“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.” -Albert Einstein
Throughout my research to answer the question, “What happens to whistle-blowers after they blow the whistle,” my exploration of secondary sources explained in my essay, “This We’ll Defend,” left me with more questions to investigate, like the circumstances from which whistle-blowers are birthed. As I entered my investigation of primary sources for answers, I concluded that interviews with whistleblowers would provide satiety to the questions that had not yet been satisfied. In my essay detailing the analysis of secondary sources, which included articles written by two passionate whistleblowers, Dr. Jean Lennane and Cyber Executive Pierluigi Paganini, who sought to be a resource for other whistle-blowers, I concluded this essay with my thoughts on the subject and my remaining curiosity, which reads, “My overwhelming speculation remains; what motivates a person to blow the whistle amid so much responding turmoil?”
Experiences with House of Prayer
In my interviews with two whistleblowers very close to my work, I asked questions that would reveal how being a whistle-blower had impacted their lives, both directly and indirectly, also personally versus professionally. Patty Leon is a journalist/investigative reporter, and Arlen Bradeen is a Christian minister, missionary, and author. In the analysis of the interviews of these individuals, who have both exposed the same organization, we will see the similarities and contrasts of their experiences.
My first interview was with Patty Leon, a journalist and investigative reporter for the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville, Georgia. As one of the editors of my book, I was eager to hear Patty’s thoughts on whistle-blowing and to learn about her personal experiences on the subject matter. Patty had conducted some extensive research of her own on the same cult that my husband and I exposed in our book, “House of Prayer/Den of Thieves.”
After several articles published about this church-turned cult, Patty describes the harassment she endured in response to those articles as she writes, “As for the consequences, the church officials like Robertson and Derby would occasionally park outside my house. I guess they thought it would intimidate me into not writing any more stories, but I just ignored it. Or on occasion, I would walk right up to them with my dogs and they would take off” (Leon 2020). Below, are some of the weird emails that Patty had received from House of Prayer minister, Jeff Derby, who frequently stalks former members on social media.
(Photos of emails sent to Patty after articles published in the local newspaper)
Patty was not the only target of House of Prayer’s corporate stalking efforts. Many other protestors and people exposing this organization have received threatening emails/text messages, cult members driving by and sitting outside our homes. I personally, have been video-recorded and photographed by members whenever I am out in public. Recent visitors at House of Prayer have reported seeing pictures of my husband and me hanging up in the fellowship hall of the church.
With candor and integrity being an important part of Patty’s job and her courageous character, she expresses the “obligation” and the importance of standing up for what is right, despite these attempts made to intimidate her.
Patty takes the time to explain the importance of “right[ing] a wrong” when she writes, “Churches are powerful as they are extremely protected and can pretty much do what they want with little to no consequences at times. It is important to at least expose what is really happening so folks can see through their smoke screens. The church leaders and Rony Denis are in this for the money and power and that has nothing to do with loving God” (Leon 2020). No attempts by the cult leaders to intimidate Patty have silenced her conviction nor slowed down her efforts. Even in her bold articles and search for the truth, Patty admits that she only regrets not having enough solid evidence to stop this organization’s deceitful practices.