Letter to Lloyd and MCIN from former MCA Member

The following is a letter from Sean M. Mitchell, who was one of my best friends during my years in Austin, TX. Sean was a wonderful friend and support during those years in Austin, and has remained a true friend as well as the voice and face of kindness to me when I was in the darkest moments of my life. Thank you Sean for never turning your back on me, always reminding me of the goodness that lay inside me when I couldn’t see it, and supporting me through the years. Thank you, also, for allowing others to read this very heartfelt letter that many others will be able to relate to.

July 26, 2010

RE: Spiritual Abuse in Lafayette, Louisiana

Dear Lloyd and MCIN Board:

I am writing in regards to my growing concern for the practices by high leadership at Masters Commission 3D and Our Saviors Church (OSC) in Lafayette, Louisiana. I spent over four years at Masters Commission of Austin under Nathan Davies in Austin, Texas and know everyone who went to Lafayette very thoroughly. I have strong reason to believe that there is spiritual abuse and potential cultic practices taking place at OSC.

Since many of my friends moved to Louisiana, I have had multiple conversations with over ten former staff members who have been personally manipulated, controlled, and ostracized by Daniel Jones, Nathan Davies, and Tim Wilson. I have heard from multiple friends that disagreement and questioning of leadership is strongly condoned. Any staff member that questions executive leadership on a decision is often brought up in front of staff meetings for the purpose of embarrassment and isolation. Staff members are told to unconditionally obey leadership in order to stay under the covering of their spiritual authority; not obeying authority is said to result in affliction by the devil. The type of tight-lipped control executive leadership has on its staff members characterizes some of the symptoms of well known cultic groups like Heaven’s Gate, Branch Davidians, and Mormon fundamentalist.

Additionally, the control that executive leadership has over day-to-day life decisions of staff further concerns me. In the name of Godly submission and shepherding, I have heard that staff is required to ask permission for things like having babies, buying new homes, receiving permission to court someone of the opposite sex, and divulge details of personal finances. Failure to submit to these controlling practices would require those in high power to disown and dismiss those on staff, justifying their actions by stating that the staff member has chosen to no longer be “a son or daughter in the house.”

I can personally attest to similar dealings during my time as a staff member at Masters Commission of Austin (MCA) under Nathan Davies. The many manipulative and controlling practices at MCA are undoubtedly from the influences of Daniel Jones over the last 20 years, not a reflection of the leadership at Glad Tidings. While I was on staff, Nathan Davies often used strong, coercive language to manipulate members of his staff to do what he thought was the will of God. For example, after telling Nathan that I was not traveling to Louisiana with others but moving to Norway to be apart of a missionary organization, he told me that he was very “sick to his stomach” about me leaving. It took the encouragement of the, at the time, Senior and Associate Pastor of Glad Tidings to convince me I could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit myself. After departing MCA, I was faced with a long journey to deprogram my thinking from the toxic teaching that everything had to be approved by a leader or else it was sin. I realized that I could make my own decisions without asking permission for every single action.

I am asking that Masters Commission International Network investigate the abuse of my dear friends who have left OSC hurt and confused. Furthermore, I fear that some of my closest friends still at OSC will incur long lasting mental and spiritual damage if nothing is done.

Sincerely,

Sean M. Mitchell


 

7 thoughts on “Letter to Lloyd and MCIN from former MCA Member”

  1. Nothing could state it better. Kudos to sean for speaking out.

    The middle school theory goes somethoing like ‘if one person calls you a jerk its not true, if true people do, its a possibility. If three people call you a jerk its a fact.’

    How much more can be said of this group than what’s done?

  2. Wow!! My husband and I were discussing all this last night. I told him that people would joke and say “your in a cult”. I always replied that I was not. Looking at things in a different light, I can see it now.

    I can remember people being made to publicly apologize for arguing with leaders or when they disagreed with them. I personally never had to do this, but I felt terrible for those that did. I can testify to many things that happened in Austin.

    Call me crazy, but I even feel bad about writing this. I have to speak up. Thank you Sean and Lisa!!!!!!!!

  3. Hines sight is definitely 20/20. I realize that even though there were great things that happened to me in MCA, the good does not justify the bad and injustice that took place.

