o Letter to various LAICC leaders, by Amy Haight, current member
This current member of the Orlando Church of Christ wrote this letter to Los Angeles International Church of Christ (LAICC) leadership, saying among other things that the LAICC apology should be extended to other churches in the ICC, not just to the LA congregation.

o Down from Kingdom Mountain, by Catherine Hampton, former member (1977-1987)
Catherine was recruited from the mainline Church of Christ in 1977, while a junior in high school, into the Crossroads movement, and remained affilated with the movement for ten years, through college and for some years afterward. During her time in the movement she was a member at churches in El Paso, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. She was a rank and file member for most of her time in the movement.

o The Story of Andrew and Amanda Hart, by Andrew Hart, former member (1998)
Amanda was recruited by a London Church of Christ member who was waiting in front of of her Catholic parish. The woman invited Amanda to a women's event without telling her that it was not sponsored by her church. After "studying the Bible", Amanda joined, and after a few months left, having become convinced that the LCC was a cult. After a few more months, she and her husband decided to rejoin and gather information about the London Church of Christ. This story contains accounts of both periods.

o The Writing on the Wall, by Athena (Carreiro) Higgins, former member (1988-1998)
Athena was recruited in Paris in 1988, shortly after graduating from the American University of Paris and while working at the University. During her ten years as a member, she was part of four local ICC congregations -- Paris, New York, San Diego, and finally Seattle. She went through three reconstructions, was discipled by prominent leaders in the movement, worked in campus ministry, worked in the fledgling media and arts ministry in New York, and dated and got married in the movement. She saw much of what there was to be seen in the ICC over this ten year period.

This is a long story, almost book-length and the longest bio in the REVEAL library by a substantial margin. It's worth every word and every minute you'll spend reading it.

o Marci (Hooten) Parker's Story (under "Parker")

o My Experiences with the Manchester Christian Church, by Tony Hoyle, former member (1991-1993)
Tony was recruited into the Manchester Christian Church in 1991. Shortly after he became a member, he had to break off a relationship with a girlfriend who was a committed Anglican, and therefore not acceptable to the ICC. During his time as a member he saw most of the usual ICC routine, including a "zero membership" reconstruction.

o My Story, by Kristine Hughes, former member (1992-1993)
Kristine was recruited by the San Francisco Church of Christ in 1992, while playing softball with an amateur league team. At the time she was living in a homeless shelter, and was struggling to find work and a stable life after an extremely difficult childhood and adolescence. This is an ugly story, much of the ugliness the work of one disciple who was definitely NOT behaving as the ICC teaches its members to behave, but the San Francisco Church of Christ's behavior towards Kristine made an ugly situation much worse, and showed an utter lack of love and concern about her. :(



I

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J

o My Story, by Gintas Jazbutis, former member (1983-1987)
Gintas joined a mainline Church of Christ during college in 1983. A number of the college students were influenced by the Crossroads movement and introduced Gintas to it. After graduating from college in 1985, he visited the Boston Church of Christ, and then moved to San Diego and joined the Poway/Mission Church of Christ, where he remained until he was kicked out during the reconstruction of the Mission Church in 1987.

o Fellow Wanderers, by Carlene Johnson, former member (1990-1998)
Carlene, a former ICC member at Triangle (North Carolina) and Nashville, compares former ICC members to the Israelites in the Old Testament, who were also once held captive by an enslaving system. After a time of "wandering in the desert," Carlene discovers that "God has been leading day and night, loving me along the way."

o My Story, by Brian Jones, former recruit (1997-1998)
Brian Jones spent several months attending the Boston Church of Christ. Brian had led a severely emotionally deprived life, and tells how the church attempted to recruit him through emotional manipulation, and the abuses he saw which eventually convinced him to leave.



