Redding Chamber Goes Full Bethel

Redding Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jake Mangas

Editor’s note: Portions of this column have been edited for clarity. 

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The following is an open letter to Redding Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jake Mangas in response to his blog post last week on the chamber’s website, “Hate Speech and Bethel Church.”

Dear Jake,

I read your blog post last week, in which you wrongly accused thousands of local citizens of religious discrimination, with concern from the very beginning. Having written thousands of articles over the course of my career, I know when “my palms are perspiring on the keyboard as I type,” something is drastically wrong and it’s time to take a step back and ask myself some serious questions.

Do I know what I’m writing about? Have I done the research? Am I too angry about the subject material? Questions like that, generally asked while vigorously pacing about the room. Why are my palms sweating?

Obviously, Jake, you didn’t do that. You, the well-paid president and CEO of the Redding Chamber of Commerce, barged ahead and went full Bethel, suggesting that thousands of members of the numerous Facebook groups dedicated to criticizing the charismatic evangelical megachurch in our midst are committing the sin of hate speech.

Full disclosure: I’m a member of two such Facebook groups, Bethel Affiliated Businesses and Investigating Bethel. These two closed groups combined have more than 2000 members, most of them local citizens concerned about Bethel’s growing influence on our economy, our politics and our lives. They come from all walks of life and all religious stripes, including Christians, pagans, agnostics and atheists. Some are even Trump supporters, so go figure.

Anyway, your post begins with some rather inauspicious analogies, which might explain the perspiring palms:

“What if you stumbled upon a post on social media that read ‘F’ing Blue People!’ or ‘That ethnic group is going to hell!’? How about ‘You can tell those with a certain gender preference run this business because it has that look.’?”

Who the heck are these Blue People, Jake? Did you mean the Blue Man Group? Were you afraid to write “black people”? Also, you know who else besides social media trolls say ethnic groups are going to hell? Evangelical Christians who follow End Times theology (ahem, Bethel) that condemns Jews and other non-believers to an eternal lake of fire! It says so right in the Bible.

I presume your third analogy, easily the clumsiest, refers to the shopworn trope that gay males have prowess in interior decorating, but you appear to have confused the term sexual orientation with gender identity. If you’re suggesting the chamber supports LGBTQ rights, you should know Bethel Church actively opposes LGBTQ rights at the local, state and national level, and spends a lot of money doing it.

You then assert the same sort of hateful things are being posted, with “Bethel” taking the place of “Blue People,” in Bethel Affiliated Business, Investigating Bethel and numerous other Facebook groups you say are “devoted to hating Bethel Church and its members.”

You write, “Any of these posts would create a huge issue in the human resources department of your business and perhaps land the author in court for libel, defamation of character, or perhaps even a hate crime.”

This is preposterous. At worst, based on your weak analogies, a person belonging to one of these Facebook groups could be in danger of being fired, if chamber HR members who’ve read your blog post now feel justified in handing out pink slips to those who belong to Facebook groups you’ve characterized as Bethel-haters. Likewise, this new Bethel-hater label could easily lead HR folks to feel pressured – just to be on the safe, right side – to take action against any employee who says so much as an unkind word about Bethel on social media.

The kids—and Glenn Beck—call this “cancel culture.”

Cover photo for Bethel Affiliated Businesses Facebook group.

It’s social media, Jake. People post mean things sometimes. You’re committing the fallacy of composition here, mistaking the part for the whole, missing the forest for the trees. These groups aren’t devoted to hating Bethel Church and its members, they’re devoted to exposing the grip Bethel has on Redding and their lives, and they’ve garnered national media attention with their efforts.

Hate’s a strong word. The fact that members of the group routinely observe and discuss what’s known as the “Bethel look” is not necessarily hateful. Bethel businesses do indeed have a trendy, over-designed-yet-spartan feel to them. I often find myself saying, each time a new Bethel business pops up, “The place looks nice, but why would I want that?” (This is probably because I’m old.)

Similarly, Bethel members, especially Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry students, have a certain look. They are predominantly well-coifed young hipster men dressed in skinny jeans and designer t-shirts with that preternatural glow that comes from a ramen starvation diet, abstinence from sex, cigarettes and alcohol and countless late-night sessions getting “drunk in the spirit.”

Again, it’s not necessarily hateful to notice this. A question you might have asked yourself before writing is why do so many local citizens have such negative opinions about Bethel?

Having participated in various Facebook groups critical of Bethel for the past year-and-a-half, I can help answer that question for you. There are three primary reasons members are concerned about Bethel, not all of them shared by all members.

First, many members view Bethel’s strange brew of Christianity and New Age as a straight-up cult, a holy rolling, faith-healing pyramid scheme sucking the lifeblood out of the town and preaching a false gospel. This view is shared by numerous Christian discernment websites around the world that consider Bethel pastors Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton frauds and heretics.

Second, Bethel Church and its infinite number of horizontally networked sub-ministries has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars during the past decade and hasn’t been shy about spreading the manna around. People who haven’t “drank the Kool-Aid” find themselves on the outside looking in and naturally resent Bethel’s newfound economic power, attached as it is to the on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven Seven Mountain Mandate.

In English, that means its critics believe Bethel is taking over the town and re-creating it in its own image, as its theology commands.

Third, as a result of its newfound power and its dominionism, Bethel has become openly entangled in city of Redding finances as well as our politics on the local, state and federal level. Reminding readers Bethel saved the Civic Auditorium and funded the RPD’s homeless squad only rubs it in. This has become a great concern for many people who believe the separation of Church and State imagined by the Founders is a solid wall, not a picket fence.

Put all three of those concerns together, Jake, and Redding starts looking a lot like Clearwater, Florida, global headquarters for Scientology. Scientologists have bought most of downtown and the chamber of commerce. At stake is whose vision of downtown Clearwater will prevail: the city council’s or Scientology’s?

A meme response to Jake’s blog post I found posted on Facebook.

We’re talking about vision, Jake. Identity. Like the $500,000 Garden of Lights project dreamed up by Redding City Council member and Bethel Elder Julie Winter and recently passed by the council. It’s designed to attract shoppers downtown during the holidays and … drive-by stoners, I guess, for the rest of the year. You recently wrote fondly of the project.

But you know what else has pretty lights? A casino! A big fat $150 million casino on the south side of town, a den of iniquity to balance the $150 million purity palace Bethel’s constructing on the north side of Redding. You know the difference between Bethel Church and a casino, Jake? A casino is more honest about stealing its customers’ money, pays its taxes and rakes the cash in 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Such a deal! We could have heaven and hell on earth, twin beacons demarking our strategic position on the I-5 corridor. That’s a vision for everybody, Jake. But no. Both the Redding City Council and the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, egged on by mysteriously funded opposition groups, unanimously opposed the Redding Rancheria’s casino expansion project.

The feds will ultimately approve the casino, the tribal members of the Redding Rancheria will get their due, but one can’t help wondering: Is this virtue signaling by the council and the supervisors just another case of whites speaking with forked tongues, or is a certain megachurch concerned a big fat casino might cut into its grift?

That’s the lens through which the people in the groups you’re maligning see the world unfolding in front of them, Jake. Houses and apartments are being snapped up and rented out for outrageous prices to BSSM students, often at the expense of longtime tenants. Some students are packed-to-the-max into single family homes; their fancy cars clog neighborhood driveways. They can be a nuisance.

