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Offline Oscar

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Teen Mania's Honor Academy boot-camp
« on: November 07, 2011, 03:36:53 AM »
We are in the process of finding more sources about this boot camp:

Teen Mania Says Boot Camp Revamped, But Critics Liken Program To Cult
By REBECCA HOEFFNER, Tylerpaper, November 05, 2011


Chris Lindsay was apprehensive entering Teen Mania's Honor Academy boot-camp program in Garden Valley in 2010.

“I had heard the stories even before I went to the Honor Academy,” he said of the program staged on property near Lindale.

Patterned after military boot camps, the four-day event — Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime, or ESOAL — is geared to bring participants to a breaking point through physical exercise, so theoretically they can learn to trust God and control their actions during extreme stress.

Lindsay, a student at Cornell University in Pittsburgh, Pa., called it “the greatest memory” of his time at the organization.

“It was one of the hardest things I did in my life,” said Lindsay, who was 19 at the time. “Every day there’s an application for the things I learned.”

Not every participant’s experience was positive. Some say they were physically pushed too far, that leaders were too confrontational and that injuries were too common.

One alumnus started a website critical of Honor Academy. Although she did not go through ESOAL, she claims her Honor Academy experience caused her to question her Christianity and become depressed. One couple likened Honor Academy to a cult.


After the criticism and concerns, Teen Mania formed a committee of medical professionals, a social worker and a local youth minister to examine ESOAL. The committee recommended medical training for staff members who oversee the event, keeping a medical professional on site and giving participants a physical exam before taking part in the physically demanding experience.

“We listen to our alumni,” said David Hasz, executive director of the Honor Academy. “We've learned from others. That's the reason we changed from ESOAL. We're thankful for their feedback. We were able to make the event better.”

The revamped event is called “Physical, Emotional and Relational Learning,” or PEARL.

“Comparing ESOAL to PEARL would be like comparing baseball to cricket,” Hasz said. “They both use bats and balls, but they're different games.”

With both PEARL and its predecessor, young interns are expected to work as group and under the eye of “coaches” to complete a series of grueling physical and mental exercises while receiving very little sleep. Activities include carrying logs, pushups and running. Mental exercises require keeping track of detailed instructions and math to complete an activity.

When an exhausted or over-stressed intern snaps or wants to quit, a coach intervenes.

“PEARL is an opportunity for interns to practice real emotions,” Hasz said. “It's a role-playing game. It's not like a video game where your character is getting tired.”

Critics say interns were pushed too far in ESOAL.

Hasz said that some leaders adapted too much of a drill sergeant style in ESOAL.

“In the past, we had some people who maybe watched ‘Major Payne' too much,'” Hasz said, referring to a movie.

Hazs said leaders no longer use military titles but are referred to as coach, and the interaction is more life coaching than yelling.

Many Teen Mania interns and staff who participated in ESOAL and now PEARL like the changes.

“ESOAL was more structured in a pushing state, the same as PEARL, but PEARL is more structured to sharpen the mind and engage the heart,” said Jonathan Parrilla, Honor Academy dorm director who participated in ESOAL and served as a PEARL facilitator.

“PEARL has the same structure, but there's more relationship, more counseling,” he said. “It's about controlling your emotions, being strong in adversity and knowing that you're not alone, that there's the Lord and others to build you up when times are hard.”

Interns now also get more sleep. In PEARL, interns get at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep, which wasn't the case with ESOAL, Hasz said.

Another change involves an intern's ability to opt out of the experience.

In the past, interns started and then, if they felt it was too much to bear, rang a bell signaling that they were quitting, a practice called ringing out. Critics say leaders made those who rang out feel guilty or as if they had failed.

Now to participate, interns voluntarily sign up for PEARL. Interns are not required to participate to complete Honor Academy.

However, the practice of ringing out continues.

“In the past, we didn't handle (someone ringing out) well,” Hasz said. “Now we cheer.”

There are two reasons for people to ring out, Hasz said — either for a medical injury or they give up.

“If you're limping, you need to make a wise choice,” he said.

Of 272 participants —interns, and staff and parents of interns — who voluntarily took part in the most recent PEARL, 103 rang out, Hasz said. All were evaluated, as required, at an on-site clinic; 42 visited the clinic with potentially more serious issues, such as feeling faint, sprained ankles or knees, or potential breathing issues.


Two years ago, Teen Mania alumna Micah Marley created a website,, for alumni who were unhappy with their Honor Academy experience. Ms. Marley was an intern in the late '90s. She never went through the ESOAL.

Other alumni who did participate were critical of the event.

“My main concerns with Teen Mania are because of the fact that for the past 15 years various interns from every single year of the Honor Academy have come forward with the exact same concerns about neglect of health and safety issues, condemnation, violation of personal boundaries and a lot of other different things,” she said in a telephone interview. “Every single year, those issues have remained the same, no matter the minor changes that Teen Mania claims to have made.”

Ms. Marley claims, based on an email list, about 200 alumni who have attended Honor Academy “consider themselves recovering.”

“People were like, ‘Oh my gosh, nobody else is talking about this, this makes so much sense' or ‘This is what I went through, please keep posting,'” she said. “It kind of just grew from there.”

Brian Alderidge, 29, intern in 2001 and 2002 and later a facilitator for ESOAL, claims on the site that the experience did “irreparable harm to my young adulthood.” He believes the organization maintains a damaging psychological climate.

Ms. Marley says on the website that Teen Mania taught her that if she couldn't feel God's presence, it must be because of sin in her life. After spending months agonizing over what she could be doing wrong, she left the organization.

“In what can only be called a miraculous divine appointment, shortly after leaving the internship, God provided a way for me to live with a pastor and his family whom I barely knew in another state,” she wrote on the portion of her site titled, “My Recovery.” “I spent countless hours talking with them about my depression stemming from my seeming lack of relationship with God. Why had God left me?

“Why couldn't I sense his presence? I remember over and over, they reassured me that it didn't mean that God had left me. It did not mean He would never speak to me again. In fact, this desert experience was a normal part of Christian life. … They did not teach this at Teen Mania.”

Hasz said that theology — that a lack of God's presence is dependent on sin alone — is “absolutely not” a mindset that he or the organization endorses.

“There's a lot of reasons people might not feel the presence of God in their life, and many, many, many of them are not related to sin whatsoever,” Hasz said. “We all go through dry periods. … I wouldn't blame them on sin whatsoever. I go through dry places that have nothing to do with sin. It's why we don't walk by sight, by what we feel. We walk by faith.”


Doug and Wendy Duncan are former cult members who became anti-cult activists. They met Ms. Marley at a cult-awareness presentation they gave at their church. When Ms. Marley referred several alumni to their group, the Duncans took a closer look at the Honor Academy.

After the Duncans posted an entry about Teen Mania on their website,, they were contacted by Heath Stoner, Honor Academy operations director.

At the invitation of Stoner, the Duncans visited the campus last year. Duncan said Teen Mania referred them to interns who had a positive experience.

“The problem with that is that if you have something like this — not just ESOAL, now PEARL, but really the whole experience of the Honor Academy — if there's a certain number of people who are being seriously impacted in a negative way by the experience, that's an issue, and that doesn't get erased by the fact that some people had a good time,” Duncan said.

Duncan, a licensed professional counselor, called the changes made from ESOAL to PEARL “a bit of a whitewash.”

Ultimately, the Duncans and Hasz disagree.

“People always get in the weeds about ‘How do you define a cult?'” Duncan said. “The central thing is this idea of thought reform. You're going to take somebody and put them through a process that changes their personality. That is the core of a cult.”

Duncan alleged that the psychological effect of Honor Academy and ESOAL remain.

“What happens is, when you put people in a group setting like this and put them through a series of things that give them a little trauma bonding, they go through this whole event together, there's exhaustion, there's sleep deprivation, you put them in a state of heightened suggestibility,” Duncan said.

According to Teen Mania's website, Honor Academy interns spend a week on the campus learning about the organization before they are ever required to commit.

Duncan alleged that teens and their parents don't understand what they're getting into when they commit to a year of service at Teen Mania.

“They get them right up front and hit them with all this stuff about commitment,'” Duncan said. “Then people feel obligated to go through the full year at the Honor Academy or whatever it is, even though in a lot of cases, they're miserable. Of course, when people are miserable or depressed, the nature of the group dynamic is people think it's their own fault, ‘It's because you're not praying enough;' ‘It's because you don't have enough faith;' ‘It's because you're not a good Christian;' ‘If you were like the other Christians around here, you would be happy here in this little paradise that we've set up.' It's the same environment, the same kind of control that cults do.”

Honor Academy leadership maintains PEARL and other exercises are an opportunity for practice.

“Yes, we should turn to the Lord in real life, and if we have opportunities to practice real-life responses, what a great place to do it in a safe environment, like the PEARL,” Hasz said. “That's what so great about playing sports. You get to see what's in your heart. That's why I love playing basketball; it shows me who I am. Does that change my personality? I hope so. I hope I choose to change my personality when the stuff that comes out is not Christ-like.

“The key thing to realize here is, PEARL is not designed to be ‘the event' that will spiritually change them forever,” he said. “It's a small part of the Honor Academy.”
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Offline cmack

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Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 06:23:33 PM » ... under-fire

Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire
Posted: Nov 08, 2011 10:37 AM EST Updated: Nov 08, 2011 10:42 AM EST
By Courtney Friedman - email

TYLER (KYTX) - A national network documentary on East Texas based Christian youth organization Teen Mania, claims parts of the program are too extreme.

The organization has come under fire before for it's unique programs, but the program's Executive Vice President David Hasz believes Teen Mania is often misunderstood.

He says, it's all about the big picture, and putting things into context.

Hasz says, "We have had young people voice concerns over the years in the Honor Academy. We listen to those concerns, we take that feedback very seriously."

Hasz says more than 6,000 teenagers have completed the Honor Academy, a one year internship program that includes weekend retreats.

These retreats feature activities related to a traditional boot camp, and are the target of controversy.

Hasz says, "It's optional. Young people these days like to get involved. They like to do a mud run or do the edgy stuff. but interns do not have to participate."

Hasz says they are continually evaluating their programs with input from both people in Teen Mania, and people in the community to form the Honor Academy.

David Hasz says Teen Mania has tried to contact the girls who spoke against them in the documentary, but he says they did not get a response.  

People like Lindale parent Tommy Roden have heard negative things about Teen Mania.

"That it's cult-like, and it's a little extreme compared to the other youth organizations around, and me personally, my kids wouldn't be involved in that."

He says it's a matter of opinion, but he does know people who are involved in the organization.

"I've worked with a couple people that are high in Teen Mania," he says, "and they talk nothing but good about it."

He says regardless of what he's heard, the documentary should have been more balanced.

"I think you should hear both sides of the story too. You can't just judge on what you hear."

Others have also heard mixed opinions about teen mania.

Tylerite Michelle Baetz says, "I've heard things that kind of relate it to a cult and I've also heard from people that they do a lot of good work and that it's a good organization."

Baetz says when it comes to big religious groups, there's bound to be controversy.

"I think with any religious organization that requires so much commitment, which I think that this organization does, that there's going to be talk."

That's something Hasz agrees with.

