Letters to Nowhere: Lloyd

I was paid $100 a month for well over 60 hours of work, which is less than $0.40 an hour (40 CENTS). Only one year was my pay increased to $500 a month (and that was when I worked as a nanny for senior pastor, Jacob Aranza), which is around $2.00 an hour.

This week, I’ve posted actual letters I’ve written to the pastors I worked for. The next letter in the succession is what I sent to the co-founder of the MCIN, or Master’s Commission International Network, Lloyd Zeigler. I sent this letter to Lloyd because each Master’s Commission group is under the MCIN umbrella and has to agree to follow a set of guidelines.

I urged Lloyd (and Eric Hunsberger, who heads up the Administrative side of the MCIN) to  make note of what happened to me because I was speaking on behalf of several other students and staff members from Austin and Louisiana. I felt that was a responsible thing for me to do.

Lloyd and his wife called me as soon as they received my letter and talked to me for two hours. They apologized on behalf of Master’s Commission and said they weren’t aware of any of this until my letter came. Lloyd also told me if I felt I should pursue a lawsuit, I would have their support. I knew I’d have enough of a case to win a lawsuit, but my family has never been the type to pursue lawsuits. I also don’t think Lloyd realized that he’d be implicated in that same lawsuit, if I pursued one, because the Master’s Commissions in Austin and Louisiana were tied to his network of ministries and he might ultimately be responsible.

Lloyd said he’d be sending my letter to his lawyer to see if there were some things from it they could add into the MCIN guidelines to protect students and staff members from this type of thing happening, but he and his wife moved to Dallas, Texas to start a new church after that phone call and that was never done (to my knowledge).  He also said that because Nathan Davies was the Vice President of the MCIN he’d have to stand by him and support him, and I’d have to understand that. I didn’t and don’t understand that, actually. I think my letter and my demeanor on the phone must have been too mild to really convey the type of damage that was done to me and many others by this ministry for him to take Nathan’s side. Otherwise, Lloyd wouldn’t stand by and let young people get abused. At the end of the phone call, Lloyd told me to give his cell phone number to any of the people I was writing on behalf of, if they wanted to call him, he’d apologize to them and talk to them, too. I’d like to believe he really meant this, but I’m not sure because I gave his number to one of my good friends and she said he never answered her phone call or returned her voice mail.

Although I’m disappointed that this issue was completely discarded after my conversation with Lloyd and Tim, at least they had the integrity to call me and talk to me. For that, I am extremely thankful. However, the fact that young men and women are still getting spiritually abused and that my letter fell to people who just gave me lip service and ignored the rest of my pleas, is cause for me to need to talk about my experience.

The following is the letter I sent to Lloyd and Eric in 2008:

Dear Lloyd Zeigler and Eric Hunsberger,

This letter may come as a surprise as I’ve been out of Master’s Commission Industries in Lafayette, LA for three years; however, the issues I’m addressing in this letter are relevant to the future of the MCIN.

After spending a year in Phoenix in 1998-99, I feel I developed a respect for both of you (Lloyd and Eric) and that respect has carried on into my years as a staff member in Texas and Louisiana (under Nathan Davies and Tim Wilson).

My writings here are not of an offended, immature Christian, but of a burden I feel from God to speak my heart on what has happened to me because I know I’m not the only person I’m speaking for. There are many silent staff members (former and current), and students (former and current) who have felt deep, intense pain and betrayal after leaving Master’s Commission. And more importantly, there are issues of manipulation and ostracizing that need to be heard and dealt with for the safety of the MCIN and the students and staff.

My suggestions and claims below are based on my own personal experience as a staff member and student of Master’s Commission of Austin (Director, Nathan Davies) and Master’s Commission Industries (Director, Tim Wilson in Lafayette, LA), under Pastor Daniel Jones. I seek dialogue to be opened up between the offending parties (Davies, Wilson, and Jones) and the groups which govern or oversee them (MCIN). My wish is that change would come and MCIN would take responsibility for the changes that need to take place.

While I will not go so far as to say that all Master’s Commissions are cults, I will say based on my experience (and experiences of my peers), Master’s Commission Industries falls into the category of what experts call a destructive group or a cult. The reason I use these terms are based on studies that have been done on cults. The following are traits that Master’s Commission Industries has:

  • A Totalitarian worldview: A group that approves of unethical behavior while claiming goodness and promotes the goals of the group over the individual.
  • Exploitation: There is pressure to give money, to spend a great deal of money on special projects. Exploitation can be financial, physical, or psychological.
  • Alienation: Separation from family, friends, and society, a change in values and substitution of the group as the new “family”.
  • Exclusivity: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding activities and beliefs; recruiting and fund-raising with hidden objectives and without full disclosure; use of “front groups”.