Bethel Affiliated Businesses currently lists 67 businesses, including restaurants, bakeries, cafes and salons as having a Bethel affiliation. I cannot vouch for that number, but it’s probably close. Members of the group have been known to cold-call new business owners and just flat-out ask them, “Do you have a Bethel affiliation?” Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t. As you can imagine, the conversation sometimes gets testy.

I’ve never made such an inquiry, but it really is starting to look a lot like Clearwater around here. Who are these new people and where’d they get all the money to start these crazy businesses?

And Lord have mercy, what does Bethel have against the LGBTQ community, outside of selective biblical literalism? Thanks to Bethel, Redding is now known as a leader in the field of conversion therapy, the scientifically unfounded belief that LGBTQ people can purposely change their sexual orientation or gender identity using reparative methods such as praying the gay away.

The Legislature banned performing this known harmful practice on people 18 years old and younger several years ago. Bethel fought for the right to perform it on adults—and won.

What’s it all mean, Jake? Bethel frightens the hell out of a considerable number of people, many of whom shop at businesses represented by the chamber. They feel like their vision for Redding is being supplanted by someone else’s, that they’re being replaced by Bethelbots, that the system is rigged.

Some of them are angry, as you’ve probably gathered from the voluminous negative emails you’ve received in response to your blog. They’re threatening to boycott not just Bethel businesses, but any business represented by the chamber.

Some of them have been doxing you. Others have been threatened by Bethel supporters. There’s plenty of hate to go around.

I certainly don’t advocate boycotting, doxing or threatening anyone. I’m not down with cancel culture. In fact, I agree with you on at least one thing you wrote: We’re on a slippery slope here. Things got especially slick when you introduced HR departments to this conversation and mention of potential lawsuits. Suddenly, there’s the implication that companies should protect themselves and be rid of those you’ve now damned as “Bethel-haters” – people who’ve done nothing more than belong to a Facebook group, or who happen to express negative opinions or concerns about Bethel Church on social media. And with that slippery slope, you’ve hit rock bottom.

Never go full Bethel, Jake.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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287 Responses

  1. Avatar Tim says:

    Mr. Mangas was spot on; his palms were sweating because it is much more difficult to stand up to a hateful majority than it is to join with the majority in denouncing an already unpopular minority.

    It is one thing to criticize the specific church policies/actions with which you disagree; it is another entirely to denigrate all its members and try to shut down member-owned businesses. Surely you don’t believe you have license to taunt and dox Muslims if you disagree with Sharia law.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      LOL. Hateful majority. You’re projecting again.

    • Avatar Jessica French says:

      The real question here is, would you be supporting a mosque taking over our city and enforcing Sharia Law. The answer is “of course not”, because this country has separation of church and state. Something we’ve forgotten in Redding. When its convenient, of course.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Name 1 religious law Redding has passed – or even considered – that has come from Bethel.

        Your real fear is that political power is shifting to people who don’t share your values. Go ahead an don your bedsheets and chant “you will not replace us!”

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Thousands of Redding residents are most definitely against seeing their city taken over by hate-filled fundamentalist religion (anti-gay, anti-science, anti-poor people, anti-education, anti-immigrant, anti-woman etc.). They have no desire to abandon the constitutional separation of church and state to revisit the Dark Ages.

        • Avatar Jessica says:

          Your’e partially right. I dont value liars, manipulators and thieves.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        I don’t think the mosque analogy works, especially for mainstream Christians who are by far and away the most vigorous opponents of the so-called New Apostolic Reformation, NAR churches such as Bethel. They recognize a pyramid scheme when they see one.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          Really? The rhetoric towards Bethel sounds an awful lot like the anti-Muslim hate plaguing cities like Twin Falls.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            No, really Tim. It’s just my take on things. I don’t like throwing the word “cult” around, but the members of these Facebook groups, Christians and heathens, think Bethel falls somewhere between the Rajneesh and Scientology on the cult spectrum.

  2. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    RV, Very informative and to the point.
    Tim, standing up to a hateful majority? The Affiliated Bethel Facebook has less than a thousand members while Bethel Church has over 10,000 members. Who is the hateful majority? And as the recent election shows Bethel does control Redding politics.
    The Bethel Affiliated, whether one agrees with them or not, is a small lamp trying to illuminate the darker side of Bethel. That is not hate speech.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Excellent point, Bruce!

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Bethel’s 10,000 aren’t all in Redding – it includes those who watch online.

      And 1,000 members of one anti-bethel Facebook group is still 25% more than the worldwide membership of Identity Evropa. Bethel haters just don’t want to admit how much they have in common with white separatists chanting “you will not replace us.”

      • Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

        Tim: Those who question Bethel’s hold on this town’s politics and economics don’t have time to chant (to Bethel): “LGBTQ haters will not replace us.” We have lives to live, things to do. Doesn’t mean we don’t think it, though.

        Good try, though, at the currently chic “I know you are, but what am I?” school of political rhetoric. You’re in lock-step with The Projectors.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        No Tim – according to Bethel leaders those 10.000-plus people are local attendees. Its online viewership is considerably more vast.

      • Avatar Derral Campbell says:

        When all you’ve got is victim cards, you’re threadbare in the reason and logic department. It’s not “hateful” to point out obvious facts. Whining about being hated for your beliefs is just lame. Calling you out for subscribing to a whackadoodle philosophy and for trying to impose it on others through dubious means is NOT hateful.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          Who is trying to impose their philosophy on whom here?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            The article linked below lists the actual plans Bethel and other 7 Mountains Dominionist organizations have for society.

            This article begins with a video by Lance Wallnau, who has co-written several books with Bethel leader Bill Johnson on world religious domination. He talks about “sneaking” into position of power and using other insidious “stealth” activities to achieve their goals (when you believe you’ve been chosen by God to rule the world, apparently any means justify the end):

            https://thechurchoftruth.org/plan-for-christian-domination/

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Yes yes I’ve heard all about your 7 mountains mandate. Big whoop – spreading the word and changing to world is pretty much standard doctrine of any church.

            Fact is, Bethelites aren’t forcing their beliefs on the unwilling which is more than I can say for their opposition…

          • Avatar Derral Campbell says:

            How does my free expression of my opinion somehow “impose” my philosophy on anyone? Please elaborate.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Did you actually read my link? There’s no way you could make that comment with a straight face if you had (not that this is a laughing matter – far from it).

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Expressing opinions is fine, but it is another thing entirely to threaten to take away tax exempt status, organize boycotts, promote discrimination, etc unless Bethel agrees to modify their doctrines to suit your beliefs.

            Patrecia: I find tabloid magazines about bat boy more credible.

          • Avatar Tommy says:

            Tim, try refuting the claims made by the author in as a convincing fashion as him. I bet you cannot refute even one. That is why we don’t like you and Bethel, Tim.

          • Avatar Chrissy says:

            I don’t care much either way but the similarities between Redding and Clearwater ARE startling. And it’s unnecessary for a church to buy up so much property in a single town, especially at the expense of others.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Tim,

          So you’re willing to ignore actual video of Bethel leader Bill Johnson’s co-author, close associate, and fellow New Apostolic Reformation “apostle” describing their truly terrifying plans, in their own words?

          • Avatar Tim says:

            1) It is a straw man argument. Wallnau is not at Bethel

            2) Even if he was, that “actual video” is heavily edited to remove context. If you’re going to obsess about the 7 molehills, you might as well watch one of his full sermons on it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ1h8-WMMUQ

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            As I pointed out above, in addition to other close Bethel associations Lance Wallnua has co-written several books with Bethel leader Bill Johnson on world religious domination. He might as well be Bethel.