"There are individuals over the years who have said, 'You guys are crazy, and why are you like that?' I really don't think they understand that we believe this is who God has called us to be."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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Comments: ""Teen Mania Says Boot Camp Revamped..."
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 09:41:44 PM »
Comments left for the above article in the OP, "Teen Mania Says Boot Camp Revamped, But Critics Liken Program To Cult" (by Rebecca Hoeffner; November 05, 2011; Tyler Morning Telegraph):

Howard Dale Beggs · University of Tulsa · Saturday at 10:12am
    All religions are cults!
    Susan Michelle Tyrrell · Texas A&M ·
      That's like saying all people named Howard are ignorant.
    Howard Dale Beggs · University of Tulsa · Sunday at 2:36pm
      Susan, you could be right, but at least I won't have to spend eternity with bible-thumpers like you.
    Heath Stoner · Staff Member at Honor Academy at Teen Mania Ministries · Saturday at 4:01pm
      If you would like to see video's from the recent PEARL event that occurred 7 weeks ago, please check out the video's below. There were a number of parent's that participated and watch the event. If you would like to come and see the event next year, please contact us at Teen Mania so we can give you the dates for 2012.[/list]
    Brian Aldridge · IT Specialist at CareTech Solutions · Saturday at 10:34pm
      you spelled my name wrong.
      Shannon Nelson · Saint Paul, Minnesota · Sunday at 3:54pm
        Brian, I'm so glad to see how much you have healed in the past few years. God bless you.
      Steve Hazen · Garland, Texas · Sunday at 1:05pm
        A per-requisite for becoming a Christian is that we become aware of being sinners. There is no group or boot camp that will force that sinfulness out of us. What happens to these young ones that never come to grips with the reality of being forgiven for being a sinner. There are no amount of push-ups that replace the grace of God in Christ Jesus. I my view this is dangerous...
        Shannon Nelson · Saint Paul, Minnesota · Sunday at 3:51pm
          ou are right on, Steve. We need to focus on Christ and His life-saving Grace.
        David S. Holder · Dallas, Texas · Sunday at 3:32pm
          Duncan's observations are eye opening. Mind manipulation is a real and serious danager no matter how it is vailed- Hoeffner has written a fair piece here and should be applauded for bring about an alternate view-
        Shannon Nelson · Saint Paul, Minnesota · Sunday at 3:46pm
          Unfortunately the rest of my Honor Academy was full of the same lessons as the original ESOAL. And this story didn't touch on the Gauntlet, which IS required and breaks you down emotionally and physically the first week you're there. I believe I was brainwashed into believing the harder I pushed my body, the more I would prove I wanted and deserved to be there. There was all sorts of abuse going on throughout the course of the program, but many of us don't realize it was happening until our time there was over.
        Kristie Kittok · Admin Asst at Think Eternity · 2 hours ago
          As a parent of an intern, I have witnessed a beautiful atmosphere there on Teen Mania campus. The interns are polite and cheerful, and enthusiastic. My daughter has had an amazing experience as part of the Center for Creative Media, and recommends the programs to others. She is a month from graduating. I am sorry for the sour experience Ms Marley has had, but glad that she has had a new outlook personally. The Lord puts people in our paths who are the help we need. But she is attempting to tear down the works of God in the lives of others. I hope she becomes aware of that, and moves on. This ministry does NOT fit the description of a cult!

        ©2011 Morning Telegraph
        410 W. Erwin St., Tyler, Texas 75702
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Ursus

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        Re: Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire
        « Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 10:39:45 PM »
        From that second article above, posted by cmack, "Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire":

          "I've worked with a couple people that are high in Teen Mania," [Lindale parent Tommy Roden] says, "and they talk nothing but good about it."[/list]

          Probably not the best choice of words, when refering to upper or middle management in Teen Mania... :D
          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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          Offline Ursus

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          Comments: "Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire"
          « Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 11:28:49 PM »
          19·KYTX - tv
          Comment left for the second above article, "Reaction after Teen Mania comes under fire" (by Courtney Friedman; Nov 08, 2011; KYTX):

          Anne777 · 8 hours ago
            My daughter went through teen mania's honor academy and came out a different, better person. She voluntarily participated in the "boot camp" weekend retreat and although it was extremely challenging, she loved it. She did have some minor injuries but life beats us up pretty good and the boot camp teaches these kids how to be tougher and stronger in the face of life's very difficult challenges. She is a different person altogether because of Teen Mania. She is one tough cookie and I know when I am gone, she will continue to do well, grow, and be a great servant to mankind. What that program did for her transformed her completely, and no one can ever take that away from her. Some kids just aren't up to the challenge. And that is ok, too. I won't say I didn't worry about my daughter that weekend, but all went well. And she FINISHED the course!

          All content © Copyright 2004 - 2011, WorldNow and KYTX, Owned and Operated by London Broadcasting Company.
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          Offline Froderik

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          Re: Teen Mania's Honor Academy boot-camp
          « Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 09:22:16 AM »
          "Teen Mania"?

          Any parent who would send their kid to this place based on the name alone is a whack-job.

          At best, Teen Mania sounds like the name of some band...sheesh..

          People really are fucking STU-PID.   :twofinger:  :suicide:
          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

          Offline cmack

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          Re: Teen Mania's Honor Academy boot-camp
          « Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 10:39:42 AM »
          Teen Mania is an evangelical Christian ministry.

          It's the kind of belief system and culture I grew up in. As a college student I drifted away from church. I was involved in the normal social scene on campus and at some point began to feel guilty. I visited the Baptist Student Union a few times, but the students there were so tightly enmeshed with each other and cliquish that I don't think anyone ever even spoke to me. So at one point I saw this new guy on campus from Campus Crusade. He was a minister/missonary, around 30 years old. He was trying to start a new ministry on campus. I stopped by his table in the student center one day where he was handing out info. and agreed to sit down and talk with him. It was like a high pressure sales job. I'm not really much of a joiner and his tactics made me feel uncomfortable, but I gave him my phone number and agreed to speak with him again later.

          Not long after he contacted me at my frat house and really put the pressure on. I guess he thought I was already more committed to his cause than I was. This was only the second or third time I had ever talked to the guy and he was trying to get me to commit to large amounts of time with his group and to get him an in at my fraternity where he could recruit more people.

          His tactics made me very uncomfortable and reminded me of a cult. I broke off contact with the guy and confined my Christian service/growth to the occasional Sunday morning church service when I went home to visit my parents.

          Teen Mania seems even more intense. I know/knew a lot of people like this. They can justify just about any abuse in the name of serving Jesus and the young are very vulnerable and naive.

          Teen Mania seems to run largely off the free/slave labor of young people who volunteer a year of their lives thinking they are serving Jesus. Oh, they have to pay for the privilege:

          The Honor Academy is an internship program for high school graduates and college students. Honor Academy interns perform most of the day-to-day functions of the different ministry programs through ministry placements. First year interns are often referred to as Undergraduates. Undergraduates that decide to return for an additional year or more are referred to as Graduate Interns. Key areas of the Honor Academy include, Ministry Placements, Weekend Retreats, Classes, and Extra-Curricular Activities. In order to participate in the Honor Academy, individuals must raise their own financial support, which ranges from $650 to $850 per month depending on the specific program. These funds are a tax-deductible contribution directly to the ministry and are non-refundable.[9]

 ... early.html

          If You Leave the Honor Academy Early....
          2/09/2011  Recovering Alumni  97 comments

          Then God Hates You.

          Well, at least thats what Dave Hasz teaches.

          And I have proof.

          Within their first week on campus, every new intern sits through a teaching given by David Hasz about the importance of keeping your commitment. This teaching is designed to get interns to commit to staying at the Honor Academy for a full year. After all, if interns are allowed to leave whenever they want to, then Teen Mania no longer has a dependable work force and its operations would be seriously hampered.

          Of course, that is not the way its presented to the interns. They are told that if they leave the Honor Academy before their full year is up, their ability to be successful in life will be severely hindered and that even their future marriage is probably doomed since they presumably can't keep a commitment. They are also told that they will be out of God's will and therefore disobedient and rebellious. If you've never been to the HA, that might sound unconvincing or even trivial. But let me tell you, it is CONSTANTLY hammered into your brain by all levels of leadership to the point that most interns won't even entertain the thought of leaving for fear of sinning against God.

 ... -pt-1.html

          This Ethics and Leadership class gives a great glimpse of the true nature of the Honor Academy. You will see just how the interns are primed to accept the absolute control fo the HA leadership.

 ... -bond.html

          Former interns will recognize the title of this post instantly. "Our Word is Our Bond" is a teaching given during Gauntlet week (your first week at the Honor Academy). During this sermon, the interns are taught to keep their word no matter what. They are counseled that things may come up to try to distract them from their commitments, but a truly Godly person will not go back on their word no matter what comes up. The not so subtle implication is that interns should not quit the Honor Academy, because if they do they are breaking their word and are therefore in sin. This is a HUGE reason that many people stay at the Honor Academy even when they want to leave - the guilt over "sinning against the Lord" by breaking their word is too horrible to contemplate. And so they stay.

          This what was said about the boot camp:

 ... crack.html

          Are They on Crack??
          9/02/2009  Recovering Alumni  38 comments

          That's pretty much what I think of every time I hear about ESOAL. For those of you who are unitiated, ESOAL stands for Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime. The interns call it "torture camp" for short. In reality, it should probably be called EABTNG or Emotionally Abusive Brainwashing and Torture in the Name of God.

          Am I being too harsh here? After all, surely they wouldn't actually torture innocent kids who are paying to be there and who trust their every word. If torture was going on, surely the news and police would be all over them. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

          I am here to unequivocally state that ESOAL uses well known brainwashing techniques including:

          - Verbal Abuse
          - Sleep Deprivation
          - Fatigue
          - Restricted Diet
          - Excessive exact repetition of routine activities
          - Dehumanizing of individuals by keeping them in filth
          - Assault on identity
          - Guilt
          - Self-betrayal
          - Breaking point
          - Compulsion to confess
          - Chanting and repetitive Music

          Even without understanding the science and pyschology behind these brainwashing techniques, where in Scripture do we see Christ using any of these practices on his followers? Clearly, Scripture says we will be persecuted. Nearly all of the disciples were martyrs. But they didn't go looking for it. They didn't practice on each other. This is something that is never endorsed or commanded by Jesus. He said to love one another, think the best of one another, forgive and care for one another.

          Forcing people to roll endlessly down vomit covered hills, depriving them of food and sleep, continously hurling insults and verbal abuse at them - I don't see how any of this behavior is even remotely justifiably by Jesus nature or Scripture.

          My Teen Mania Experience

          life at the Honor Academy and beyond

          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

          Offline Ursus

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          msnbc's "Mind Over Mania"
          « Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 02:38:10 PM »
          From the above article:

            TYLER (KYTX) - A national network documentary on East Texas based Christian youth organization Teen Mania, claims parts of the program are too extreme.[/list][/size]
            -> That would be MSNBC's "Mind Over Mania," which aired about a week ago. According to the stats on that link, over 10,000 online views already...
            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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            Offline Ursus

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            MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses
            « Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 03:24:21 PM »
            From the below blog entry:

              ...At this time, MSNBC does not have plans to air the show online so please set your DVRs accordingly.[/list]

              Apparently, MSNBC revised those plans? See my just above post for link...

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              My Teen Mania Experience
              life at the Honor Academy and beyond

              MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses
              11/01/2011  Recovering Alumni

              This Sunday night at 10pm/9pm Central MSNBC will air the premiere of their new show, "Mind Over Mania" which documents the lives and struggles of Honor Academy survivors. Earlier this year, cameras followed myself and several other alumni as we attended a weekend cult recovery workshop led by Doug and Wendy Duncan. The Duncans are experts in cult recovery and are former cult members themselves. I was acquainted with Doug and Wendy prior to this weekend workshop and had discussed my recovery with them in bits and pieces but they really didn't know that much about Teen Mania.

              Until completing this workshop, I never felt comfortable calling Teen Mania a cult - instead preferring the term "cult-like." I couldn't bring myself to use that very explosive and loaded label. However, after going through the entire weekend and discussing every aspect of what makes a cult - I changed my mind and I think the other participants did as well. As we discussed Robert Lifton's 8 criteria for mind control, it was startling to see that Teen Mania's Honor Academy actually had every single one in spades.

              I haven't been privy to any of the footage from this show, including the final edit. I can only hope that its a fair representation of what Honor Academy interns have gone through during their struggle to recover from the abuse at Teen Mania. Of course, there is no way a one hour program can cover everything but I hope its a good introduction to the dangers of the Honor Academy. I do know that Teen Mania senior leadership was also interviewed for the show and that the crew spent several hours on campus.