Additionally, some of the following are issues I have personally felt in my experiences in MC Industries (both under Nathan Davies and Tim Wilson):

  • removing people from their normal surroundings and friends, often with weekend “trips” and “retreats”
  • sleep and sensory deprivation
  • development of a deep emotional debt
  • public confessionals
  • low-risk relationships (unconditional acceptance)
  • fear of punishment or damnation for even thinking about leaving the new “family”
  • viewing all of the outside world as evil or satanic so that any desire to return to it is also evil.

Other things the group leaders imposed:

  • leaders who claim divinity or special relationships with God and insist on being the sole judge of a member’s actions or faith
  • demands for total control over members’ daily lives (one of the hardest to recognize once involved)
  • isolation and exclusion from the surrounding community
  • demands for control of members’ finances
  • absolutist views toward difficult life problems and spiritual questions
  • special (exclusive) promises of salvation or keys to spiritual understanding (i.e.: “It is only through adherence to our beliefs and our rules that you can be saved”).

During my time as a student or staff member, I made effort to resolve and voice my complaints while working for the above mentioned parties. However, when I brought up certain issues, I was both rebuked and harassed, or dismissed as unimportant. Equally as important as the psychological effects, are the the financial issues.

I was paid $100 a month for well over 60 hours of work, which is less than $0.40 an hour (40 CENTS). Only one year was my pay increased to $500 a month (and that was when I worked as a nanny for senior pastor, Daniel Jones), which is around $2.00 an hour.

I am speaking up about these issues because there are many more staff members and students who are willing to give their heart to these ministries and may walk away harmed spiritually, financially, and mentally.

I am requesting that the Master’s Commission International Network and the Assemblies of God (or appropriate governing boards) investigate these issues and particularly Master’s Commission Industries. I ask that you, MCIN, take an aggressive stance toward these issues. Upon investigation, I would like to offer that they establish guidelines to benefit the future employees/students.

For the future of the MCIN, I would like to suggest the following for the safety and wellness of the students:

  • Safe “complaint” system established that a student can go to without retributions in order to bring to the attention of the MCIN any matter of harassment, mental harm, destructive teaching, or all manners of an unhealthy group or cult-like teachings.
  • Guidelines established involving limitations on how much a director can dictate of a student’s “self-discipline.” Including, but not limited to dating, entertainment, music, clothing, etc.
  • Establish clearly that the Director or Staff Member is NOT the voice of God for the said students and staff members and in no way should exercise such grossly misguided authority.
  • Protection of the student from authoritarianism of a Director’s or Staff members by revoking a group’s affiliation with the MCIN, if deemed necessary.
  • Guidelines and hours set to protect the student from over-work, long term exhaustion or fatigue, or physical ailments due to over-work for no (or very little) monetary payment. Following the laws that the Department of Labor establishes, according to www.dol.gov
  • A board of directors for each Master’s Commission that should include parents of students or staff members. Also, a safe “complaint” system established in which a student or staff member’s parent(s), guardian or friend can go to without retributions in order to bring to the attention of the MCIN any matter of harassment, mental harm, destructive teaching, or all manners of an unhealthy group or cult-like teachings.
  • Regularly monitoring of activities, and teachings to prevent further development of patterns of cult-like teachings, destructive and harmful teachings and practices.
  • Encourage students to engage in open relationships with their parents, family and friends and not to exclude or hide anything from them. To develop an “Open Campus” policy and Parent’s Board for parents to question policies, procedures, pay scale, work load and work schedules.

For the future of the MCIN, I would like to suggest the following for the safety and wellness of the staff members:

  • Set, enforced guidelines regarding pay scale for staff members relevant to actual work done that would be in the secular environment in the specific metropolitan area. Additionally, following the Department of Labor laws on employment and minimum wage.
  • Provide some type of minimum paid sick days and funeral leave standard to secular work place.
  • Provide access or information to health benefits or coverage, and adjust pay to appropriate for health care. (Note: Health care and health benefits do not mean the state run insurance!)
  • Provide paid vacation for full-time staff members, relevant to secular workplace.
  • Provide mileage compensation for job related driving.
  • Allow for staff members to date at their discretion, under advisement of the pastor only if the said staff member requests the advisement of a pastor. Take away the “No Dating” policy for students or staff members who are beyond their First Year. No dictating, scare tactics, or harassment of the staff member’s choices of dating.

Perhaps the greatest issue not covered is the issue of a person who leaves Master’s Commission (most groups included in this) is often ostracized. To ostracize is to: 1. exclude, by general consent, from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc. Ostracizing is what some modern churches do, but it’s wrong. If you don’t follow their tenants, you get excommunicated. After serving MC for several years, I followed the voice of God to go home. This voice of God that I heard was contrary to the voice of the pastors. What’s ironic here is that I followed the voice of God, but was shunned from their ‘bubble’ and my reputation was ruined within that ‘bubble’ for not obeying the pastor.

I have carbon copied a number of persons for this letter. Please know that I care deeply about the future of Master’s Commission, my former employers and their children; however, I would be doing a great injustice to the ministry itself, it’s pastors, and related friends and benefactors had I failed to bring these wrongs to your attention.

