Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Miss WeTV's Secret Lives of Women: Cults

On September 1, 2009, WeTV premiered an episode on cults of their series The Secret Lives of Women. The episode Chronicled the lives of four women whose live had been impacted by cults and abusive spiritual movements. One of the women included was Patricia Mornin, who has lost a daughter to the House of God and the Freedom Foundation.

Click the play button on the video player to see a short portion of the documentary

Watch TV OnlineWatch Secret Lives of Women online WARNING - SOME OF THE CONTENT OF THIS LINK MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES - RADAR13 Ministries did not create the content at this link.

Click the play button above to hear RADAR13's RAdio AD for the WeTV Special

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recommended Reading - "The Gathering Place" by Becca Anderson

I highly recommend Becca Anderson's The Gathering Place, especially for those involved with Mark Duke, and in particular those who are members of The House of God cult and its ancillary organizations (Parker Community Church, Selma Community Church, The Freedom Foundation).

A review copy of this book was sent to me a couple of years ago and it sat on one of my library shelves without much notice until recently. I was rearranging some books and came across it and took a brief look at the back cover and moved it to my “need to read” shelf - I’m glad I did; this book was a page-turner for me.

Having researched Mark Duke’s teaching and preaching and his extreme cultic practices for more than a year and seeing the subtle manipulation of people and the destruction of families that he has left in his wake, it was interesting to see how eerily similar The Gathering Place was to reality.

Of course, The Gathering Place is a novel, but there is much similarity to Mark Duke’s and the House of God’s (and many other false spiritual groups) methodology.

For those who are familiar with Duke’s teachings; here is a very telling excerpt from the book. The speaker is a person that realizes that she has made some mistakes in getting involved with a cult:

“…The mistake of putting more stock in the words of people than in the Word of GodThe error of giving up the mind God gave me in exchange for security, uniformity, and not having to think – and most of all the mistake of drawing others into the same errorsI thought I’d get closer to God when in reality I only became more acceptable to a select group of people. For that I sold my integrity.”

These are very similar to the words and feelings that have been shared with me by those who have left the House of God cult.

I want everyone to read this book, and here’s why:

For those who have not fallen prey to Mark Duke and his cult leadership (or other false and abusive spiritual groups); I want you to see the subtle enticement and how easily someone could become involved with a cultic leader or group. We need to be ever vigilant to protect ourselves, our families and the Church.

For those who have run from Mark Duke and his cult leadership, I pray that you will remember how it felt to be duped and to get a renewed passion to help others escape too.

For those with family members still involved with Mark Duke and his cult leadership, I want you to remember what you have lost and renew the battle for your loved ones, even though it hurts. Please let me know how I can help you.

And most importantly, I pray that those who are involved with Mark Duke and his cult leadership in any way would read this book and understand that it is never okay to give up the mind God gave you in exchange for security, uniformity, and not having to think. There are those who love you in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and are willing to help – I am one of those and I am available to help you in any way.

Special thanks to Becca Anderson for allowing God to use her writing talents to tell this story. For those interested, Ms. Anderson offers an autographed copy of her book on her website:

Please click here to visit RADAR13.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Alabama Baptist Prints Investgative Report on The Freedom Foundation, The House of God (a.k.a. Parker Community Church and Selma Community Church)


The Alabama Baptist has done an extensive (and excellent) investigative report on the Freedom Foundation, The House of God (a.k.a. Parker Community Church and Selma Community Church) and cult founder and leader Mark Duke.

The report contains six articles spanning four full-pages in the July 23rd print edition of The Baptist.

Links to the online version of the articles are provided below.

Questions continue about Freedom Foundation, House of God

Area Baptists concerned about House of God teachings

THOG’s practices concern some observers

House of God had Southern beginnings

Freedom Foundation leader comes from Southern Baptist background

Freedom Foundation leader leaves city questioning his motives, calls Baptist doctrine ‘crappy’

With more than 250,000 weekly readers, The Alabama Baptist is the most widely circulated state Baptist newspaper in the world!

As I've said in an earlier post, If you do not receive the print version of the The Alabama Baptist at your home or office - you are missing a great newspaper, and it's not just for Baptists. Each week the print edition carries spiritual news you can use - shedding light on a dark world!

Please click here to visit the Baptist's subscription page and subscribe today!

Wake up world!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Mark Duke Speaks Beyond the Grave?

"I know what it’s like church to be perpetrated …just like the devil’s tried to come and get you to give up on each other …god didn’t give up on me and he sent somebody to me that wouldn’t give up on me …and god’s people need someone who won’t give up on them …the only time that I’m gonna give up is when you put that person in the grave …AND THERE’S EVEN SOMETHING IN ME THAT COULD PRAY FOR SOMEBODY IN THE GRAVE, THAT GOD COULD REST THEIR SOUL …GOD FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO – YES LORD!"
(Mark Duke, House of God cult founder and Freedom Foundation president)


Can you imagine, Mark Duke praying for somebody in the grave and God listening to him? The audio clip that accompanies this post contains more outrageous and vile blasphemy straight from the mouth of Mark Duke!

When Mark Duke says that God didn’t give up on him and that he sent somebody to him that wouldn’t give up on him, he is speaking of the false teachers and prophets Bob and Edna Stewart.

It was Bob Stewart that Mark Duke says mentored him for 13-years and it was “sister” Edna Stewart who prophesied about Mark Duke, saying that God called him His servant and that He had chosen - not just called - but chosen Mark Duke to carry a new gospel to the world.

Of course, Edna Stewart’s prophecy was a false one. Mark Duke denies the deity of Jesus Christ and he carries a gospel different from the true good news of Jesus Christ given in the Bible. According to God’s Word (Galatians 1:7 & 8) Mark Duke has perverted the gospel of Christ and is accursed – hardly a chosen one of God.

Perhaps Mark Duke means he can pray to the false god he serves to rest Bob and Edna Stewart’s souls. It won’t work though; the false god he proclaims is already doomed to suffer the same fate of these false teachers who profaned the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and encouraged Duke and many others to do the same.

Notice at the end of the clip that Mark Duke irreverently uses the words of Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross – God will not be mocked!

For me, Psalm 73 comes to mind, particularly verses 8 and 9 (They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.). And verse 27 (For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.)

If the followers of Mark Duke had any sense they would run from his wickedness and repent, asking the true Jesus Christ to forgive them.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are They Really Listening?

"This is what the Civil Rights Movement was all about... I WAS IN IT, I WALKED IN IT, I WAS THERE IN THE SOUTH, I KNEW THE LEADERS..." (Mark Duke, House of God cult founder and Freedom Foundation president, 2004 Parker, Colorado)

These words from Mark Duke seem pretty impressive, and in the context of the sermon in which he preached them, makes him sound like an authority on what God has for us if we just rise up and take it.

One big problem though. Mark Duke, born in 1957, would have been 6 to 8-years old during the activities of the Civil Rights Movement about which he is speaking.

With regard to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, one would hardly think that someone, who was in mid-adolescence, was "in it" and "knew the leaders" as Duke claims about himself. And for someone [Duke] who speaks with such great disdain about African-Americans from behind pulpit of his separatist and exclusivist cult, to seemingly claim this honor, is reprehensible and offensive.

Later in the same sermon Duke speaks about his going to the marches in Alabama and Mississippi and how it broke his heart because they just didn't know better. He then proceeds to talk about Fannie Lou Hamer (actually he called her Fannie Lou Harris and had to ask Gwen Brown, who was in the audience the correct name). Those schooled in the Civil Rights Movement will recognize Ms. Hamer as a pioneer and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, and particularly her work in organizing Freedom Democrats to challenge the Mississippi delegates at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. One wonders if Ms. Hamer was one of the leaders that Duke claimed “to know.”

The people who this writer has communicated with who knew Mark Duke through his teenage and young adult years don’t recall him being engrossed in the Civil Rights Movement. Mark Duke claims to know the leaders, but what one should ask is: did the leaders know him? Anyone who lived in the South during that time knew who the leaders were. What Duke is implying is that he had a relationship with them. This is doubtful; in fact it wasn’t until his life intersected with Bob and Edna Stewart (false teachers and prophets who influenced Mark Duke and other House of God cult leaders) that he seemed to develop a passion for using the verbiage of the Movement in a bizarre effort to recreate the United States Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's from a spiritual perspective.