            There is nothing wrong with editing a video down to highlight its salient points. Posting some for-mainstream-consumption video doesn’t change the facts.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            That editing didn’t “highlight salient points,” it intentionally distorted his presentation to imply sinister motives to Wallnau’s “covert” ministry.

            Watch the video I linked, especially around the 43 minute mark. Basically Wallnau equates overt ministry as the typical in your face proselytizing that rarely wins converts. Its OK, but he says “covert” might be a better way: go out and be exceptional and whatever you do. When people come to you for help solving their problems and you do, you’ll gain credibility. If they then notice your bible or something faith related, they’ll initiate the conversation from a place of respect without you shoving it down their throats.

            The 7 mountains is really saying “we do not need a congregation full of preachers – we’ve got enough preachers already. We want you to go out into society and be the best you can be at whatever you do. People will then look up to you and you can win more converts that way.”

            It really is not very different from other religions. Nowhere does it claim to be about world domination and forcing non believers to heal – which is what you keep implying over and over and over and over and over and over again.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            You have obviously spent no time to speak of actually researching 7 Mountains Dominionism. While dominionist leaders tell their followers and the general public that their goals are limited to spiritual influence, we’re now seeing their real agenda at play in our federal government, in some state governments, and in laws that are being created on state and national levels.

            Bethel leaders spent a great deal of time praising Trump during the presidential campaign. He has placed rabid God-in-government dominionists of the Bethel variety in charge of the highest levels of government (not to mention his worst-of-the-worst vice president). People like Betsy DeVos, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, William Barr, Ben Carson, and many others of their ilk head our federal agencies and commissions.

            In addition, Trump and his minions have been busily pushing through harmful Old Testament-inspired laws, and have aided states in doing the same. And if they have their way public education will go down the drain, in favor of inferior fundamentalist church schools that are subject to no public oversight.

            You may have no problem with a brutal Old Testament-based legal system, but most people aren’t going to sacrifice their freedom without a fight.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            Actually, Tim, you’re wrong. Bill Johnson and Lance Wallnua are aligned NAR pastors who go back to the Toronto Blessing and maintain their relationship via horizontal computer networking. It works like this: Wallnua anoints Johnson, Johnson anoints Wallnua, each reinforcing the others fraudulent heavenly powers. Horizontal networking is the essence of the NAR scam.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Tim, I would estimate that fully 50% of Bethel Affiliated members, like myself, don’t live in Redding.

      • Avatar don says:

        I think the chant is “Jew will not replace us”

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Hi Don, and I hope I have the right Don. When I was writing the story, and I said some people critical of Bethel are worried about being “replaced,” I understood some readers would connect that to “Jews will not replace us” that was chanted by the alt-right at Charlottseville in 2016. There are similarities in the sentiments of these two very different examples, and major important differences.

          First, let’s examine what the alt-right meant by that phrase in the context of their vernacular, which I’m highly familiar with because I track them. Particularly, they’re referring to liberal Jewish members of Congress who helped craft immigration and civil rights laws in the 1960s, as if it was an all Jewish-affair, and in general they’re referring to all liberal Jews today, who as a sub-group support less immigration restrictions and more civil rights for all groups.

          The anti-Semite arm of the alt-right doesn’t view Jewish people as a religious group. They view them as an ethnicity or a race. They give right-wing Jewish race-baiters like Stephen Miller and Michael Savage (real name Wiener) a pass for being loyal to team white guy, and they continue to support Trump, even as they disrupted Don Jr’s book event in LA last week and forced him to flee, rather than address the “Jewish question,” or as these genuine anti-Semites say, the “JQ.” This crazy shit has been going on for 2019 years.

          Bethel, on the other hand, has been in business just 20 years, or however long it’s been since it broke away from its evangelical 100 year-old Pentecostal mother in order for Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton to practice witchcraft–literally warned against in the Bible as early as Exodus: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” I think maybe Moses didn’t want anyone cutting in on the miracle business. Wise man.

          Bethel combines old time witchcraft with information technology and heresy and has thus raked in hundreds of millions of dollars since then. That has resulted in a very small number of people, 8 according to last account, controlling a cultural, political, media, entertainment and religious empire that is now exercising its will at the local, state and federal level.

          I know what Tim is saying. “That’s the same thing people say about Jews!” He’s wrong. The Old Testament early on warns about false prophets, a complaint that doesn’t end till Revelations, when they’re cast into an eternal lake of fire. Jews and Christians alike are wary of such scam artists.

          There’s nothing ethnic or racial about Bethel members, they come in all flavors, including LGBTQ. The truth is, right wing evangelical Christians of all creeds, and Bethel fits nicely in this group, all of them rabid Zionists, read the Old Testament as if they’re the stars in the story, and it’s all unfolding in real time. Jews who can’t imagine converting to Christianity be warned: it’s the lake of fire for you too!

          In short, it’s kind of disingenuous to compare Bethel to the Moslems or the Jews or even Christianity. It’s a creature of the 21st century and people have a right to ask what’s going on.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Tim, it is impossible to count the number of Bethel people who are on line, on social media, on Go Fund Me, through countless horizontally networked sub-ministries. There’s no question who David is in this equation: R.V. Scheide.

  3. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    R.V.

    As one who is skeptical of all religious beliefs and many other factually unsupported claims as well, I always read your work with interest. I have no dog in either the Bethel or casino controversies but two of your statements piqued my curiosity and I would ask for clarification of each:

    “…preternatural glow that comes from a ramen starvation diet, abstinence from sex, cigarettes and alcohol.”

    There are Bethel-affiliated businesses that serve alcohol, so is prohibition of ETOH really a Bethel policy?

    “A casino is more honest about stealing its customers’ money, pays its taxes…”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the lack of taxation of casino revenue one of the issues of the opposition?

    Thanks

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Great questions, Richard. My observation on BSSM students is based mainly on the Bethel coffee shops. Theory Collaborative makes a great cup of coffee. The students have that fresh-scrubbed look that comes from sobriety, which is encouraged at Bethel. They wear hipster clothes, that skinny look from circa 1980 punk rock, without the cigarette dangling from the lip. As far as I know, Bethel doesn’t prohibit alcohol or tobacco, but they definitely encourage sobriety. Nothing wrong with that.

      A big fat casino between Sacramento and Portland on I-5 is a money-making machine, Richard. The tribe will negotiate–or maybe not, considering those city council and county supervisors meaningless vetoes. Very dumb.

  4. Avatar Matt says:

    The whole thing about being nailed to a cross makes a lot of sense now. Do, when am I required to attend services? Oh can I get fish taco but minus the fish? Better yet a hamburger minus the beef. OH, GOD please SAVE ME. How about this…GTFOOT(?)

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I was going to mention the veganism, but I went with the ramen, cause I know a lot of BSSM students are struggling financially.

  5. Avatar Patrick says:

    Outstanding article RV and speaks volumes of how Bethel and it’s members have been given a golden key to our area. Jake & his cohort at the chamber have gone out on a limb, the wrong limb, supporting a cult that has full intentions on taking over Redding as per the 7 mountain mandate. Anyone that questions the truths in your article, just needs to do a quick Google search for Bethel & 7 mountain mandate or go into YouTube for Bethel Redding and watch the leaders wife Beni Johnson perform” Bethel Grave Sucking” where she lays on graves & talks to the dead person’s spirit. Okkkkkk… if all the Christians that support Bethel believe in Bethel’s grave sucking teachings, then I’ve got a bridge for sale to show you! Jake’s post actually invited hatred & created a dangerous situation for those who openly oppose Bethel’s false teachings by calling them terrorists. Perhaps Jake’s not aware that Bethel has its own army of “armed revivalists” which can also be found on Google and Jake’s article just might set some of those revivalists off into their own terriost acts. Shame on the chamber of commerce.

