Disclaimer: The following article is an excerpt from the book, House of Prayer/Den of Thieves, about how this cult targets, controls, and exploits soldiers and veterans. Some names have been changed while others were removed for the publication of this memoir.
Target Mission: Recruiting Soldiers
It was no coincidence that all churches were located immediately outside of a military installation. Soldiers have always been a target for Jimmy, as they would be one of his most profitable schemes. With a consistent income and many other benefits, Jimmy sought every way possible to squeeze more profit from soldiers. Aside from a guaranteed portion of their income through tithes and offering, Jimmy found a way to collect their education benefits by inflating the tuition costs of the unaccredited Bible seminary. With no definitive graduation date, he could completely exhaust each soldier’s education benefits, leaving them with no accredited degree and nothing to show for their time in school. While attending the seminary would gain them rank within the church, their time spent in seminary meant nothing if they left the organization.
Not only were soldiers financially profitable, but Jimmy proclaimed that they were easy to control. He often made remarks about a “good soldier following orders,” and even used military tactics to gain more control. Aside from control and getting them to follow orders, there is another side of soldiers that is rarely discussed with the general public. I want to enlighten you on how Jimmy may possibly be morally exploiting our soldiers and veterans. In the testimony following this chapter, my co-author introduces a theory that will possibly explain why a lot of ministers will take the fall and be punished for Jimmy’s deeds.
Jimmy daily sent out members of the church to go on each military post to seek out and recruit soldiers to join. With the military-like structure of the church, it was easy to attract young GIs. The servicemen’s home was a place that the soldiers could stay, which meant that all of their free time outside of duty hours was spent with the church. Our growth seemed exponential in the beginning with a large majority of our congregation being active-duty soldiers and retired veterans.
PsyOps: Moral Expoitation
How is it even possible for Jimmy to prey on our nation’s toughest warriors? It may be hard to imagine that our soldiers, who are conditioned instruments of war, can be so vulnerable as to be taken advantage of by, in my personal opinion, a dishonorable man who is grossly deficient of candor and integrity. In an article written by Michael Robillard and Bradley J. Strawser (http://stockholmcentre.org/are-soldiers-morally-exploited/), they reveal a topic that is rarely discussed by veterans unless they are amongst other veterans. They write, “When on the battlefield, there are difficult missions in which some soldiers are morally required to commit ‘wrongs’ in service, such as times where it may be necessary to cause the collateral deaths of other human beings in order to wage a justified war, creating a stain in their moral ledger.” I like to refer to this as the “burdens of combat.” The article continues, “This transgression of their own moral code usually results in significant emotional and mental injury.” This can cause feelings of guilt and nightmares of their trauma.
While the obvious reason of exploitation may be that soldiers are trained to follow, thus “easy to control,” soldiers who incur “moral residue” or “dirty hands” in combat, may be desirable to a malicious coward with evil intentions, but too afraid to get his own hands dirty. This creates a new, yet interesting twist to moral exploitation and an alliance so insidious, that a soldier or veteran who loyally maintains this bond, may be completely unaware of this manipulation as it is happening.
For anyone who has had personal encounters with this particular cult, I encourage you to take a look at Jimmy’s closest followers and members of his leadership team, and I want you to ask yourself, “How many of these people are combat veterans?” These soldiers and veterans could be in a position to be blamed for Jimmy’s actions and will likely go down before Jimmy does. Jimmy will use their guilt borne from combat or other traumatic breaches of their personal morals, to keep them exactly where he wants them and essentially able to keep his own name completely clear.
There is no better time than now to call out the elephant in the room. I have often speculated about Jimmy’s number one man, and head of the cult’s business operations. I personally witnessed some of his sketchy business practices that have left me with concerns about the condition of his heart. I often wondered what his experience was that pushed him far beyond his moral boundaries. Whatever that experience may have been, it was significant enough to transform a young, sincere Christian soldier into the cold-hearted and morally bankrupt man that you see today.
We all have our own scars from this unique type of injury. This is what makes us soldiers. There may be a few cult members who are not veterans, nor have they been in combat, yet they too suffer from a traumatic breach of their moral code through their sacrificial service to a cult leader who beats them down consistently.
Jimmy has surrounded himself with soldiers and veterans who willingly carry his burdens while he exploits them for labor, handling his dirty work, and financial gain. I was invited to House of Prayer shortly after completing two combat tours in Iraq. With an exceptional amount of numbness and detachment, I was desperately seeking the Lord for counsel, forgiveness, and to do whatever I could for the cause of Christ who rescued me. At some point in that search for God, House of Prayer found me, a soldier deeply stained by the burdens of combat. I can only qualify this theory of moral exploitation by my own experiences and painful revelations about the previously hardened condition of my wounded heart. There is no case so severe that the Lord is not able to mend. In order to heal, we must do the hardest thing in the world to do, which is to face ourselves.
By Loistene Abigail Bradeen
US Army- Retired