              At this time, MSNBC does not have plans to air the show online so please set your DVRs accordingly.

              Posted in: msnbc expose
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              Offline Ursus

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              Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
              « Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 10:39:28 PM »
              There are some amazing comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), especially once you get further into it. Here are comment #s 1-20:

              Nunquam Honorablus says: November 1, 2011 9:21 AM
                YESS SO EXCITED

                My only question- is the series itself called "The Exit"? The 10PM slot on their website has it labeled as "Mind Over Mania". Is that just the name of the episode?

                EITHER WAY, this is exciting stuff. Thanks for sharing!
              Carol says: November 1, 2011 9:21 AM
                Just FYI - I had to search for "Mind Over Mania" on my DVR in order to find it. I couldn't find it under "The Exit". Can't wait to watch.
              Eric says: November 1, 2011 9:28 AM
                Awesome news. I do hope there's some plan to get the footage or at least clips online some way for those of us who don't have cable.
              Ben says: November 1, 2011 9:37 AM
                Awww, no cable :( But that's great news!
              Recovering Alumni says: November 1, 2011 10:22 AM
                You guys are right - looks like they changed the name. Too bad - I liked the other name better. I've updated the post accordingly!
              Maurice Moss says: November 1, 2011 10:31 AM
                Awesome! I can't wait!

                Do you think someone can record it and upload it? I don't think I will be able to watch it live...
              Carrie Dickson says: November 1, 2011 10:49 AM
                RA~ I'm so proud of you. It still pains me to call TM a cult. It still pains me that I have lost friends in the process of my recovery. It still pains me that kids are still going to TM, hoping to grow closer to God and are turned into Honor Academy-zombies. No matter how MSNBC edits this show, I know that your heart in all of this has always been to love, protect, and create a safe community for alumni who have been brave enough to take on their healing.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 10:50 AM
                it would be great if someone could upload it!
              Gorian says: November 1, 2011 11:14 AM
                I also would love to see it, and don't have the option to watch it live
     says: November 1, 2011 11:53 AM
                I have noticed this theme... a lot of us can not watch it, is there anyway that is can be taped and perhaps uploaded to youtube? I am not sure about what is legal and what isn't :(
              Thinks A Lot says: November 1, 2011 12:22 PM
                WOW! Awesome!!
              Ricky Bobby says: November 1, 2011 1:18 PM
                I'm agreed on the uploading of the show to the inter-webs.
                I don't have a TV, but if its online I'd watch it.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 1:30 PM
                Wow you guys will belive anything the media puts on. The "cult expert" never even went to teen mania and the blogger who started this pack of lies never went through E.S.O.A.L
              Eric says: November 1, 2011 2:10 PM
                And to think that all this time, I thought objectivity was a valuable quality in an expert researcher. Who knew?

                If you like it when people lie to the media, you'll love
              Dave Hasz's many lies to the media![/list]
              That redheaded one says: November 1, 2011 2:13 PM
                FYI I think most MSNBC Documentaries go up on Hulu within a week of first airing (Not 100 percent on that but I am pretty sure)
              Nunquam Honorablus says: November 1, 2011 2:14 PM

                Saying "The "cult expert" never even went to teen mania", is like saying "this internationally renown doctor who can treat and diagnose cancer never went through chemo".

                Also LOL ERIC
              Ricky Bobby says: November 1, 2011 2:19 PM
                It seems as though this site offers a live stream of MSNBC.

              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 3:34 PM
              Maurice Moss says: November 1, 2011 3:53 PM
                To Anon @ 1:30pm

                Thank you for giving me a good laugh. Brightened up my afternoon! Please, I'm curious, what parts of this web site in particular are part of this "pack of lies"?

                To Anon @ 3:34pm

                Please continue to use all caps and excessive exclamation marks so that you will be taken seriously. As we all know, the louder you type, the more correct you are.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 3:55 PM
                lies lies lies yeah...they're gonna get you!!

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              Offline Ursus

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              Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
              « Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 11:10:36 PM »
              Comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), #s 21-40:

              Nizzle Honorablus says: November 1, 2011 4:07 PM
                Anon 3:55's comment has awoken a song within my spirit...

                HIDE YO DAVES HIDE YO RONS
                HIDE YO DAVES HIDE YO RONS

              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 4:29 PM
                when will ya'll just stop?....this can all just be so damaging...not just to the ministry that is going on but to the kingdom as a whole....i would not want to be held accountable for the kind of damage that you are creating....
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 4:34 PM
                you will know them by there that quiet enough for you. b.t.w there is more than one anonymous on here
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 4:42 PM

                Saying "The "cult expert" never even went to teen mania", is like saying "this internationally renown doctor who can treat and diagnose cancer never went through chemo".

                Also LOL ERIC

                That is the stupidest logic i have ever heard. Someone making a judgment ( and proclaiming it to the world) without doing unbiased research is a fraud. Plane and simple. To call yourself an expert and to such a thing is an assault on the standard of truth on which we should make and hold our beliefs.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 4:46 PM
                people on this blog get mad that some of us use "anonymous"...nobody else is using their real name...who is RA?....if you are so proud of your stand in this situation then make it known...what is your real name?
              Nunquam Honorablus says: November 1, 2011 4:50 PM
                Hold up.

              "cult expert" never even went to teen mania and the blogger who started this pack of lies never went through E.S.O.A.L"

              AND THEN

              "That is the stupidest logic i have ever heard. Someone making a judgment ( and proclaiming it to the world) without doing unbiased research is a fraud."

              That aside, do you even know who the Duncans are? I'd research a bit more before crying wolf at anything that doesn't suck Teen Mania's dick.

              Just sayin'.[/list]
              ambre says: November 1, 2011 4:52 PM

                I hope that any exposure of TMM will evoke skepticism in those who would have participated in or supported their "ministry". So excited to see this.
              Maurice Moss says: November 1, 2011 5:00 PM
                I don't think anyone cares whether you use your real name or not. Rather, we'd prefer you simply choose a name (real or fake) to make discussion easier. It's a lot more complicated to carry a conversation with five different people all posting as "Anonymous" because it's hard to know who is who, and hard to specify between different Anons. Even if you gave yourself a name like "banana" or "4" or "Sir Brigadier General Arthur C. Cunningham III, Esq." that would make things much better.

                Also (at the risk of invoking Muphry's Law), do yourselves a favor and use proper grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. You'll be taken a lot more seriously that way.

                Finally, RA's name is publicly available. She revealed herself a long time ago. Her picture is in this very post.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 5:07 PM
                So that is her at the top. Please direct me where to find her name
              Recovering Alumni says: November 1, 2011 5:18 PM
                My name is here:
              Eric says: November 1, 2011 5:19 PM
                Anon: "i would not want to be held accountable for the kind of damage that you are creating...."

                Would you prefer to be held accountable for
              this kind of damage?

              A wise person once said, "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." I oppose the teachings of cults like Teen Mania because I want to see more people believe in the truth of the Gospel, which the false teachings of legalism and works-based righteousness marginalize. I've talked to some HA alumni to whom I've had to explain the Gospel for the very first time. That's not good fruit.

              If we really should "make and hold our beliefs on a standard of truth," (or was that the other anon?) then we should support people who tell the truth about what they experienced at Honor Academy. As puts it, "Legitimate groups have nothing to fear from their members reading critical information about them."

              Maurice: Darn that Muphry's Law! :-D[/list]
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 5:27 PM
                Suddenly everybody is an expert. Well, I'm an expert at letting GOD be the judge and I'm at expert at saying "Ron, you gonna answer for this" and I'm an expert at saying "run and tell that, HOMEBOY"

                Everybody on this site (and yes, that technically includes ME) needs to look for bigger and better things to do with their lives. Arguing on the internet gets nobody anywhere.
              LizBR says: November 1, 2011 5:32 PM
                Anonymous(es), please do as Maurice Moss says. PICK A NAME! It's impossible to keep you all straight, especially because many of you tend to blend into one blurry ball of Teen Mania supporters.

                The good news is that we can then just imagine that there is one really angry Teen Mania supporter out there, and he or she is the one who comes on here all the time blasting judgment and anger all over the place. Seriously, you're not doing Teen Mania a favor. In a few days, this blog is going to get a TON of traffic, and they will quickly get a picture of the types of commenters here. It won't be hard to see who the jerks are.
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 5:38 PM
                yeah, because jerks don't say things like "suck teenmania's dick"

                no, not at all.

                It thrills me that you all want to control us anons by demanding that we take names.

                nah. we dont' play your games.

                we just like making you mad.

                I really enjoy it personally. has very little to do with TM, actually.
              Nunquam Honorablus is a Tool says: November 1, 2011 5:43 PM
                Oh no way, I own that I'm an asshole.

                And it's not a matter of control- it's a matter of giving you an individual identity, so people don't give a stereotype to everyone who leaves an anonymous comment lol

                And if there's an anon that actually has an engaging point and somebody wants to reply- it's a lot easier to carry on a conversation with "
              [insert name here]" than "anon at [blah blah blah time] when there are like ten anons.[/list]
              LizBR says: November 1, 2011 5:44 PM
                WE DON'T CARE IF YOU STAY ANONYMOUS. That is not the issue. It's just that we can't keep you straight if you all use the same name. Seriously, are you one person who just posted all of those comments? Or multiple people?
              Eric says: November 1, 2011 5:47 PM
                Don't feed the trolls.
              LizBR says: November 1, 2011 5:50 PM
                We need a like button for the site, Eric. :)
              Shannon Kish says: November 1, 2011 6:06 PM
                I use my real name
              Jeremy says: November 1, 2011 6:37 PM
                that's cool, I look forward to watching it! I wonder what is going on over there in tm land. I think they might be worried, why else are all these anons firing at you guys like this?

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              Offline Ursus

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              Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
              « Reply #11 on: November 12, 2011, 12:06:51 AM »
              Comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), #s 41-60:

              Nunquam Honorablus says: November 1, 2011 6:41 PM
                BUT JEREMY


                IF THEY WERE TRULY HONORING GOD THEY WOULDN'T KNOW yeah I can't type like this anymore

                Side note- love the captcha function (:
              Anonymous says: November 1, 2011 6:56 PM
              Wendy J. Duncan says: November 1, 2011 8:22 PM
                Actually, we did meet with Heath and Dave. Afterwards, Heath gave us a tour.
              Umbrellas And Milk says: November 2, 2011 12:30 AM
                I will be taping it and hopefully getting it uploaded to youtube. I may even edit some highlights. I may not be able to make the video public for youtube searches - due to copyright for long term viewing - but we can possibly get it up for a week or so for those of you that can't watch it. I'll see what I can do and be in touch with RA. Can't wait to see it.
              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 1:07 AM
                it simply amazes me how you all get away with putting hurtful lies like this out there. you should all repent! just because you did not want to follow the rules or even if you just simply dont agree with what they teach does NOT make them a cult!! the teens are free to leave any time they want from the beginning of their internship till the end of it! they are free to make phone calls anytime they want and have internet available. they are also allowed to have guests n parents are always welcome anytime they all need to leave them alone n find something better to do with your time!! oh n i was gonna put a name but chose not to just because you are all trying to demand us give one. n i am not the other anon's that have posted. actually this is my first post. i have been hear n read this junk many times and have kept quiet but i am just sick of it!!! oh n to the person who said TM is worried i seriously doubt that because the have the Lord on their side...why would they ever fear lies?? i would think not! us anon's are here on our own n are just sick of you's posting lies out here like this!!!
              Marie G says: November 2, 2011 1:29 AM
                To anon above ( and the other anon's)...your bad spelling and misuse of proper English makes it hard to read your comments...Dave Hasz would be so disappointed in your lack of excellence.