I speak also on behalf of many alumni and former staff members who did not wish to risk personal retributions or emotional trauma from resurfacing these issues. They now have a voice and I hope forgiveness and open dialogue can one day enter all of our hearts. As Pulma Gobodo-Madikizela says, “For in the end, we are a society of people and not ideas, a fragile web of interdependent humans, not of stances.”

Thank you,

L.

Cc: Nathan Davies, Tim Wilson, Daniel Jones

Resource: ACUI International Conference presentation “Desperately Seeking Community: The Appeal of Cult Leadership”, Mindy Griffith, University of Arizona. March 6, 2000, New York, NY.

Additional information on Cults obtained from Purdue University Counseling Center and
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Counseling Center.

 

Labor Laws may be obtained at the Department of Labor website: www.dol.gov

36 thoughts on “Letters to Nowhere: Lloyd”

    1. Thank you, Sean. I only hope to get those suggestions become protective guidelines for students and staff one day.

  1. I was at this church for a couple of years and knew many master’s commission students. I remember thinking they were nothing more than slaves for the church and the aranza’s. Honestly I felt very sorry for them. There were some that had been there for years with no job skills and no life skills. When they got ready to leave they had no idea what they were going to do. When or If they did leave it seemed as though their lives would be in complete disarray. I know many they were told that they needed to stay it was “God’s will” that they stay for another year or two. Of course God’s voice sounded like Ennis or Lerma. If the “students” questioned they were made to feel like they did not love God. I also think it is interesting that none of the pastors kids have gone to Master’s Commission. I doubt they ever will. I knew of people that worked at this church on a full time basis for free. They were told it was “God’s will” It was all very sickening to me.

  2. Wow, that took a lot of guts to send that! I’m so glad to have discovered your blog and Jana’s too. I am still in shock over the things that happened in LA.
    My Mom told me she thought MCA was a cult before I joined…guess I should have listened, but she was outside the church circle, so I was encouraged to dismiss her opinion.

  3. Lisa,
    I thought we had followed up with a phone call back to you and by reading this found we failed you. We caused you to lose trust, please forgive us.
    The following are not excuses but a few explanations from our lives, the move has been heart breaking, we’ve not had a place of our own for two years, leadership did not make leaving easy and used their name and influence to make things very difficult.
    Sorry we did not assure you enough we would not let it drop, we didn’t. I promise.
    I am thankful for all the time we spent with you and am sorry we allowed you and Sarah to go to a place that refused to lead in love and respect.
    You are powerful, incredible and I applaud you, my heart is breaking at the injustice and disrespect you, Sarah and Ronnie experienced at their hands.
    I believe in you and I believe in the movement of Masters Commission as a program designed to strengthen those going out into life….. to give them tools for independence not dependence, to strengthen family ties not come between them or replace them.
    I see this as a tool to make it stronger in everyway with many of you as watchmen, making sure this never infiltrates again…
    I love you, justice is at hand.

  4. Lisa, I would love a chance to chat with you. I have been waiting for something like this to surface for a long time now. I am a Masters Commission graduate and I’ve said over a million times that everything they practice is typical of a cult. I honestly can’t believe this hasn’t been addressed sooner.

    I was banished by Masters when I left. You just wouldn’t believe the way they talked about me and treated me and my family. I finally left the church we were at because my oldest child was about to graduate into their Sunday school class and I just couldn’t trust them. I knew they hated me and I was worried they would take it out on my child. They hated me so much they couldn’t even look at me when I passed them in the halls.

    Hundreds of people I knew personally who graduated from Masters had to go through several years of emotional and spiritual healing after the experience. When I found an article on the characteristics of a cult I was blown away at how it was exactly describing my experience in Masters. Like I said; I really can’t believe this hasn’t come out before.

    I know we’d like to think that this is happening in only a few MC organizations but I do a lot of traveling to many churches and I’ve found this same pattern of control to be threaded throughout every single MC group I’ve seen so far. This is a method of “control based leadership” that comes from the top.

    You should have my email address. I would love a chance to chat with you when you get time. I have personally counseled over a hundred different people who graduated from the MC program from all over America and were devastated both spiritually and emotionally when they left. there is a serious problem here that NEEDS to be addressed! You’re NOT the only one!!!

    You’re doing the right thing Lisa. I honestly feel that the idea behind MC is a good one, but the way in which it is gone about is pure mind control, manipulation and spiritually abusive.

    I can’t wait to hear from you.

    1. The dictionary defines cult as “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.”

      I think the most helpful sources I’ve found have been the ones I’ve posted, which define certain specifics that the groups do or characteristics that they have. Any group is susceptible and not any group is above it–Master’s Commission or not. Any leader who is extremist or living outside of society under the direction of a charismatic leader is susceptible.

