Survivor Stories

It helps to not that your experiences are not isloated.  The following are the stories of many former members that experienced abuse at the hands of church leaders.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I know that what happened to me at Faith Christian church is the tip of the iceburg to what has happened to many former members. I was treated with abuse, told I was worthless and that I could not hear from God. I was told that if I left, that I was walking away from God and would be cursed. While a mejmber I was slowly distanced from my family and friends until I was told not to associate with my family at all. Anytime I asked about money, or the pastor’s salary, I was told I was in rebellion and had a “divisive spirit”. there was never any accountablility of any kind. I finally broke free and left without “permission”. It was the best thing I could ever do. I pray you will break free as well.

    • Todd DeFrank says:

      I was in a “religious cult” myself when I was 21 years old in 1974 in Tucson. I was technically in it from 1974 until 1981. It was a different kind of a cult. Although they had the ritual of casting out demons and binding them (this was their answer to any issue in your life and this is one of the most major traits of cults who abuse the Bible) and other weird, false teachings I was in an “end-times” cult on top of it, where there were dates set and predicted for the end of the world thing, the big Mid East war, and the Lord’s second coming. So, I was very much programmed and indoctrinated. It would take a book to get the full impact of my experience, but I can assure you that some of the testimonies I read in the Arizona Daily Star (March 7 2015) from former Faith Christian cult members I can relate to exactly.
      They don’t want you to do anything but “get in the word”, “get in the word”, “get in the word” and get the word out. The Lord’s coming and there is no time to have children or make money or go to school and so on. All of the time this was said and lived. If I had known at the time what I know now and learned over the years of what I was into, and if I had reaped the bad effects that have lasted many years, I too would have brought them to court. Thank you.

      P.S. I don’t think I can so I won’t post any contact information, but if you have any questions maybe there is a way to get them to me. I have contacted the Former Members of Faith Christian Church Tucson and It’s Offshoots asking for the contact information of parents and former members to tell them my testimony.

      • Nate Murtaugh says:

        Oh shut the fuck up you, disgusting piece of human filth. I remember when you worked at CPI you would shit and then get up off of the toilet then tell us all later “I’ll go, finish, wipiiiiing!” and go wipe your ass after the fact. And your breath smelled like hot garbage. it could wilt plants. We sat you in the back area we called “Reek Row” for a reason. That is a sick fuck!

    • Juliana Patrick says:

      How can a church hold you against your own free will!??

      • Todd DeFrank says:

        Dear Ms. Patrick,
        A “church” can hold one against your own free will by leading you with their interpretation of the scriptures, especially if you don’t know what the scriptures say. But I know there is much more to it thn this, because they take it upon themselves and say you have a demon and so on. If you are a follower and they are the leaders who speak with authority and so on, then your will is captive to a certain extent. You probably didn’t want to go against God and your heart was pure in this, so when the “leaders”, who can also charm you as well as be authoritative, told you God said this and that you conformed, because you do love the Lord and so followed their “guidance” until you realized in time what they were like. I could go on, but this may help you.
        The group I was in had rich folk, educated folk and young and old folk and I wondered after I left the “cult”!! how could these “normal” people get caught up in this and believe it. Maybe they didn’t want to go against God so when the “Word” was spoken, which was the cultic leader’s word, they followed very submissively. And the group I was in believed it themselves what they taught and told others. It wasn’t a scam and they weren’t doing it because they wanted something from me per se, but it shows that they lost their minds and they believed their false teachings and their judgements themselves. I am thankful I didn’t lose my mind, but I could have.
        Thank you for your time.

        Todd DeFrank

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re right they didn’t hold me against my free will but telling me I’m doomed to burn in hell if I even think of leaving might convince you to stay

  2. J. & T. says:

    Soon after our son joined FCC in Tucson we noticed his personality eroding. Decisions once automatic and natural became most stressful for him. For certain purchases he wasn’t able to consider buying what he liked or was most useful but rather how easily it might be to explain it to the elders. It seemed nothing he could do was good enough for FCC’s leaders. They didn’t like his major or his summer job. They didn’t like him playing sports unless it was with them. They didn’t like him living in the dorms except on days when they could invite themselves into his room and pressure his hallmates.
    We finally sat our son down and gave him our observations of the constant worry and guilt we believed FCC controlled him with. We offered him the option of transferring to a college closer to home and living with us. He told us the church was pressuring him to leave the dorms and that renting an apartment wouldn’t do because they’d pressure him to accept only FCC members as roommates. The only other option FCC allowed him, of moving in to an “FCC house,” he couldn’t tolerate.
    When our discussion turned to leaving FCC he sat there so traumatized. We’ve never seen him appear so hopelessly gone. He didn’t think it was possible, he said, they’d call his phone, they’d knock on his door, and stop him on campus to demand answers. He was frightened that they’d bully him for the rest of his time as a University of Arizona student.
    We considered enrolling him in short term counseling but alarmed at the emotional damage and how the damage would only worsen, the three of us instead approached an attorney for advice on a restraining order. The attorney turned up several previous requests that had not been fully pursued for whatever reason. An R.O. against a student organization, he said, might not go through without evidence of threats, stalking, etc.
    The following week our son went back to campus with a small voice recorder in his pocket. The plan was to stop returning FCC calls or attending any FCC services or Bible studies, prompting them to go on the hunt for an explanation. After they tracked our son down the recording began, unbeknownst to the two present FCC ministers. Our son’s explanation that his abrupt departure from FCC was his “explanation” triggered from the two ministers a slew of insults, guilt mongering, and threats.
    The next week, after replaying their tirade in the attorney’s office, the attorney announced that it was more than enough for legal action against these two ministers. Our son, still hurt and ashamed, agreed to legal action only after the chance to let things die down for a month. Thankfully the matter did die down. Legal action wasn’t something any of us wanted to do.
    After our son permanently left FCC he felt free and embarked on a healthier social life with a more relaxed campus Christian group. He says he barely notices or recognizes FCC ministers loitering around campus anymore, and that for the most part they only obligingly “hello” him from time to time.
    We are grateful our son left FCC, especially given how rapidly they warped him from month to month. We are glad our son left FCC as early as he did and we hurt to read the much worse accounts on this blog and the facebook page from other X-FCC members who spent longer durations and gave so much of themselves to an abusing group like FCC.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am so sorry your son went through all of this. I’m glad he got out. You are the first person I’ve ever heard that actually went this far with potential legal action. Was it fairly recent that your son left? It has been several years since I was there.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please don’t destroy that recording. Even if FCC people know it’s out there and in the hands of a lawyer, maybe it will make them do things differently and not hurt someone else. Thanks for sharing your story. You guys sound like great parents. I wish more parents had your wherewithal and would catch on to what’s going on sooner. Sometimes, when parents wait to long to say something, their child is far into the system that they won’t dare leave, and the parents become the bad guys.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello I have a friend going to that church and I am very concerned. I would really like to be able to hear that recording and if possible post it somewhere where other people hear it as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are experiencing the same thing with our son and FCC at the U of AZ. Unfortunately, he is more deeply involved than it sounds like your son was with the church. I would appreciate talking with you about your experience about getting your son away from the church.

      • Anonymous says:

        I left Hope Christian church after God totally rescued me from there. The foundational beliefs we as Christians hold from scripture were really what God used to reflect the wrong and abusive ways Hope Christian Church was twisting scripture and treating their members.
        I hi estaly think prayer and question asking is the best way to help your son.
        I had a good friend who was part of a Hope Christian house. We trained together for athletic events and one time after I left we were running and I told him a very brief reason I left the church. Then he expressed some concerns he had (very surface things) but I could tell they really were small peices to serious issues.
        I invited him for dinner and posed three questions for him to research on his own. My strategy was if he researched the history of the church, and two other things he had brought up as concerns and I had left because of, then he would be more apt to belive. If I just told him (as I did with other friends that stayed in longer or are still members) he would just have looked down on me and shrugged it off as members are taught to do with questioners/doubters.
        I hope this helps!
        I’ll be praying for you and your son. God will intervene and I pray He does soon!