                Also, it cuts both ways...Ron, Dave and Heath will also stand before the Lord someday and answer for their actions. I also echo/agree with what Eric said above.
              Lyndsay W says: November 2, 2011 2:17 AM
                I will definitely be recording this. It certainly grieves me that so many people have felt so wronged by Teen Mania, and they feel it deserves the title of "cult" (I by no means agree with this title). I do have friends (even roommates) who truly felt wronged at TM and I walked through some tough stuff with them as a result. I personally did not have a negative experience there overall, and neither did most of my friends who attended the Honor Academy. Of course there were things I disagreed with, and leadership I disagreed with, and even some personal hurt that I endured, but that happens in every place and every season of life. While I was there, I just learned how to deal with it like an adult. I also learned how to depend on God and not to idolize a person or a place. Through what some people called "legalism" at Teen Mania (and yes, there definitely was some), I saw the heart behind it was discipline, and that's what I took away from it. I could go on and on, as could probably anyone of you posting here. I by no means mean to diminish anyone else's sincere pain. I just want to offer that there is another side - one that actually shows that the HA made a positive impact on a lot of people, including myself.

                I hope this documentary, before it offers a conclusion that Teen Mania is a "cult", fairly explores both sides, as there are always 2 sides to every story.
              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 2:54 AM
                Marie the mere fact that you sit there n pick apart someone "proper english or spelling" proves that your heart is not right. you could understand completely what i was saying even with the typos. that was a very juvenile comment. and i could care less who likes it or who doesnt what i care about is the truth and the mess you all are putting on here simply is just not true!! i will certainly be praying for all of you cause you are all going down a very dangerous road with satan. lies are of the devil just saying. HA is not a cult n to call it one is a lie!!!
              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 3:58 AM
                You people do need all the help you can get you all are a cult in it self. Sick and sorry..what a shame.
              DfromHawai'i says: November 2, 2011 4:26 AM
                Almost anything in life has potential to be scarring or damaging - middle school, military, sports, or a karaoke contest. People exist that need therapy for involvement in all of the above. I went through the HA for 1.5 years and got ejected with my tail between my legs. Tough...yeah. Unfair...incredibly so at the time. I reevaluated my approach to this narrow path less traveled and came back a second time using the HA as a hammer to bang out my personal goals and issues instead of as an engine to push me through to the promised land. I wasn't a model intern, and I probably skirted the fine line more often than not. In the end, you make the bed that you sleep in, and I picked my own path that saw me through the HA. Anytime you totally throw your trust and devotion on to another person or program, you will be hurt and crushed. At no point did I feel REQUIRED to do that while in the HA. Maybe it was intimated at by shortsighted 'minor' leaders (ie. not Hasz or above), but I flat out never gave it and experienced no real repercussions as a result.

                I guarantee the HA isn't perfect, but it has undeniably 'worked' for myself and many others. All the pain and resentment expressed here is rather new to me, but I am not surprised. Until TMM only hires perfect people and only accepts perfect interns, there will continue to be disappointment and hurt. I truly am sorry for those who have experienced hurt - perhaps some of it by my actions since I was at one point somewhere in the leadership chain. For myself none of it was intentional, but all of it was human. Pain is real, and it can come from unexpected places. Hurt, grieve, heal... that's your birthright as a human – natural as the rain and as sure as the sun. Since my time at the HA I've also seen incredible human mismanagement while being involved in both the educational and banking systems. There are teachers who ruin student's learning potential while trying to teach, and there are bankers who ruin client's lives while trying to help manage. Let's not get started on how many well-meaning, well-trained parents end up committing atrocious parenting errors and turn out crummy kids. Programs are not machines; humans are not machines. Expecting everyone to come out of the HA with flying colors is as ridiculous as claiming that all who leave are scarred. I'm not excusing; I'm just saying. ;)

                Having personally experienced a true 'cult,' the attempts to compare TMM with twisted societies like that are... flimsy. Ron Luce never demanded unquestioning loyalty and devotion from me, and I never volunteered it. Anyone who has a serious conversation with David Hasz from a position of humility will be met in kind and see that he is about as far as you can get from a diabolical sociopath bent on twisting lives. Isolation in a true cult is on a different level than at the HA. They require you to get out and join a local church! If they're striving to maintain a stranglehold on your spiritual pipeline as any decent cult would, allowing a massive influx of 'foreign' spirituality from an off-campus source would be counter productive at the least. Some mind control techniques and cultish criteria can be attributed to the HA in particular, churches in general, and Christianity as a whole – 'saved', inside language, charismatic leadership, etc. If you set out determined to see demons, you'll see one in every shadow and mask the true evils that lurk about.

                Maybe I'm still blinded, although I am 7 years removed from the HA. Or maybe I'm just biased because I ended up scoring a hot wife out of the whole deal which balances out all the other trials (re: Jacob vs. Laban). Perhaps things have changed so much since my time there and a bit of Kool Aid drinking is now going on. I highly doubt that, though, as these grievances seem to date back from the inception of TMM. Either way, I've blown all my hot air on this subject and shall be moving myself and my chattels back off to oblivion.
                I'm not anonymous; I can be found – alumni search Hawai'i.
              bjAm says: November 2, 2011 5:08 AM
                D, you hit it right on brother. I'm pretty sure the given criteria of a 'cult' could have been applied to the stomp group I was a part of in 11th grade. Man we rocked. And I'm certain that the 'church' I became a part of after leaving Teen Mania was a full-blown cult. Like... it really was. And TM set me up for that. For sure. But that's the thing... I went to that church. ME. MY decision. Getting out of it once the shit started smelling... also me. Never once have I tried to say that it was their fault for my discomfort. Cuz, that's just where I was for a while. And then I left. And then I went to counseling. And then I moved on.
                Did Teen Mania create some ripple effects that I can trace back and pin on them. Duh. Was I in an place to be more affected by that because of the life that was lived PREVIOUS to attending the HA? Of course. Am I going to DVR a documentary on the bullies that made me yearn for the safety of a Christian family who told me I was going to rule the world? Sure... if one was on. And I really hope that someone gets this doc. online somehow. Because I'm really interested in what is said. But I have the feeling I'm going to feel greasier after watching it than I do when I think back on my time in Garden Valley. All three years of it.
                Looking back, TM was a blip on the radar of my life. It's laughable the things I was so adamant about back then compared to the person I am now. And I would imagine that ten years from now, I'll have another good chuckle at the man I think I am today. WE WERE 18 YEARS OLD YOU GUYS! Of course we're scarred. Who isn't? But that's the shit you stand on, no matter where you come from.
                Ultimately though, I LOVE the people that I know to this day because of my time there. A decade later. And that is worth all the cult-dealings that I had to power through to find them. Meat from the bones my friends.
                Plus, I got to dance on stage a lot. So that was cool.
              DfromHawai'i says: November 2, 2011 6:03 AM
                I danced on that stage once WITHOUT a shirt on. Adore me now.
              bjAm says: November 2, 2011 6:32 AM
                ... and as long as we're all here putting it on the table, shouldn't there be SOMETHING said about the God that apparently 'called' us all to this place? Like, shouldn't SOME accountability be required from the entity that 'led' us to Garden Valley to begin with?
                Because either you heard the voice of God wrong, or there was a reason for what you endured.
                Whether we were 'misled' by our HA Mobilizers (of which I was one) or whether ya fell for the BS once you were there, you can only put so much blame on the leadership of the institution when your heavenly Father duped you into signing on in the first place.
              Eric says: November 2, 2011 8:00 AM
                I think somebody needs a refresher on this site's
              comment policy....

              The line of thinking above is an unmistakable symptom of Teen Mania's cultic and abusive behavior. "Sure, we were scarred and hurt and traumatized and injured at Teen Mania, but c'mon, who wasn't?" Don't you see? They've got you thinking that it was OK for them to hurt you. That is what cults do. These comments prove, as clearly as any documentary, that Honor Academy is destructive, abusive, and cultic. If TM was really so great, no one would have to take that line of defense for it.

              Would this line of reasoning be seen as valid in any other context? "Sure, my husband may have knocked me around a bit, but how dare you say he's a wife-beater? He's not as bad as Henry VIII! No man is perfect..." It would be time to intervene and have a serious talk about domestic abuse to anyone who said that. In the same way, all Teen Mania alumni need a wake-up call to the fact that they have been spiritually abused-- a fact that the above comments prove.

              Your attempts to justify this kind of abusive behavior in the name of God are no doubt a big part of the reason that many former HA alumni are now atheists. Why believe in a God who approves of abuse? Read Matthew 23 to see what Jesus really says about harmful religious leaders.[/list]
              littlegraygirl says: November 2, 2011 8:30 AM
                THANK YOU, Lindsay W, DfromHawai'i, and bjAm, for your thoughtful comments and respectful tone. :) Welcome to the RA site. I think you've made some good points (though I disagree with most of them), and you've definitely caused me to think. The pro-TM anons could learn something from you guys about presenting their message in a way that is much more likely to be heard and received by their audience...and, you know what, probably some of us could, too. :)
              Jan2001 says: November 2, 2011 8:44 AM
                "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." I think this says it perfectly Eric.

                Like many of the people here I also have very fond memories of my time at the HA. As the years have gone by there are some memories that at the time, never wanting to speak ill of TM, I counted as a "learning opportunity." I have come to realize many of these opportunities were at best graceless and at worst cruel, all done in the name of Jesus, self-improvement, leadership skil building, etc.

                How's this for fruit of the spirit? I know/know of more atheists and agnostics out of a few hundred people that I attended the HA with than the thousands of people I have known in all other social circles combined (high school, work, community.)Many, if not most of these alumni, rejecting their faith directly because of the things they experienced and were taught at TM. That is more than human mismanagement. That is a mismanagement of the gospel.

                Please spare me your "Satan attacks the things he is most afraid of" defense, it's the christian equivalent of saying people don't like me because they're just jealous. It's a cop out to avoid having to do any real self-examination.
              Shiloh says: November 2, 2011 10:33 AM
                I just want T.M. to get called out for the terrible terrible things they are doing and to get shut down in a year.
                (crosses fingers, here's hopin.)

                P.S. Nizzel Honorablus... love it. lol.
              Umbrellas and Milk says: November 2, 2011 11:56 AM
                Teen Mania participants will never portray or allow TMM to be portrayed in a negative light.

                This was a CORE tenant to TMM. It is pure thought control. Its a huge red flag to cult behavior. Remember the commitment ceremony? Remember how we were guilted into the thought that we couldn't leave because we made the commitment no matter what? I certainly do. I remember being terrified of not finishing. Maybe some people didn't take it that way and would have been happy walking out the door at any time - I wish I could have had that attitude - then maybe I would have had more fun - but ultimately there is more going on in the "cult" realm that I think people are willing to admit. Its hard to see something you love in exposed for what it really is. Its sort of like finding out at your parents 25th wedding anniversary party that they have been cheating on each other and a divorce is imminent.
              Lyndsay W. says: November 2, 2011 12:01 PM
                Eric, just a thought on your point: "The line of thinking above is an unmistakable symptom of Teen Mania's cultic and abusive behavior. 'Sure, we were scarred and hurt and traumatized and injured at Teen Mania, but c'mon, who wasn't?' Don't you see? They've got you thinking that it was OK for them to hurt you. That is what cults do."

                Of course BjAm said this, and I can't speak for him, but I may have said something similar. I by no means think that TM would expect me (or anyone) to be OK with having been sincerely injured there. I don't think that was ever their intention (to hurt you or me), and I also don't think it's OK that they did.

                My point in saying this is I think you may have misinterpreted what was being said there, using it to make your point about TM being a cult. I certainly know that I'm not brainwashed into thinking that TM's missteps were excusable simply because "nobody's perfect".
              Thinks A Lot says: November 2, 2011 12:11 PM
                Eric said above, "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."

                I agree.

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              Offline Ursus

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              Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
              « Reply #12 on: November 12, 2011, 01:25:02 AM »
              Comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), #s 61-80:

              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 12:17 PM
                whether you feel you were hurt or not still doesnt make them a cult.
              Anonymous Alumnus says: November 2, 2011 12:39 PM
                Well i think its safe to say that they will probably be showing this on campus to all the interns, GIs & staff.