      I honestly would go so far as to say the entire modern church has gone awry and is whack in serious ways. Most American churches (and international church plants for that matter) are Christian Fundamentalist, in my opinion. Christian Fundamentalists have more in common with other extremists and Fundamentalists, than they do their own religion. So, those Islamic Fundamentalists who follow Osama Bin Laden are more closely related to Christian Fundamentalists in ideology and theology than they are to their own religion.

      If you read Osama Bin Laden’s letters to the hijackers on the 9/11 plane, which I will post at one point, his wording is extremely close to what I’ve heard preached in many a church from many a pulpit.

      Be careful little Christian, who you listen to. Think for yourself.

  5. By the way Lisa, I was in Phoenix Masters Commission. While I do have a deep love for Lloyd and Chris, the fact remains that the entire structure of the program is identical to the tactics used by mind controlling cults. Lloyd wasn’t nearly as controlling and conniving as the people you describe in your experience, but the way the entire system was run, has caused me to cry, “CULT” for many years since that experience.

  6. Dear I-hear-ya
    I would also love the chance to chat with you. I hide behind nothing and am not afraid of any thing you will say.
    My e-mail is bxr3@aol.com, my phone number is 214-636-8688.
    I am in Phoenix at this very moment and will meet you any where you would like.
    Again, I have nothing to hide.
    I do take issue with your statements of banishment, and hateful treatment.
    I do know who you are.
    We are all trying to get to the bottom of ill treatment and make sure healing to all happens, we need factual issues, not fabrication and more manipulation. To make mention of anyone hurting your children is very sad.
    I whole heartedly encourage you to document your treatment and send it to the MCIN board. The others you have counceled have this same freedom. Lloyd and I have no problem answering to them and or taking correction.
    Lisa is not only a graduate of Phoenix Masters, she is a personal friend and was not afraid to bring these things to us because she knew Lloyd would handle it, not hide it or manipulate her into letting it go.
    In our move things appeared to have been dropped but in a recent conversation between Lisa and Lloyd he brought her up to date on how things have transpired. Her transgressor had aliened himself very close to Lloyd, she knew this and still trusted Lloyd to hear her out.
    You stated you have a deep love for Lloyd and myself, people who have been treated as badly as you state don’t love their transgressors deeply, they get angry at the very mention of their name.
    I am sorry you waited for so long for something to surface, you had every opportunity and still do to speak personally with myself or Lloyd.
    We who really want change are not afraid to put our names next to our statements or accusations.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Chris Zeigler

    1. Chris,
      I know this angers you, but this blog is here for everyone to speak freely. The only way we’re all going to get better is by listening to criticism. And Phoenix MC is not above criticism. I was very hurt by Phoenix Master’s Commission. I wasn’t ever allowed to minister, because I wasn’t talented enough. I was a nerd. I didn’t dance or sing or act. I never traveled. I wasn’t accepted back a second year for reasons I simply will never know (although for years I thought it was because I was unworthy and in reality it was because I spent my tuition money on a missions trip instead of tuition), which is why I ended up in MC Austin in the first place. All the while, girls who’d gone to clubs and partied and broken the rules had gotten accepted back to Phoenix for a second year. I just didn’t understand and was heartbroken. I got over it, and moved on, but it was different for me. I was just there one year.

      1. Lisa,
        You have been careful to, at the best of your knowledge make true statements.
        We are trying to make right, wrongs with honest documentation …… I-hear-ya is a complete fabrication and perverts everything you, Jana and the rest of us are trying to accomplish in our lives and others.
        Don’t just take my word on this but really read what I-hear-ya says……
        The give away….. they state they are a graduate and then say they left…..
        I will right any wrong, but a lie you can not….
        Much Love,
        Chris Zeigler

  7. Oh, Yes it is an open forum and that is why I felt the freedom as the accused to also express myself, it go both ways and for that I am glad.
    You made a statement in your letter that I am not afraid to speak my mind….I’m not and will with care, I also am mature enough to take a wrong I have committed and say I am sorry.
    Anger isn’t at all my motivation for writing that and this reply.
    You are very right Phoenix Masters isn’t above any other Master’s.
    I wasn’t aware of this hurt you experienced at our hand and for that I apologize. I am so sorry you were hurt by myself and Masters leadership and am sorry you never got the chance to bring this to Lloyd and if you did present it I am sorry you continued to be hurt.
    I never saw you as a nerd but as a confident leader, it was my understanding that Austin Masters needed ladies for 2nd year leadership and you and Sarah were just the kind of leaders they asked to refer to them.
    We were proud to refer two of what we felt were caring, confident women who could lead well and strong, we had no idea you would endure such pain and for that I apologize again and again.
    I don’t dance, sing, act, travel or speak either. In my eyes the only talents I offer is a deep love for people, loyalty and a devotion to fight for what is true and right.
    I hope you present this to Lloyd so he can also respond and have the chance to ask forgiveness.
    As for tuition no one to my knowledge is ever punished for putting their money where they do, did Lloyd tell you this was their reasoning?
    I do believe I can meet maturely with I-hear-ya, I thought it would have meant a lot to you if your transgressor asked to meet, talk or correspond with you in an effort to make right a wrong.
    This is an effort to make right wrongs wittingly and or unwittingly committed against others.
    I have always thought of you as a personal friend and friends can agree to disagree on things and not let the things they discuss divide them. Makes for great conversations.
    Thank you for making sure things are kept in perspective, I promise to honor you in every way I can, you dear lady are well worth it.
    Chris Zeigler