Are followers of Mark Duke not paying attention to the lies he tells; still believing him to be a true prophet of God? I think so. Many are not listening with a critical ear because they have been told and trained not to.

One of the distinctive things that Mark Duke and his House of God cult (as well as many false and abusive spiritual movements) preach is that one needs to forget about the natural mind, to “get their mind out of it.” At the beginning of the sermon from which the audio clip that accompanies this post was taken, another one of the cult’s leaders, Jason Makaroff, is essentially telling the cult that they shouldn’t trust their own thoughts and minds. Duke carries the theme throughout the sermon.

God has created us with incredible abilities. The human mind is like nothing else in His creation, and He wants us to use it to think critically. When we give up critical thinking, we open ourselves to deception, and that is exactly what a deceiver wants.

If Mark Duke would fabricate his relationships with the leaders of the of the Civil Rights Movement it seems reasonable for one to assume that he would fabricate many other things to further his control of his followers. And he has!

Wake up and question all things!

Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke speak!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words...

If you live in the Selma area, please take a moment to check out the billboard from RADAR13 Ministries' JESUS IS GOD PROJECT™ on Broad Street near the Fire Station. I think it is across from Rose of Sharon Church. Also, check out its twin on J.L. Chestnut Blvd. between Church St. and Tremont. Jesus is GOD!

Let's pray that cult leader Mark Duke and his followers will see it and Jesus will change their hearts!

If you can't see the image above, please click here.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

They's Two (maybe more?) of 'Em!

Freedom Foundation chairperson, and live-in "spiritual partner" to House of God cult founder and leader Mark Duke; was quoted by the Alabama Baptist newspaper in a recent article as follows:

"Shawn Samuelson, spokeswoman for Freedom Foundation, said Duke was originally a leader in House of God but stepped down when he moved to Selma."

Samuelson's statement that Duke was "originally a leader in the House of God," is a gross understatement if what Mark Duke says is true.

The House of God cult's founding document "The Declaration of a New Covenant" says that Duke "received a vision to restore God's church." It also says that this all happened after Duke met and was mentored by Bob and Edna Stewart, two people the House of God revere as much as the prophets of the Bible. It was Edna Stewart who falsely prophesied that Duke would be the one to restore God's Church. Hardly just a "...leader in the House of God who stepped down when he moved to Selma."

Additionally, in sermons before and after he moved some of his cult followers to Selma, Duke says that they brought the Church to Selma, all the while lying to the people of Selma saying that there was no House of God there.

The article goes on to quote Samuelson saying: "Noting that Duke was out of town until May 15 and could not be reached for comment, Samuelson confirmed she is one of two “spiritual partners” that lives in the house with Duke and his wife. But “we do not have a sexual relationship.”

I don't know why the subject of a sexual relationship came up, but one might assume that the writer(s) asked that question of Samuelson when they discussed Duke having a "spiritual partner," but even I was shocked when I saw Samuelson say that there were two spiritual partners. Perhaps Duke is simply poly-platonic!

Of course all of this leads to even more questions:

1. Why is Duke and his not-so-merry band of followers there in Selma so adamant in trying to distance themselves from the House of God?

2. If Duke took Shawn Samuelson as his spiritual partner when he was a "leader" in the House of God, why did she move to Selma and continue to live with him and his wife Becky, whom God supposedly told him to stay legally married?

3. Why would Duke's "spiritual partner(s)" have to physically live with him?

4. Why would God tell Duke that he should stay "legally" married to his wife Becky in the context of explaining to his followers that he was moving Shawn Samuelson into their family.

5. Are all of Duke's live-in spiritual partners women, or is he bi-platonic too?


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The Alabama Baptist Article Reporting on the April 26th Elkdale Baptist Church Meeting is Available On-Line

The Alabama Baptist's outstanding article; Faced with ‘cult’ group, Selma churches unite to educate community By Sondra Washington and Jennifer Davis Rash, is available online - you can read it by clicking here. (you can also read the article at

If you do not receive the print version of the Alabama Baptist at your home or office - you are missing a great newspaper, and it's not just for Baptists!

Wake Up Selma!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Do You Spell Liar? M-A-R-K-D-U-K-E

Here is something that is posted on the internet (click here for the source) about identifying some ways to tell if someone is a pathological liar:

  1. They lie about even the smallest things. For example, saying "I brushed my teeth today," when they didn't.

  2. They add exaggerations to every sentence.

  3. They change their story all the time.

  4. They act very defensively when you question their statements.

  5. They believe what they say is true, when everyone else knows it isn't.

Here's an alternate "checklist":

  1. Lies when it is very easy to tell the truth.

  2. Lies to get sympathy, to look beter, to save their butt, etc.

  3. Fools people at first but once they get to know him, no one believes anything they ever say.

  4. May have a personality disorder.

  5. Extremely manipulative.

  6. Has been caught in lies repeatedly.

  7. Never fesses up to the lies.

  8. Is a legend in their own mind.

Does any of this sound familiar? Does the cult leader who is president of the Freedom Foundation come to one's mind?

Last year, when I visited Selma to attend two meetings held by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, I heard Mark Duke make the claim that he never went on the internet. The first time that I heard it, it seemed rather odd; for a corporate executive in our modern day to never have gone on the internet would be highly unusual. The second time I heard Duke say it, I knew his claim was bogus. I had several days before read an electronic message that Duke had sent to a number of his cult followers where he made reference to his surfing the web.

Last week Duke and one of his co-hosts (Ronald Smith) have been on some interesting rants on their RealTalk™ radio program (a lot of [false] doctrine is being pushed through the airwaves by these two, even though the Freedom Foundation doesn't have any doctrinal positions!), and Mark Duke again made this interesting prevarication:

"I never go on the Internet, never have" (you can listen for yourself below)

Really? What about these words straight from Duke's fingers:

"As I read thru the info of Morris Curello. The ministry Paul S. is going after my heart sunk. The millions of dollars, the scams and the prey fo [sic] the simple minded and the poor and elderly. It made me sick. It felt so dark and I continued to read web-site after web-site of horro [sic] stories of this minsitry. There were 3,000 storeis [sic] on the internet involving him. 95 percent negative. The lawsuits and the houses and planes, this I could feel the dark froces [sic] and powers. In fact both Gwen and I had to put the info down as it was really oppressive just to read." (excerpted from a 2004 electronic mail message sent by House of God cult founder and leader Mark Duke to his followers)

Will the real Mark Duke please stand up!

Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke Speak It!
(c) copyright 2009 RealTalk™ and The Freedom Foundation. Used without permission.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Mark Duke Says Jesus Day should be called Devil Day!

“…Were' having Jesus day, should call it like Devil day is what they should call it. National Prayer Day, what’s getting done? …and they’re praying all over the country with no faith … Gods not moving, God is not moving, not through those prayers, so why we gonna do that. We not gonna pay homage…”
Mark Duke, President of the Freedom Foundation, April 2007

One wonders whether Mark Duke and his new Church (Selma Community Church) will participate in the Jesus Day festivities on Sunday May 3rd, when many people in Selma gather to honor the Savior. If they do, it would be the height of hypocrisy since he wants to call it Devil Day.

One should also wonder if he will participate in the National Day of Prayer (Thursday May 7th) activities, particularly the prayer times at Selma City Hall.

If anyone sees Duke or his not so merry band of followers at either one of these events, they should remind him or them of his words.

The final part of the audio clip that accompanies this post is very interesting – you will hear Duke again refer to running for mayor of Selma, but listen closely to this short clip. If Selma wants change, they better elect one (Mark Duke): “…you elect this black guy, you’ll get the same thing …this redneck he’s running, the blacks ain’t gonna vote for him anyway. IF HE DON’T WANT A BLACK IN THERE, HE BEST VOTE FOR ME AND JOIN UP!

When I started writing this post, I was going to start it by saying “here is more outrageous statements by Mark Duke,” but the reality is, this type of hate-filled, anti-Christian and racist bile is not outrageous for Duke, it’s typical (and so is the laughter of his followers)!


Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke Speak It!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Mark Duke the Separatist Oppressor for Mayor?

No Eternal life for Mark Duke?