                Everyday after the KLTV stories on ESOAL, they would gather us in the auditorium and they made sure that we were well aware of what had been going on. The thing in 'Hannah's' story a while back where she was made to stand in front of the entire TM body happened after one of the gatherings.

                I see no reason why they wouldn't show it.
              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 1:08 PM
                I went to Teen Mania's Honor Academy in the year 2003 as an August Intern. I was unable to finish the internship for a few reasons, mainly finances, but I want to share that my experience was not that of a cult. The HA and TM are NOT PERFECT. I can't tell you how many times I would call home and complain about this that and the other thing. In any way that things have changed since I left that may appear as cult-ish, I pray that this is a documentary to help fix the situation and not just tear down. I did leave the HA much closer to God, feeling in AWE of His presence and so happy that He could use any experience that any human goes through for His glory and to bring His children closer to Himself. I had issues with the way the organization ran and I still think there are probably things that need fixing, but to tear down rather than build up, as we have found in many personal experiences of our own is not the way it should happen. Media will use you to get the story across that they want. Please be wise with your words to honor God.
              Steph says: November 2, 2011 1:14 PM
                Is TM a cult because of Theology or Methodology or both?

                Theology: TM shares basically the same theology as most main-steam, evangelical, spirit-filled churches... does this make these churches cults too? In my opinion, no. As far as TM being too focused on "works", so are most humans. When you lose sight of the true gospel (Christ's finished work on the cross) you slip up and use good works to make you feel good. I can see that this was a problem with individuals at TM, but TM never "preached" a work-based salvation. So this can't be grounds for a "cult" title.

                Methodology: Just because it's a para-church ministry with a campus doesn't make it a cult. I spent roughly 3 years at TM and have known Ron since I was a little girl. My only negative experiences at TM were with how individuals wrongly handled things, not the ministry as a whole. When people are hurt by other people, it's usually because they are forgetting the point of the ministry and trying to be a people-pleaser. The thing that makes TM so not a cult is the fact that they value accountability so much. If you bring it up and challenge it, it will be reconsidered and changed. They won't force you to believe what they believe. Again, methodology is not grounds for a "cult" title.

                TM= not a cult.
              Nunquam Honorablus says: November 2, 2011 1:26 PM
                I'd just like to reiterate what I'm sure other people have said in much more elegant ways.

                Good or bad, your personal experience does not directly make the HA a cult. You can still have a great, life-changing, impactful experience at a
              cult. Similarly, if I had a terrible experience in high school, that doesn't make it a cult.

              The methods are whack- I think we can all agree with THAT, to some extent.

              You can't call a swimming pool filled with windex safe because some people come out of it fine.[/list]
              Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 1:27 PM
                you cant break what the lord has put... the honor academy was a blessing to me now im a marine and you think that the honor academy pushed you??? thats nothing. God bless you guys.
              Jan2001 says: November 2, 2011 1:34 PM
                I'm a little bit confused as to the intent of the TM supporters on this site. Are you here to defend the practices of the ministry, deny that the damaging stories ever happened,or diminish their impact on the people of this community because you were able to suck it up and take the hard knocks?

                As an HA alumni who is still not ready to call TM a cult, I have to say, the things said in support of TM officially and unofficially have put more nails in its own coffin than this site ever could. These are serious allegations and you are going to have to do better than "Y'all quit."
              bjAm says: November 2, 2011 2:17 PM
                Eric - sorry you misunderstood my post. hopefully i can clarify.
                to use your analogy of the battered wife, my point was closer to her saying "yes my husband beat me. and he's an ass. and i divorced him. but i am no longer a battered wife. i am a woman who will never be battered again, and i'm living my life as a shining entity separate from that which once was painful.'
                i certainly wouldn't support the mindset of 'so what if they hurt me.' but in all honesty, TM didn't. they were as appropriate or inappropriate as any other body of christ hawking their belief system.
                please believe me when i tell you that i know religious abuse. i've been on the receiving end of horrific practices under the guise of godliness since my time at HA. when dave hasz starts manifesting himself as the incarnation of jesus and telling you that to love him physically is god's special gift to you, i'll join you on the 'cult' bandwagon.
                and not to say that it would need to get to that extreme, obviously, because ALOT of what goes on there is ridiculous. I think we agree on most points there. but to say that participation in a fasting retreat, or choosing to roll down a vomit covered hill, or having to sit through some midnight knighthood ceremony qualifies as cultish victimization because you felt guilty for wanting to quit... eh. i just can't make that stretch.
                would i EVER recommend attending the honor academy to ANYONE i knew? no sir. do i defend the methods they employ to instill the values they promote? certainly not. but it isn't because i think they line up with the the 'cult qualifications' outlined by the Duncans or Robert Lifton's 8 criteria for mind control... at all. (Have you guys read those links? pretty far fetched in terms of TM)
                and my heart absolutely goes out to those who genuinely feel wronged by Teen Mania or any religious body convinced of their ideology. it's definitely a bizarre little campus down there in garden valley. i just hope we're able to move on after the experience and not harbor unnecessary resentment for something that doesn't deserve our angst.
              Eric says: November 2, 2011 2:23 PM
                Lyndsay, fair point. I probably should have specified that the comment was directed more toward BjAm and DfromHawai'i and an Anonymous or two, not yourself. I still maintain there are cultic characteristics in those comments, but I'll freely grant that you have more sensitivity than that.

                However, in my experience with TM (this site, friends' experiences, emails from the leadership, etc.), I have seen that they are actually very dismissive and callous toward anyone who has been sincerely hurt if their hurt would reflect poorly on TM in any way. See this post which documents how the TM leadership treated the hundreds of people who reported their injuries on this blog. Or check on almost all of the True Stories on this blog itself (chock full of accounts of sincere injuries) to find caustic Pro-TM commenters saying variants of, "Why can't you just get over it and move on?"

                The commitment to "never speak ill of HA or allow it to be spoken ill of"-- clearly at the root of a lot of the recent comments-- could be used as a textbook illustration of cult manipulation. To quote HowCultsWork again, "Legitimate groups have nothing to fear from their members reading critical information about them." So why has HA taken such steps to suppress the stories of injured people on this blog? You can't even view this domain on the HA campus. That doesn't seem like a sign of genuine compassion or remorse on the part of the HA leaders.[/list]
                Eric says: November 2, 2011 2:52 PM
                  BjAm-- Thanks for clarifying. It seems your objection is mostly to the term "cult." Fair enough; it's a controversial term at the best of times. My own opinion is, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck..." Because, let's face it, you can find examples of just about every general cult criteria in the stories I've heard from alumni, up to and including Dave Hasz preaching that to disobey him is to disobey God. You don't have to be the Branch Davidians to be a cult.

                  To go back to the "battered wife" analogy, I don't really see any distinction between what's going on at this site and what you describe. Pointing out TM's spiritual malpractice, past and present, is no different at all from saying "My husband beat me and he's an ass and I divorced him." If somebody said "I just hope you're able to move on and not harbor unnecessary resentment" to that, the proper response would certainly be, "I have moved on, which is why I'm able to see the past with such clarity and know that it was more harmful than I thought at the time. And, even though I've healed from it, I'll continue to speak up about his domestic violence, because it will help other victims, maybe even including the poor girl he's currently dating."

                  People who do that are my heroes. People who try to silence their voices out of some misguided concern for "moving on," not so much.[/list]
                  Recovering Alumni says: November 2, 2011 4:15 PM
                    I think its important not to get hung up on the word "cult." Whatever you want to call the Honor Academy, the important thing is to learn about and acknowledge some of the dangerous and unethical pratices that are going on there.
                  Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 5:34 PM
                    I think it's important to delete comments that oppose my views or call my knowledge and abilities into questions.

                    FLIP FLOPS.

                    so, now, TM isn't a cult? JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT!
                  DfromHawai'i says: November 2, 2011 6:03 PM
                    Hmm... Anonymity emboldens small mindedness.

                    That said, cult is a heavy hammer to drop. It's akin to dropping the 'nazi' or 'racist' term - definitely abhorrent, but also a useful label when accurately applied. I appreciate clarity, and misuse of loaded descriptors saps their power when you need them to help tear down the truly dabolical. Painting in broad, brash strokes is irresponsible whether you're a blind 'infidel' crusading under the banner of the holy TMM empire or a militant 'believer' lashing out from a well-preserved storehouse of pain.

                    I pray for healing, peace and restoration for all involved. If I have marginalized anybody's pain in any way, I apologize. That was not my intent. I tried to make my point that the pain is real and valid, and a natural response should not involve glossing over of any kind. If I seemed callous or dismissive - again, not my intent. If you want to slam me for being cultic, meh. I'm still not grabbing a pitchfork. On the other hand, I'm also not here to defend TMM. They were doing fine before I got there, and they apparently are still paying their electric bill and churning out interns in the 7 years since my final exit. Anybody who knows me personally or wishes to try to know me would see that I am no fanboy. Do I personally think some (maybe a lot of) things should change? Sure. Am I blindly slamming anybody who breathes a solitary hint of criticism for the HA? Nope. Make your stand; fight for the change you want to see. But don't automatically dismiss somebody who had no interest in silencing arguments of any kind for or against. Just because I don't see the HA as pure evil incarnate doesn't mean I'm out to justify their every deed. I've got my own personal list of injustices that I am fighting to see righted, this is just not one of them. If it's yours, then blaze on.

                    I realize now that I blundered tardily upon a battleground with fully entrenched and clearly delineated lines. Apparently I am also already joined with one side before finding out the rules of engagement. So, I will hastily withdraw as anything I say will most likely be a rehash of something already said before. Plus, this issue (and TMM in general) for the last 7 years has not affected one fairy's eyelash worth of my pursuit of the continued consumption of oxygen upon this planet, so I better quit before I get emotionally involved. I will say this, though. Just move to Hawai'i and do nothing but watch waves roll up on the shore with your favorite adult beverage in hand. For better or worse, big problems end up seeming pretty inconsequential. Thank you and good night.
                  DfromHawai'i says: November 2, 2011 6:28 PM
                    Hmm... Anonymity emboldens small mindedness.

                    That said, cult is a heavy hammer to drop. It's akin to dropping the 'nazi' or 'racist' term - definitely abhorrent, but also a useful label when accurately applied. I appreciate clarity, and misuse of loaded descriptors saps their power when you need them to help tear down the truly dabolical. Painting in broad, brash strokes is irresponsible whether you're a blind 'infidel' crusading under the banner of the holy TMM empire or a militant 'believer' lashing out from a well-preserved storehouse of pain.

                    I pray for healing, peace and restoration for all involved. If I have marginalized anybody's pain in any way, I apologize. That was not my intent. I tried to make my point that the pain is real and valid, and a natural response should not involve glossing over of any kind. If I seemed callous or dismissive - again, not my intent. If you want to slam me for being cultic, meh. I'm still not grabbing a pitchfork. On the other hand, I'm also not here to defend TMM. They were doing fine before I got there, and they apparently are still paying their electric bill and churning out interns in the 7 years since my final exit. Anybody who knows me personally or wishes to try to know me would see that I am no fanboy. Do I personally think some (maybe a lot of) things should change? Sure. Am I blindly slamming anybody who breathes a solitary hint of criticism for the HA? Nope. Make your stand; fight for the change you want to see. But don't automatically dismiss somebody who had no interest in silencing arguments of any kind for or against. Just because I don't see the HA as pure evil incarnate doesn't mean I'm out to justify their every deed. I've got my own personal list of injustices that I am fighting to see righted, this is just not one of them. If it's yours, then blaze on.