  8. Chris, it is refreshing to see people with integrity that will stand up and try to confront injustice. I served a pastor for years that often said “If you cannot lead by example, lead by repentance” and he refuses to repent for anything he has done. Thank you for being willing to confront these issues and deal with them openly and honestly.

  9. Lisa,

    My heart is sad to think of how you saw yourself during your time in Phoenix. You were not a nerd! I remember working with you on conference and enjoying every minute of it. You were funny, fun, loving, kind, and worked hard. As a former Master’s Commission director, I can honestly say that I would have loved to have had a “Lisa Kerr” come through every year that I directed.

    Another thing that causes me sadness is the thought of the death of your dream. During my years of ministry I have endured much heart ache. NOTHING compared to yours, my dear friend, but painful still. I have found myself many times doubled over on the floor crying out to, angry at, and screaming at God, with no one to turn to, on the verge of abandoning my dream. But it has been the realization that not only was it MY dream, but GOD’S dream for me that gave me the grace to pick my tear-drenched self up off the floor, wipe the tears from my swollen eyes, and with shaky knees and a tear-stained face go after it again.

    I know healing takes time. And after what you’ve been through, by all means, take plenty of it. My prayer for you is that one day, if it truly was God’s dream for you, you pursue missions.

    As I’ve read your postings, friend, one word continues to come to mind – POWERFUL. I’ve told you before, Lisa, but I want you to know it again. You are VERY POWERFUL. This is not just my opinion because you’re so cool :), but truly what I feel the heart of God is for you.

    So much love,

    Rebecca

  10. What would you tell a young person who wants to skip a full ride at college to join master’s commission against the wishes of her parents, her family and her closest friends?

    One of the biggest concerns that everyone has for her is responses by people like this Chris Ziegler who lashes out at ex commission members as “Liars” for speaking of their experiences and others accusing ex members of losing their dream. So, if you think a single thought that is not one of the Master’s Commission, you are either a liar or you have lost the dream? That is simply abusive (emotionally). And where there is emotional abuse, physical and sexual typically soon follow…

    1. Concerned,
      If someone had a full-ride at college, I would tell them to skip Master’s Commission and not college.

      I skipped my full-ride and ended up misguided and without a career path after my several years of dedication to Master’s Commission and ministry. Ministry wasn’t my “calling” in life. Writing was and is. I have still gotten my B.A. but I started at age 25, instead of 18. I could have had a Ph.D by now. I regret that.

      I agree with you that the comments get out of hand here, and I am approving them so that readers can judge for themselves exactly what you are judging. There’s still moderation and CONTROL even on a website I’m purchasing and paying for–speaking MY mind.

      Why? When you expose things that have been kept silent for over twenty five years in groups that are nationally celebrated and loved, there will soon be hundreds, if not thousands of people protecting their livelihoods and their history. The bottom line is (and this is what I’m trying to point out in my writing) NO ONE cares about the little guy–they all defend the pastors and the directors of the groups. No one is speaking out for the students and staff members who aren’t getting paid at all and working their asses off.

      So I am. And they all know who I am, so I’m getting shit via email, phone, etc.

      If you know someone who’s going to do this against the wishes of their parents and friends, then I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not a parent and I honestly listened to and respected my parents a lot, so I can’t speak from that perspective. My parents are actually the reason I left the group–they came to visit and told me to leave. I waited 4 months and “prayed” about it. In reality, I really was just heart broken because I knew they were right and I felt I’d be leaving my “family” of Master’s Commission and knew they’d cut me out of their life once I was gone from their bubble.
      Thanks for reading,
      Lisa

    2. Concerned;
      I answer this in the gentlest of tone.
      If your young person were thinking about entering our Masters and we were made aware they had the opportunity to attend college on a full ride they would be advised of the following.
      1. Most all colleges will put a scholarship on hold from 1 to 2 years.
      2. The parents and the applicant call the awarding school, find out what the schools policy is and make application or arrangements for this to happen so they may attend the other source of training they want to pursue.
      3. Sit down as a family and negotiate a plan as to their next steps. Some families have put both sides of their agreement in writing and signed it like a contract.
      When these young people come to me with their side of the story my first question to them is “who pays the bills?” If it is mom and dad, I tell them they have a responsibility to negotiate their position with them, that at this point in their lives they are developing their adult relationship with their parents and that is not always an easy road to navigate on either side.
      I will speak with you personally at any time. 214-636-8688…..