    • Avatar Aaron T says:

      Hi Patrick,
      I’ve worked in the Bethel Church offices for over a decade and am familiar with all of the ministries and groups offered. There is no such “army.” Do you have a link to what you are referring to?

      • Avatar Donna says:

        Seems being a member you have to have heard of Jesus Culture from which Bethel emerged from? (& hundreds of missions that are “schooled” out of Bethel Church Redding) only for Revival- groups and missions, are to teach signs, wonders and miraculous interventions and have Glory in the promotions of “modern-day Apostles” re: Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, etc bringing it to all aspects of a Supernatural Ministries and New Apolistic Reformation.
        imo, their research and experience, this should be carefully examined when teaching thru the word of gospel. and alot of why I am a member of against Bethel groups, for these reasons that few followers shou be concerned about the “Churches” real intentions.
        Then there’s these answers to your reply to Mr. Archer.
        http://reddingantiques.blogspot.com/2019/05/joels-army-is-spiritual-warfare.html?m=1
        Bethel Church and Joels Army – Redding Bethel Church …
        https://bethelredding.com/ministries/Relationship-%26-Family
        Ministries | Bethel Redding
        Last but not least of the groups and ministries is our own Mayor and Bethel Elder Julie Winter
        https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Author/Julie-Winter-Ministries-483115308686797/
        Julie Winter Ministries – Home | Facebook

        • Avatar Aaron T says:

          Hi Donna,

          Jesus Culture was originally Bethel’s youth group which eventually become its own music and conference ministry, and eventually its own church in Sacramento.

          Odd blog post about “Joel’s Army” – I’ve never heard that name mentioned at services or in any Bethel leadership meetings.

          Band of Brothers is a father/son mens group that gathers to play ping pong, board games, and air soft – simply a place to connect and have fun. You can read up on the group at https://bethelredding.com/content/band-brothers

          Not sure what Julie Winter’s book has to do with this thread – it looks like she has a facebook author page.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Four of the five photos on Bethel’s “Band of Brothers” website are scary-as-hell photos of men swinging guns around and looking menacing. Somehow I don’t think there is much emphasis on “ping pong” and “board games” in this group.

            And yes – I know they’re Airsoft, which (as I pointed out elsewhere) are what government agencies use to train participants for actual close-quarters combat with real weapons.

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Try your own Bethel site under Band of Brother’s where it’s a training with soft guns working up to real guns!!

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          It’s interesting that there is such a heavy focus in Bethel’s men’s groups on training its members in exactly the same method used by government agencies and other organizations to train people for actual close-quarters combat.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Church security teams/ministries are the norm these days – churches are the 3rd most common location of mass casualty attacks.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          It’s true. America’s an armed camp.

        • Avatar Aaron T says:

          Band of Brothers is a father/son mens group that gathers to play ping pong, board games, and air soft – simply a place to connect and have fun. You can read up on the group at https://bethelredding.com/content/band-brothers

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            They’ve taken their name from a military movie while depicting a group of military men brandishing weapons.

            And “rejecting passivity”? How macho. Do they grow beards like macho man Jesus did? I heard JC could press 3 times his weight.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Hi Patrick! As I mentioned in the article, many people are spooked by Bethel’s supernatural practices, mainly because they can’t believe modern human beings actually fall for it. The excuse I always hear for forbidding such nonsense is adults have a right to believe in what ever they want to believe. Journalism has the same problem right now.

  6. Avatar Katie Thomas says:

    Bethel is not a sect of Christianity, it is a cult. We should be able to expose cults and investigate their impact on our community.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I’ve called Bethel a cult before, but I still find myself hesitating, because it’s not too far of stretch to say all religions are a cult, and that’s an unpopular position.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        When you boil it down, your average straight laced Christian communion is really ritualized cannibalism of a half alien zombie. So yeah, I think people throw out the “Cult” word a bit too freely around here…

        • Avatar Larry Winter says:

          Lol. While worshiping a 2,000 year old torture device. I was raised a Catholic, like Jake Mangus, though I rejected that nonsense where Mr. Mangus embraced it.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Strangely enough, my major experience with religious ritual occurred during the five years I was married to a Jewish ballerina and dance teacher. We attended various orthodox, conservative and reform synagogues. We attended B’nai Israel in Sacramento when the Williams brothers torched it. The Central Valley is a hotbed for anti-Semitism.

  7. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Thank you R.V. Scheide for so eloquently expressing the concerns thousands of people feel about Bethel’s religious take-over of the area, in keeping with its “7 Mountains Mandate”.

    I believe Jake’s post is motivated in no small part by greed. He has chosen to pander to Bethel for its business on behalf of the many construction industry bosses and real estate people among the Chamber’s membership, and who are – or expect to – benefit from Bethel’s vast scam-generated wealth. After all, no other entity is building a $148 Million mega-church complex, or is well on its way to monopolizing local real estate, the local business community, and everything else in Redding.

    Jake irresponsibly labeled thousands of concerned citizens as anti-religion hate-mongers, when the fact is (as pointed out above) that many members of the numerous Bethel watchdog groups are Christians and followers of other religious faiths. The issue is actually separation of church and state, which Bethel is well on its way to violating in virtually every respect.

    Bethel leader Bill Johnson once said that God “gave” Bethel the City of Redding to make into a world-wide example of how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy, and that one of its goals is to “take over Redding one neighborhood at a time”. Bethel is well on its way to doing both of those things – often at great expense to local residents.

    • Avatar Aaron T says:

      Hi Patrecia,
      I manage most of Bethel’s official websites and have never seen that phrase about neighborhoods on our official websites. That would be inaccurate of the church’s heart to see the community thrive in every area – not taking over a city or forming any type of theocracy, but being intentional to bring love, hope, support, generosity, and practical help throughout the community. Do you have a link to where you’ve seen that phrase?

      You’re welcome to email us any time at info@bethel.com.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        You are attempting to split hairs here Aaron. That statement has appeared on various Bethel housing websites, although (as with other statements that have come to the attention of the general public which expose Bethel’s Dominionist agenda too clearly) it has been changed or removed completely from public view.

        However, a close version of that particular statement still appears, and has been changed to read “bringing revival to Redding one neighborhood at a time” (as it applies to Bethel adherents snapping up vast amounts of the area’s available housing).

        I found the “My Vision” section of the link below is especially informative:

        http://www.karinapaine.com/the-vision.html

        • Avatar Aaron T says:

          Hi Patrecia,
          To clarify, Bethel Church does not own or manage housing (except for partnering with Simpson University to allow BSSM students to utilize some of their available dorm space). This website appears to be someone who attends Bethel and her definition of “bringing revival” is consistent with what I said previously about being intentional to bring love, hope, support, generosity, practical help, etc. to those in the community. The phrase “taking over” remains inaccurate and I wanted to point that out as you had presented it as a quote attributed to Bethel.