                    I realize now that I blundered tardily upon a battleground with fully entrenched and clearly delineated lines. Apparently I am also already joined with one side before finding out the rules of engagement. So, I will hastily withdraw as anything I say will most likely be a rehash of something already said before. Plus, this issue (and TMM in general) for the last 7 years has not affected one fairy's eyelash worth of my pursuit of the continued consumption of oxygen upon this planet, so I better quit before I get emotionally involved. I will say this, though. Just move to Hawai'i and do nothing but watch waves roll up on the shore with your favorite adult beverage in hand. For better or worse, big problems end up seeming pretty inconsequential. Thank you and good night.
                  Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 6:45 PM
                    {most} of us know who you are. I am one of them. I like you, a lot. Keep up the good words.
                  Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 6:48 PM
                    New here..., Since no one on either side of this story has been privy to what the final cut will be, I think everyone should stay in their corners and what till the story airs. What if the tables ARE turned and RA is not as victorious as she thinks she will be? Since the MSNBC crew spent several hours on campus interviewing staff and interns alike, no one knows what MSNBC's findings are, until we see the story. Not here to throw stones, just saying. .. food for thought.
                  Recovering Alumni says: November 2, 2011 6:51 PM
                    A few comments today were automatically redirected to the spam folder. Not sure why. If you don't see your comment, that could be why - just send an extra comment through to let me know and I'll fix it as soon as I'm near a computer.
                  Maurice Moss says: November 2, 2011 7:11 PM
                    I'm just sad that there has to be "corners" at all. Yes, the word "cult" might be polarizing for some, but whether you think TM is a cult or not, the fact remains that the Recovering Alumni community isn't out to be found "victorious" at labeling TM as a cult, but to help those who have been hurt by TM get healing and to advocate for TM to stop engaging in practices that cause the abuse we've experienced and still see going on in the ministry. Unfortunately, many supporters of Teen Mania don't seem interested in acknowledging that there is a problem or empathizing with those of us who are still trying to recover and be healed, despite the many many stories of abuse that have appeared on this blog.

                    I admit I've been at least a little bit antagonistic toward those who support Teen Mania's actions on this site, and I'm sorry for being that way. It's hard for me to be forgiving and understanding to those who are unforgiving and callous to me and my struggles, but that's not an excuse.

                    I don't want this to be an "us vs. them" thing, even if it seems that way. I don't want TM supporters to feel threatened and defensive, and I don't want other recovering alumni to belittle TM supporters, either. I'm thankful for those outside the Recovering Alumni community who have been reasonable and understanding in this comments section, even while disagreeing with us from time to time (such as Lyndsay W., DfromHawai'i, and bjAm). I just hope others from outside our community can take a moment and try to see things from our perspective.

                    Do I think that will happen? Past experience on this site tells me it won't. Can we make it different this time?
                  JMIAH says: November 2, 2011 7:52 PM
                    I cant say that i attended The HA, but i have so many dear friends who HAVE, including my cousin. Im not gonna waste my time saying TeenMania is perfect, by no means... but i CAN say they have ALWAYS seem to have made a difference in the world. Now regarding abusing the attendees, i DO have to say that so many Christians out there are a BUNCH of freakin CRY BABIES!! i mean really... grow the heck up!! If you didnt like TEEN MANIA, then WHY the heck did you spend a year or 2 there?!!? I mean SERIOUSLY?!?! ALL these people WHINING with how they grieved and all this crap is a bunch of bologna... for REAL!! DIDNT YOUR MOMS EVER TEACH YOU... IF YOU CANT SAY ANYTHING GOOD, THEN DONT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL?! I've seen so many Christians out there being the worse freakin witness and I'd dare say that... they're the reason for atheism in the world today! But not even getting into christianity... id have to just say.... GROW THE HECK UP YA BUNCH OF FREAKIN CRY BABIES>.. i mean dang... if you dont like something... go the other direction instead of whining about how horrible it was for youAT THE HONOR ACADEMY!!! YOU MADE THE CHOICE TO GO THERE STUPID IDIOTS!!!! There... that's MY 2 cent... contact me if you wish! but if you dont freakin grow up, good gosh! DO SOMETHING BETTER WITH YOUR LIFE PANSIES!!!!
                  LizBR says: November 2, 2011 8:12 PM
                    That is the most amazing comment I've ever read right there. Awwweeeesssoooooommmmeeee!

                  Copyright © 2011 My Teen Mania Experience
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                  Offline Ursus

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                  Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
                  « Reply #13 on: November 12, 2011, 10:25:03 AM »
                  Comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), #s 81-100:

                  Anonymous says: November 2, 2011 8:20 PM
                    Go Jmiah!!!!!!!
                    what so many of us have been wanting to say!! enough is enough...RAs mission is to not stop until Teen Mania is shut down. I got news for you--it won't happen. There is too much ministry going on down in Garden Valley and just because a few people got their feelings hurt doesnt mean it will stop.
                  JMIAH says: November 2, 2011 8:23 PM
                    haha thanks LizBR!!

                    I mean... it's not even me being a hater as much as it is... JUST GROW THE HECK UP PEOPLE GOOD GOSH!!! i mean WHAT GOOD will come from this?!?! I CAN understand helping people get through hard times, BUT... the line is drawn when so called "CHRISTiANS" are bad-mouthing, gossiping others!! i mean really... im doin it to your FACE PEOPLE... so get over it!! DID YOU NOT READ THE BIBLE "the 7th thing is an ABOMINATION to GOD... sowing discord among the brethren" REALLY!?! AND if you are NOT a Christian... then what the heck good do you try to accomplish in this besides acting like a STUPID MORON bad mouthing others?!?! you really think someone would wanna hire you with your IMMATURE self?!!? THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE... grow up bcuz ur making ALL YOUNG PEOPLE LOOK LIKE MORONS!!!

                    PS) If my comments are deleted, then the moderators are just as guilty as they are accusing TEENMANIA --> "Sorry MIND closed until further notice" Practice what you preach idiots!!! GEEZ!

                  LizBR says: November 2, 2011 8:29 PM
                    Honey, i said it was awesome because it was basically the most ignorant, hilarious, ridiculous thing I've ever read. Not just on this blog, but ever.

                    You have provided me with a much needed laugh tonight.
                  @JMIAHONLINE says: November 2, 2011 8:35 PM
                    @LizBR well stick to topic and go enjoy you other moron friends... idiot! OOo i bet your disappointed and surprised in my behavior too huh?! well... maybe it's because YOU and ur other CoHorts.. have NO LIVES bcuz ALL you can do is BASH others... yup... Has nothing to do with christianity.. it has to do with COMMON SENSE... BIG LIFE YOU HAVE THERE!!! have at it!! :)
                  shannikitty says: November 2, 2011 8:46 PM
                    I posted my story and experience at the HA a few years ago... and I am still dealing with the repercussions of my time with TM. It's like my soul was crushed. I dont have cable but hope to see the documentary soon.
                  Anonymous says: November 3, 2011 12:59 AM
                    i would love to know how come when i clicked on the link to visit forum it says i have been hacked????
                  Micheal McComber says: November 3, 2011 1:20 AM
                    @ anon
                    the hacking you speak of well that have been corrected now. :)
                  Brian says: November 3, 2011 5:20 AM
                    that is all
                  Jan2001 says: November 3, 2011 8:18 AM
                    I'd bet the majority of people on both "sides" read your comments with jaws wide open JMIAH. There are no words.

                    The truth is, if MSNBC did their job well, both TMM and the Recovering Alumni community will probably walk away feeling fairly represented. Though, I guarantee TM will wait to see if the show has a negative impact on the ministry before they comment on it's fairness. The intent of the documentary is awareness, not vindication.
                    There have been outright denials by TM leadership in recent years of things I have seen with my own eyes as an intern(length of corporate, cruelty at ESOAL,work hours, sleep deprivation.)Things you KNOW we were sooo proud of at the time and have heard bragged about since.
                    Ironically, it was the lies that caused me to seriously question TM. If they had fed the media the same "opportunity to grow, character development, beat your body, sleep when you're dead" line of thinking, it wouldn't have raised a red flag with me. Why would they lie, unless they knew it was wrong or at least perceived as wrong by the world? And if they still felt it was what God wanted, why wouldn't they tell the truth and face their persecution?
                  speakingofflife says: November 3, 2011 11:18 AM
                    I graduated from HA in august '03. I did two GE trips, one during my intern year and one the subsequent summer. The hardest part for me was dealing with some of my fellow interns. Honestly, from the first day on they tried to shove the bags of legalistic, religious garbage down my throat that they brought with them. But I stood my ground for most things. The most damaging experiences were doled out to me by fellow interns, not the leadership there.
                    The whole TM/HA experience is like a "choose your own adventure" book; it is what you make of it. I sometimes went against the grain - no one ever punished, slaughtered, beat or harmed me for it. For example, they're big on voting and really wanted everyone to get out there and vote during my intern year. During a session, Dave H asked who voted abs who didn't. I was literally the only person in that group of 400-500 interns that raised their hand. He asked me to stabs up and explain why. I said I didn't feel I had enough time to do an appropriate zmlubt of research and didn't want to just vote for whomever. I felt an uneducated vote could be worse than no vote. He responded " fair enough" or something and moved on. It wasn't about the voting; it was about knowing who we are, where we stand and why. If you didn't have that challenge there, you'll be brainwashed or challenged elsewhere.
                    Immediately after graduation I began attending community college back home. You could call my sociology 1 class a brainwashing experience and cult by the standards given for the TM cult decision. I watched as friends who were faith-based people quickly give way to the smooth words of our professor with a lofty degree. By the end of the semester they were reciting her beliefs and value system and some were even attending her church. If you don't know where you stand, there's always someone willing to tell you. TM offers an opportunity to make a more well-rounded decision in your belief system. I respect that people were emotionally scarred there - I was too. But it was by the people I chose to befriend early on, not those in leadership.
                  Recovering Alumni says: November 3, 2011 11:25 AM
                    JMIAH - Your name-calling and derogatory remarks are verbally abusive. Until you can learn to dialogue respectfully, your comments will be deleted.
                  speakingofflife says: November 3, 2011 11:33 AM
                    I also concur with those addressing the "wolves in sheep's clothing" issue; leaders and followers both in and out of faith-based systems will present that way. I was harassed and had a sexual assault attempted on me by a college-aged leader in my high school youth group. That doesn't mean I attended the church of pedophiles. It means he was a damaged young man that needed serious help. It's the same way at the Honor Academy, churches worldwide, etc. ...power often attratcts/brings out the bad in us.
                    I am incredibly sad for those that were emotionally or physically harmed during their experience. I can relate to feeling trapped by the legalistic fools surrounding you; I had plenty of those as well. However, I don't think those experiences make TM a cult; it makes those people damaged and wrong for doing what they did and choosing to harm another. It is even more damaging because they dared to assert themselves in the name of God. They will answer to Him for that and have to live with the knowledge and weight of their wrongdoings every single day of their lives until then. I sincerely hope that all those hurt found a way to get help. If not, I would be happy to assist you in finding a way to do so. Seriously. Because no one ever deserves some of the experiences I read about-under ANY circumstances. EVER.
                    I am grateful for my TM and HA experiences; they've made me a stronger, more honest woman. They helped me understand who I am and where I stand. I learned open-mindedness, honesty, generosity, how to live simply and how to love matter what.
                    Brandi Lee (now Mrs. Pulido...& I didn't marry an intern!)
                    August class 2002-2003.
                  speakingofflife says: November 3, 2011 11:43 AM
                    I apologize. Autocorrect on the iPhone got the best of me.
                    Abs= and
                    Stabs= stand
                    Zmbult= amount.
                    And I respect all those that stand firm in what they believe. That takes strength.
                  Recovering Alumni says: November 3, 2011 12:41 PM
                    Regarding JMIAHs comments in general, normally trolls who violate the comment policy this spectacularly get automatically deleted, but since LizBR assures me she wasn't offended at all, I'm leaving them up so others can see the kind of fruit that Teen Mania often produces. Going forward, follow the comment policy or you'll be deleted, no exceptions.
                  Renae says: November 3, 2011 1:46 PM

                    I'm very sorry you were sexually harassed by someone in a leadership position in the church. That's a terrible thing to have to go through, especially when it's someone in a leadership position over you. I do have to say though, what did your church do about it when they found out? Did they fire him? Offer to let you bring charges against him? Ban him from ever working in children's ministry again? Apologize to you? Or did they defend him? Did they allow him to keep his position? Did they tell you they would "make changes," and maybe moved him to a different position in the children's ministry but allowed him to remain in some type of leadership position over kids?