    • John says:

      Hey there. This is dad of a girl stolen by steve hall group. Lived in basement of pastor. Discipled. Ruined. Gone. No word. Arranged marriage and all. My mission is to expose this people who plan to transform a generation across US campuses and prey on vulnerable freshman fresh out of home looking to connect. It’s super sick. We have to act.
      Any chance I could get and even pay your son for the recording ? Does not have to ever mention his name. I can commit to that. It’s an exposing example of the abuse for campuses to hear and others to be warned. It would be powerful. Please ! Can we talk ? Your post is old so hope you are still out there. If anyone else can connect me – please help.
      (303) 589-3178

    • David Ferreira Gregory says:

      I went to FCC because I thought they loved me and we’re my friends but when I messed up,didn’t meet there expectations & went to another church I felt like my brothers in Christ failed me. It’s good your son is out of FCC and is NOW having fellowship with TRUE Christians who care for him.

  3. Isaiah 55 says:

    I can’t express the amount of pain I suffered after the leaving FCC Tucson. My freshman year 2006 I ran into Emilee Wheeler on my way to chemistry class. I had been honestly looking for a non demoninational church to attend and when I heard of FCC it sounded like the perfect match. I began going to church and became quickly emersed into the culture and “friendly” faces. I started out in NROTC and was on the career path to becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy. After a few months of being in the church, I noticed the intense pressure to listen and hear a word from God to determine whether the current path I am on is the one God wants me to take. I thought I received a word to join the ministry at FCC and it became apparent that I would have to hand up my NROTC career path. I consulted Emilee and Sarah Wachenfeld and when I told them that I still wanted to serve the military, they said that there is no greater servitude than serving God. Being so naive and young at the time, I believed them and gave up NROTC to follow the church.

    Life seemed to be going well, I was making lots of friends at the church and moved into a house with a few girls from church. However, after 2 years I began to near graduation and continued to ask God if he really wanted me to be a minister. I also began dating a guy from one of my classes. When Emilee and Sarah found out, they immediately said I needed to go to counseling and get demons cast out of me. I can’t tell you how many times I had counseling and every time they cast demons out, but things still didn’t feel right. What dissapointed me most was that Sarah never asked what I did with the boy. She and Steve Hall immediately assumed I was having sex and even worse, she asked me if I was pregnant. She also told me to look at scriptures in the bible about fornicators and adulterers which made me feel like such a disgusting person. I quickly dispelled their myths that I wasn’t doing those things but just seeing him on dates. When Steve Hall got wind that I was dating outside the church, he called me outside after church where he and Teresa said that I needed to do one-on-one counseling with them. They said that if I didn’t do counseling, I would not be allowed to see their kids (I was really good friends with them btw) because I could infect them with my sin pattern. So I agreed.

    I went over to Steve and Teresa’s house and the first thing Steve says to me as I enter the house is “You know, this is not the first time that people have fallen out of the church. Many people feel intimidated by the awesome power of my family and have the reaction that they can’t live up to what we have.” You would think that would have been a clear indication that I should have left right then and there but I didn’t. So we enter into the living room and we literally sat there for 4-6 hours while every hour Steve would ask me if I was ready to repent. Every hour my heart still wasn’t ready so we ended the first session without making any “progress”. We rescheduled a second counseling session where I went back to their house and began the process over again. I can quote two disrespectful things that Steve said that ultimately led to me leaving the church. He was telling me that kids are a product of their parents’ parenting skills. I told Steve that I believe my parents did the best job they could, and Steve said “Well they didn’t do a good job.” Secondly, my dad is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and Steve was saying my dad didn’t do a good job of raising me and said “well Marines don’t have a good track record of raising kids.” First of all, bad parenting is not even a stereotype of the U.S. Marines, let alone military as a whole. In fact, it is the complete opposite.

    After the counseling, I eventually left the church due to Steve’s remarks about my parents. He wanted me to realize that my parents were not proper authority but that he was the only proper authority. Leaving the church made me go into a painful spiral of losing friends and thinking that God didn’t love me anymore. It literally felt like someone had pulled a rug right out from under my feet and I didn’t have anything to stand on anymore. Thankfully, my family was there to help me through it. The greatest lesson of all that I learned is that while Emilee and all those people in the church left me, God never left my side. It took a long time to stop hating God and realize that he doesn’t condone the behavior that is going on at FCC. Praise the Lord I am back on my feet, but I felt the need to tell my story and let the readers decide on what is right and what is wrong for themselves. All of the blog posts about true leadership and manipulation are completely true as I witnessed it first-hand at FCC. I don’t regret the experience I went through as it has made me a stronger person, I can only pray that things get better at FCC.

    • Anonymous says:

      The same thing happened to me. Felise heard I was dating someone and I began to hear stories about how other members were dating and things turned physical and they ended up getting pregnant and aborting the child. I left when I had the associate pastor, Steve, get in my face after church and told me I needed to make a decision, or they were going to put me in front of everyone and have me tell everyone that I was dating a non-believer

      • deleted says:

        I have a friend who is deeply involved with this church. Would you share some more of your experiences with me that might help me convince my friend this is not a healthy environment and they should consider leaving?

    • Minerva Benitez says:

      My daughter is experiencing this as I write .These people are evil and will pay for their actions .May God bless us all and those whos experiencing this now.

  4. jefflisap says:

    Isaiah 55,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know it took some guts to do that, but it will be helpful to others who are caught up in situations like what you went through.

    Steve’s comment about his family is so narcissistic. I have read some articles on narcissistic disorder, and they were eerily similar to my experiences with Steve.

    His comments about your parents are par for the course. One of Steve’s main modes of operation is to separate students from their parents and drive a wedge in that relationship all under the guise of “honoring” our parents “with the truth.” It’s pretty twisted. My wife and I have been able to reconcile with our parents concerning the way we treated them during our years in the church. I’m glad that you have been able to do the same.

  5. ANONYMOUS says:

    You people seriously need to move on. If you had a bad experience with something or someone, forgive them and move on. Don’t lump everything into one and just assume everyone is going to have a bad experience. All you are is bitter. The leaders of these churches aren’t perfect and in 5 years I’ve never heard a single one of them ever claim to be. Quit telling other people your assumptions and opinions about them like it’s gospel truth! So you didn’t get along with some of them, big deal, get over it. And you also need to quit slandering the other churches just because you had a bad experience or didn’t agree with something at the one you attended. Every church, I don’t care where it is, what denomination it is, who their leader is, EVERY SINGLE ONE has people that don’t agree with absolutely everything they do, does that make that church a cult? Absolutely not! Anyone and everyone is welcome to leave at any time if they don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason. It’s the same with these churches, you can leave anytime you want to if you don’t like it. You need to learn the definition of a cult. Are any of the members making out any of the church leaders out to be a god? No they’re not! The truth is, these churches and their leaders put God first in EVERYTHING and teach others to do the same. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! That includes church, life, finances, home life, etc. God is a part and is involved in EVERY aspect of your life so what is wrong with getting advice or help on any of these things? Absolutely nothing! Am I saying that none of these leaders have ever made any mistakes in the positions they’re in? No I’m not! They are HUMAN! They make mistakes, they’re not infallible. I encourage anyone who is looking at this site not to believe everything that is said on here because most are gross exaggerations of the truth anyway! Go speak with one of these leaders yourself, go check out the church yourself. If you don’t like it, then go to another one that suits you better, but don’t go bashing and slandering them just because you didn’t like it there. These churches and their leaders are doing great things for students on college campuses across the country! For every 1 person on this site that is slandering all of these churches, there are probably 10 others that are so thankful for what these churches have done and are doing in their lives!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you still a member of FCC? My guess is that you are not! It’s one thing for leaders of a church to make a mistake but it’s altogether different when the inappropriate things they say and do to members are repeated over and over again for years. This is spiritual abuse and needs to be stopped!