K

o My Testimony, by Tom Khoury, former member (1996-1998)
Tom Khoury, a former member of the Washington D.C. Church of Christ, tells the story of his time in the movement. Tom was a young professional in his late 20s when recruited, and tells a typical story of awakening slowly to the nature of the group he'd joined with such great expectations.

o The Verdict Is In: An Open Letter
Tom's open letter on leaving the Washington D.C. Church of Christ.

o Quest for Truth, by Yun Kim, former member (1994-1996)
Yun Kim, a former member of the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ who joined in 1994 and left in 1996, tells the story of her time in the movement.

o A Letter
Yun Kim gives her reasons for leaving the ICC in this letter. There is more doctrinal content than personal, but Yun Kim addresses a number of questionable ICC interpretations of Scripture, which will probably make this letter very helpful to those who need help identifying some ICC-specific beliefs about the Scriptures which are never questioned inside the ICC, but which are flawed when examined outside its influence.

o Why We Left The Boston Movement, by Joe & Louise Krainock, former members (1980-1992)
The Krainocks joined the movement in 1980 in San Diego, at the Poway Church of Christ. They went to Boston in 1988 in hopes of joining the Milan Mission Team, and in 1990 were asked to be part of the Los Angeles Mission team. In Los Angeles, Joe lost his job and they moved back to San Diego for financial reasons. They left the movement in 1992.

o The Time Warp, by Kim Krecek, former member (1987; 1996-1997)
Kim Krecek joined the ICC in 1987 in Denver, Colorado, largely (as she reports) to get access to a support group for survivors of sexual abuse. During her few months membership, the Denver Church was "reconstructed". She grew increasingly impatient with the obsessive control the church exerted over her life, and after a talk with a friend outside the church, left. Nine years later, while living in Kansas City, she ran into a KC Church of Christ member while having lunch, visited the KC church, hooked back up with an old friend from her days in Denver, and started the process of being "restored". After finding the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.christian.boston-church, though, and talking with other former members, and after some eye-opening experiences with the KC Church of Christ, she decided against it.

o To Speak What is Right, by Kuo Soon Yong, former member (1995-1996)
Kuo Soon Yong joined the ICC's Central Christian Church in Singapore in 1995, as a sixteen-year-old high school student, and was a member for slightly over a year. During this period he became a leader in the youth group, discipling several people and leading Bible Studies. His story shows the kind of pressure the ICC puts on young recruits.



L

o In the Lion's Den, by Chris Lee, former member (1991-1994)
Chris was recruited in his softmore year at MIT in Boston, in fall of 1991. Soon thereafter, through the efforts of some friends who knew about the Boston Church of Christ, and his own Bible reading, Chris began to have doubts about what the ICC taught and practiced. He spent much of the next seven months resolving those doubts, and eventually was able to put them behind him briefly, at which point he began to move up through the ranks rapidly. In the next six months he was made an assistant Bible Talk leader, then a co-leader, and then given a Bible Talk of his own to lead. His problems with some of the group's beliefs and practices resurfaced, though, and his attempts to raise these issues got him removed from leadership, and a few months later, from the ICC. He left the movement in early 1994.

o Free Will, by Steve Lien, recruit and former boyfriend of an ICC member
Steve Lien, a cousin of one of the original "Twelve Apostles" who planted the Taipei Christian Church, tells how he and his girlfriend were recruited earlier this year by the Taipei Christian Church in Taiwan. Steve did not choose to join the ICC in the end. His girlfriend did. As others around the world have found, relationships end if one partner chooses to join the ICC and the other does not.

o And So it Goes..., by Rachel Lindsey, former member (1991-1995)
Rachel was a member of the ICC in Seattle and Los Angeles who years later came to grips with her experience in the church. Her story is full of many of the details of her life in the ICC: repeated control and change emanating from leadership.

o My Marriage and the Boston Church of Christ, by Jodi Llacera, former spouse of an ICC member
Jodi tells the story of how her husband Ned's involvement in the Boston Church of Christ destroyed their decade-old relationship and four year marriage. This is a raw story, one of the harder to read in the REVEAL library since it describes emotional and mental abuse in graphic detail. Jodi clearly realizes that there were probably other factors involved besides the BCC in her failed marriage, but her story makes a good case that the BCC was largely at fault.