“You know what I’m gonna do next year. I’m gonna run for mayor. Yeah, that's what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna run God's campaign. How are we going to get this town, unless I have the authority to get people, they don't want to come together. But with authority, they have to come together and they need someone to bring them together… I’m not running to win, I’m running because He told me to run… If I don’t do what God tells me to do, I’m not gonna have eternal life.”
Mark Duke, President of the Freedom Foundation, April 2007

Did Mark Duke run for Selma’s Mayor in 2008 election? No!

Who told a lie here, Mark Duke or God?

Some in Selma, especially some of Selma's pastors will recognize right away that Mark Duke is lying - he told them that he had no intention of ever running for mayor. There will be the others in town who will recognize right away that he lied, because he told them that God told him to run and he didn't.

So, to answer the question: it was Mark Duke that lied. Mark Duke lies all the time. God never lies.

That Mark Duke has constantly lied about what God says is abundantly clear. But what you will hear from the audio clip is Duke's reason for wanting to run for mayor - CONTROL - "How else can we get this town... Unless I have the authority... They don't want to come together... But with authority they have to come together."

Be certain that you understand what Duke means by "they don't want to come together;" he isn't talking about racial reconciliation, he is talking about his Spiritual Rights Movement. He is talking about using authority to bring them [the people of Selma] together under one religious view - his!

In the audio clip that accompanies this post you will hear a lot of outrageous stuff, and if you listen closely, you can discern a lot about Mark Duke’s cultic teachings as well.

You will hear him say that Jesus Christ had eternal life because he did God's will.

WRONG! Jesus is eternal; He is God.

Mark Duke believes and teaches that Jesus is not God.

You will hear Duke talk about one of his members, someone named Jill, who was apparently worried about coming to Selma - Duke tells her that it's not her place to worry about it - to get her mind out of it. This is a main teaching of Duke and the House of God cult - don't use your natural mind, listen to what God is telling you through the "ministry," the House of God's cult leadership.

You will hear Mark Duke's preaching and teaching method on full display - have your Bible and Synonym Finder handy.

When Duke teaches there is always a synonym finder handy to expand on God's word. You'll hear him talk about the word temporal (from 2 Corinthians 4:18), and its synonyms, you will even hear him change the word to temporize and get the synonyms for it too. Literally, within mere seconds, Mark Duke has taken what God really says to us in his Holy Word and turns to other words that have no clear connection with the original meaning or intent or language. This allows Duke to twist God's Word to suit his own devious thoughts and desires.

You will hear Duke talk about Selma's corruption, and how Selma needs someone without an ego; him!

Okay, stop laughing and keep reading:

Duke says what his campaign might be, "You don't even have to pay the mayor... you think that'll get some people's attention... It will get the black folks attention, I know that." (his audience laughs)

I wonder why a mayor not taking a salary would get the attention of the "black folks." What about the white folks, or the Hispanic folks, or the Asian folks, what about all the folks. This is just another example of Mark Duke separating out African-Americans. His sermons are laced with this kind of racist speech.

You will hear Mark Duke say Selma is like the movie gladiator, and call all of the candidates for mayor (James Perkins, Jr., George Evans, Louis Dixon, and John Jowers) "yahoos" and say that "none of them, NONE OF THEM are spirit filled."

I'm sure you will pick out a few other things too.

In closing, let me talk briefly about Religious Oppression:

Mark Duke and his followers speak a lot, particularly on their Selma radio talk show Real Talk™, about Religious Oppression. However, no Christian Church in the Selma area has ever turned Duke or his followers away. And I have never heard any Christian in Selma say that they shouldn't be allowed to worship in any Church. I have said that Church leaders in Selma should not let them be in positions of leadership where they can teach their twisted and aberrant doctrines.

But, Mark Duke and his ilk, particularly his radio partner Ronald Smith, seem to want to take religious oppression to new extremes. In the week leading up to Jubilee and the reenactment of Bloody Sunday, Mark Duke threatened a well-respected local pastor with marches by a group calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Selma. Ronald Smith (along with several others, including a worker from the Dallas County Court) visited the same pastor urging him to change his mind about me speaking at his Church that coming Sunday evening. Duke and Smith and the Dallas County Court worker also visited a business that same week threatening some of its employees who don't agree with Duke and the Freedom Foundation. On their radio show the next day they made threats of boycotts and going door to door - very scary stuff.

What Mark Duke and Ronald Smith were trying to accomplish was stopping me from worshipping in Selma on Bloody Sunday - RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

All of Mark Duke's and Ronald Smith's talk of unity in Selma is bunk. Mark Duke is a religious separatist that wants everyone to follow his way or else, and both he and Ronald Smith are religious oppressors of the highest order.

Very soon, Selma will hear these two oppressors talk about racial matters, trying to take the light off of themselves - don't fall for it for a minute. They practiced their religious oppression for one reason and one reason alone - they don't want anyone who disagrees with them to have a public voice.

Here are a few synonyms for oppression - they fit the Freedom Foundation and the House of God cult and maybe even the new Selma Community Church to a tee:

abuse, abusiveness, Affliction, autocracy, brutality, calamity, coercion, compulsion, conquering, control, cruelty, despotism, dictatorship, domination, dullness, extortion, fascism, force, forcibleness, hardness, hardship, harshness, injury, injustice, iron-fist, lassitude, maltreatment, martial law, misery, opposition, overthrowing, persecution, severity, subduing, subjection, suffering, torment, tyranny...

Wake up Selma!

Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke Speak It!

Want to listen with your own player or download the clip? CLICK HERE !

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

"There's a new day coming to Selma"

"There's a new day coming to Selma, let me tell you something, if it takes our blood on that bridge again, then they'll get our blood, but we ain't gonna stop - God is with us, he has annointed us, he has called us..."
Mark Duke, President of the Freedom Foundation

Just in time for Jubilee!

Will Selma see a reenactment of historic Bloody Sunday this week, or is the real thing possible?

When I first heard these words from one the House of God's sermons from 2006, I thought they were just outlandish religious rhetoric, but with the actions of cult leader Mark Duke and his followers taking place in Selma this week, One wonders if they might not come to pass at some point.

By the sounds of his RealTalk radio show today, Duke is already encouraging and starting boycotts. And, with real threats of retaliation against those who disagree with him, one might wonder when we will see him attempting to take the streets.

Be aware Selma, be very aware...

Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke talk about "blood on the Bridge again"

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"We are not praying to the same God"

“Please DO NOT pray for us… we are not praying to the same God.”

Finally – words from a House of God cult leader that are ON!

Here is some more:

“I am glad to hear that you won’t be coming back. We aren’t looking for people who are goats and are stiff-necked against God’s plain truth and scripture. We are looking for his sheep… his sheep will know his voice. We are actually asking you not to come back

These are some really harsh words from a leader of the House of God cult to a young woman who attended some of their meetings with her husband back in 2004.

Who was this House of God leader? Someone that was so important that she would later become the cult leader’s (Mark Duke) “spiritual partner.” Someone so important to the House of God’s main cause (The Spiritual Rights Movement), that she is now the leader of the Freedom Foundation – the chairperson of its board of trustees.

The leader is of course Shawn Samuelson. Back when these vile words were written, she was known as Shawn Durham – she had not yet divorced her husband to become Mark Duke’s spiritual partner and live-in family member with him and his wife with whom he would stay “legally married.”

In any case, what is quoted above is from an email that Shawn Samuelson wrote to a young lady by the name of Renee Windows. Based on the choice and tone of Shawn Samuelson’s vicious and hate-filled words, and telling her that “We are asking you not to come back;” Renee must have done something horrible, something so disturbing so disgusting that they didn’t even want her to come to their church…

What did Renee do that was so bad that this cult leader called her a goat and screamed in type DO NOT pray for us?

Renee questioned the cult’s doctrines and was worried about her husband’s involvement. But, she was to do far worse - she asked her former youth pastor to visit one of the House of God’s cult meetings!

I spoke with Renee Windows, and one of the first things that I asked her was her Christian testimony. She was very honest in her estimation of herself, and she said that she knew she would get to heaven and live eternally with God; not because of anything that she did, but because she had accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation and was washed by His blood, and she affirmed that Jesus was God. That makes her a Christian and my sister in Christ.