    • Anonymous says:

      You must be brainwashed . I have been to a lot of different churches and never not to date or see my family. What the hell is wrong with you weak minded people.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are an asshole!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t imagine anyone letting a church come between you and your family. There must be some serious control and brainwashing going on for so many student members to just walk away from their families. I’ll bet the parents and families are devastated! How terribly sad!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I had a nightmare a couple of nights ago about Steve Hall after leaving FCC and Tucson over 15 years ago. I told my husband about it and he googled FCC and your page came up. I am appalled at all these horror stories but not surprised. I experienced many of the same things in the 90’s. Please if you have any doubts at all about this place RUN! Trust your inner self. If you see a red flag, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

  7. R says:

    To the anonymous telling us to move on-it’s very hard leaving a group that was controlling you for so long, and it helps to come together and learn that we are not alone.
    I was a former member at Hope Christian Church, and they approached me at a time in my life I was struggling. I had anxiety issues, and going deeper in my faith seemed to help. However, it all started taking a turn for the wrong very fast. I knew that I wanted to please God, but they sat me down at several sessions to try and get me to remember an exact moment when I gave my life to God. However, I didn’t have one. It was a gradual learning process of learning how to live with my life in God’s hands. They told me I wasn’t a Christian unless I had an exact moment, and said that I wasn’t “saved” until I had that moment and pray with them. Then, they said my previous baptism wasn’t legitimate because I hadn’t been a Christian at the time, so I had to be baptized again. Then, they started taking up all of my time. I had to go to meetings, evangelize(even though it made me very uncomfortable), attend Bible studies, and go and barge into people’s dorm rooms with campus ministers. I repeatedly told them that I did not want to survey people, 2Q people, or keep bringing my unwilling friends to church, but they persisted that I had to. Whenever I was not with them, or hanging out with my other friends, they would call me and ask me to go invite people to church with them. They tried to separate me from my friends, saying that they were taking me away from my “new” life and “bringing me down”. I had a boyfriend, and they made me break up with him, and kept asking me if I did it until I did. They always asked us if our parents were ‘saved’ and, if not, if we needed to intervene.
    There were always people around that weren’t part of the church yet, but that members brought, and I wasn’t allowed to talk to them. If I did, they pulled me aside and asked if I was acting biblical. However, I became friends with someone who was attending Hope, but was not a member yet. We would talk before or after service and at their Campus Alpha courses. They looked down upon that and kept trying to lead me away from being friends with that person. One day after a barbecue, we went to get sweet tea at the store together, and they found out. The entire next week they invited me to events but ignored me, and they kept telling me about what I should and shouldn’t do after Hope events. Girls kept asking me to have dinner with them and asked if I wanted to confess my sins, and I would get calls asking the same thing. They had people, who had not previously asked me about what I was doing after events, ask me what I was doing after every event, and stay with me until I left campus. That had not ever happened before. My friend that I had made at the church said that he had campus ministers coming into his dorm room who would not leave until he came to church, and was getting freaked out by the way they kept pressuring him to hang out with the church members more. At this point, my father had heard from a co-worker in the theology department at another university that he had heard that Hope Christian Church seemed to be like a cult, and started to pray for me. By the grace of God, I started to feel even more uncomfortable than usual about evangelism. They had pressured me into asking people to Easter service, pulling me away from my other friends again, and then to serve at a baseball game, telling people how to recycle. They got very forceful that day about my ‘unwillingness to serve” by being uncomfortable with going up to random people and flat out asking them to come to Easter service with me. I began to feel very closed in, and I didn’t want to be there. However, I was miserable for a few weeks, feeling like it was a sin to want to leave.
    The number one thing they preach is to submit to authority, so I kept feeling horrible that I was questioning them, and kept praying for forgiveness that I was questioning my leaders. However, after a few more weeks of feeling extremely pressured, upset, uncomfortable, and closed in, I sought advice from my dad about what to do. He told me what his co-worker had previously told him, and said that he hadn’t wanted to tell me since I seemed to enjoy being at church, but he prayed that if it was true that God would reveal it to me. I feel so blessed, because He had. I stopped going to events, and they relentlessly called me and tried to ask if I was okay and if I was straying, I just ignored their phone calls, though they have persisted until now.
    I struggled for a long time because I thought I was sinning, and it really hit me hard. Once I was free, I felt so much better. While I was there, I couldn’t feel the ‘freedom in Christ’. I was close to God and felt his love, but I just felt like he had something so much better for me in store. Now, instead of pretending to be happy because they told me that I was, I’m actually happy and experiencing freedom. It’s so much easier knowing that it wasn’t just me, and there are other people who feel like I do. I hope my story helps someone else.

    • Anonymous says:

      R, thank you so much for sharing your story. Consider yourself very blessed to have left Hope Christian Church at ASU. Their requirement that members submit to authority, unfortunately, has little to do with biblical teachings and more to do with control. When a young person, especially one that is newly away from their family and home, is brought in under the pretense of “real” friendship or a sense of belonging, it is difficult to imagine that all is not as it appears on the surface. As is typical with a cult, it is only later that one realizes that their privacy, time, relationships, money, decisions, opinions, and even their very own thoughts were being systematically brought under control. This does not happen suddenly, in fact it usually goes unnoticed until one reaches the point that they are forced to declare allegiance or risk losing the circle of support that has come to mean so much to them.

      This has nothing to do with God. This has to do with ego, greed and power over another. It is sad to see Pastor Brian Smith and Wendy Smith creating wealth on the backs of young students who are at ASU to receive an education, not to become indoctrinated in a religion that devalues their individuality and causes them to lose their ability to critically think for themselves.

      R, I wish for you all that God created you to be. It’s next to impossible to not be confused after leaving such a controlling church but try to surround yourself with supportive, healthy minded people and I promise, you will begin to build friendships with people who truly care for you vs. ones that have a hidden agenda. Trust your intuition.

      If you get a chance, take a look at the former FCC members Facebook page. The experiences shared there are amazingly similar to HCC.

      God Bless!

      • R says:

        Thank you so much for your response and your encouragement! It means so much to me, and it’s great that I found a place where I can connect with others who went through an experience like mine. I feel so blessed, and God definitely strengthened me through this experience. 🙂

    • David Ferreira Gregory says:

      Your right, this blog is for those who need healing from the abuse that FCC and it’s offshoots had on those who attended like myself.