  11. My daughter has recently told us she wants to attend this “school” of Masters Commission in WA in a few weeks. She has a full ride scholarship to a local college, that she is willing to toss aside for this church thing. I’m deeply worried over the rules and regulations she has shown us, my biggest fear is lack of communication allowed between her and I if she goes. The hours they work, the pay they are promised, the punishments, and ostracization from family are huge concerns. She also told us she needs 6,500$ from us for this Masters thing. I need some advice. Desperately. I’m very worried she will leave and be destroyed as a beautiful young woman that she is. She is super smart, outgoing, and vibrant. I am afraid I will get back a daughter who has conformed to a religion she isn’t even committed to. She has such a strong will, I’m terrified they will break her. Never before would she have accepted learning her place as a woman, as a mother/wife as her life goals. I raised her Catholic, and this all seems to go against our religion. PLEASE HELP ME! She has her interview this week(so they can determine if she is worthy of THEM!) I need advice FAST! I cannot lose my daughter. Thank you

    1. My parents did not support me going to MC and they did not give me a dime for tuition. I respect them for it now, but it didn’t stop me from going. MC encourages students to send out “support” letters and they will often accept a student with no money upfront in the hopes that they will raise it while there. I was so stuborn that I don’t think my parents could stop me from going. Has your daughter seen this blog and the others about MC? She should read them before she goes. I wish I had seen the importance of college when I was 18, but honestly I was afraid of all the sinful people there and how they might rub off on me! Crazy, I know. My only advice would be to stay really invovled in her life. If she goes, make sure you have met all the staff and the director. Keep asking her questions about what is going on. If the MC is in your area, I would go to every outreach. Have you toured a college with her and showed her that there are christian groups there? I hope she changes her mind, but if she’s hard headed like I was, then the best you can do is to try not to let this time ruin your relationship.

      1. deborah is my mom. This is what im going to do. You obviously have no clue what youre talking about mother. You think I dont research? then howd i find you on here? I dont think either of you are competent enough to judge. I officially never want to speak to you again if you feel this way mom. I do have support and lots of it. Its not like you or dad are around that often anyways, I dont even live with you. I am committed to my religion mother, how dare you. I read the bible everyday I was confirmed catholic and attend two churches as many times a week as I can thank you very much. And the strong willed sentence doesnt make sense mom. . . im strong willed I am not an item to be broken youd think i wouldve with all the physical and sexual abuse ive been through but I havent. I program will not break me. This is my choice. And stephanie. . why would you wish the opposite of my hearts desire? Mom i think youd burst into flames if you stepped foot in a church since when are you catholic?? shelly raised me catholic not you.

        1. Jessica,
          All I have to say is hopefully Master’s Commission will help fix that attitude of yours. 😉 Damn girl. That’s no way to talk to your mom!

          This program won’t “break you” like you said. I don’t personally know the program in WA, so I can’t speak about that specifically. I do know that if you are set on going, then it’s good to just stay 1 year and no more than 2. Past that, they won’t be able to pay you at all and you won’t get any training that would be useful for a future career of any kind.

          I wish you the best at Master’s and I hope you truly enjoy your time there.
          Lisa

        2. Dear Jessica,
          I did say that I hoped you changed your mind, but only because of the pain and twisted religion that I experienced in MC. It still affects me today, 10 years later. But you are right, I would never want to wish the opposite of your hearts desires. It sounds like you have already made up your mind. There are some good MC programs and I truely do hope that your experience is all you want it to be.
          It pains me to read your comments to your mother. My years in MC were filled with conflict with my parents and it tooks me years to reconcile how I treated them. I could assume that your mother is researching and asking questions because she cares about you, but maybe you feel different?
          My mother (who is not a Christian – just a thought) is now one of my best friends. We even talk about God and can agree to disagree about our beliefs and many other things, but I love her dearly. I hope you can have that kind of relationship with your mother some day too.
          You saying you don’t want to speak to your mother over this (though that is entirely your choice) is not a statement that I can support with any scripture. I would encourage you to pray about this and do some research about how Jesus treated people he loved who had opposing opinions. That might make you angry that I said that, but please don’t take it that way. The bible is an excellent source for guidance (when used in context).
          I am praying for you and your family.

    2. Deborah,
      Being a concerned mom isn’t always appreciated from a teenage daughter’s point of view. Just ask my mom. 😉 I understand why your daughter is upset, but I also think you should know the good and bad about Master’s Commission. You do have a reason to be concerned, as well, but honestly your daughter will just have to experience life and look back and learn her own lessons. I did.