          Another point on the topic is that I rarely see a distinction between Bethel Church (the organization) and those who attend Bethel services. Not every person who attends Bethel Church accurately reflects the heart or intent of the church. As always, if there are questions about the church’s official views, people are welcome to email info@bethel.com.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Aaron T,

            Vast amounts of the area’s existing housing has been purchased for – or rented and sublet to – crowds of “supernatural” students and other Bethel groupies by Bethel members with their various “ministries”, which is apparently quite a lucrative endeavor given that they’ve been able to amass considerable property at the expense of local residents. Many of the people who have been displaced were elderly and/or disabled and low-income families, for whom there is no other housing available. It doesn’t actually matter whether it is Bethel Church or its agents who are directly behind these housing schemes. Either way Bethel benefits financially.

            In addition, the phrase “take over” is ENTIRELY accurate (and a phrase Bill Johnson himself has used, along with words like “infiltrate”). Despite their lofty claims of “bringing love, hope” etc. to these neighborhoods, the actual goal is clearly to convert the remaining non-Bethel residents into due-paying Bethel attendees (and of course to make a ton of money in the process). As I pointed out elsewhere, on its present course this scheme will eventually result in a situation where most local housing is ONLY available to people who in some way pour money into Bethel coffers. Everyone who doesn’t toe the Bethel line will be forced to leave the area to find housing.

            Finally, I feel compelled to point out that Bethel is virtually a textbook example of a prosperity gospel scam, and in my opinion does nothing that isn’t self-serving and intended to add to its wealth, power, and influence.

      • Avatar Annelise says:

        Aaron T: as a former member of Bethel I’m very familiar with the concept of bringing Bethel influence to every neighborhood around the city. To say something like this is not found on the “official website” doesn’t feel like a fair response. Those of us who are or have been Bethel know how little the official websites reflect the movement as it is happening in real life and in real time. Attendees will be familiar with the concept of Bethel influence in neighborhoods across the city not from the official website but because it’s a concept we have been taught. I would agree that the intent of such neighborhood influence is to bring love, hope, support and generosity but the bottom line is that Bethel members believe that hope, love and support can be found through what Bethel or other similar churches teach. I have also heard from the pulpit many times that Bethel intends Redding to become a model city for revival – to be known as a poverty-free zone, a sickness free zone, etc. I admire the concept to be sure. But it’s fair for opponents to be concerned about a “takeover” for just these reasons. We can disagree on whether such an influence is a good thing, but honesty compels me to point out that establishing Redding as a city known for how God has changed it is something that is regularly taught from the pulpit at Bethel. This concerns some opponents, particularly, as you can imagine, those who don’t want a city influenced by God or disagree with Bethel’s particular brand of Christian teachings. I think we really only get farther in the conversation (and I’m speaking to both sides of the debate now) by acknowledging where the real differences lie.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          I have no doubt that most of Bethel’s supernatural students and other rank-and-file followers imagine that monopolizing the very limited supply of Redding’s available housing is simply bringing “joy” and “hope” to non-Bethel residents who haven’t already been forced out of their homes to make way for crowds of Bethel people.

          However, I strongly suspect that to Bethel’s leadership it’s just another means of pushing its political/religious agenda into every corner of Redding, with the ultimate goal of driving out people who don’t toe the Bethel line. If things continue on their present course, the vast majority of rentals in Redding will ONLY be available to Bethel adherents.

          It’s also cheaper to take over existing housing than to build new, which is just a side perk of having a city populated largely with dues-paying Bethel attendees.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Damn Annelise, you can write. You’ve introduced a little doubt into my mind. What if that $500,000 donation to the RPD homeless squad was a gift of mercy, and not an effort to sweep vagrants off the street lest they offend the well-heeled donors coming into town? You could write a column this once a week, easy.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            I’d probably have to disagree there. Getting unsightly homeless people off the streets of its world-wide base of operations has been high priority for Bethel, and in fact was nearly the entire focus of its highly publicized “crime prevention” presentation. Other of its frankly compassion-less anti-poor and homeless actions also bear that out.

        • Avatar Aaron T says:

          Hi Annelise,
          I appreciate your thoughtful response and contribution to this conversation! Based on your experience at Bethel, I think we would both agree that “bringing revival” and “taking over” have very different meanings (and teachings at Bethel on the subject are within the context of being a positive contributor and serving without expecting anything in return). In the previous comment, I had asked for a source because a quote was being attributed to Bethel that was inaccurate.

          I like your summary of Bethel’s interpretation of revival and that feels consistent. Regardless of faith or personal philosophical views, I think society in general benefits from people intentionally bringing more love, hope, support and generosity into their everyday interactions.

          • Avatar Christina says:

            Aaron, actually they don’t have a different meaning, not in this context. I have read through as many of your responses as I could handle. We (this city you claim to “have a heart for) are not looking for PR responses from you that circle the drain even more. I live in a prominent community here in Redding, was part of the building community who built it and am now a board member on my HOA. While I am not officially speaking for the association, I can tell you without any doubt that your church makes it hard for regular folks to live their lives in this neighborhood and if I didnt experience that myself I would know it from the genuine complaints we have to field. If you are truly interested in bettering the image of the church you represent, you should stop rebutting people on social media and start meeting folks on the ground to make things better. And not just meet them to bring more lip service, but with an honest willingness to hear and make changes that will help your students and visitors understand how imperative it is for them to put nothing ahead of literally living their neighbors. They are not very good at it on the whole. That is a fact. You can deny it all you want but it is. We can say that without hating on your church. Those of us paying attention realize that you going onto a media page and trying to make Bethel look good by refuting every negative comment and pretending you care when the actions of Bethel speak very differently is no less shady than any other company on earth running distracting PR instead of making things right. There is nothing biblical about that. If you want to prove your obedience to God is not the sham your supposed “haters” say it is, show this city the love it is crying out for by doing something productive about it instead of arguing with us about what we know is true. It’s getting old. We are tired of it.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Thanks for wading into this morass Aaron T. You’re saying that you manage all of Bethel’s websites, but I’m going to suggest to you that it’s impossible to keep up with all of Bethel’s horizontally networked sub-ministries, especially when you throw social media into the mix. It’s a PR nightmare!

        • Avatar Aaron T says:

          Hi R.V.,
          Haha, now there is something we can both agree on! Now you know why I rarely have time to comment in forums like this ;). (I wear several hats in my role on staff – managing websites/public communications being about 1/4 of my responsibilities.)

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Aaron, I would like to know how you feel about the obviously illegal postings, brought up on Affiliated, about those who say they are Bethel selling services, especially baked items, on line. An unsuspecting consumer could order a baked pie cooked in a home kitchen that has not been inspected, like legal COC businesses, by the Board of Health.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            Aaron, I forget to mention the multitude of BSSM student GoFundMe accounts. I’m an old dude, this a completely different world to me. I can’t imagine going online to beg, even though it would probably pay off.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks, Patrecia, and in the interest of full transparency for A News Cafe’s readers, I’ll note that Patrecia is one of the instrumental forces behind Investigating Bethel, and contrary to Jake’s claims, has helped the group to stay on point, stay away from anything that resembles hate speech, and stick to the facts.

  8. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I admit it: I neither have nor want a Facebook account. If Zuckerberg can be hacked, where does that leave us ignorant, naive users? That being said, what is a closed site? I clicked on RV’s Bethel Affiliated Businesses link to take a look, and, of course, could go no farther. What would I need to do to be able to view that site? Is there a secret handshake or an exchange of money or code word? Call me whatever name you like, but I won’t knowingly patronize a Bethel-affiliated business. Why all the secrecy about being affiliated with Bethel? Many Christians put a fish on their cars or business cards or ads in the Yellow Pages. I would assume that a Bethel affiliated business would be right proud to let people know this. I like to support local restaurants, but I don’t want to patronize ones owned by or operated by Bethel cult members.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Would you also assume Jews & Muslims should be eager to don pieces of flare for your discriminatory benefit?