  8. Anonymous says:

    R- I can’t speak for what any of the other churches do, they are all their own churches with their own people. I can only speak for the one that I attend and have attended for over 6 years now. I go to Grace Christian Church in Ft. Collins. I’m not going to lower myself down to the level of all the people on this website and be so ignorant as to group all of these churches together and say that they are all fantastic churches because I don’t know that, I have never been to all of them to be able to give a VALID opinion on what they do. But what I can speak for is for Grace. The people there have been nothing but awesome and helpful to me in so many ways. The minister that I meet with for bible studies has helped me through so many things in my life and has become one of my best and closest friends. I’m sorry for any negative things you may have experienced at your church but the fact is, if you felt uncomfortable with anything, if you didn’t like it there for whatever reason then you should’ve left and found another church. In my opinion it is your own fault for sticking around for so long in a place that you hated. If I go to someone’s house and all they do is beat me up while I’m there, well then common sense says that I probably shouldn’t go back there again right? It’s the same thing here. And most of the people on this website did the same thing as you. Rather then just leaving when you decided that there was something wrong there, you all just stayed there and let bad things happen. Tell the people that are doing wrong that you think it is wrong and that they shouldn’t be doing whatever they’re doing. If they are truly in the wrong then they should be mature enough to admit that and change. If not, then that should be a clear sign that maybe you should leave. I don’t think it’s fair to blame these churches for you being uncomfortable with doing something but yet still repeatedly doing it over and over. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT THEN DON’T DO IT! IF YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE SOMEWHERE THEN LEAVE! Did they have chains on your ankles that stopped you from leaving? I highly doubt it. If you rejected your family and friends then that’s your own fault for deciding to do that. Don’t blame someone else for it like they put a gun to your head and made you reject everyone else in your life, because the truth is, they didn’t. YOU DID AND ONLY YOU! That’s what I just don’t get about you people. Why didn’t you just leave?!?! That way, there wouldn’t have been any opportunity for things to escalate! I’ve been a member for 6 six years and if I heard and experienced anything like this then I would be gone in a heartbeat. Is that so hard to do? Is that so hard for you people to wrap your brains around? And don’t give me any of this stuff about, “Oh we couldn’t leave because they would’ve said bad things about us. Or I would’ve felt like it was a sin if I did.” I’m sorry, but if you have any sort of working brain cells and know almost nothing about the bible, you should still be smart enough to know that leaving and going to another church IS NOT A SIN!! Go make some new friends somewhere else. All you guys are doing is sitting here wallowing in your rejection and to try to make yourselves feel better you decide to make a website and slander people you don’t even know! Grow up people! I’ll say it again, MOVE ON!! And don’t slander my church and my friends anymore, especially if you’ve NEVER BEEN THERE! I feel so sorry for you people and I’m sorry that I had to be so blunt but this stuff just makes me mad. I know the Christian thing to do would probably be just to keep my mouth shut but the truth is, I’m sick of this and something needed to be said.

    I wish you all the best in MOVING ON NOW!

    • Kristen says:

      Anonymous, I went to GCC in Fort Collins. I left after about a year and a half because I experienced many of the same things as R did in Hope Christian Church. Many of these stories are remarkably similar even across these different branches. There is a facebook page of former fcc members and its offshoots that gets new people coming to heal every single day and all these people are from FCC, and Hope, and, yes, even GCC. These churches are cults and you don’t see it because you are deeply indoctrinated and we understand that so we are able to brush your verbal attack aside and continue supporting the many people who come to this website and the facebook page. We won’t be “MOVING ON NOW!”; we will be giving our testimonies and speaking out and healing in our own time. I’m sorry you don’t understand why people stayed for years when they didn’t like it and I’m sorry your so angry about it but that is your problem.
      R, thank you for sharing your story. We support you. I encourage you to share it on our facebook page as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        What is the Facebook name?

      • Anonymous says:

        You seriously need to learn what a cult is. The Manson family was a cult. The branch dividians were a cult. Are you seriously trying to compare these churches to those? Come on. And how was my message a “verbal attack” I was stating my side of the story and how all of you could have avoided all of that stuff by having common sense. I guess that’s what all of you like to do though is make yourselves out to be victims if you don’t like something, so I understand. And don’t you try saying that I’m so “indoctrinated” that I don’t understand. Unlike you did apparently, when you were a part of one of these churches, I still think for myself. I follow what the bible says. I was saved well before joining this church and have gone to multiple others, so I’m not sticking up for them just because that’s the only thing I know because that wouldn’t be true at all. You’re sorry that I’m so angry about it? I’m sorry that you’re so rejected that you can’t move on. I think that problem is much worse than being angry. I don’t feel sorry for any of you just like I don’t feel sorry for someone that is in an abusive relationship and yet still decides to stay in that relationship. Have common sense and leave!

    • na says:

      I would like to point out that the only hateful and unreasonable comments appear to be coming from current members. I think the online outbursts are a testament to the bad leadership that is described by many people. I was a member of GCC for two years and and left once leadership became too controlling. I think this site is a great opportunity for people to share their experiences and help people make an informed decision if they are considering joining a church or supporting a campus evangelist.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hateful and unreasonable? Are you kidding me? Try brutally honest maybe. And online outbursts? What do you think this entire website is? The only difference is that rather then being annoyed and frustrated with ignorant people, it’s make myself out to be a victim and cry about how I didn’t like a group of people. And rather than leaving and finding a different group I stayed around so that I could hate it more and more. Yeah, because that makes complete sense. Is that being unreasonable? Do you even know how to reason? And there you go trying to blame the “leadership” for something they LITERALLY have nothing to do with. These words are my own and I take full responsibility for each and every one of them. You will literally try to find anything to try to make these churches sound bad won’t you? Pathetic.

      • BolderBoulderAlways says:

        “na” I agree with everything you said and believe me, you are not “pathetic” as our brother in Christ said. Remember Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” I saw a lot of hate and mockery in Grace Christian Church and I am glad I left that church four years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a sad, ignorant individual.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What is the Facebook site ?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have a Facebook page then type in Former Members of Faith Christian Church Tucson and it’s Offshoots in the search engine. The link to facebook page should also come up when you google this site.

  10. Joshua2:18 says:

    Hi all! I stumbled across this website before I became a member of FCC, and now two years later, I thought I would comment.

    First, I didn’t really believe anything on this website until I got more involved in the church. You can’t become involved in the church without becoming a member, which I why I joined- I wanted to serve and help out! The areas of service that I was ASKED to serve in and is expected of all the college age students are greeting at the service, serving in children’s church, ushering (if you’re a guy) and sharing the Gospel on campus. These were all great things and I enjoyed doing them. I got to know the members of FCC better and campus ministers as well.

    I kept getting put into different bible studies (each bible study had a book/pamphlet that Steve Hall wrote), starting from the new believers group to the student group (which was as high as you could get before getting married or graduating). I guess if you’re the go with the flow kind of person then this wouldn’t bother you… but it bothered me. I didn’t get a say in the matter. I would always get approached with how “spiritually mature” I was and how I had to join another group. How do you say no to that? No I’m not spiritually maturing?? So of course I went along with it…

    I became good friends with the minister that stopped me on campus. I was asked to go over to the minister’s house at least once a month. And I would go to the house every couple of weeks, and I think fellowship is important but once it reached the point of when it became expected of me to go over, regardless of my excuses of homework or work to do, that’s when I got stressed out. Sometimes it would be okay and I would not be asked more than once. Sometimes I would get questioned multiple times why I couldn’t go over, when can I go over next if not that night, are you sure you can’t come over…etc. For the first year, I saw this as endearing. The ministers just wanted to hang out with me, that’s all. But after dealing with it for a year, it felt more like harassment. That’s how I felt anyway. Maybe I should have straight up said that to them. But after saying no for so many times, you would think the picture would get across.

    There’s a lot on this website about mind-controlling and abuse. I can’t say that I am a victim of any of that. I did notice that everyone on staff adored the Hall family, and pretty much valued what Steve Hall had to say over everything. I like to take notes during the service, but at one point I just stopped because I wasn’t getting anything out of the message that Steve was conveying. Maybe that’s prideful (that I claim to know everything) but when I went to other churches back home (I’m not from Tucson) I would get something out those messages. This realization was the first step in me deciding to leave. I wanted to learn when I went to church, and I wasn’t getting that at FCC.

    Leaving was easy. I wasn’t pressured to stay by anyone on staff, I told a few other people, and just left. And you might be thinking that everything that I am bringing up isn’t that big of a deal… So what? I got stressed out and harassed a couple of times? No big deal. Nothing happened to me. But I had plenty of friends who were/are members of FCC who feel like victims of abuse and manipulation (definitely everything described on this website). And I wasn’t going to turn a blind eye, and I definitely wasn’t going to be a member of a church where that was going on. I’ve had friends who were told that their family is not God and that they should be with family if that meant skipping church or the bible studies. I’ve had friends be told that a personality trait is demonic and rebuked. Pretty much everyone was told (if not told, definitely implied) not to hang out with the opposite sex one-on-one. I’ve had friends who left FCC and were told that they were not doing God’s will. I’ve also had friends feel trapped into staying because of living in a FCC house (only FCC member roommates). These are all just examples.