Renee went on to tell me her story regarding the House of God, and spoke very candidly about her marriage to her husband. Like most young couples they struggled, perhaps even more than most (there were even some minor physical altercations) back when she had come face-to-face with this cult. But they hung on and they love each other and are committed to each other. That their marriage survived an onslaught of advice from the cult’s spiritual partners and other leaders for her husband to leave their marriage because she questioned them is great news. Sadly, Satan's work in and through the House of God was effective on other marriages that didn’t fare so well.

Renee’s story would be tedious to write out here, so instead, the text from email exchanges between the cult’s spiritual partners (and another cult member as well) and the Windows can be read by clicking the link below.

While reading email exchanges can be confusing, this is vital information. It allows the words of cult leaders Mark Duke and Shawn Samuelson to speak for them. Read closely and the House of God’s false gospel will be very evident.

There is no better way to shine light on a cult than to see their words and actions in context. You can see for yourself what they say - don't just take my word for it.

The proof is in the pudding...


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Thursday, February 26, 2009

What God Hath Joined Together, Let Not Man Put Asunder (part 2)

Part 2 of a series.

Have you been guilty of thinking people know more than God?

That’s a question asked by Kay Daigle in one of the lessons from her study, God’s Design for Building Your Marriage, at

With regard to marriage and family her question is very relevant to today’s culture. We see the world falling away from a normative biblical family to all sorts of variations; homosexual marriage, polygamy, intentional single parent homes, divorcee single parent homes, multiple partner/parent homes, village mentalities, Marxist deconstruction, etc. And we see some in the Church accepting, and even encouraging these departures as normal. It’s clear that these alternative family structures are wrong from God’s perspective, but we’ve allowed media, government, our friends, and even some Church leaders to tell us otherwise and we have been slowly, but surely, accepting them as normal. Many Christians have been lulled into a view that tolerance of others is better and more desirable than obedience to God. In essence, the answer to Ms. Daigle’s question is in large measure, yes.

With regard to the issue of marriage within the House of God cult, it is clear that at least some of its followers have been guilty of thinking that its leader, Mark Duke, not only speaks for God, but that he knows more than God.

In a previous post I’ve shown from Mark Duke’s own words that he twists Scriptures, in fact the very words of God himself are profaned when what Jesus clearly says about divorce is changed to suit Duke’s twisted view of religious separatism.

Shown below (red text) is a copy of an electronic mail message that Mark Duke, Becky Duke and Shawn Samuelson (then Shawn Durham) sent to some of the followers of the House of God in 2005. Some of the people that Duke, Duke and Samuelson sent this message to represent a veritable who’s who of the House of God and the Freedom Foundation.

-----Original Message-----

From: Mark [mailto:marksduke@REDACTED FOR PRIVACY]

Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:15 PM

To: AJ Page; Becca Armstrong; Becky Duke; Carla; Dan Vaughn; Fontella Pappas; Ginger Skelton; Gwen Blackberry; Jason Armstrong; Jason Makaroff; Laura Alyce; Laura Jane; Matt S.; Paige; Shawn; Tressa; Wally; Tommy

Subject: Peace and Unity!!!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,For those of you that were here last night and prayed we wanted you to know God has moved in a great way.

God has dealt with Becky, Shawn and myself in the same way and we justed finished our "official" family meeting and we are eager to tell you how God has spoken and brought us great peace and unity.

He has spoken to us about his will and his will for the cause and the people. We are all three very excited and unified in this.

This comes after much trying of our faith and brokeness since the first of the year. Right now God is saying for Becky and I to stay legally married and to make even greater committments to the cause.

One of those committments is that as we've done so for the last 5 months Shawn will continue to partner with me as a spiritual partner in the cause...doing clinics, running the operations, ministering to the people, ministering to me and even her and Becky partnering with the kids at times and other areas Shawn can help support. Part of thos partnership includes me mentoring Shawn in her calling as one of the leaders in the spiritual rights movement. All 3 of us can see that this is a God-given partnership and it is unique in the sense that God has given Shawn an ability to minister to me in a depth that I haven't had before. Ineed this support as God takes us to the next level.

We all three have talked about becoming more of a family unit which includes God healing some hurt of 16 years between Becky and I. Also, Becky and Shawn coming closer together in how to partner in charity and sacrifice. All of our decussion tonight centered around God and the cause.

We are happy to announce that Shawn is officially moving in with us. She will be living with us full-time and becoming a part of our family. To say the least the 3 kids Duke kids were extremely excited as we sat down and shared with them what God had said.

We are now praying about either Shawn or myself quiting our jobs in December of this year. If I quit Shawn will support the house hold and I will go full-time in the ministry. If Shawn quits I'll provide as Shawn runs the spiritual rights operations.

Tonight Shawn and I are working on training schedules for leadership to include training on Saturdays around clinic appointments. There will be other things we'll get out to you asap.
I can't tell you the incredible peace we have here. There aint no stoppin' us now...we're on the move!!

Being certain of God's voice. The increasing of our faith.... A unity that passeth all understanding and a committment of love and charity toward one another and God's cause and people.

This is a major victory and God has answered our prayers. as God continues to lead and speak to us and/or if anything ever changes down the road we'll let you all be the first to know, but as it stands this is the official word and statement and the settling of God's direction and the preventing of the devil who has been trying to strike, hinder and divide us and God's will.

If anyone asks or questions you on anything related to these issues please feel free to direct them to me or Shawn or you may feel free share with them anything pretaining to this email as appropriate.

Please know we are committed to doing God's will no matter what it looks like.
All three of us tonight were and are ready to make any sacrifice God asks us to make. but it was God that spoke tonight and gave us this clear direction.

Again, let me state that it is time to end the devils distractions, to move forward as a family and as a church.

God bless us all in this great cause. I want to remind you that God said this is the year of jubilee and he is doing just that. It is an honor to walk with each of you toward something we've never seen or had before.

Your brother and sisters,Mark, Becky and Shawn

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Now that you have read the words of Duke, Duke and Samuelson, take a minute to think about what you believe about the institution of marriage. If you are a Christian, take a moment to think about what God says about marriage. Have you been guilty of thinking that people know more than God?

Here's what I think: After studying God’s word on this issue this week, I pray that God would strengthen the Church to be obedient and stand for His eternal truth. As for Duke, Duke and Samuelson; their words are absolute and utter blasphemy!

In this relatively short electronic message, God is mentioned 22 times, but there is not one - not even one – thing stated that matches what God says about marriage.

Duke, Duke and Samuelson say that God spoke to them and told Mark and Becky Duke to stay “legally” married.

WRONG! God commands that a man leave his father and mother and cleave, - to literally be cemented to his wife. Genesis 2:24-25 (KJV) reads as follows: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Obviously, the one true God was not the one speaking to them. If there was any supernatural voice, it wasn’t God’s.

Notice that verse 24 begins with the word therefore - this word is a great prompter to deeper study - go back to the previous verses and see what it is there for...

In the previous verses of Genesis chapter 2, we see God’s creation of man and woman. God literally made woman from the flesh and bone of man. We are designed by God to be together as one. God himself said it best in Matthew 19:4-5.

Duke, Duke and Samuelson then go on to say that Shawn [Samuelson] is Mark Duke's "spiritual partner"

WRONG! If Mark Duke is married to Becky Duke, she is supposed to be his spiritual partner, which is part of what Christian marriage is; a physical AND spiritual bonding. Again, cleaving – cemented forever.

While the message mentions Shawn’s moving in with Duke as his spiritual partner, it doesn’t mention that shortly before this took place, she was a married woman. Mark Duke counseled her young husband to divorce her, and he did. That Duke took advantage of him to take this man’s wife for his own seems, in my opinion, extremely clear.

I like how Kay Daigle uses the illustration of her husband using crazy glue - something permanent - to explain what cleaving is. A comparative illustration of Mark Duke with his wife and Shawn Samuelson with her husband is a bond with soluble glue, something that could be dissolved on a whim.

In any case, none of this is truly of God and for these people to claim that it is, is outrageous. If you believe their words, all of their discussions that night “centered around [sic] God and the cause.” In my view, what really happened was a discussion of how to circumvent God’s clear commands.