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Tim, you mean like skull caps and hijabs. They do but Redding is a little short on Jews and Muslims.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Tim, Scientology is officially a religion now. Is it? I’ve seen Bethel compared to a lot of different cults, but the Scientology comparison recently clicked for me, after what happened in Clearwater. Do we really want to be the global headquarters for crazy ass Bethel?

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Beverly, Bethel Affiliated is a Facebook group and like all Facebook groups you need to have a Facebook account to view them. It is a closed group but they let me in and I found it very informative. At my advanced age I found that Facebook is a real communication tool with family but I have only 24 friends as compared to others on here that have a few thousand friends. Who you take as a friend has more to being hacked than an actual hacker.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Thanks, Bruce. You say, “It is a closed group but they let me in” Did you have to do something other than request being “let in”? Is there a vetting process?

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Yes Barbara, there is a vetting process I attempted to join the group to give an opposing view. They require a sentence or two on why you want to join. I was denied. There is an incredible amount of hateful comments and flat out lies on the FB page. Like the claim that Bethel members swap wives.

          • Avatar Candace says:

            Doug, just wondering why you would reasonably think that the FB group you’re referring to ( which shares one common viewpoint regarding Bethel would welcome you into their group in order to enable you to air your opposing views? The group isn’t named “Let’s debate whether we should boycott Bethel member-owned businesses”. That would be a group which I’m fairly certain you’d be welcomed to join.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Why not, Candace? Why shouldn’t I be able to say my piece. See…I actually have met Bethel students. I worked with them closely, I hired dozens of them I follow their lives after the left. There are an incredible number big lies bon that FF page. I gave an example above. If someone started a group like this about Muslims or Trans people…you would be outraged over the hate shown.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            LOL Doug Cook. Yeah, there’s a lot of juicy tips on Investigating Bethel. I’ve actually been keeping my powder dry on a slam-dunk sexual abuse story at one of Bethel’s sub-ministries in Sacramento. If you know Bethel Elder Danny Silk, ask him about it.

          • Avatar Joshua says:

            No one cares, Doug. We say facts, you say alternative facts…It’s not a debate page, it’s for those who want to know who is affiliated with a business that calls itself a church or a business that supports gay conversion therapy. Give em your money if you want, but I probably won’t.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Beverly, I friended Bethel Affiliated like any other Friend on Facebook. All Friends vette a friend request and Bethel Affiliated okayed me. I joined to be informed not to debate them like another on here who “debates” everything.
          I am proud to say that one of my posts on Affiliated garnered over 30 likes so I guess I am accepted.
          As far as hateful comments the only comments that include hate are where commentators said they hate to give money to Bethel.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Beverly, why won’t you patronize a Bethel business? Why should s Bethel business advertise that they are affiliated with Bethel? Should a Catholic affiliated businesses do the same? Muslim? Is that where we are today where we proudly discriminate businesses because of religion? I find that pretty disturbing. There is a lovely bistro off of Hartnell run by an amazing Italian couple that came to Redding because of Bethel. They make traditional Italian pastries and food. An independent small business that Redding desperately needs. But you want to boycott them because of their religious affiliation? Wow… unbelievable,

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        If you were denied admittance, how do you know what’s posted on their page?

        And as you well know declining to patronize Bethel-affiliated businesses (it’s every consumer’s right to chose where they spend their money) is about the separation of church and state, and Bethel’s admitted plans to dominate the “7 Mountains” – with business being one of those “mountains”. Bethel is well on its way to taking over the local business community.

        No one cares what Bethel adherents practice in the confined of their church, or in other private venues to which they’ve been invited. The ENTIRE objection is to Bethel’s successful efforts (well underway) to force their religious agenda into every aspect of local society.

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          Doug, I don’t want my money – money that I spend at a business – going toward the tithe required by Bethel of its adherents. My choice. It’s not their “religious affiliation” that I object to; it’s their affiliation to a cult that is undermining so much of Redding from businesses to the City Council to the medical community.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Of course it’s their religious affiliation you object to… that’s why you call them a cult. What exactly are they undermining in Redding? specifically? That a Bethel member is on the City Council? Do we now disallow government leaders based on their religion? Only the religions Beverly approves of should hold office? The donation to the city to keep the Neighborhood Patrol Unit funded? Let’s see…how about people from all over the world living in Redding? Not a fan of diversity? We don’t want those from all corners of the world living here? The Civic Center? That would have been shut down? Do please enlighten me…what exactly is Bethel undermining?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook,

            Where to begin? Aside from taking over a major public facility, denying its use to organizations that serve the poor and homeless, tripling the rents, and passing off Bethel events as some of the very minimal (less than before it took over) “outside events” it’s required to host – it has completely taken over at least one public (and publicly-funded) charter school, where its all-Bethel staff openly admits that Bethel “ministries” are taught in the classrooms. It also runs a mentoring scam where its members are given access to “at-risk” children during school hours, which may not even require parental permission. It offers classes (mainly aimed at public school teachers) where they are taught how to get around pesky separation of church and state restrictions so they can “minister” to the students under their care and “bring God into the classroom”. They invade other public children’s activities with their proselytizing, which I’m pleased to say our FB group put a stop to, at least in part. Bethel adherents control local foster care agencies, and you would be hard-pressed to find any local board or commission that didn’t have a Bethel plant on it. Their Elder on the City Council (now the Mayor) holds Christians-only “faith and values” town hall meetings, and pressures the City Staff members the Council has the power to fire behind closed doors to recommend in favor of Council approval for things Bethel wants. The list could go on and on.

      • Avatar Jessica French says:

        Doug, you’re missing the view of those who wont patronize Bethel affiliated businesses. They view Bethel as a cult. As a manipulative , well oiled machine. Not a church.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Doug Cook, for the record, Bethel makes a great cup of coffee!

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doug, there’s no reply option below your last answer to my question re: the Bethel-owned business FB group, so
        I’ll respond out of order. While I’m often disgusted and saddened by hateful rhetoric I would not be outraged at the examples of the groups you mentioned for the simple reason that I would have zero interest in joining them.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Doug Cook, I personally do not advocate boycotting Bethel affiliated businesses. I perhaps have to much confidence that stories such as this, and citizen groups such as Investigating Bethel and Bethel Affiliated Businesses, will have some effect on the democratic process.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Beverly, in a closed Facebook group, you have to apply for membership, and in the case of Investigating Bethel, you have to answer a short questionnaire.

      The reason Bethel affiliated business owners don’t like being asked if they’re affiliated with Bethel is that there’s quite a few people in town that won’t go if that’s the case.

  9. Avatar George says:

    Jakes article was extremely shallow, lacked any real detail and was sloppy at best. There was little logic and it was replete with the lack of research. This causes me to come to one conclusion. It was written on the foundation of an obvious bias.

    Ordinary citizens do not have, by eons, the wealth that Bethel has. If you were a CEO seeking financial growth, who would you want to to invest in? Who’s interests would you further? Jane Doe who has a net value of $35K per annum, or an organization that has millions per annum? (Jake’s article was decidedly transparent in this regard).

    I remember an occurrence when I was still on the streets involving Bethel outreach to us homeless. They approached our group asking who needs prayer. After they asked this question a few times, I stood up and informed them that we need to eat. ‘Can you get us food first?’ Their response was to tun around and leave. My point? This is the real Bethel in a nutshell. They pretend to be concerned until it hits their wallets.