    If you are currently a member of an offshoot or FCC and none of this bothers you, then that is great! Stay there! God calls us all to different churches. But if it does bother you, then you’re not alone. If you disagree with how things are gone, that doesn’t mean you have some sort of demonic bondage going on. You interpret the Bible differently, and that’s okay. God gave us all different talents and perspectives to build His Kingdom. I encourage you to leave. When people ask me about FCC I tell them to check them out for themselves, I won’t slander a church. But I will tell you the falsehoods I’ve been told by people in that church and since the church is the people… well, you get it. I left as soon as I realized that God was calling me elsewhere. But this may not be clear to other people. Other people may hang around because it is the church that they got saved in and they have many friends there, and they don’t want to lose that. And they will lose that if they leave. I’ve been completely shunned by that church.

    • Joshua2:18 says:

      Just realized a typo… I’ve had friends been told not to hang out with their family if that meant skipping a church related activity.

    • Anonymous says:

      You did and said this much better than anyone else on this site. You were honest and didn’t exaggerate everything. And you handled it like I’ve been saying everyone should have handled it if they had a problem, YOU LEFT. I commend you. Thank God there is someone out there still with a little common sense. I wish you the best in your new church!

      • BolderBoulderAlways says:

        Anonymous, do you commend Joshua2:18? Did you read his last line? “I’ve been completely shunned by that church”. Should a Christian church do that? That happened to all of us! After I left Grace Christian Church I never got a phone call from my “friends”. I was a teenager at that time, from a broken family, and I was totally shunned by a church that I served for more than a year! A church based on Jesus Christ and his Word would never do that!

      • Kristen says:

        Joshua2:18 said “Other people may hang around because it is the church that they got saved in and they have many friends there, and they don’t want to lose that. And they will lose that if they leave. I’ve been completely shunned by that church.” So maybe that is why so many people stay when they are unhappy with the churches practices; they don’t want to be shunned by their friends and, depending on how involved they were in the church, they don’t want their lives to be turned upside down. I had problems with the leadership and the spiritual abuse for a long time but was afraid to leave because I didn’t want to be labeled a “rebellious sinner”. I got engaged to someone outside GCC, no one seemed to have a problem with it at the time and my minister even told me that I should follow my husband to his church, so that is exactly what I did, and I was immediately shunned after I left. A month after I left I called my minister and she pointedly told me that she was not interested in being my friend and listed all the reasons why: my husband probably had bad character and unresolved sins, I didn’t obey her all the time while I attended GCC, and I committed this sin and that sin and so on and so forth. These weren’t a problem when I was a part of GCC, although she was very harsh at times, I was told I was forgiven, I was told Jesus blood covered me, that God had love and mercy. However, I guess these no longer are true if you leave the all-mighty GCC. And it is also true that they don’t tolerate people leaving after being called to a different church. I know two different families who left GCC after feeling like they were no longer growing and God was calling them to a different church. Chris T even told them that they needed to do what God told them but after they left rumors ran rampant and they were shunned. This might help you, Anonymous, in understanding what makes people not leave these churches. It has nothing to do with common sense but of fear of losing their friends and support system that they have had, for years and years, in some cases.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have experienced the same things as Joshua2:18. I feel the same way as he does but attended a different offshoot of FCC. One differing area is that it angers me that a church is preying on the vulnerable to build a kingdom unto itself. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DO IN THE NAME OF GOD, He doesn’t take kindly to manipulation, domination, intimidation or control. I do believe God’s presence is at FCC but it is not because of the leaderships actions it is because the yearning of its new members to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

  12. Anonymous says:

    To the individual from Grace Christian Church who’s on here telling everyone that the abuse that they experienced is their own fault, I only have one thing to say to you. You don’t know crap about what any of us have been through you’ve obviously been brainwashed by Chris Tomlinson and all of his minions to the point to where you help to perpetuate and enable their schemes. If you’re too stupid to know what the difference is between a church and a cult, and that what you’re in obviously is a cult, then you’re a lost cause, so don’t come on here and try to convince us otherwise. If you think that the minister that you meet with is such a friend to you now, just wait until you have one moot point of disagreement and you get shunned also. Then maybe we can all mock and scoff at you for “wallowing in your rejection.” That is such stupid cult talk. And if you think it can’t happen to you, just remember, I was there longer than you. In the meantime, if you want to bow to your almighty GCC campus minister, fine, but don’t come trolling on this web site and insult those of us who are trying to overcome and heal from the actions of people like him, or for that matter, you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am a former member of CCC Tampa. I didn’t realize until after I moved away and left the church how different it was to other churches I have been a part of. Everyone at CCC was very nice, I never heard people same any comments like I’ve read from some of the FCC posts. I can say however while I was there 2 years, I developed a fear of man. I have already struggled with worrying what others think of me my entire life. A campus minister counseled me on it before saying I shouldn’t care what others think. I totally agree with him. The funny thing is that I began to not care what people on the world thought but instead what people in the church thought. I was actually scared, even though no one had done anything to me. Since I’ve always been a passive person who let’s others walk over me, I usually was never rebuked or counseled(not saying rebuking is bad, it is biblical anyways). I started to become someone who wasn’t me anymore. The worst part is that I became extremely judge mental and looked down on my family and other Christians at other churches. None of this was direct teachings at the church, it was like just a side effect of being in such a controlling environment. I’ve had some anxiety since I left but now things seem to be a little better. I definitely fell like I’m more loving towards people who are different than me. Overall I don’t think CCC is a bad church, just wasn’t for me. I am just surprised at how many stories I read on here are similar to what I experienced. Hopefully I can trust again and find a new church to be a member at.

  14. Velouria says:

    Wondering why I would randomly get an email from “Steve” from FCC asking if it’s OK to “come by my office” – obviously it’s the wrong person. Spam? What’s the deal.

  15. Wow, this is wonderful! I’m glad this site exists. After attending Resurrection Church in Boulder in 2008/2009 I always wondered if something like this would come about or these churches would end up in the news. I left along with several other friends, and we were our own “support group” of sorts. I now live in California and one of my friends at my church here had a very similar experience as me at the Faith Christian church in Arizona. It’s a small world!

    • anon says:

      Laura, I left resurrection and I’m sorry to say its still the same 5 years later. Hope we can do something about it.

      • Sarah Kuta says:

        Hi there — I’m a reporter with the Daily Camera in Boulder. I’d like to write about Resurrection Church. Would you mind giving me a call or sending me an email? 303-473-1106 or

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s so crazy to come across this. I was at Resurrection around the same time and realized that lessons like “you’re going to separate some from your earthly blood family because they’ll likely go to hell, but we are your real family now” and “you shouldn’t date, it’s much better to just trust that Pastor Aaron knows who is best for you” were way off the wall. Especially when the ministers shamed you for consuming any alcohol whatsoever, but then got busted themselves for hoarding bottles of liquor in their closets! The social pressure and judgement in that church were completely overwhelming. I’m totally unsurprised to see them in the news with their mother church labeled a cult.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know any information about the “off shoots”? I can only seem to find complaints on the church at ASU….do these off shoot churches operate in the same way as FCC? Do they send their support money down to Tucson? Any information would be greatly aporeciated…..thank you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I knew this church was a cult when I and my friend decided not to join when we were freshmen in 2004. Suddenly, the “friends” that we had made abandoned us, refused to meet up, hang out or return phone calls. Their approach was terrible anyway. Even though my friend and I were Christians before coming to the UA, they made it seem as if we were heathens, and were stunned when I opened my Bible one day and saw highlights over scriptures, as if I couldn’t POSSIBLY be a Christian without the influence of the “great and powerful” Pastor Steve. It was sickening.
    When we found a different church we felt comfortable to attend, and I asked one of the ministers to take a visit, she backed away and started speaking “in tongues,” as if to defend herself. “We are not to go visit other churches. I HAVE a church. I belong to THIS church.”
    Phhbt. So glad I never joined THAT church!!