One other thing that struck me is the contrast between the end of Genesis 2:25 (And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.) and their statement that “we are committed to doing God’s will no matter what it looks like.” In my view, that they understood their sin and sought to explain it away couldn’t be any clearer. Romans 1:20-24 seems appropriate:

The “cause” mentioned by these leaders of the House of God and the Freedom Foundation (Mark Duke is the founder and president, Becky Duke is a trustee and Shawn Samuelson is chairperson) is of course, the spiritual rights movement. According to the preaching and teaching of Mark Duke, the advance of the spiritual rights movement is the reason that the group moved to Selma. It's the cause for which Duke claims that they are "willing to spill blood on the bridge again."

In my opinion, that any Christian Church would allow these people to teach from their pulpit, or be in any position that would allow them to lead people away from the truth is very troubling.

Wake up Selma!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

What God Hath Joined Together, Let Not Man Put Asunder (part 1)

Part 1 of a series.

One of the most insidious things about Mark Duke and the House of God is their teachings on the issues of marriage and divorce.

When I set out to address Duke’s error-filled preaching and teaching on these subjects several weeks ago, I thought it would be relatively easy; simply because his teachings are so clearly wrong.

But, when I re-listened to portions of Mark Duke’s sermons and re-read some of the information that has been given to me by people caught up in his web of deceitful dealings on these issues, I quickly realized that this is a huge task, especially when the goal is to help Duke’s followers see just how spiritually deceitful he has been to them.

Thankfully, God’s Word speaks to us clearly about what Christians face when dealing with false teachers and prophets like Mark Duke:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

Scripture also tells us how we are to deal with these evil and demonic forces (click here to read Ephesians 6:13-20).

Before reading any further, please join me in prayer for Mark Duke and the House of God; that through the Holy Spirit they would come to understand the errors of their teaching and come to repentance; not bowing before any man, but before a just and Holy God, asking Jesus for forgiveness for the hurt and destruction they have caused to families who have trusted them. Let’s also pray that they don’t cause any more hurt and destruction.

“And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time” Ephesians 6:19a (The Message)

The audio clip included with this post starts with Mark Duke talking about what Jesus said was acceptable in divorce in a Jewish society. As usual, Duke quickly turns from what Scripture clearly and plainly says and twists it to suit his own views and purposes.

I have provided below the text of Matthew 19:3-9, which is part of the Scripture Duke twists in the audio. As an aside, the Gospel of Mark (10:2-12) also speaks of Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce, but Matthew 19:3 includes the words “for every cause,” which is vital in understanding Duke’s bad teaching.

Matthew 19:3-9 (KJV)
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
(bold text added for emphasis)

As Duke correctly notes in his sermon, Jesus here is talking about divorce in the Jewish society, so let’s take a quick and factual look at the view of divorce from the Jewish Society of Jesus’ day to see just how far Duke deviates from the Truth:

In verse 3, we see the Pharisees attempting to push Jesus into a controversy with some of the rabbinic schools, asking the loaded question: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” This may seem minor, but on the issue of divorce it was vital. Almost all of Jewish thought on the matter of divorce at the time revolved on two basic views [schools of thought]: that of the Jewish Scholar Shammai, and Jewish religious leader Hillel the Elder.

In a religiously legal sense, divorce was a privilege only for Israel, not the gentile world, and the legal grounds for divorce was an important and hotly contested issue between the two schools. The school of Shammai’s teachings departed from the literal meaning of Deuteronomy 24:1, which gave an acceptable reason for a man to divorce a woman, namely; uncleanness (nakedness), to say that only sexual sin (adultery) was grounds for divorce. In fact, this school taught that even with a wife as ruinous as Ahab’s (Jezebel), a divorce would not be legal if adultery was not involved. It is important to know that this school didn’t see this principle as set in stone, but rather as opinion and good counsel.

Hillel’s School on the other hand was very strict and dogmatic in its approach, teaching that a woman must be divorced for any matter of shame. Moral blame made divorce a duty.

Additionally, the setting is important to the context; this all took place in Judea, which was under the rule of Herod, who previously had John the Baptist arrested for proclaiming that Herod’s sexual dalliances with his brother’s wife was unlawful. That the Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to run counter to the ruling legal authority as well as the religious is obvious.

Now that we have an understanding of the context and setting of “Jewish society,” let’s take a look at what Jesus has to say in response to the Pharisees tempting.

First and foremost, Jesus completely avoided the Pharisee’s tempting words “for every cause,” and went directly to the original and highest of all authorities - His creation of man and woman, and the institution of marriage as a Holy bond that joins a man and a woman into one flesh.

When asked why Moses permitted a man to give a divorce decree, Jesus pointed out the human condition – the hardening of our hearts to God’s unchanging Truth. Moses permitted divorce in response to Israel’s spiritual condition. Jesus says that there is only one scripturally acceptable reason for divorce – fornication, sexual immorality - adultery. He doesn’t make it a requirement, as does the School of Hillel; and He doesn’t offer it simply as an option as does the School of Shammai.

In Verse 9, Jesus says whoever divorces for a reason other than fornication [adultery] and remarries commits adultery; because in God’s eyes, the marriage is still in full effect. In marriage we are separated from what was our closest possible link to another human being (our mothers and fathers), and joined to be even closer (as one flesh) with our wives or husbands.

Accordingly, anyone who divorces for any reason other than adultery, is biblically wrong – that’s what Jesus said.

Mark Duke doesn’t accept what Jesus says though, and quickly twists His words by adding things other than adultery as excuses for divorce.

According to Mark Duke, “God said to Israel, ‘I’m gonna give you a divorce decree’ unfaithfulness is not just about physical sexuality. Unfaithfulness and adultery in a marriage is turning from God’s will and His Word – THAT MY FRIENDS, GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO NULLIFY THAT MARRIAGE!”

WRONG! The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 19 are extremely clear, and Mark Duke is lying to his followers.

To be fair, the Greek word; porneia (por-ni'-ah), from which fornication (KJV) (immorality, (NASB), sexual unfaithfulness (NIV), sexual immorality (ESV), whoredom (YLT), sexual relations (NCV) is translated has the possibility of being translated in an obscure metaphysical sense as worship of idols, or idolatry for eating the food sacrificed to idols. But NOT in the context of Matthew chapter 19. Here it means only sexual immorality such as illicit sexual intercourse, fornication, homosexuality, and lesbianism, intercourse with animals, sexual intercourse with close relatives; or sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman. - ADULTERY.

Duke continues on in his sermon to claim that “There is so much Scripture here that has to be given and received deeper, there are so many things that go beyond the letter. God’s people are so mixed up …How can we figure out what God is saying? …The only way we are gonna know, is for God to speak directly, from Him, not from mans mind and thoughts …God can speak to man directly, and you can measure that by the fruits.”

What Duke should really be saying here is that people in the House of God are so mixed up. Duke's followers are allowing him to speak in place of God rather than allowing God’s Word speak to them and as a result they have been led far, far astray...

Duke is correct that God can speak to man directly and you can measure that by Christian fruit. Of course, we must test what we believe God is telling us. If what we believe God is telling us does not match with His Word (the Bible) we must reject it as not being from God.

In my opinion, the god that is speaking directly to Duke about marriage and divorce is not the true Holy God, but rather another god, a false god - and you can measure the fruit: a multitude of divorces and destroyed families in the House of God because of the lies of false teachers. This is putrid, morally rotten fruit.

In my opinion there are many reasons why Mark Duke twists Scripture to teach his followers to divorce spouses who don’t agree with his gospel, but first and foremost is control. He claims that the House of God has a 100% success rate with marriages he has performed, but his teaching on divorce has resulted in a large number of divorces amongst his followers, particularly women whose husbands questioned Duke’s authority. Of course he claims that those marriages came to the House of God with deep troubles.

There are very serious questions to ask of themselves for the women who have participated in these divorces. My prayer is that they will listen to the evidence presented with a mind desiring to please God…

No matter how Duke fusses or whines, God’s word is clear. Any man (or woman) who divorces except for the cause of sexual sin – adultery - did not really divorce at all in the eyes of the only one who really matters – A GOD WHO LOVES MARRIAGE AND HATES THE SIN OF DIVORCE.

At the very end of the audio clip, Mark Duke asks the question “are you suffering.” If you are suffering, ask God to release you from your commitments that bind you to Mark Duke and the House of God, He will be faithful to deliver you from his hand.

To the Christian Pastors, leaders and lay people of Selma, Alabama and Parker, Colorado I ask: how long will you suffer Mark’ Duke’s profane abuse of God’s design for human creation and the sacred institution of marriage before you stand for truth?