      I started MC in Phoenix at age 17. I had a full-ride scholarship, a very high GPA, and lots of community involvement. I’d geared myself to be a prime candidate for a great school, and then I was presented with Master’s Commission from a local church. I felt it was the right thing to do, but I did debate whether it was in my best interest to give up all that money for college. What I learned is that I could put off my scholarships and some grants for 1 year, and after that I’d lose them. I didn’t have any money saved up for Master’s Commission, so I wasn’t sure how I’d pay for it. MC encourages students to write letters of support to give to their fellow church members. I did that and my parents paid the rest.

      What I would encourage you is to read Stephanie’s advice. I think that staying in touch with your daughter no matter what choices she makes is the best option. You don’t want to be suffocating, and it seems like you did raise her well, so you just have to let her go one day and hope you raised her well enough to let go and make her own adult decisions.

      My own parents are really heartbroken that I came home from Master’s Commission so hurt and wounded and messed up. They wish they could have prevented my pain. Why? They’re good parents! Could they realistically have prevented it? No. We had no way of knowing what I’d go through.

      If you would like more information on the group in WA, I know there are people you can contact. You should know what size church they are in, visit the church, visit the dorms or apartments, and you should know what type of stuff your daughter will be doing. That’s standard for any group or college experience. If you’re in close enough proximity, be sure that you can visit them and can ask the director of the program and staff candid questions. Do your research so you feel comfortable. I personally don’t know the people in Washington who run that group, but I do know a lot of people who are directors of MC programs and some of them are great people. My experience in Austin and Louisiana were rough, but there are people who’ve had good experiences in MC. Mostly, if they were in a large church with a large budget…Consider that.
      Lisa

  12. Debroah and concerned,
    With all that is going on i can see the fear for your children and it should. We should all test things a little more now to protect ourselves and our loved ones. I am a former MC and i never experienced anything that Lisa is talking about. I remember when i first read the things that she writes and i could not believe it. I wrote her asking her how it could be..in my mind all mc should be the same but she said it plain and simple they all arent. I had an amazing time in Mc and grew in God so much.
    When i was joining my first year i was looking at a mc and when we went in for the interview i had several people go with me. Sorry but if they dont allow you to go that could be a sign that it wont be good. i had my youth pastor and an older friend from church. After the interview then we talked about it. There was something they didnt like about it so we looked at another mc. So test the waters! My director did say not to express our frustrations with our parents right away but he never said i could not talk to them or go see them. The reason was just as in a relationship with our spouse if i tell my mom everytime we fought she would be upset with him even after we fixed it.
    i did not have a good relationship with my mom and my director bought me note cards and told me to write her notes of Love. Telling her all the reasons why i loved her and appreciated about her. Today she is my best friend!
    I went on to be staff with a different mc and there the director let the parents come to visit for a few days. tuition like everything is different for each mc ours was 3500 for both that i was at. We also got a great oppurtunity to get College while we were there for an extra 180 a month. I guess i say this every mc is different and we should pray and test the waters. i can also tell you this we are all human and some people make mistakes but never did i have trash put on my bed, ate rotten or close to rotten food and i def was never kept from my family. I went home every friday since i lived so close. I will be praying that God will lead you to the right one and that he will give you the discernment if it is an abusive one. you could also talk to them about things like making them feel like they cannot hear from God and such so they will recognize it for them self. I really hope this helps and that it makes since it might be all over the place.

  13. Dear Concerned,

    I believe you referenced me in your comment. In my comment I referenced Lisa’s dream of doing missions work. I based my comment off of one of her blog entries where she shared about a conversation she had with Jacob Aranza. In this blog entry she shares that he asked her what she wanted for her life and she told him missions, his response to her was horrible. I did not “accuse” Lisa, who is a personal friend of mine, of “losing” her dream. I am very well aware that life changes and often times what we truly want is not at all what we thought it was. I was only encouraging her. And I believe Lisa took it exactly how I meant it. Of course, this is all done in text and just like any form of communication that is done without being face to face you lose at least 50% of what is really being said without facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. I apologize if I communicated myself wrong in my attempt to be encouraging.

  14. Deborah: I spent 8 years with an MC program, and I can’t think of a single time that parents were prohibited from visiting, calling, or being involved in their child’s life/experience. If the program she is considering has that as part of the rules I would be concerned as well, and would strongly advise against going there. If your daughter is really sold on the idea of MC, maybe your family could do some more searching to find a program that all of you can be comfortable with. There are programs that may do harm, as you have seen here, but there are good ones too. Perhaps choosing an alternative program would be a fair compromise if she really has her heart set on going.

    Concerned: I can tell you what I would tell her, and you. Gather all the information you can about the specific program she is interested in. Talk to graduates, talk to students. Talk to parents of students and graduates if you can. If you are concerned about it having cult-like characteristics, check out some of the resources Lisa has made available so you know what to look out for. If you feel apprehensive or uncomfortable or that your concerns will not be addressed or accommodated, run. If you have career goals/aspirations outside of ministry, college is an absolute necessity at some point, and it’s expensive. Giving up a scholarship is a big deal, so if you decide to go to MC, make sure you’re prepared to be paying tuition if/when you decide to return to school after MC. Find out everything you can about every option and then make a completely informed decision about what is best for YOU.