    • Anonymous says:

      This church is definitely NOT a cult.

      • Anonymous says:

        The reason why I know it’s not a cult is because I have had great experiences and very thankful for what the Lord has shown me in this church. There is lots of liberty to express one’s individual being because God created us. This is the only church where I have seen genuine humility to God when it comes to indigenous people. Yep! I’m First Nation. This church has allowed weekly Native American Drum Service because the leaders have a heart for people. I have seen this and I’m very thankful for this experience. I haven’t seen this type of respond anywhere else.

        I’m new creation in Christ Jesus.

      • I’m glad you have had a positive experience, but perhaps you’d like to speak to other First Nations people who were abused by this church. If so, I can put you in contact with them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmm…. They have not had a drum session for over 3 years.

      • Native NDN says:

        I as a First Nations person who was a part of the drum group for many years. I have seen first hand at what was used against our own culture. I had my doubts about what was going on with the group because none of the tribes that were active in the drum group culturally had a pow wow drum. The drumming is traditionally done by the northern tribes. With what I had to endure as a member of FCC was a lot of work on a Saturday night being an usher and a part of the drum group. I couldn’t tell anyone that I was tired from the activities (even though it was my sabbath day). I had to go to Saturday roadies usher setup and tear down. Then I had to go and set up Saturday drum practice. If I had missed any of these things I would have been accused of having a rebellious spirit. Even if family came to visit me on those days. I had to cut my visits short because of the way the leadership would rebuke me saying that I need to do this and that and without considering what in our culture as First Nations is. It has always and still is family first. I was exhausted doing all of these things for the church. I really didn’t appreciate how things were twisted according to what Steve Hall had on the First Nations ministers in what they were doing to the First Nations People. Using what was expressed as First Nations culture to exploit what we had left. Let me ask you this now. How many of the First Nation’s males that were in the drum group that are left there? Who is leading Native Nations in Christ now? Is he really a First Nations or is it another exploit?

      • Thank you for sharing your story. There are other Native Nations former members that you can connect with to help find healing if you’re interested. Let us know, and we can help you connect.

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    As First Nation, for any tribe, we share harmony and peace. Suggestion for previous respond on speaking to first nations people is to go to those in your tribe or those who you feel can help. I’m just sharing my personal experience and have shared great experiences with my family.

    • Anonymous says:

      My personal testimony is that God brought me to FCC and there I learned to drum to worship the Lord.

      Also understanding the presence of the Lord through worship, I had amazing dreams. The Lord showed me the pastor is gifted teacher. Personally that dream is for me so that is why I’m thankful for what the Lord taught me through this church.

      I have good thoughts for this church.

  20. NCCC says:

    I am a former member of New Covenant Christian Church (NCCC) in Albuquerque. I am actually surprised that there are not other members of this church that have shared their experiences. Since this is an offshoot of FCC I experienced a lot of the same things that other former members experienced. Along with the stalking to join (never ending phone calls and text messages), invasiveness of privacy (being encouraged to share EVERYTHING about your past so that they could easily manipulate you), manipulation of needing to only have friends within the church (and even being told that my minister knew better than my parents, who are also Christians and raised me in the church) and live with those “under the same authority.” I eventually joined the church because I could not stand the texts and calls anymore (I was also lonely it was my sophomore year in college and I hadn’t made a lot of friends. My freshman year I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching Netflix), which to find out later is who the minister prey on (freshman that have just left their parents care and may not have a lot of friends). If you were not sharing everything about you then you were in pride and or rebellion (which were the two main things wrong with everyone). They went so far as to try to ruin my relationship with my now husband by sharing with him ALL of my past (this was even after I had left the church but he was still contemplating leaving). This probably goes along with the idea that the pastor was the marriage arranger and he, or any of the ministers, wouldn’t have a say in the marriage and they wanted one of the other ministers to marry my husband. I took me a long time to open up to my minister about my past and I finally had because my roommates had convinced me it would make things better. Not only did it not make things better I could sense that that was going to be held over my head especially if I wanted to get married in the church (from the beginning there was a sense of these people are better, more holy then others because they were ministers or could hear from God better than anyone else). Being married in the church is always the hope, or the hope that the church convinces you of. From day one, the way ministers in the church got married was really creepy. It kind of had to go up the chain of command to get approval. The idea that you would have to pray about who you would marry and then go to your minister to basically confirm it or have them tell you you are not hearing correctly. There is so much more I could share but for me those are the basics. When I finally got the courage to leave I also lost all of my ‘friends” because they were not allowed to associate with me anymore and they believed I was a sinner because that is what the church believes if you are not going to their church. That in itself is really hard because you build these relationships that you think are really deep only to find out because you aren’t “under the same authority” want nothing to do with you.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. There has definitely been more activity from former members of NCCC in the last few months. It typically takes a few years after these churches are started for the complaints of abuse to start surfacing. First of all, it takes a few years for people who are experiencing abuse to gain the courage to leave the church. Then it takes some time for them to want to speak out publicly as you have done. I am so sorry you experienced the control and spiritual abuse at NCCC. You have identified one of the major problems with their approach to ministry. They play the role of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives, violating their priesthood in Christ. Counsel and guidance from church leadership are important and should be respected, but they go far beyond this to the point that they determine whether or not God is leading to do something. They elevate their opinions about issues that are not explicitly addressed in the Bible to the level of Scripture itself, so that to disagree with church leadership’s opinion is tantamount to rebellion to God. This is in direct violation of Jesus’ admonition to his disciples not to lord it over people as the Gentiles do. I’m also sorry that you experienced an intentional effort to alienate you from your parents, another hallmark of these churches. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help in the healing process. You can always contact us by private message at our Facebook page (Former Members of Faith Christian Church and Its Offshoots) and speak to us off the record. You can also reach out to an connect with other former members there. We have found that to be very healing.