Lord Jesus I beg you use me for just that………

Click the play button above to hear Mark Duke contradict God's Word on Marriage and Divorce

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

According to Mark Duke, If You Know Someone Is Off, Tell Them... Laura Vaughn - You're OFF!!

The first audio clip in this post contains the voice of House of God member Laura Vaughn paying homage to her spiritual leader, Mark Duke. Mrs. Vaughn has been the children’s minister for the House of God and she is the wife of current House of God pastor, Dan Vaughn.

In the clip Mrs. Vaughn compares Mark Duke to the Apostle Paul and Stephen, Christianity’s first true martyr. She also states that Mark [Duke] “personifies that prophet deliverer that represents the Lord.”

The second audio clip included with this post contains the voice of Mark Duke preaching to the House of God. This preaching happens in the same service, just prior to Laura Vaughn’s comparison of Duke to Stephen.

In his preaching Mark Duke claims “that this is about your soul, because without this you will not last, you will not live forever. You have to be willing to lay it all down, the things that you’re attached to; you have to be willing to move on. The “this” that Duke is talking about is his teachings, the gospel of the House of God. Some of the “things” that his followers might be attached to include husbands, family and friends who don’t agree with Duke’s gospel.

Duke quotes parts of 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, verses 1 through 11 from the King James Bible (KJV), but when he gets to verse 11, he twists it to be about him. Here is what verse 11 says: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Here is what Duke says: “…I thought as a child, but when that love came, I became a man… and I died, for my lord.” Duke then follows his Scripture twisting with a very strange prayer where he talks about Jesus being tempted by the Devil and being ministered to by angels, and him [Mark Duke] stating that he died on the floor of the school where the House of God was having its service that very morning and that two angels who had ministered to him. He also prays that God would live forever with no turning back.

Please listen to both of the audio clips and examine closely what is being said.

Here is my view:

First: Mrs. Vaughn, [speaking of Mark Duke] says that she thought about Stephen, “about how the Lord brought him so far …how he was able to speak for the Lord even in the midst of great persecution …and even at his death he was able to do that”

WRONG. The mention of Stephen in the Bible starts in the book of Acts, chapter 6. What we know is that Stephen was a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. Mrs. Vaughn has it partially correct when she speaks of Stephen, he indeed did speak for the Lord under great persecution. Chapter 7 of Acts tells of Stephen speaking for God in his passionate sermon to the Jews. But at his death, Stephen did not speak for God, he spoke to God.

Acts 7:59-60 (KJV)
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (emphasis added)

The words “calling upon” in verse 59 come from the Greek word, epikaleĊ, which is better translated in this context as “prayed” (as it is in some modern translations, such as the NIV). Stephen is literally “calling upon” Jesus Christ in prayer. Stephen would not have called upon a mere man as he was being stoned to death, and as a religious Jew Stephen would not have prayed to anyone other than the one true God. Notice also that Stephen is asking the Lord Jesus to not hold the sin of those stoning him against them. Jesus Christ has the sole responsibility to judge our sin.

I point these things out for two main reasons; one, in Mark Duke's false religion, Jesus is not God, He is only a man. Two, the House of God exclusively uses the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. The KJV is a favorite Bible translation of many people, but it is generally not the best translation. Some of the modern translations are much more accurate than the KJV. The link to that is provided below provides many different translations (including the KJV); and is a great tool for studying and understanding Scripture.

Mark Duke certainly appears to be a man filled with faith, but one must ask; what faith? Stephen was a Christian, a believer in and follower of the Carpenter - Jesus of Nazareth. He was a man who worshipped Jesus as God. Mark Duke is not someone who worships Jesus Christ as God, and as a result he is not a Christian in the sense of the historic and orthodox Christian faith. Comparing Mark Duke to Stephen as a man of faith is wrong.

In more than one verse we see Stephen spoken of as a man who was filled with the Holy Ghost or Spirit. It has been long held by the Christian Church that only Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit and have the spiritual gifts of God, and it is Jesus Christ who sends the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Comparing Mark Duke to Stephen as a man filled with the Holy Spirit is wrong.

Second: Laura Vaughn compares Mark Duke with the Apostle Paul.

WRONG. That the Apostle Paul believed, followed and paid the ultimate price as a martyr for Jesus Christ is undeniable. There are many who deny Jesus Christ as Mark Duke does, but it would be impossible for them to use the Apostle Paul’s words correctly and in context to do it. Suffice it to say, Mark Duke is not anything like the Apostle Paul.

Paul spoke boldly for the true Jesus Christ of Scripture and carried the true gospel to the world. Mark Duke denies Jesus is God and spreads a false gospel. To paraphrase Paul’s words in Galatians 1:7; Mark Duke’s gospel isn’t good news at all – it is perverted spirituality. In a word, comparing Mark Duke to the Apostle Paul is, wrong.

Of course Paul was the greatest missionary of all times, and his behavior prior to his conversion, particularly his persecution of the first Christians is often used by cults to label those who speak against them. Mark Duke and his sycophants are very typical in that regard.

Both Mark Duke and his lawyer, Julian McPhillips, have publicly labeled me that way. Mark Duke has said it on his RealTalk radio programs, even reading from one of Julian McPhillips bizarre letters that implores me to “not let yourself become a pharasitical [sic.] persecutor of the freedom Foundation the way Saul of Tarsus was of the early Christians, before his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, whereupon his name later changed to Paul.” This is typical cult rhetoric.

I’m not telling readers what I think Mark Duke believes about Jesus Christ and the gospel, I’m telling them what Mark Duke says that he believes about Jesus Christ and the gospel. There is a huge difference between the two, and any reasonable person can see through this cult's labeling of detractors and dissenters.

Third: Laura Vaughn says that “Mark [Duke] personifies that prophet deliverer that’s also been sent that represents the Lord. He’s just brought those words of truth that are bringing us out of a place of misery…”

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Mark Duke denies that the Lord Jesus Christ is God. As a result he cannot represent the Lord. From a spiritual perspective, Mark Duke cannot bring words of truth. As someone who has listened to many hours of Mark Duke’s preaching, I can hardly describe how “off” Laura Vaughn is with her comments calling Mark Duke a “prophet deliverer;” and it shows how deep and dangerous his spiritual deception is. Guess who some of the heroes of the Bible Mark Duke preaches as prophet deliverers: Moses, Joseph, Jeremiah, Jesus. That’s right; Jesus. In the eyes of the House of God, Laura Vaughn describes Mark Duke just as they would Jesus! No small wonder that Mark Duke tells his followers that he’s "been like a god to them." (click here to listen to Mark Duke's blasphemous claim)

Please don’t simply accept what I say as truth; listen to the audio clips and open your Bible to compare what is being taught by Mark Duke and the House of God with what God says in Scripture.

If you don’t have a Bible handy, you can read one online at Bible Gateway™ by Clicking Here.

If you are a follower of or a sympathizer with Mark Duke and the House of God, I encourage you to follow the example of Stephen, call upon Jesus today. He is the only one who can truly offer you redemption and the forgiveness of sin.

He who has ears…..

Clip #1 Laura Vaughn - Click the Play Button above to hear it.

Clip #2 Mark Duke - Click the Play Button above to hear it.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nothing Need Go To Waste

Following is a reprint of an article by Patrick (Pat) Knapp, that ran in the 1998 Cultic Studies Journal published by the International Cultic Studies Association (known then as the American Family Foundation).

As you can see from the article, Pat Knapp was involved with and eventually left a Bible-based cult.

Pat has been helpful to at least one person who has left the House of God. As such, he has an understanding of the dynamics of Mark Duke's and the House of God's deceptive spiritual practices. He is a good resource for those who are contemplating leaving the House of God or the Freedom Foundation. He would also be a good resource for those who have already left but are still looking for someone to speak with who understands their situation and needs.

Pat can be contacted by email at the address show at the end of his article.

A printable PDF of the following article is available by clicking here.

A special thank you to Pat Knapp for allowing me to post this information here:

This article is an electronic version of an article originally published in Cultic Studies Journal, 1998, Volume 15, Number 2, pages 120-129. Please keep in mind that the pagination of this electronic reprint differs from that of the bound volume. This fact could affect how you enter bibliographic information in papers that you may write.
The following article is a modified transcription of one of several testimonials presented at a cult recovery conference at Denver Seminary in the summer of 1995.