    If Jake believes he is a fair individual, then he is beholden, as an individual and CEO, to write about his plan to address homelessness; about his plan to address housing for those ousted from their homes because of Bethel housing buyouts. My belief is that he won’t. Either because he does not care, or because he fears the local financial powers that be.

    For some, self preservation is far more important than anyone or anything. The danger of self preservationists is they care little or nothing for their community. They subconciously deny the need for a healthy community. In other words, they are dystopion by nature and that suits them just fine.

    Lastly, I believe his article was disengenuous at best. This was nothing more than a public statement letting Bethel know he has their back. In my book, this is shameful. Promoting a wealthy organization at the expense of us ordinary citizens cannot and must never be acceptable.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Bethel does next to nothing for people in need – even including its own members. Per its website Bethel limits its “help” to a few of its attendees, but requires them to wait “several weeks” for what typically amounts to nothing more than prayer over the phone.

      Meanwhile it has done everything in its power to worsen the homeless crisis in Redding. In addition to monpolizing the area’s more affordable housing and creating a severe housing shortage (which raised housing costs, and contributed further to local homelessness and poverty), it has advocated for eliminating already-negligible local services, threw Senior Nutrition’s one-morning-a-month food distributions out of a corner of the Civic parking lot, and drove the life-saving Project Homeless Connect literally out of town. Tremendously wealthy Bethel has provided NO housing for the thousands of its adherents who have flooded the area in recent years – even as part of its 39-acre $148 Million upcoming mega-church campus.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      George, I’m grateful that you confirmed my analysis of Jake’s Take. Indeed, it was quite transparent. Jake supporters have been objecting to the fact that he didn’t literally say anyone who criticizes Bethel should be fired. They’re wrong. Jake equated criticism of Bethel with hate speech, he said all the Facebook groups are “devoted to hating Bethel.” Keep in mind his audience. He’s speaking to every HR manager in the chamber and telling them that people who are critical of Bethel are problematic. That’s corporate speak for “you’re fired!”

  10. Avatar Anita Lynn Brady says:

    RV- I would also like to mention that the Bethel Affiliated Businesses Facebook Site also has a list of verified non-Bethel affiliated businesses. We want to support local businesses that don’t have the build-in advantage of consumer Bethel-Base. Also, they don’t have the volunteers of International BSSM students to help the bottom line of those pesky employee costs. PS- according to their VISAs, International BSSM students are not supposed to work in any manner for any type of compensation (not even a free coffee or snack/meal).

    My question all these years has been: How do all these foreign BSSM and Bethel attendees seem to get residency here in the US. They bring their families, settle and start businesses (ex. Tantardinis mentioned it on their Facebook page). We all know how hard it is to legally get this done (more so now that Bethel’s preferred candidate was crowned ruler of the country).

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Sorry…. That was meant for Beverly

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Anita, there’s only one explanation for Bethel’s foreign outreach: They’ve run out of suckers in the USA, and they have to import people from third-world countries, who don’t understand they’re being scammed, to keep the pyramid scheme going.

  11. Avatar Jessica French says:

    “A casino is more honest about stealing its customers’ money, pays its taxes and rakes the cash in 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

    The best line. The manipulation of Bethel as always put the worst taste in my mouth.

  12. Avatar Heatherlee Hamon says:

    Thank you Mr. Scheide for your insightful rebuttal to Jake Mangas’ article. I was aghast when I read the part about “fire those employees” which I now know as “cancel culture”. It seemed a tactic to silence anyone who would speak out about Bethel. The financial grip it seems to have on Jake, the Chamber and the City was even more evident when he pointed out how they spend their money. Bethel does seem more and more like a cult, and with the financial power it has realized over the decades has turned more extremist over the recent years. I am appalled by the conversion therapy of the youth and the county.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      You’re welcome, Heatherlee. Jake never actually said “fire those employees,” he implied it, through tortured analogies and corporate HR speak. May have been written by his assistant.

  13. Avatar Erica says:

    The people I have come across in these groups are experiencing a sudden change in the power centers in Redding. They are interested in knowing who the people are who are wielding this social and political power and what their motivations are. We choose not to spend money at bethel-owned businesses as a form of political protest, not out of any hatred or prejudice. This is a group that doesn’t hide the fact that it hopes to remake society according to its own values. I think a community’s values should be developed through democratic processes and debates, not by $500,000 “donations.”

  14. Avatar K says:

    A friend of mine is acquainted with the owner of one of the more popular Bethel-ish businesses. My friend says the owner is sad that people assume their business is anti-LGBTQ. Having been wrongly-accused of certain beliefs myself, I can empathize, but, as I told my friend, a $10 rainbow sticker in the window would go a long way. If it truly bothered them to have their inclusivity questioned, they could make sincere efforts to correct things, rather than just complain privately.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      If a person attends and supports Bethel, they are also supporting a very active anti-gay political agenda. Bethel has quite a lobbying presence in Washington D.C. (disguised as so-called “prayer teams”).

    • Avatar Candace says:

      K, I think your rainbow sticker advice is spot on. EZ way to show your support if you’re a business owner; “Bethel-ish” or not.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Or they could put up a “No LGBTQ people allowed” sticker. See how far that gets them.

  15. Avatar Sheryl Bullock says:

    Sounds like some of you have been a bit isolated when it comes to the workplace. Jake is right about HR departments issuing reprimands or terminating people for hate speech. It really is possible for someone to express a disagreement without using hate speech. I believe this is what Jake is advocating in his article. He’s urging us to tone down the caustic language. I do not attend Bethel Church, but have been concerned about the hateful anti-Bethel rhetoric here. I mostly ignore it and support small businesses I love in this town whether owned by Bethel people or not. Frankly, I haven’t really noticed similarities in how Bethel business owners look or dress. They are just people to me as are the owners of any other business. I have never understood the unwillingness of some to participate kindly with people who have different views. The good thing is you are free not to patronize their businesses or go to the Civic Center or anything else they’ve participated in. But, please find something kind and uplifting to do with your words and your lives. We have many needs in this community and hate speech accomplishes nothing.

    • Avatar Vonnie says:

      Thank you for that good response, Sheryl!

    • Avatar Bea says:

      Go to Trader Joes at night to see the stereotype RV mentions.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Sheryl, I agree that hate speech accomplishes nothing and caustic language is running rampant these days for a myriad of reasons. Personally, I wish Bethel Church would stop publicly supporting anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and their shared ideologies. I personally regard that as being “unkind”. I also agree that we’re all allowed to decide which businesses we choose to support for whatever reason we deem fit. That said, I find it a bit marginalizing and short-sighted to tell folks who are not in agreement with Bethel’s tenets to sort of ‘be quiet and just don’t go” to these businesses when they seem to be increasing in number
      and some of them include large spaces such as the Civic Center (your example, not mine. I was under the impression it was jointly owned). I find painting people who are voicing their Bethel related concerns as people who are then, in turn, “hateful” and doing nothing uplifting with their lives to be unfortunate. It’s quite possible to do both things at the same time. The old saying “if you’ve nothing nice to say, don’t say it” is fine and dandy if you’re talking about your annoying uncle you see once a year at Thanksgiving. It no longer applies when you’re speaking truth to power regarding the spread of and promotion of ideologies in our city that some feel discriminate against LGBTQ+ as well as the non-religious. Finally, true hate-speech in the workplace should always be called out and addressed and kindness towards each other is always preferable. I think we need to be careful who we slap the “hater” level on. Fear often manifests itself as anger. Anger doesn’t automatically escalate to hate. It’s easy to judge other’s anger if you’re not looking at life through their lens.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thank you Sheryl for obliterating the arguments of Jake supporters who claim he never suggested anyone who says an unkind word about Bethel shoudl be fired. He didn’t literally say it, he said it in corporate language, which you obviously understood.