  21. CU Boulder Student says:

    I was wondering if anyone has more or more specific details about their experiences with Resurrection Church in Boulder, CO and Pastor Aaron Brechdel. This is the first Church I have ever become involved with, and I’m upset that it may be unhealthy. I don’t think I am far in enough to be able to see the inner-workings. However, I had a bible study that seemed so off that I had somewhat of a meltdown. Out of absolutely nowhere, they heavily suggested that my boyfriend was the one thing holding me back from the Lord. They used scriptures about “not being unequally yoked” (being with someone who is an unbeliever” and “not consorting with unbelievers”, and that I should let the Lord write my own love story. That’s somewhat fine, I guess, but what if that ideology is taken too far, to a strict isolationist extreme? Before I knew it, they were saying that it may be hard to let people go and I didn’t necessarily have to stop being friends with him. WHAT?! Where did this come from? What made it even more confusing was that I had brought my boyfriend into their church services and bible studies, and he is a Christian too. The minister does not know anything about him and has no reason to believe that he is “dragging me down”. I told them that we encourage each other in matters of faith, but they kept going. This bible study made me have something of a panic attack because it felt so abrupt and so little of it made sense. I thought, “How could you say I need to throw this away and look forward to a relationship from God if this is the healthiest relationship I have ever had, and I believe it is from God? Why would you so casually attempt to destroy something that may be beautiful without knowing anything about it whatsoever, and having no basis to do so?” The only rationale I can come up with from their perspective is that either they have a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions about us that they pulled out of thin air, OR, under the assumption that they are cult-ish, my boyfriend is a safety net I have outside of the church and we can compare notes and leave together.
    Another thing that has frustrated me about these bible studies is that I keep being led to “give my life to the lord”. This doesn’t sound harmful, but it wasn’t making any sense because I already consider myself saved and committed to growing as a Christian. From what I can tell, it means something akin to being saved, and they try to keep me concerned and feel like I am on to some breakthrough. Within the context of what else I read, perhaps they want me to feel like I have a new life completely owed to this Church.
    Early on, my boyfriend noticed that everyone in the church had the same “story”: They partied too much in college, then “gave their life to the lord” with a minister from Resurrection. I dismissed it as something that sounded likely at an infamous party school.
    Furthermore and unrelated, I hate the sermons. I don’t feel like I learn anything. They seem like they are for a small child because they are so simplistic. It doesn’t help that I am completely unimpressed by the pastor’s personality or sense of humor. But I suppose that’s more of a “fit” issue than a cult issue.
    I was willing to attribute disagreements I had with their opinions to the fact that they’re probably more religiously conservative, and to just let them have their opinions and me have mine and lay low with my unconventionality. But what if their strict views may fit into a larger framework of authoritarian theology?
    One of my friends was listening to me rant, got excited, and showed me a link about this conglomerate of churches being cult-like. I have done about six hours of research on FCC and its satellites, and I am making a couple of connections to my own so-far mild experiences. This bible study had the same effect on my mind and emotions that an extremely abusive male friend did. The rhetoric wasn’t making sense and I felt coerced. Have I moved from one abusive relationship (ironically, with a guy who hatefully distrusted churches) to an abusive community? I want to know more about this specific Church, and I kind of want to keep going to bible studies and services with my new knowledge to root around for something suspicious. My investigative curiosity has been piqued.

    Unfortunately, I have found very little testimony from people familiar with the Boulder branch. I would like to know if this branch is as creepy as the others or if I can relax a little (but still keep one eye open).

    • Unknown former member says:

      Aaron was my minister before he became the big shot he is now. I had this same conversation with him growing up in that church. He basically disowned me once I began to have questions about how things worked in the church. This church is dangerous and it is dressed up like a pure and holy story that everyone tells. The truth is people are forced to raise their hands in church or you may be rebellious. Praying in toungues proves your faith and salvation so everyone fake prays in toungues. It’s only crazy once you leave. It’s very believable when you are there because everyone is controlled to have the same story. The preaching is stale because it’s born out of controlling legalistic interpretations of scripture made by a former u of A football player who has no formal education in the false theology he preaches. The hardest part of the church is the feeling you get when you realize how badly they manipulate members into false friendships and then completely disregard you the minute you have a question about the church.

    • Alex Harms says:

      I’m currently in a bible study with a minister right now who is a part of resurrection? I am very interested in meeting up with you to hear your thought on the matter because I’ve only just started to notice the red flags. Email is if you want to get in touch

      • Anonymous says:

        Bible studies in this church are a very manipulative way of them prying into the gritty details of your life in hopes of using the info against you. This is the standard practice that is taught by the leaders. You sound like you have the gift of discernment. You will know the right thing to do. Good luck. God is for you. Not against. Just remember that as they try to make you believe otherwise.

  22. Todd DeFrank says:

    The cult I was in; no one could explain the basic Bible story to me in a simple and plain way. They always leave you hanging and they don’t clarify things. As I said in my post above years ago, on top of the cultic ways of control and manipulation I was even deeper by being into an “end-times” cult that set dates for the Lord’s coming and the end of the world. They don’t want you to have any relations with other churches, your family, or the outside world, especially when they believed they were the chosen, special ones of the Lord with a special message no one else had. Thank you.

  23. Juliana Patrick says:

    Is than any human kindness support for people who are alone or widowed with no Family???

  24. Current 'Member' says:

    I currently attend services at the Cornerstone Christian Church in Tampa, Florida, and can testify that this group of people relate more to a cult than a church of Christian principles. After witnessing a visit from the Steve Hall last semester, it was clear and present that Pastor Bill was under the ‘spell’ of this man who acted as though he was superior to everyone else in the ministry here. I have chosen to not become a member of the church, as it is common that once someone joins they are never free from the influence, and stay or else are told they will face Hell. This is a sick practice that shouldn’t continue. They show a kind face, but have one tract hearts. The word of God is skewed by the ministers, and if you don’t fit into their agenda you are ‘lost’.

    • Former CCC says:

      I can remember when I was at Cornerstone and Steve would come visit. Never had a good feeling about him. He came off as prideful and like he wanted people to think he was powerful. As an usher, we were warned before our prayer meeting that Steve would go really really fast with slaying people in the spirit. And he sure did. If was like he was putting on a show. Very unsafe. People were falling and barely being caught. Some falling on each other. Steve was very irresponsible. Then he asked, “who else wants to get in line for the ride” lol.

  25. Todd DeFrank says:

    It is a spell. Paul asked in Galatians 3:1, who had bewitched them since they were saved by faith, but now they were trying to keep the law to maintain their salvation or “maybe” add works to their faith thinking it is a part of salvation that only Christ had brought. The word bewitched in the original Greek means to charm (Strong’s Concordance). And that is the deception as so-called “Christians” approach you with charm and love-bombing to offer Christ as a free gift only to put conditions on it after you accept that free gift, such as one must go to their meeting or some church or follow their strange, false teachings of the Bible.

  26. Anonymous says:

    i grew up in tucson.

    i grew up with the church known as grace chapel. i was sent to their school and attended church there regularly till i was about 20 years of age. it took me another ten years just to get to a place inside m own thoughts to even admit the ritualistic abuse i had to endure while veing indictrinated. save your bashing me.

  27. Anonymous, Redeemed by Grace says:

    I haven’t really taken the time to share my story. I was a part of one of the offshoots of FCC for several years. Now having been out for a few years now, I still am battling with symptoms of what could be PTSD, although, I still had these tendencies prior to joining. I will say though that I have recently experienced freedom in Christ and realized that I am forgiven by His grace and never was too far gone. It’s taken me time to realize that His love was always there and He would take me back in His arms like the prodigal son, taking the broken pieces of my life and turning them into something beautiful. I am now, with the help of God, an amazing spouse, the new church I am in, and a therapist, finding His truth of who He says I am.

  28. stayaway says:

    I almost became a member of the Cornerstone Christian Church in Tampa, FL. Thank you JESUS that I did not.

    Two girls approached me one day after a long class. It was a survey. I filled it out and decided to go to their service that Sunday because I was looking for a church home. It was my first time away from home and I was longing to have fellowship with other believers. I jumped at the opportunity to read God’s word in a Bible study. It continued for a while, and I got a friend to join.

    Then, alarm bells started ringing.

    #1: The way they sat in Bible study was…off. One girl sat on my left, inches away, and the other girl sat in the corner chair of the hall’s waiting room, observing. I almost wanted to ask her, “Why don’t you ever talk? Cat got your tongue?” But I didn’t. She just sat there. Every week. The only time she opened her mouth was when the other girl asked her to read a scripture. It was so weird, but I filed it in my mind.

    #2: Every time I had a question, I could never get a straight answer. And the other girl didn’t answer any questions. Only the older one. They kept asking me if my baptism was really a baptism. They kept making me question my faith and commitment to God. It felt like a Bible brainwashing more than a Bible study.

    #3: The message in the synagogue was full of nothing, and we rarely read from the Old Testament. The pastor spent 30 minutes telling a story and 5 minutes on scripture. I stopped bringing my notebook to church. I couldn’t feel any Holy Spirit. Anywhere. After every service I felt queasy.

    #4: I realized that my bible study leader love-bombed me. I didn’t realize this until I studied about cults later on.

    I stopped going to church because my spirit was telling me over and over and over and over that something…just…wasn’t…right. My bible study leaders started texting me about this and this and that, and I ignored their messages. I refused to return to that church.