Nothing Need Go to Waste
Patrick J. Knapp
Denver, Colorado

I would like to thank AFF (American Family Foundation) and Denver Seminary for asking me to share with you what I’ve been through, including some of the more significant factors that have contributed to my healing from a very cultic group. My hope is that at least some of what I share will be encouraging and helpful to many of you.

Looking back, I realize the roots of my cultic experience can be found within the family in which I was raised. I didn’t enter into and remain in an abusive religious system for 13 years out of some sort of existential vacuum. Patterns of sinful beliefs and behaviors within my family contributed significantly to my eventual involvement in a *Bible-based cult.

Despite the overuse and frequent abuse of the term dysfunctional, I can now see that much of my understanding of recovery lies within the context of this term, as long as it is properly defined. For clarity, I define a dysfunctional family as one that exhibits significant, highly consistent patterns of sinful beliefs and corresponding behaviors that interfere with healthy, biblical, interpersonal relationships and with one’s relationship to the discovery of Truth.
As a child, I was very comfortable in my highly dysfunctional family of origin. My dad was an alcoholic; my mother was a classic enabler; my younger brother was the family scapegoat. During the turbulent 1960s, my brother went off into alcohol and drugs. I was the family hero-very popular, a high school tennis star, and the first in the family to go away to college.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I had been raised in an environment of very nominal Christianity. I hadn’t accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord until immediately after high school. Unfortunately, I was not properly discipled, and had only a minimal and overly idealistic perspective of what comprised the Christian life.

My entrance into college at CU (University of Colorado) here in Denver was non-eventful, consisting mostly of high, and unfulfilled, expectations. In my need to find real personal growth in my Christian walk, I transferred to a Christian college. I became profoundly disillusioned with what I saw there-it seemed cheap, easy, and not much different behaviorally from what I had found at CU. Again, I found myself floating, without meaningful roots or a clear sense of direction.

Joining the Group
My entry into what quickly would become a Bible-based cult came by way of an invitation from a college friend. At first, the group seemed very solid; the members appeared passionate about their beliefs and their walk with the Jesus of the Bible. The leader, had been a Southern Baptist minister, a teacher at Wheaton College, and also had been associated with India’s leading Christian evangelist. He had come from India, with a background in Zoroastrianism. He was a convert to Christianity.

For the first two years I was in the group, things seemed to go very well. The group grew rapidly, and I found a lot of encouragement and support from the many young people who comprised the congregation. As I recall, the oldest person in the group (with the exception of the leader and his wife) was perhaps 30 years old; nearly all other members were of college age.
But then the “bump in the road” came. The leader felt that God had revealed to him that he had never truly been married to the woman he was married to, because they were not married “in the spirit.” He claimed that God had revealed that he was, in fact, “already married” to another woman in the group who was legally married to someone else. This woman was nearly 30 years his junior. Needless to say, this issue caused a split in the group. I decided to continue with the leader, and I dragged my protesting new spouse to follow my lead.

Damaging Doctrines
Looking back, I see there were two significant issues. One issue was the group’s beliefs. At the theological core of these beliefs were two non-negotiable, highly damaging doctrines. There was a false belief concerning the nature of spiritual authority. There was also a very unorthodox view of spirituality. As with Dave’s [David Clark] experience, the use of Watchmen Nee material was extensive and influential. The group used a particular book by Watchman Nee, Spiritual Authority. This book proposed an extremely hierarchical, oppressive, and controlling form of leadership. The group’s view of spirituality was highly anti-intellectual and esoteric, allowing for nearly unlimited “direction by the Holy Spirit,” contingent only upon the will of the leader. This view is characterized clearly in a book that was promoted heavily in the group, Rees Howells: Intercessor, by Norman Grubb. An allegorical hermeneutic was standard fare, and frequently resulted in convoluted interpretations of the Bible.

The second significant issue revolved around the very dysfunctional behavior that was encouraged. Looking back, I realize that we were frequently encouraged to follow what is sometimes known as the five rules of a dysfunctional family: don’t think, don’t talk, don’t feel, don’t trust, and don’t do anything but pretend that those in authority are always correct. Within the group, pretending became an art form.

In terms of my own behavior, my hero role in my family of origin helped to draw me in to the group, because at this time I perceived the leader to be very much the underdog. I wanted to come in as the knight in shining armor to help in the turbulent times and to contribute my perceived great wisdom to this now ailing group. The leader served as the strong father figure I didn’t have growing up, and he and I went for many long walks. We spent sometimes two or three hours just walking around the neighborhood, talking about relationships and talking about many questions I had about life in general. These times I spent with the leader met some very real needs for me. Looking back though, despite the help I received, I had essentially traded my dysfunctional family system (from my family of origin) for another dysfunctional system that had religious verbiage.

Increasing Aberrance
During the next 11 years following its internal split, the group became much more aberrant. We had many heavy, all-night “counseling” sessions. We viewed people outside the group with a lot of we/they isolationism. We were forbidden to have any contact with our parents, other relatives, or previously close friends who were not a part of the group. Our family lived here locally, but we were encouraged to hang up on them when they called, to return the letters they sent unopened, and to return presents they sent for the kids. While a few in the group were allowed some limited contact with parents, mostly for financial reasons, we were allowed none.
Over time, expectations for compliance from group members and financial contributions to the abusive and controlling leader increased. The leader encouraged us to remain as dependent little children, waiting upon him. He often used a wheel analogy: He was the hub and we, as the spokes, were rightfully dependent upon him. He repeatedly told us that without him we would fall apart, spiritually and emotionally; and, according to him, that was God’s design. He said he didn’t particularly like this role, but that was simply the way God had structured it.
This group exhibited many other indications of aberrant or cultic beliefs and practices. When I returned from Germany (I was in the military for part of the time my wife and I were in the group), the leader had decided what kind of job I would have. Keep in mind, I had managed to get through an undergraduate degree program at a Christian college, and I had been employed as a counselor while in the military. But the leader had decided that God’s desire for me was to be a truck driver. The story about that is illustrative of some of the thinking in the group. But it is a rather long story, so I won’t tell it. [Doug Groothuis encourages Patrick to tell the story.] ...OK, I will tell it in abbreviated form.

Illuminating Anecdote
Immediately following my return from Germany-in fact the following day-a truck-driving job had been set up for me at EFD Express, which was a much smaller version of UPS. Despite how unsuited I was for the work, I managed to do the job for two years, although I had great difficulty. Anyone who has spent much time with me knows I have both a very poor sense of direction and an extreme tendency to become tunnel-visioned when I’m performing a task. Because I was required to perform this work at a fast pace, it had become a rather hazardous venture. I kept running into things. At first, they were small, relatively insignificant things; but on my last day of work, the situation abruptly changed.

I was wheeling around in the back parking area of a new car lot on South Colorado Boulevard here in Denver in my step van. I was performing hard for God and for the group. As I wheeled around a corner, suddenly I looked up and saw a gas pump floating off in the distance. Flames began rushing around the sides of my truck. I had run over a gas pump and I was sitting there disbelieving, stunned. “This can’t be happening, Lord!” I finally got my senses about me and pulled away from the spewing gas.

The particularly interesting and significant part to all this-as I said, this was my last day on the job-was in the response of the group. You see, it wasn’t, “Oh! What a horrible ordeal for you!” Instead, it was, “Well, it just goes to show that you had never truly accepted God’s plan for you, and the leader’s vision for you to be a truck driver, and that’s why this took place.” I was told, “Those flames were like the flames of Hell coming up around you because you hadn’t sufficiently submitted to God’s ordained head over you.” Looking back, it felt like one victimization on top of another. I wasn’t allowed any expression of my real feelings. It was one of those times to just knuckle under, submit to the leader and bury my real feelings.

Many other examples could serve to illustrate where the group was coming from. There was the repressed and controlled manipulation of relationships. All relationships had to be funneled in one form or fashion through the group and ultimately through the leader. There was the firm control of any information that could threaten the leader. For example, while I was in the military, I had started a graduate program in counseling through UNC (University of Northern Colorado). Looking back, however, I realize that because this held the potential for information that would prove damaging to the leader, he forbade my continuing education in this field. I dropped out of school.