    Your concerns that you expressed as a result of these comments may be misguided. Rebecca has responded to her intentions with her comment, and I can assure you based on my knowledge and history with her that Chris Ziegler also posts with hopeful intentions. She did not call anyone a liar, and was not mean or hateful in her post. She was honest about what she had to say, and her willingness to stand up and take steps to set up an open dialogue between herself and I-hear-ya is admirable. It is a quality that I wish more leaders had. Chris is a strong woman who would readily and willingly own and make right any wrongdoing that could have been done at her hands. If anything, that is to be embraced, not feared.

  15. I too have a daughter who is looking at putting college off for a year to do the Master’s Commission in Washington.

    I don’t know much about it really, so what is the good and the bad of it? Would it be better to do college then masters commission or masters commission and then college?

    Since I have no idea either way (and have heard so much on both sides of it, both good and bad) I am just really interested in knowing what I can know about it.

    (PS, I am sure my daughter will probably read my post here… And being a teenaged female, she will probably be mad at me for asking… But, I am just looking to get info to be fully informed).

    1. my strong willed daughter…i have never told you i didnt want you to go. i have as always thru your entire life supported the things you want. i only ever want you to have what your heart desires. i saught advice on the program for my hearts ease. i just want you to be safe. and you will be if you go. i love you and would lie my life down for you sweet one…please never doubt that. you and i have a close, wonderful relationship and i would never do anything to destroy that. i am proud to call you daughter, as i wish you would be proud to call me mother. i apologize for causing you any anguish…i hope you understand i was seeking knowledge of the program to ensure the safety and well being of you. i was being a mother. i love you and we will get you to this masters commission program if it is within our powers. i came up with a quote years ago..because of you..”Daughters are the part of your heart that beats the strongest”. i love you.

    2. Jeremy,
      I responded to Deborah, and that can probably help you some.

      I’d definitely take note of the characteristics of unhealthy or destructive groups that I have on my pages. I have articles there you can read. Watch out for those warning signs when you meet the pastor or director of the MC program your daughter chooses, as well as the staff.

      What ends up happening is that some young people end up giving up college altogether after entering Master’s Commission. They are often convinced that they should be full time ministers, and they end up given up their dreams of xyz. I’d suggest going to college first, for many reasons. The most important for me was that I ended up losing my scholarships and grants to go to school, and now that I’m just about finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree, all that free money would’ve been a wonderful thing to have. I could’ve put them off for one year, but not past that. That’s something to consider. In addition, I didn’t realize there were Christian groups on campus, so it’s important to know that.

      The good of Master’s Commission is that a young person is able to find some positive mentors and role models, who don’t drink, smoke, have sex outside of marriage (if you think that’s a good thing…). The bad in that is that many people who leave Master’s Commission will become elitist Christians, and think they are better than anyone else who doesn’t abstain from anything fun like they do, or pray for an hour a day like they do. Additionally, the mentors and role models often overstep their boundaries. They become more like pseudo parents telling them what to do and what’s right and wrong for their life. It takes a way a young person’s ability to make decisions and control their own life after they leave.

      I would write more but I will have to leave it at that for now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being fully informed as a parent. If you’d like to speak to my parents or other parents, I can put you in touch with them via email. You can email me at mycultlife@gmail.com for more information.
      Lisa

    3. Jeremy,
      Another thing I failed to mention: My parents supported me financially while I was in Master’s Commission. The group I was with for several years was unable to pay me more than $100 a month when I was paid, so my parents sent me hundreds of dollars a month so I could buy food and gas etc. If they had cut me off financially sooner, I’d have had to leave sooner. Just letting you know: I couldn’t afford to stay on my own because I wasn’t able to work while I was in the program.

  16. ok so i am a masters student and my excperienc is awsome here i dont know what happend with you but the reason we dont have a job is becaus its a full time job no one is expected not to talk to family members or freinds we have facebook we have phones when we are off of school we have us time to call family members and have a life i know a girl who has lived in the same town as the masters she gos to for years and she gos to here parents house all the time and altho there are rulse about life they are biblical rules nuthing is just out of the blue things i would sugest masters for enyone who wonts to get closer to God.  the truth is masters is hard its tiering and sometimes you just wont to go crazy but you get to know people who build you up help you our keep you going God uses those people He puts them into your life if you feel called to masters then you wanna go cas life at masters will be someof the hardest but greatest times of your life. masters is not a cult its school its a ministry theres nuthing like it you wanna know what masters commission is realy like talk to someone who knows masters every program this big may have a few bad outlets but there not all bad.
    anticonformity_girl_16@yahoo.com

    1. Sarah, would you say you’re getting a good education there?

      Are you saying its totally okay for Masters directors to stop you from dating for several years and never pay their staff? not just a few groups-Lloyd himself said that.

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