    Someone reading the discussions taking place on this website and others may wonder why we don’t just approach those who offended us. I would respond by saying that many of us have looked for a response from the offenders, but with no answer. People are hurt. The offenders should apologize.

  4. I have read many of the submissions from this blog…..the replys, etc. And my heart is broken. Mainly because I know Lloyd Ziegler, the amazing man of God who began this program, and it was never his intention that people leave any Master’s Commission with a broken spirit.
    Setting all of that aside, let me say that I apologize to all of you that have been hurt……not because I was one of your offenders, but because that seems to be what many of you need to hear. I have worked with several different ministries and ministers over the last decade, and let me be the first to say that no man is perfect. But that is why we are not called to follow man, but to keep our eyes on Jesus. I’m sure you all began your journey through Master’s Commission Austin with this very intention. And I am sorry that your leaders seemed to have failed you somehow.

    But writing blogs and wanting apologies is not going to be what makes things better. Only God can be the judge. And whether you want to hear this or not, we have all fallen short, thus none of us has any right to cast any stones. Yes, you have every reason to be hurt, but you have no right to throw stones. You can only control your own decisions, and Jesus says that He is the way. When we choose to follow others, and they lead us down the wrong path, it may not be their fault for leading us, it may be our fault for following blindly just because those leaders say it’s the right thing.

    I spent 3 years at Master’s Commission USA (Phoenix) under the leadership of Lloyd Ziegler. To this day, he is one of the people I respect the most. Those were 3 of the best years of my life. Within those 3 years, I met my amazing husband, and found my calling in ministry.

    That was 8 years ago. Since that time, we have experienced more hardship in ministry than any of you can imagine……things that would make this blog seem funny. We have been hurt until we felt we were going to literally die…..mainly by Christians working alongside us in ministry. Of course there were times I wanted to scream for justice and beg God to rescue us. It felt like He had forsaken us. The only thing I can remember being able to say in my prayer time was, “I am the author and perfector of your faith.” If you hitch your wagon to people, you will be disappointed every time, because man will always fail you. You are called to follow Jesus. When your leaders stray from that, then you need to pray about whether or not you are under the right leadership. If what they are doing doesn’t line up with the Word, then there is your answer. I am happy to say that we are still in ministry, and loving Jesus more than ever.

    If you are waiting for an apology, you shouldn’t hold your breath. You don’t need an apology, you need Jesus. Let God bring justice.

    If an apology is what you need, then accept mine. But I don’t think that’s what you need. My prayer is that you will all find restoration. Trust me, I’ve been there, this isn’t how to find it.

    Speaking the Truth in Love,

    Kelly B

    1. Kelly B,
      Wow. All I can say is you were TOTALLY Christlike, humble and compassionate when you wrote this letter to me. Apparently I’m the one praising and following man, not Jesus. You’re totally not doing that at all.

      It’s sad that when one person, ME, doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid or doesn’t look at men and women based on their popularity, status or how many people worship them and just call out the TRUTH, all their little minions come defending them. Why don’t you defend “the least of these” instead? Or defend Christ? Oh that’s right because you’re clearly being a judgmental asshole. Way to represent the Jesus you’re telling me to serve. You need to reread the Bible, Kelly. That’s a start.
      Speaking the Truth in Love,
      Lisa

  5. Kelly,
    You aren’t going to accomplish anything by discrediting an entire group of people’s deepest hurts and pain. Comments like, “we have experienced more hardship in ministry than any of you can imagine……things that would make this blog seem funny,” will only cause you to look heartless, regardless of your true intention, especially when you are so vague as to what happened to you. I like many of the things you said but how would you feel if someone tried to down play your worst affliction by saying that there hurt is worse than yours!

    Lisa,
    I realize your blog is meant to be “in your face” and you are trying to “stick it” to all those cult following bastards who have hurt you and so many others. And kudos to you for your efforts, but the way you attacked Kelly in this blog is uncalled for. Obviously Kelly does not agree with what you are doing for what ever reason (misguided or otherwise), but your bashing of someone for having opposing opinions will only take away from what you are trying to accomplish and make you seem just as arrogant, elitist, and close minded as your offenders.

    All that being said, I believe in what you are doing. I know this blog has given me the freedom to really question some things I’ve always felt “sinful” for reconsidering. Your blog has clearly helped many people, but please don’t allow your noble cause to be tainted by petty name calling and hateful sarcasm.

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