Leaving the Group
We had the “Truth,” and that Truth would surely die without us. When we expressed thoughts of leaving the group, we were repeatedly told we could expect some sort of impending doom because of our spiritual rebellion. It seemed almost as if an emotional/spiritual time bomb had been planted on the members; if anyone left, it seemed inevitable that it would discharge. We were conditioned to believe this, and in most cases, our expectations appeared to come true. Members who left seemed inevitably to have extreme difficulties with their attempts to hold on to their marriages, find new churches to associate with, and keep their employment.

Finally, in early January of 1984, my wife and I received information about some of the so-called counseling the leader had been doing that we knew could not be justified biblically. This knowledge became the proverbial straw for us.

About 90 percent certain that the information given to us was accurate, I confronted the leader about what we had learned. I recall verbatim his response to me: “I knew when I entered this ministry I’d be accused of such things. If I tell you that what you’ve been told is false, you’ll call me a liar. If I tell you it’s true, you’ll leave anyway. So believe what you will.” In effect, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment. Looking back, I realize it was obvious to me then that he had been caught previously in this sin and had rehearsed this response many times before. I knew without a doubt that what we had been told was true, and that same day, my wife and I parted company with the group.

The recovery process seemed overwhelming. We had a great number of immediate needs. We had four children by this time. We had gigantic financial concerns and social issues to address, such as getting back in touch with friends and relatives outside of the group. And I had many unanswered questions: Who was I now? Where did I fit into life? Questions about the sovereignty of God were looming, threatening to undo me. My emotions were running rampant. I was very angry. Furthermore, I didn’t know how to deal with the intensity of my resentment. I seriously needed direction and support.

Fortunately, even though we found ourselves floating, we sought help. We were living near a Baptist church, and we knew that one of the group’s ex-members was attending there. It was extremely hard, but we started regularly attending the church. While we were out of our old group, the group’s influence was far from out of us. We spent much of our time during the first few years unjustly criticizing the sermons and the lack of staff and member availability, and anything that was a perceived threat to our autonomy.

It was here we met Alan Myatt, the director of Shield of Faith (a counter cult lay organization of the Baptist church), and his wife Kathy, who herself came out of a very abusive, controlling, Bible-based cult. I soon found I needed to rethink both my behavior patterns and my beliefs. I needed to relearn how to trust religious authority figures. I needed a tighter, healthier set of personal boundaries. I had become accustomed to stuffing most of my feelings, allowing only acceptable ones to surface, and I needed to grow up emotionally. I needed to learn how to use good, biblically oriented patterns of critical-thinking skills. Most of all, I had become accustomed to pretending I was living a wonderful, satisfying, victorious life-a pretense far from reality.
God chose four spheres of influence within a particular time frame to meet those needs, and the timing itself was a key element. For me to seek professional counseling was unthinkable at that time, though it was highly recommended. Counseling? I still had in my mind a false vision of what counseling was. It meant exposing myself to verbal coercion; it meant having things imposed on me that simply hurt and didn’t help. It was a couple of years after I got out of the group before I was ready for any formal counseling.

Meanwhile, I did work with some of the cognitive issues. Alan had suggested several outstanding books on the subject of spiritual authority and spirituality, and these books had a great deal of influence and impact on me. Books such as Being Human, by R. Macaulay and Jerome Barrs, and Sheep and Shepherds, by Barrs, together with articles by Ron Enroth, helped immensely. I started to attend school again (not immediately here at Denver Seminary). School helped me to start rethinking my experience. I started to write down what I had been through, which helped me verbalize and identify both what had actually happened to me and my part in it. Writing was very helpful, because it allowed me a safe emotional distance from which to work on the issues of false beliefs. I also listened to many tapes about various cults and received some academic tutorial assistance while attending this seminary.

As I mentioned, counseling eventually entered the picture. Much of my counseling centered on my extremely dysfunctional behavior, which I was later to find stemmed ultimately from ““family of origin”” issues. In the course of my recovery, I sought professional individual counseling, and I joined an ex-member support group for two years. I was involved with a group here locally with Sharon Hilderbrandt (a local Christian counselor). I found it extremely helpful to hear other people tell their stories. After two years as a member, I moved on to being a co-facilitator and facilitator of support and recovery groups, where I worked with people out of the Boston Church of Christ and other similar aberrant and cultic groups.

Looking back, I’ve realized that the greatest need people initially have coming out of a cultic group is to be listened to. No matter how long it takes, no matter how often they tell their story, being carefully, empathetically listened to is essential!

I also went through marital counseling, where I learned how to fight constructively with my spouse, and in general, how to communicate effectively. Such things simply were not necessary in my previous group because everything was siphoned through the leader. Marital counseling really helped me learn the true nature of biblically defined growth and how to identify unhealthy forms of dependency.

The third sphere of influence in my recovery, in addition to the cognitive work and counseling, concerned the development of safe and healthy interpersonal relationships. There were those who not only modeled what genuine Christian spirituality looks like, but in many ways were mentors-people such as Alan Myatt, Gordon Lewis, Sharon Hilderbrandt, Robert K. McGregor Wright, and most recently, Doug Groothuis. Each has contributed much to my recovery, and I greatly appreciate them all. There were also peers and other ex-members who could understand and who did much to help identify both what happened to me and my part in it.

The fourth sphere of influence pertained to the process of giving back what has been so richly given to me. This giving back occurred in my personal involvement in counter-cult work that helped to cement the mixed pieces I had previously gathered. I spent four years with Alan, as an understudy of sorts in Shield of Faith. I tagged along with Alan, listening, questioning, learning more about cult dynamics and beliefs, and contributing wherever I could.
During the four years following that internship, 1988 to 1992, I directed the Shield of Faith organization and worked along with 30 other volunteers. The organization worked extensively in educational, evangelistic, and counseling activities. We were able to help many find various levels of information and healing. I have much to be grateful for!

To summarize, what have I learned? I’ve learned some important lessons about truck driving and my respective limitations-I’m not suited to be a truck driver! [Laughter] On the serious side, during the past 12 years of healing, I’ve found a kaleidoscope of issues and a tremendous diversity of ways and means of addressing recovery needs. I’ve learned a great deal about myself. At times I was, indeed, a victim. At other times, I was a sinful contributor to a very sick system. Both the system and I were interacting, and both were very real. I had found a codependent, systematic, dysfunctional fit.

While I certainly was morally culpable for my contributions to the unhealthy and unbiblical systems in which I was involved, I also now believe that within God’s providence and design, nothing goes to waste. This perspective, however, was not something I came to early on in my recovery. At first, I could feel only anger; I couldn’t see that God was involved in any way, shape, or form. Only after considerable reflection, after God’s ways and means had been redefined, after I personally repented for my contribution to this sinful system could I see many of these experiences from a truly biblical frame of reference and begin to accept any value in this religiously abusive experience.

Finally, I’ve become convinced that God’s desire and control over all the past and future events of my life combined to produce a particular outcome to bring Him glory and to give me some much-needed preparation for following Him with passion, both now and for eternity. There are no chance events in God’s universe. My involvement in this cultic group was not some sort of bad dream come true, nor mere blunder on my part, but rather His preparation. This doesn’t mean that people who contributed to my abuse are not culpable; they certainly were and are. This also does not mean that to a lesser degree I was not culpable; I certainly was. What it does mean is that God is sovereign and fully capable of using all things to bring about His desired ends.

*By “Bible-based,” I mean that the Bible was erroneously drawn from, for the purpose of control and manipulation, not that the Bible promotes or encourages such behaviors and beliefs as those outlined in the group in which I was involved.

Patrick Knapp M.A. Philosophy of Religion, Denver Seminary. Pat’s initial interest in cult recovery stems from his own involvement in a bible-based group (1970-1984). His recovery came as a result of individual and marriage counseling, in addition to several years of work in and facilitating support groups for ex-members. He became director of a counter-cult organization (Shield of Faith) where he was heavily involved in the education and counseling with ex-members and their families. His M.A. thesis (Fall 2000) was titled: “The Place of Mind-Control in the Cult Recovery Process.”

He has been accepted into a doctrinal program, Marriage and Family Counseling (Professional Track), at Gordon Conwell in Charlotte, NC. He is currently working on a book manuscript for publication which examines various models of cult recovery and defends a Family Systems perspective, informed by a Christian world-view. His E-mail address:

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