    They literally have meetings off campus at this really creepy-looking house. When I talked to my former bible study leader later, she hinted that they also give presentations there based on Biblical themes, and the elders judge them or something?

    Stay AWAY from the Cornerstone Christian Church cult. I’m telling you, something is NOT right about this church, and I didn’t even get that deep in it. Churches that are built on sound Biblical principles do NOT coerce members, make certain people sit together every Sunday, make student leaders live together (this is INSANE), choose grooms for their young female congregation, or pressure students to change their major. Students are at USF for an education, not a brainwashing. There are many other churches that will foster your relationship with Christ, but certainly not Cornerstone. STAY AWAY.

    • Jeff+Susana says:

      I wish I would have met you when I started going to CCC 11 years ago. I started USF in 2008 and fell into the trap of CCC love bombing. I remained there for 7 years before I finally left.

  29. ABQ NCCC says:

    I first joined NCCC at the end of my freshman year at UNM in 2014 and left at the beginning of 2018. Things were going well in the beginning. Learning about Jesus, making friends, having fun events to attend, and so much more. It was one of the first times that I felt secure and comfortable with who I was and what I was doing in my life. Over the course of my four years, these feelings dwindled until I was overcome with severe depression and anxiety.

    During my time with this group was when both LFC as well as the church were expelled from the UNM campus as a result of sharp allegations related to their cult like behaviors. I was able to see firsthand the accusations against the church as well as see how the church was handling all of this new information, and it was when my feelings and perspectives began to change about NCCC. The leaders of the church would say that by them being expelled from campus, it was persecution from the devil and that everything that they had been accused of doing were all lies. However, all of the accusations that I was hearing were true. Things like the constant need to let your minister know what you were doing in life. This included who you wanted to date, what job you had, where you were living, and what your major was. For those that lived outside of the city or state they would get ridiculed about wanting to go back home for the winter or summer and how they did not want to stay in town and be a part of the church. They would claim that it was God’s will for us to be open and to get advice from those with more experience at hearing His voice about how we should live and make decisions. They would take it as far as encouraging us to reveal our deepest secrets and insecurities because that is how we would grow in the blessings of God by being this open. Looking back on it now, it is very ridiculous on how much they wanted us to be open in the name of God. I can also see now that they wanted us to be open so that they can have more influence and control over the decisions that we made. If we were not open to our ministers they would say that our silence is of the devil and that we hate counsel, are prideful, and that we want to do our own thing and not God’s will.

    The way they would teach us to hear God’s voice is that we would first need to pray about something (i.e. job, major, marriage, etc.), confirm what we thought was correct in the Bible to see if it was biblical, ask for guidance from a minister or pastor on the decision we wanted to make, and finally act on that decision. If the minister or pastor did not agree with the decision they would claim that it was not God’s will for us to do whatever it was that we wanted. It seemed that at every Sunday service the senior pastor would cite the verse Matt 7:21 and that if we did not obey counsel or what God “had for us” we would not make it into heaven.

    For me, when I was a sophomore, I believed that I was to become a campus minister as a part of their staff. As time went on I began to realize that this occupation was not for me. When I had began to let them know that I was not on board with being a part of their staff, they told me to pray more about it as to why I did not want to do this job and how I needed to change so that I did want to work for them. I began doubting my decision making process and started nitpicking my behaviors that I thought were wrong and getting in the way of me working for them. When I had continued to tell them, I did not want to go through with this, again the same narrative of, ‘what is going on inside of you that you do not want to complete God’s will for your life?’. This went on until I graduated. At this time I was so lost in how to think for myself because I believed that I was being rebellious and that they knew what God wanted for me. I eventually completed the staff training and once again let them know that I did not want to work for them. The senior pastor asked me, ‘so you are just being rebellious and don’t want to do this?’. Me not knowing any different agreed until I eventually got some internal clarity and told them that I was not going to do this job. The senior pastor was not happy at all with this decision and even scoffed at me for what I had told him even though it was not new news to him on how I felt.

    At this stage of my life, I had just graduated and was convinced that I was going to hell because I did not want to work for NCCC which I was told and believed was God’s will for my life. I had left NCCC and was attending another church where I would gain the majority of my healing. I was contemplating suicide and had lost all friends that I had made at that church. Once someone leaves this church they lose all connections and are essentially shunned by the majority of the people there. It is a shame that believers of Christ shun those that decide to not go to their church anymore, but unfortunately that is how they are. My hope for writing this is that people will become aware of the dangers of this church and to not go there. If they were there already, they would read this and leave the toxic environment that NCCC breeds.
    I am thankful for this church, as they have shown me what not to look for in future churches I join, relationships that I may have, and overall awareness of when I am being manipulated and controlled. I have no animosity towards them and have forgiven them for how they have impacted me, and I also hope that they change their ways and begin to heal people as much as they have hurt people.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I’m a member of CCC in Tampa. I came across this website and also the facebook page and it’s nice to know that there are people that can relate and remind me that I’m not crazy and that these red flags are legit. That being said, I’m deeply involved and don’t really know how to untangle myself from these people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Change your phone number, move out, and don’t contact anyone. I knew a girl that was a foreign exchange student who all the sudden had no contact with the ministers and she just was no where to be found. If you can do that, you can break free from this cult.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am also a USF cornerstone member. I just learned about this dark backgroun behind Faith Christian after I googled Steve Hall (because of his sermon today) and noticed the articles.

      At first I thought I would send the link to my covenant group leader and laugh about it. But then I read more. This is wild. I would have never imagined.

      • Former CCC says:

        I was in Cornerstone about a decade ago. I hope you were able to get away. Yes Steve Hall is a sketchy guy. And yes your group leader who not have been happy if you had shown him/her the former member articles. They would probably just say it’s all lies, even though it is all true.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you ever manage to leave?

  31. Former Longtime FCC Member says:

    I finally just left this place after finding out about their numerous (15 and climbing) properties which include multiple log cabin mansions, 17 acre ranches, etc. I witnessed and experienced spiritual and financial abuse for years before finally leaving. The spiritual abuse seems to all primarily be motivated by money – while they look and function as a church on the surface the “church” is really just an organization built to financially benefit the Halls, their extended family, and their closest enabling allies. You can find all of the information about their properties on the Pima County Assessor, including how they bought 7 properties during a pandemic.

    The AZ Corporation Commission does have some information about their finances up until 2007, which at that point they already had multi-millions in wealth invested into the stock market and in high-yield accounts.

    The AZ Corporation Commission also has information on the Homeowner’s Association that Steve Hall, Ian Laks, and Keith Jenkins have run since 2007. Only one finance report is posted on the AZCC website before they stopped hosting them in 2008 so it is uncertain how much Dark Money Faith Christian Church has saved into it. I don’t think I even want to know, because FCC has been bringing in $2M per year since 2005 and has little to show for it when it comes to investing into their own actual ministry they claim to have.

    If it wasn’t such a dangerous scam it would be hilarious that a self-proclaimed “campus ministry” that is transient somehow owns literally an entire neighborhood in a mountain village, a 17 acre ranch, and created a secret HOA.

    If you are a parent of a University of Arizona student, you need to proactively speak to them about avoiding this abusive cult. And yes I can say, FROM EXPERIENCE, Faith Christian Church is an abusive cult.

  32. Anonymous says:

    My sister and her husband are highly involved in one of the sister churches. It breaks my heart because I have seen this “church” for what is really is since she began attending it 8+ years ago. Most of these comments are old, so I’m not sure if anyone will see this. But if you have any recommendations on how I can help them see the truth behind this controlling and abusive group I would appreciate it. Also if anyone has any ideas to keep exposing the truth to the public I think that may help free some members who have doubts and keep young college students away from this repulsive abuse of power.

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