Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of Determination

"Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has - Margaret Mead

The more ministries in question seem to feel confident that their legal, technical or infrastructural firewall is impenetrable, the more determined, talented, and motivated their opposition becomes.

A couple of examples include: the ways of creative financing the organization, and keeping members in check. These among many other areas have become more challenging to implement due to fragmentation of culture and advances in technology. While some of these methods of suppression have stood the test of time, ever changing technology compromises this kind of structure's integrity, then add a final and productive push from those determined to unveil secrecy and force transparency.

Common sense seeps through ideology and dogma that seems to go against a person's established beliefs, hence the reference about fragmented society. In these people you will find ex-"church" members, those contemplating escape, those still inside but doubting their method of worship and all that it entails.

Then there are those, in the name of their beliefs, or ordered to, who carry out activities that challenge established laws in our society.

Because WW, knows this exists, an here are more suggestions to apply to specific areas in question:

If you believe your internet or cable is being monitored by your local cable company, contact the FCC. Ask the local cable company if it employs people from a "church" that might conduct this practice. If they say no, contact the FCC anyway.

Some "Ministries" have been known to attempt to adopt children for their "church" to boost membership. Is this going on in your community? WHY?

Department of Homeland Security
Are foreign visitors belonging to a "church" in your community being paid for their work? How?

Is extra work being asked of "church" members for church "business" after putting in a full day of work at their jobs?
Do you work at a bank in this community?

US Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
How are people being paid for their work for the "church"?

The Police
If something that belongs to you is kept from you, report it.

Document EVERYTHING. It will be useful in an investigation.

An investigation will lead to the following types of coverage:

Interviews with whistle-blowers
A Movie
A Documentary
Local, National, International News Coverage
Further Investigation
Victim Lawsuits

While those may view this as a blueprint for which to prepare and defend........it's too late..

"Only arrogance can dismiss the possibility of dismantling a potentially dangerous organization. Arrogance is a state of mind, unworthy of combating determination" -WOFFWATCHER

Saturday, January 21, 2012


About a year ago (January 6, 2011), the United States Senate Finance Committee submitted the results of their investigation of religious non-profit organizations associated with or operated by:
Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Paula White, Joyce Meyer Ministries, who cooperated with Grassley’s inquiry, and Benny Hinn.

Recent Huffington Post Article on Best Paid Pastors

The final report concluded that there were "no definitive findings of wrongdoing" and "no penalties for the pastors who refused to cooperate".

The ministries or "churches" replied with seemingly predictable behavior.

Hmm, why are these ministries so secret about their money? Why are so many "leaders" so wealthy?

Find More on the Investigations Here

Although this mission was well intended, the Senator's office and staff may have gone into this without anticipating this kind of reception. These results, although not surprising to WW and kindred spirits (WW readers, with the exception of WOFFWATCHER - watchers, who are not kindred), would most certainly be surprising to people unaware of insiders fierce loyalty to their ministry's system or culture and the lengths they will go to to protect it, notwithstanding the fear and intimidation used by the ministries toward it's members who might stray.

The individuals and their ministries were clearly defiant all the while gaming the system created by government, with a bit of help by lobbyists crafting this system, to distinguish them from other entities.

Huge respect and kudos, however to Senator Grassley's staff for forging ahead with this project. The results, such as they were, actually proved useful because of HOW the subjects of the investigation responded. This now leads to more questions and will certainly lead to more types of investigations, perhaps by other bodies of government, but particularly congress.

WW suggests congress because since Senator Grassley's office took this matter on, and his constituency is in IOWA and NOT North Carolina, it could mean that perhaps YOUR congressman/woman in YOUR district, anywhere in the United States, might feel compelled to start their OWN investigation into these types of ministries.

And why stop at those named in this latest investigation? Why not start with smaller, more local ministries? How about one relatively off the radar, but with similar infrastructure as those previously scrutinized, and with a seemingly rich leader.

Where might you find one like that, WW wonders?

So, if you folks locally feel constrained to contact your local congressman/woman because they fear they might be tied to a "church" in some way, you should still try.

If you're in, say, Orange City Florida, you can contact your congressman there, or Falls Church Virginia, or Coldwater Michigan or Goodlettsville, Tennessee, or San Diego, California, and ask them to conduct an investigation. It is unlikely that they will be tied to ANY NC "church" or ministry.

WW's suggestion to Senator Grassley's staff, if you plan on doing this again (and bless you guys for trying) is that you need a street fighter (no violence necessary or condoned, but someone tough as nails, fearless, if you will) to go in with you to help you with tactics they use and how to counter uncooperative people, you need more people in the grassroots (non church members but those who work with them and facilitate them) to help you gather information instead of insiders, study their unique infrastructure.

Here are a couple of  ideas to consider:

the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) and HIPPAA (Health Information Privacy Act) statutes.