M

o Thoughts on the International Churches of Christ, by Marc Malafarina, former member (1997-1998)
Marc was recruited into the Montreal Igliese du Christe (Montreal Church of Christ) in May 1997. These are his thoughts on the group -- it's doctrines and practices and how they compare with those of most other evangelical Protestant groups. Marc includes a lengthy analysis of Kip McKean's comments about the Indianapolis Church of Christ and its leaders after they were ejected from the ICC.

o The Empire Dies Screaming, by Lucas Mboya, former member (1991-1997)
Lucas was recruited into the newly-planted Nairobi Christian Church in 1991, along with his girlfriend (now wife) Sigrid. He was promoted rapidly into leadership, and eventually there was talk of his going full-time into ministry. After three years, Lucas began to have some doubts about various doctrines taught in the Nairobi Christian Church, particularly required tithing and the focus on numbers and statistics, which he believed was legalistic and unhealthy. When he started to question these things openly, he was rebuked and then ostracized by the NCC leaders, eventually being disfellowshipped. His story is not unusual, but it happened recently (spring and summer of 1997), and it shows the movement's ongoing pattern of attempting to deal with honest dissent by attacking and demonizing those who persist in disagreeing with the leaders.

o Like Beasts of Burden
A follow-up message with more information on both Lucas' disfellowshipping and that of his colleague, Joseph Owade, former intern at the Nairobi Christian Church.

o "Fine" Christianity
The story of a Nairobi Christian Church member's unpleasant experience at his wedding this summer.

o A Disciple of Christ or the Movement?, by Francis Mbugua, former member (1996-1997)
Francis Mbugua was a convert last year in the ICC affiliate Nairobi Christian Church in Nairobi, Kenya. He quickly found that the Nairobi Christian Church wasn't what he had been lead to believe it would be.

o Three Months Later, by Fred McConnell, former member
A former member who left in late 1996 writes about his first three months outside of the ICC, and what he learned about himself, the ICC and how it had affected him.

o Letter on Leaving the ICC, by David Medrano, former Evangelist, (1990-2000)
and Naterica Alves, former Women's Ministry Leader (1994-2000)

In 1990, David Medrano joined the International Churches of Christ. In ten years of membership, he rose to become an evangelist, and also became engaged to Natercia Alves, who had joined in 1994. In 1999, they were made leaders of the struggling Madrid Church of Christ, and were in line to be formally made Evangelist and Women's Ministry Leader after their wedding. They also oversaw several other small churches in Spain and Portugal.

In February 2000, at the request of his mother, David began reading the accounts of those who had left the ICC, particularly of other leaders who had left. At his request, Natercia also read this material. As a result of their reading, and of talking with several of these former leaders, in February 2000 they also decided to leave the ICC. They wrote this letter to explain why.

o To Learn the Hard Way, by Dan Murphy, former member (1996-1998)
Dan is a former member and Family Group leader in the Los Angeles Church of Christ who left with his wife Tammy in autumn of 1998. Here he tells about his time in the LACC.

o Tammy's Letter, by Tammy Murphy, former member (1995-1998)
Tammy is a former member of the Los Angeles Church of Christ who left, with her husband, in autumn of 1998 after three years of membership. In this letter she gives her reasons for leaving.



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O

o My Story, by Catherine O'Neill, former member
A former member of the Missoula Christian Church tells about her year as a member and the effects of her discipler and church encouraging her to stop treatment and medication for depression.

o An Open Letter to Evangelist Richard Alawaye, by Joseph Owade, former member
A former member of the Nairobi Christian Church outlines his reasons for leaving, and makes some strong statements about leadership abuses and attempts to cover these up and prevent the members from learning what was going on.