                    A ministry sometime employs bad people unknowingly, for sure. Sometimes bad things happen a ministry didn't plan for or expect. But their response is everything. If your church fired him and didn't stand in your way if you wanted to press charges, then they acted the only way that could be considered Christian--they stood with you, the weak and oppressed. But that's not what Teen Mania is doing. They know about us. They know our hurts and the abuses we went through because we told them. Now that they don't have the "we didn't know" excuse, they still have done nothing. They tell current interns we're liars. They tell the media things we witnessed never happened. And they say "things have changed" without being able to point to any real change in the ministry. That's why we're upset. If Teen Mania had listened to RA when she went to them with concerns this blog never would have started. If Teen Mania had listened when they received over a hundred emails from hurt alumni after the blog gained some attention we wouldn't have to expose their lies. But they responded by protecting those who caused us hurt instead of humbly acknowledging what we went through was real and changing how they operate to better serve future interns.

                    Also, thank you for presenting your opinion in a thoughtful and non-condemning manner.
                  Renae says: November 3, 2011 1:48 PM
                    Whoops, that last comment was directed at speakingoflife--I misread your handle. Sorry!
                  Listen to the music. says: November 4, 2011 8:50 AM
                    Teen Mania suffers from false principles (or the lack thereof at times) as all Christians and all people do in general, but it did not originate any of its issues, nor are they unique to Christianity or Teen Mania. One inherited is an irrational, sensationalized belief in "destiny" and/or morality (and our ability to comprehend let alone master either). This leads to an inability to choose and/or to respond to issues freely and without fear. And so the damage already inflicted by religion within individuals becomes compounded by an institution which seeks to be the pinnacle of that religion.

                    TM's programs could (still, perhaps?) be drastically improved, but changing (or opening) the mindsets of such an isolated institution is as difficult as convincing certain recovering alumni that TM is not some ultimate evil, nor is it ultimately the cause of their life's grief.

                    Untruth is. And as clever as some at TM may be, they are none of them the inventors of untruth.

                    I am on neither side of all the self-justifying. There has been so much reason and lack of reason on both sides and so much hurt and confusion caused and received by both that we should all just say we're truly sorry to each other and move on in our lives.

                    To some extent, people who are upset with TM are actually upset and/or hurting because they were never equipped to truly confront injustice (let alone the aspects of religion). Also to some extent, TM has developed a reputation of doing things their own way regardless of many sensible people and staff members' attempts to bring reality into the spotlight.

                    And so for either side to point a finger at the other, or for any person to say "you are the problem..." both are not the truth. Neither is the problem. Neither originated the problems or the pain which stemmed from them. Everyone has problems. We all need the truth. And we're all affected by untruth and negativity that stem far before and beyond any one season or person or organization in our lives.

                    And for neither to be able to admit any of this, both hold fast to one passage found in their Scriptures: that "every person's way is right in that person's own eyes."

                    And this will never fix, solve, nor redeem anything, no matter what news coverage or the lack thereof ensues.


                    I'd also like to add that I don't think any person's pain should ever be mocked or overlooked. We cannot eliminate all causes of pain--this is true. But especially those who profess Christianity should never overlook or judge another person's suffering. Christ himself did not.

                    We have all fallen victim to judging peoples' violent response to suffering without realizing that their violence is not meant against us, but is a response to something else behind the scenes.

                    And sometimes, we have a choice to make between taking offense at others or sharing with them that we would also like to defend them from the suffering they are experiencing. Unfortunately, this is not always so easy; it is not an animal response, but what makes us human--able to sense a Divine Law of Life versus only observing the laws of nature.

                    Until we seek to understand each other (and sometimes, simply to understand the other side even if the other side won't hear us), we lose. Because we become bitter, judgmental people, and sometimes, even forgo our own healing process.

                    I know I'm not saying anything new... I'm not even saying things I haven't said before.

                    I'm just saying this because all the hate hurts to read... from both sides. But if this is what some of you want--a judgmental, self-righteously indignant attitude towards either side--this is what you can have.
                  Sonshine says: November 4, 2011 10:06 AM
                    Reading everyone's comments proves, if nothing else, how divisive TM is... Pitting people against one another... It did that in campus too. We had to turn one another in for anything we found the other did that was improper or against the rules... It kind of reminded me of the hitler youth... And we were told it was "holding one another accountable". Yes, because god needs tattletales? The truth will be known, the truth will set us free. What set me free was the realization that I was abused by a cult and needed to find myself and who I was made to be... This has (thus far) taken over 7 years. If there was not an issue, so many would not be so damaged and this would not even be airing... And you're all probably thinking it is persecution... Jesus was never accused of abuse or manipulation... You will know them by their fruits.

                    Excited for the truth to come out and set more people free! May the "blinders" be lifted from their eyes and may the children in darkness see a new light!

                  Wendy J. Duncan says: November 4, 2011 8:04 PM
                    After my book was published, my cult went on a negative campaign trying to discredit me by saying I was mentally ill. They also try to portray me as some woman who was all about finding a husband.

                    The mentally ill label was really painful. The husband hunter comment was too ridiculous. The single men at Trinity Foundation were mostly losers and the man who recruited me (who I eventually married) had three children from a previous marriage, made $80 a week working for the cult, and had no possessions except for some hand-me-down clothes and some books.

                    I love my husband dearly, but when he was in the cult, he was not what one would consider a "good catch." I certainly did not date him for seven years because of any material reason!
                  Anonymous says: November 4, 2011 9:52 PM
                    of the biggest things for me about the HA is the youth factor. there is a reason why the HA doesn't accept people over a certain age. it's because they think like adults! the HA wants young, impressionable, vulnerable, naive kids who have not yet learned to think on their own and how to protect themselves. after i graduated i told one of my friends back home she should go to the HA, but she was 27. I asked someone at the HA if she could go, and they bluntly told me no way! at 27, someone has already learned to think for themselves. they want kids who are just out of high school who are used to being told what to do by authority figures. they said a 27 yr old would not benefit from the honor academy because they wouldn't appreciate the program. they had problems in the past with older interns. what they meant was, older interns knew better! they said they weren't going to corporate exercise because it's not healthy to get 3 hours of sleep and then exercise at 4am and then pull a long 8-9 hr work day. adults knew better than to put themselves through half the crap they put kids through at the HA. they didn't want to do their silly "retreats" because they found all the legitimate flaws in the system and complained and refused to participate. basically, adults knew better! and the HA said adults couldn't benefit from the HA, but what they really meant was the HA couldn't benefit from adults! they couldn't trick them into working endless hours under horrible conditions for them, and make them do whatever they wanted by manipulation. adults knew better! if you tried to put your parents through the HA program, there is no way it would ever work, because our parents were old enough to know better. the HA only functions because they only take very young vulnerable kids who have not yet learned how to defend themselves and determine right from wrong treatment. it's sickening. and yes, i'm sure there have been some older people who have been first yr interns, but not many! they have to "approve" them on special condition. ie, make sure they're pansies who will do whatever they're told and are highly able to be manipulated.

                    the reason why it takes people so many years (sometimes 10 or more!) to realize how bad the HA was, is because they are still learning to think like an adult. it's not until you think like an adult that you begin to realize what all went on at the HA and how messed up it really is! once you get your critical thinking skills established, you begin to sense something was off. then you grow older and get more experience knowing right from wrong and protecting yourself, and you begin to really feel you were wronged at the HA. and then it can take years of trying to rationalize it away or pretend it wasn't as bad as it was. but the older you get, the more wrong you realize it really was. that's why it takes alumni years to actually get to the place of being ready to deal with the abuse and share their stories. people who come on here and say "it's been 8 yrs get over it!" assume someone has realized from day 1 what happened to them was wrong. WRONG! it takes people years to actually realize the depth of the wrongs of the HA. they are really JUST beginning to fully understand and deal with it many years later because they are still growing and maturing into an adult.

                  Copyright © 2011 My Teen Mania Experience
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                  Offline Ursus

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                  Comments: "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses"
                  « Reply #14 on: November 12, 2011, 10:30:49 AM »
                  Comments left for the above blog post, "MSNBC Airs Documentary on Honor Academy Abuses" (by Recovering Alumni, 11/01/2011, My Teen Mania Experience - blog), #s 101-119:

                  shannikitty says: November 4, 2011 10:37 PM
                    No Teen Mania staff would take to the doctor when I was ill in my internship year.

                    When I requested to go to my home ATF convention and volunteer, I was told I could not. Be a volunteer. They allowed me to go to MN that weekend on my own, however, which meant I had to buy my own plane tickets and find rides to and from the DFW airport. I didn't have a car and had to beg for a ride ro the airport from other interns. I was unable to find anyone to pick me up and take me back to campus. None of the staff I asked would help me--I was told that finding a rise was my responsibility. My mom and grandmother called other local ministries and asked for their help. One of the ministries told my grandmother that they had nothing but complaints about TM and would see what they could do. I was stranded at the airport for several hours, when I finally reached someone on campus who said I could walk over to another gate and wait for a group of interns returning from a missions trip and take a bus back with them.

                    I reached out to my DI to talk about the growing depression I was falling into, that I was really miserable with the way some of my peers were treating me, and that I thought I wanted to go home. She told me that it was a bad idea because I had no support at home, and then went on to explain that my feelings of sadness were normal, that I needed to repent of any sins. My repeat attempts for help were answered by telling me my feelings were wrong.

                    I was not allowed to express any negative feelings to my CA, ACAs, or DI. It earned me further confrontations. When I expressed frustration about things my peers had done, I was confronted for speaking badly of others.

                    I was confronted for having feelings for boys I had absolutely no interest in. I had confrontations for wearing jnco jeans (because they were wide-legged and not feminine enough). I was confronted for being so vain I dared to pluck my eyebrows. I was confronted for having an awkward personality. So I lived in fear of doing something wrong and deserving yet another confrontation.

                    After all this and more, towards the end of the year, yes, I broke the Honor Code. And yes, it was wrong. The guilt was horrible. Yet I confessed to Dave and the boy's parents. And when I confessed Dave promised me I had the option for restoration, to become in good standing with TM. That's why I sent him back my ring and reiterated that I wanted to make it right. Dave never answered me after that.

                    Cult. At the very least, cult-like. It doesn't mean you can't learn any good lessons.... But it does make it hard.

                    (please excuse any typos etc. as I'm on my android.)
                  Anonymous says: November 6, 2011 12:41 AM
                    Do you really think you're making a difference, or that any one who matters is going to carry about your pathetic little pity party/olympics of pissing and moaning? It would be funny if it weren't so sad. I try to check your blog every so often, mostly when I'm feeling tired or bored, because your amazingly self-righteous hypocrisy is strangely entertaining. @RA: Don't you realize that you have become the very thing you constantly preach against? You can make all the excuses you want, but in the end, you're just another self-promoting guru trying to lead the broken masses out of someone else's prison and into your own. You are arrogantly basking in the praise of fellow ex-interns as they laud you for your efforts and feed your ego. You want to feel like you matter. You want to feel like you're making a difference. But the truth is, in the end, your just another failure who couldn't take the heat but didn't have the good sense to get out of the kitchen. You haven't accomplished anything. I wonder: How long after you're tossed onto the garbage heap of old ideas and would-be revolutionaries will you finally come to the conclusion that your critics were right all along?
                  Anonymous says: November 6, 2011 1:06 AM
                    i have noticed that anytime someone posts anything positive about HA u delete it. but if they r bashing them it is all cool no matter what they say. the only comments you all seem to wanna leave from anyone who supports what the HA is doing are the ones who are leaving really mean comments. i wonder y that is?? hmm maybe that is just your way to manipulate readers into thinking the only people who support HA are mean or ungodly. whatever! that is soo untrue!! futhermore...anyone can feel hurt anywhere that does not make that place a cult!!! ughhh...
                  shannikitty says: November 6, 2011 1:42 AM
                    [email protected]: 41
                    What angers you so much? If you are so all-knowing (to be able to declare RA's own hidden intention and heart behind this site) why are you lowering yourself to read our pathetic whining? Surely you must have better things to do. I might ask what YOU intend to accomplish here.