Although the purpose of the RICO statute is "the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce." S.Rep. No. 617, 91st Cong., 1st Sess. 76 (1969). However, the statute is sufficiently broad to encompass illegal activities relating to any enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to follow the continuity-plus-relationship test in order to determine whether the facts of a specific case give rise to an established pattern. Predicate acts are related if they "have the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events".

Perhaps RICO provides an opportunity to enable a full and proper legal investigation into day to day operations and infrastructure.

From the HHS.GOV website website:

"The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information. "

It is not unreasonable to consider an investigation in this category, as it applies to federal law, would apply to ministries that involve their church members to chaperon, observe, participate or otherwise accompany the church member that was getting treated, diagnosed, hospitalized, counseled by a physician or medical practitioner for a condition or disease or routine medical evaluation. Sometimes the clinic or medical practitioner may have ties to the ministry in order to make this practice possible.

Of course, these are just two areas of consideration. There are many more areas of potential investigation to explore.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Not Transparency?

ACCOUNTABILITY: the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions .

As we continue to find answers through TELL A FRIEND...ASK QUESTIONS theme, among the most compelling, certainly controversial, is how WOFF raises money. This leads to WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Given WOFF'S apparent success in some legal battles, it is likely that this organization is willing to produce a substantial amount of money toward legally defending their actions.

WW wouldn't blame the untrained eye who might perceive that the types of attorneys, meaning by reputation and size, as well as their apparent success, would appear to make this organization invulnerable.

Smoke and mirrors, my friends. Smoke and mirrors.

It is one of the benefits of winning in court.

Now people can talk themselves into fearing this organization who stood up to it's detractors, having won vindication through the legal system.

Now, an organization can threaten to sue any comer who perceives it might threaten it.

Again, smoke and mirrors.

So, if you have so much money to spend on defending yourself, where could THAT money go toward making a difference (as in feeding hungry people etc)?

Now mind you, this is a litigious society and people are prone to sue for most any reason.

That said, now you go and give everybody the impression that you're going to sue at the drop of a hat, could give people like WW and smart readers of this blog, license to conclude that:

1. You indeed have a sizeable warchest, ready to use for the next fight. 
2. You're bluffing.
3. You DON'T have a war chest but can come up with the money fairly easily.

  • How do you get your money?
  • Where does it go?
  • Why aren't you transparent?
  • So, you have THAT MUCH money to throw around?

Enter the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

From it's website...

ECFA is an accreditation agency dedicated to helping Christian ministries earn the public's trust through adherence to Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship.

ECFA accredits its members and holds them to high standards of accountability with respect to governance, financial management and stewardship/fund raising.

ECFA's Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, drawn from Scripture, are fundamental to operating with integrity.

The basis for establishing ECFA and developing Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ is stated clearly by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV):

    "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."

Accountability to God is vital, but people form their impressions of both people and organizations by looking at the outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7).

The ECFA standards are seldom changed, providing members a steady baseline for consistent application of the standards. The brief statements included in the standards have significant implications; the standards are simple but not simplistic. These are not standards that allow for grading on the curve. Rather, they are pass-fail standards. If a member fails even one of the standards, it is disqualified from ECFA membership.

(Thanks to the ECFA)

WW looked up WOFF to see if they are members. Here's a screen shot from the ECFA website from 1/7/12:

So, it IS possible to safely and responsibly exist as a religious organization, all the while conducting business as usual and easing the minds of your followers and community.

There are MANY religious organizations that are members of this accredited organization. Has WOFF considered joining?

It is WW's considered opinion that WOFF's budget cannot afford little fights with media and individuals that they might PERCEIVE as threatening. It would be prudent to carefully consider ANY fight because little ones will only drain their resources as it would lead to unwanted media attention which would lead to government investigation. Multiple legal battles at the same time or even in series would financially hurt this organization. One little fight could turn into a big one with another BIG one taking charge about the same time. This is as clear as day. You simply can't fight everybody.

And, if the federal government enters this chapter through investigation, then game over.

So, the more ambitious the projects, the more questions drawn from business as usual activities, the more the vulnerability.

The more vulnerability, the more people are prone to TELL A FRIEND.

The more the friend is told, the more questions:

The size, fear and secrecy ASSOCIATED with WOFF only brings to those not inside, wanting to know WHY?  This system of operating is bringing growing attention. This is no longer a group of people in Rutherfordton, NC wanting to know, the whole country and those around the globe are starting to ask questions.

The window available now toward fixing those perception issues, issues with things the media and ultimately feds might find interesting, letting people leave WOFF without fear, accounting for finances, among other things....is still open. But for how long?

On the next blog: 

A Senate Finance Committee Investigation....on RELIGIOUS organizations. No finds on the first try. But the second one.......

Stay Tuned