P

o My Story, by Marci (Hooten) Parker, former member (1997)
Marci was converted through work -- Marci told a coworker that she was looking for a church and the coworker had cousins attending the Phoenix Valley Church of Christ. She put Marci in touch with them, and the usual occurred. In this, Marci goes over her increasing doubts and questions until, after a vacation and time to think, she decided to leave.

o My Biblical Reasons for Leaving the International Churches of Christ, by Jack Pelham, former member (2002)
Jack spent seventeen years in and around the movement before leaving in March 2002, after being in six different congregations in four different states. Jack describes 53 issues that concern him about the ICC and which led him to leave. He discusses these issues in great detail, from a biblical perspective. You can use the article's index to browse this substantial work, or read it all.

o The Truth Has Set Me Free, by Jennifer Porter, former member (1996-1999)
Jennifer was converted through work -- a friend she made on the job invited her to study the Bible. Jennifer agreed and was baptized in June of 1996. After over two years as a devoted discipler, Jennifer went on a family vacation with her parents, in January of 1999. Unbeknownst to her, her parents had spent over a year researching the ICC, growing increasingly concerned at the effects it was having on her life. They arranged an intervention during the vacation. Although angry that they hadn't warned her of their intentions in advance, Jennifer agreed to talk with the former members and minister her parents had invited along. After three days she agreed to do more extended research into the ICC, and went to Wellspring, where she decided to leave the ICC. She wrote this open letter to explain why she chose to do this.


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R



S

o Why I Left, by Gustavo Sassano, former member/leader
Formerly the ICC's top leader in the country of Argentina, Gustavo Sassano writes about his recruitment, rise and fall from leadership, and ultimately coming to grips with the idea that he had been a cult leader. First published on the ICC Discussion Forum, this brutally self-honest letter was written after Gustavo had left the church in the aftermath of Henry Kriete's letter in 2003. In it he gives much insight about his own leadership abuses, and those of the leadership in the ICC's CSA (Central/South America) World Sector.

o Folie A Deux, by "Dana Scully", current member
A current member of the ICC tells a story of struggling to work with handicapped people in the ICC. Because this is a current member, REVEAL agreed to post her story under a pseudonym.

o The Ghost and the Darkness: a prologue to "Folie a Deux", by "Emily Sim", current member
A current member of the ICC and second member of "Dana Scully's" household tells her story as a handicapped person struggling to grow and heal in the ICC. Because this is a current member, REVEAL agreed to post her story under a pseudonym.

o Whither Healing?, by Bryan Slatner, former member (1994-1996)
A former member of the ICC posts about his first few months after the ICC, and learning to live with the consequences of having been a member. There are some raw emotions in this piece -- you might not want to read it yet if you are depressed.



T

o 22 years, by Diane Turner, former member/staff worker
Formerly a member and full-time staff worker, Diane was in the Indianapolis and Detroit Churches until she heard about the Kriete Letter. She describes some of the experiences of her 22 years in the ICC.



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V

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W

o My Story, by Pierce Watson, former member (1993-1994)
Pierce and his girlfriend (now wife) Tanya were recruited by the Los Angeles Church of Christ in late 1993. Pierce was a student at a local college at the time, and remained a member for about a year. During that period he moved quickly into leadership (was "raised up", in ICC terminology), and for a time was a family group leader for his region. He grew increasingly concerned about the intense control exerted by the movement over its members lives, and its emphasis on money and material things, which eventually led to him leaving.

o Saved, by Karl Williams, former member(1986-1990)
Karl was recruited into the London Church of Christ in 1986, and was a member there for four years. His appears to be a typical story of a young, single, college age rank and file member.



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Y

o While Shepherds Watch -- The Story of Tony & Julie Yorke, by TOLC (Triumphing Over London Cults)
Tony and Julie Yorke were a young professional couple, not yet married but living together, who were recruited into the London Church of Christ, and left three months later. This story, unlike most of the other personal stories in the REVEAL library, was not written by the people it is about. Someone writing for Close to the Edge, the newsletter of the former London CofC members group TOLC, interviewed them and wrote this story. It contains a considerable amount of background on the ICC and the London Church of Christ, in addition to the Yorkes' story itself.



Z

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