                    [email protected]:06
                    Your questions have been answered repeatedly on this site. No one is claiming that hurt=cult. Likewise there is a clear comments policy, and HA sites routinely delete/refuse comments which are critical of TM.

                    None of these arguments/questions/accusations against RA and the individuals taking refuge here glorify God or exhibit Christ's love. I'm very sorry that our experiences appear to be "bashing TM" for you, but that logic is supporting abuses of authority. If you sincerely believe we are mistaken, that is certainly your right(s). I pray however, that you will at the very least cultivate forgiveness in your heart for your perceived enemies. You may then be able to extend some of God's Grace that has been given to you.

                    Matthew 23:3-4 Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
                  Brian A says: November 6, 2011 10:21 AM
                    Dear Anonymous @12:41
                    people have kept saying how this will fizzle and die, yet it doesn't.
                    In fact it has grown to the point of being a 1 hour documentary on MSNBC, a national news Chanel.
                    I can name one HUGE difference, she has never begged me for money and made me feel like a worthless little worm and then held me to standards that are not truly held by themselves. That in and of itself is a pretty huge difference IMHO.

                    I also do not believe we are failures. Many of us are quite successful in both the church world (few of us I admit but not completely non-existent) and many of us are quite successful in our chosen field. For myself it is IT dept for the largest hospital in a several hour drive. Nobody I know considers me a failure who cannot handle the heat of the kitchen. :)
                  Wendy J. Duncan says: November 6, 2011 10:34 AM
                    Most of you young people have probably never heard of Keith Green. His music and ministry had a tremendous influence on me during my early years as a baby Christian.

                    The reason I am posting this is because Teen Mania bought the property they are on from Keith's widow, Melody Green. Keith was an amazing musician and radical Christian.

                    I hope it's not too triggering, but this song is directed toward those hard-hearted "Christians," and some of the alumni who have posted on this blog.

                    You'll have to cut and paste into your browser cuz I don't know how to do a hyperlink:

                  Wendy J. Duncan says: November 6, 2011 10:38 AM
                    Darn, I posted the wrong link. Forget that other one.
                    Here is one:

         ... re=related[/list]
                  Anonymous says: November 6, 2011 10:14 PM
                    I attended the honor academy and it was tough but this is ridiculous. Its a place that is mentioned to stretch you to new lengths and produce fruit in your lives and though things are heard it was the discipline and the love that was given to me that made me someone that can be the servant and person that I am today. You pride yourselves on the take down of this place and I want to know about what is truely your heart in this. Its not a cult and its not prison it does step on our nations pathetic rules about offending people. It takes courage to open awould we see place that removes the blinders of society and the brain washing that goes on. If we only took cameras into your personal lives u what would we see. Adultery. Stealing. Lazyness. Carelessness. Lack of discipline. Drug addictions. I could go on. This place isn't a dirty secret its not a place that hurts you. Its a place that offers so many good things that people to cling to it and that's not its purpose. It is there to guide u to success.
                  Anonymous says: November 6, 2011 11:35 PM
                    lol funny. who gives a crap about TM anymore really guys. I went there LONG AGO and im totally over it. The past is the past, cant change it. Just trying to make good use of the future. :) - Kate
                  Anonymous says: November 6, 2011 11:38 PM
                    Has anyone been able to find an airing of the documentary online? I missed it and really am interested in watching it.
                  Me says: November 6, 2011 11:52 PM
                    I'm new to this site and I only read about the first half of these comments so I apologize if I'm reiterating what has already been said. With that out of the way, I'm genuinely saddened by this comment" your heavenly Father duped you into signing on in the first place." Are you really saying that God is in the business of deceiving people? I don't think that God deceives people, I do think that people say they have heard the voice of God when they haven't and they people misunderstand what God is telling them to do but I do not for one second believe that God is is the business of "duping" people.

                    I have a questions for those who were hurt by TM, do you blame God for what happened and are you still Christians? I don't mean to open a can of worms and I'm not judging anyone,but based on some of the comments I read I am honestly curious.
                  John Huddle says: November 6, 2011 11:52 PM
                    From a survivor of another group, thank you for telling your story. Also, THANK YOU for allowing others to tell thier stories and be healed. I have posted a review on my blog-

                  Recovering Alumni says: November 6, 2011 11:58 PM
                    Me - I think you will find the answers to your question are as unique as the individual answering. Some of us remain Christians, some not.
                  Recovering Alumni says: November 6, 2011 11:59 PM
                    John - Thanks for the encouragement and review!
                  JMIAH <-- YEP! says: November 7, 2011 8:37 AM
                    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.[/list]
                    former ATF fan says: November 7, 2011 12:30 PM
                      WOW, thanks for sharing and all you've been doing, RA. I've been a youth leader for a couple years and took a group to the ATF meetings. I can't deny there was a "high" of God's presence and the teaching sessions were impacting...yet I thank God with every fiber in my being that none of my youth ended up enrolling in the "Academy" or going on missions trips, after reading and watching the vids... I recall meeting and engaging in conversations with two counselors from The H.A. a few years back. The girl told me how they had been fasting for the meeting for 3 days now...I've fasted before, it's not about the fasting, just something about this girl felt wrong, zombie like...where's the Joy of the Lord? Where was His glory and presence? It's the imposed brokenness on the participants I don't agree with... what's the point? Again, so glad my youth have never gone through to actually enroll. Now I will make sure they never do!! A million thanks RA!!
                    Liana says: November 9, 2011 8:02 PM
                      @former ATF fan

                      Teen Mania changed my life. The videos shown were taken out of context. David Haz does not yell at the kids we're not going to show you compassion at HA. During ESOAL/PEARL the leaders assume the identity of the student's antagonizers. In this world we are bound to face challenges, but ESOAL helps prepare you emotionally for trouble by putting you in a situation where you have to rely on God's strength and not your own. I have so many friends who have made radical recoveries after going to HA. My very good friend was anorexic, and she discovered her purpose and beauty at HA. My other friend was stuck in a lifestyle of constant partying and desperate overachieving to compensate for her insecurities and need to be loved. She is now one of the wisest people I know and is full of God's joy. One friend was a completely normal kid, set to go to college or the marines, and God has changed him so much. He serves with humility and a genuine passion for God and His people.

                      For my story, I was a seriously insecure kid. I was searching for a place in life trying to feel like I was worth something through grades and sports. I had been abandoned by my friends several times, and I was just a bitter negative person hidden behind the walls I put up to prevent others from hurting me. On my first missions trip, I found friends. I love them like they were my own sisters. Despite my young age, they treated me with respect and loved me. Not only could I see that I was not unlovable, I saw God's love for me. I learned that no matter what I am never alone. I spread God's love too. I saw people change after finding the love, joy, and peace of God. And now four years and trips later, I have grown so incredibly in my walk with God. I have truly found who I am in Christ because of my missions trips with Teen Mania.

                      Please look deeper. I know the heart behind Teen Mania and it is to equip young people to face life with God as their foundation.
                    MatthewChadwick says: November 10, 2011 1:24 AM
                      August Intern H.A.02-03 (Part 1 of 2)
                      I have read multiple statements from people on here who have never been, or completed, the internship program. your comments to me seem useless.
                      To those that have been to HA for the internship and you didn't like what happened,I feel sorry that your experience there was not perhaps what you expected.
                      My story is as follows:
                      I first heard of Teen Mania at an Acquire The Fire event like most do.
                      It was not till a year later that I felt God calling me to attend. He did that in a way that I knew it was Him telling me to go. I personally never thought I'd be attending. But as it turned out I did.
                      We do have to pay to be there-that money goes to many avenues of the ministry-feeding and housing us, materials to learn and grow in our own personal walk with the Lord. One such book that I love is "How now shall we live?" A great teaching book about what others will say to try to discredit God-the way they do at many colleges. It equips many students so that when they get to college they won't be tossed around like clothes in a washer or dryer. they will know more about how to defend their faith with truth.
                      Personally for Me, God told me to go and I kept saying that there was NO WAY Possible for me to raise the money needed to attend.To which I still heard God's small voice telling me he would take care of that. BIG STEP OF FAITH for me, cause I was used to providing for myself-i Had a job, I paid for my own things. I scrounged up $500 dollars and we were supposed to have at least $1000 to be let in. Well, guess what-when God has called you to do something and you know it deep inside He will help you to do it, be it money or other resources. While I was there my fellow interns were having to go home to do fundraisers to be able to stay there-every time I tried to do anything it fell flat on it's face. I even opted to try donating Plasma at a nearby center- till they rejected my plasma cause i had too much protein in it-which is another story for another time.
                      So many times I was on the edge of being sent home to do more fundraising-BUT NEVER did I have to leave because God always came through and kept His promise to me that he would help me go through the internship. I was able to stay all the way through and graduated the internship on Faith for my monetary resource-yes it was shaky ground to me but God made it happen and THAT was just 1 thing that happened while I was there that helped build my faith and Character, which is What TM has stated over and over as their goal.
                      The other things include, going through ESOAL- which I gladly accepted and when I felt I was done I rang the bell and chewed on the things God wanted to tell me.It does look crazy to the outsiders that don't go into it with an open perspective interest. It is a challenge not a sofa. If you don't want to challenge yourself while you are there then you don't have to, but everyone accepts the program for what it is. Challenge and Strength of Character building. Many young people don't know what it means to even build Character. Our parents or to those reading this would probly be grandparents, do know what it means to build character. Technology in abundance has weakened many things for the american teen.
                    MatthewChadwick says: November 10, 2011 1:26 AM
                      I wasn't fresh out of high school when I went to HA, I did have a few classes of College under my belt, I was one of the oldest interns of my class. Would I go back and do it again-DARN STRAIGHT I WOULD! That wasn't the attitude I first had when I arrived and learned we weren't going to sing coom-bi-ya under a tree and just have a good ol time with Jesus campin out. My first reaction was kicking and screaming( not actually in the physical sense) I was one of those that did not realize what I was supposed to actually be doing when I got there.
                      We even talked about that one time in a class. It happens- People don't always know what they are getting into when they go--alot DO. ,but some of us I think are better off not knowing the whole shebang cause in our ignorance we'd probably not have gone if we DID know what was going to happen.
                      I met a few interns that were shut off as soon as they got on campus, they weren't there to be challenged, and didn't want one. Others saw it as a big social event. I went SEEKING God and Found an AMAZING opportunity to be stretched in my Faith with him, and I learned alot from God and the Staff there.
                      I was in the calling center, that was a good eye opener to see that if you did take God out of the equation-even though there are tons of interns on phones, that place would fall flat on it's face. The sheer amount of work that takes place does so by faith and obedience to God and many prayers said by interns and staff alike.
                      I have nothing bad to say about TM or it's leadership. Sure they are not perfect and they strive to do what God is calling for THAT ministry at THAT time.
                      The positives outweigh the negatives, in speaking about what has taken place there and in the lives of thousands of people who have embraced the challenge that is Honor Academy.
                      If you go there looking for an easy retreat to play a guitar and just smell flowers, well you can still play the guitar and smell the flowers, but you're also gonna get a good size challenge that you gotta be willing to let God speak to you through. Perhaps the difference is in the participants that have went and yet were too focused on the physical aspects to settle down and look for the spiritual aspects, that only God can tell you.
                      Matthew Chadwick H.A. Graduate August 2002-2003 By faith that God would bring me through, and HE did.

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