      • Avatar Sheryl Bullock says:

        I think it’s a stretch to say Jake implied they should be fired. But he definitely said people have crossed a line. Many of these comments show that Jake’s concerns are very valid.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          That’s an interesting observation, Sheryl Bullock. I’ve actually read every comment, right up to this one, and there isn’t a single one that can be characterized as hateful. Almost all of the credit cause to A News Cafe’s awesome comment moderator, working behind the scenes to keep the site from being spammed by real haters. Anyway, my point is, there’s not a single problematic comment up to this point in this thread that would concern an unbiased HR manage.

    • Avatar Erin says:

      Thank you, Sheryl! There are many in the community that feel exactly the same way! I do not dismiss the concern that many people have about Bethel, but there are better ways of talking about those concerns than the absolute venomous and hate filled talk that I have seen lately. One can say that Bethel is covertly unkind all they want. But when I see “the only good Bethel cultist is a dead Bethel cultist” in reference to not the leadership, but the citizens of our community that merely attend the church, and it is completely accepted as normal, well that leads me to believe that this is a BIG PROBLEM. Hate speech has a real, and not arbitrary definition and I see it often in regards to Bethel Church. It is incredibly divisive and damaging. There is obviously a whole lot of misinformation, lack of understanding, and deep hurt on both sides of this issue, but I don’t know how our community can begin to heal without beginning from a place of simple human decency and respect.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Erin, I’m not a fan of Bethel but NO ONE I know would consider the statement that “the only good Bethel cultist is a dead Bethel cultist” as acceptable or normal. There will always be people on public forums using over-the-top hateful rhetoric. Many of the “hurt” people who are LGBTQ do not feel respected nor valued as whole human beings by Bethel Church. I honestly wonder of there is beginning to be a disconnect between the church Elders and the younger Bethel attendees on this very subject. I think it’s likely as I believe the younger generation seems to be much more accepting and non judge-mental regarding people’s sexuality. It’s just not a thing.

        • Avatar Erin says:

          I understand that. There are a lot of hurt Bethel people as well that are being marginalized and ostracized. It’s very sad for both sides.

          • Avatar Candace says:

            Erin, I don’t like anyone to feel marginalized or ostracized (ok, that’s not completely true, there are some I’d like to experience those feelings in order for them to learn empathy towards groups of people they’re doing exactly those things to, as well ad a few others because I’m human and can be just as petty as the next person. I try my best not to be but sometimes I slip up). Thing is there’s a huge difference between feeling marginalized and having someone support ideologies that would work towards the taking away of someone’s legal right to marry, adopt, etc. based on who they love. HUGE difference in “hurt” levels. One is uncomfortable and upsetting and none of us like feeling that waywhile the other directly impacts one’s quality of life and the enjoyment of and access to the same legal rights others enjoy. Based on that reasoning alone who’s more the victim of “hate”, Different people, different lenses, different very real life altering fears.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            I have never said an unkind word to a Bethel member, at least on purpose. My targets are not generally little people. Jake’s a big dude, he should hire an editor. Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Dr. Andre Van Mol, Julie Winter, these are all prominent people in positions of power. It is my calling to investigate what they’re up to, particularly in regard to issue involving Church and State, which this article does, and most of my past articles have done as well. I’m David in this equation. Bethel is Goliath.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Sheryl didn’t say a damned thing about “feelings.” Geez!

  16. Avatar Patrick says:

    As I said it’s on YouTube .. if you work at Bethel then you surely know that Kris, mama & son love guns! You must know they travel the USA & world to kill animals, right? The army is all about the dominant 7 mountain mandate take over.

  17. Avatar Genghis Fawn says:

    I find during stressful spiritual times Mongolian rock can unite gay and straight, atheists and believers alike

    Can we get this group at the Redding Civic Auditorium ? 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4xZUr0BEfE

  18. Avatar Ndiya says:

    Well-worded! Thanks for helping get the point across. I’m a religious Christian and I’m tired of Bethel claiming to be a Christian church when the pastors and elders go against AND encourage others to go against everything Jesus taught! Ie. pay taxes, spend your wealth on helping others, hold yourself accountable, Love your neighbor, etc..

  19. Avatar Lucy Lawless says:

    The fact that Jake supports Bethel completely and has the nerve to call us 2,000 people hateful, is totally a hate speech on Jake’s part.

    We’ve spent hundreds of hours and sometimes money just to investigate the Bethel Cult. . Why is Jake so into Bethel’s deep pocket and he can’t see the forest through the trees. Why isn’t the chambers supporting other religious organizations? Everything is Bethel this and Bethel that, yet no mention on any of the Catholic, Protestant or any other other active religious practices that takes place in our town.

    2,000 people can’t all be wrong. Bethel is very sketchy and since our own mayor, chamber of commerce as well as our various types city government & council leaderships can’t smell the stench. It’s up to us to get all the information on them that we can as well as share it amongst ourselves and others as we choose.

    After reading Jakes article, I’ve taken it upon myself to boycott Chamber of Commerce establishments too. I don’t like doing this, I’ve always been a big supporter of local business’s. What I’m hoping to come out is this is that all you members step up and get that mad man with tunnel vision leader out of that office. Clean up your group of leaders and put people in there who’s total concerns are about supporting all of you members and us local citizens too.

    There’s a saying about putting all your eggs into one basket. That’s exactly what’s been happening throughout Redding & Shasta County as well as other areas throughout our country. I lived in Oakland when Jim Jones relocated thousands of citizens to their death camp. It was so gut wrenching seeing them all come home to be buried Therefore, I refuse to drink any of Bethels Kool Aid or read any of his garbage. He’s not teaching the Bible as so many of us know it. He’s minulapted it to suite his own evil visions and needs.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      You’re totally correct Lucy, 2000 people can’t be wrong. Bethel only claims 11,000 local members and there’s 180,000 people in Shasta County. If all of us have your courage, we can get a fair deal.

  20. Avatar Kate says:

    I think that the real problem with Bethel has to do with that it’s a business masquerading as a church. As such Bethel is able to leverage its tax free status to wield undue influence (and favors) in the community.

    It’s a prime example of how big money takes over government. It starts out seeming innocent – until one day we wake up and realize it’s an out of control monster that was never innocent at all.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Bethel is very much a business – or more accurately it’s a virtual textbook example of a prosperity gospel scam. However, it’s primarily a political organization – its leaders openly endorse political candidates (in violation of the Johnson Amendment), and urge their followers to become politically active. And as I mentioned above, Bethel has a heavy presence in Washington D.C., with its #1 goal and that of its national and international cohorts being political control on every level.

      • Avatar Kate says:

        PAC’s are a completely different animal. I wasn’t aware of Bethel’s D.C shenanigans. There is an organization called Represent Us. It’s spearheading an right-left anti corruption movement across the country. I’ve been toying with bringing an chapter here to Redding. Perhaps it’s time.

        This kind of special interest focused money is what has destroyed our government.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Kate, you’re right, this is exactly how big money takes over government, on a small, easy to understand scale.

  21. Avatar David says:

    I think just about everything has been said. Yes Bethel has freedom of religion but their rights end where another’s begin. I am tired of people coming up to me on the street or in a business to pray at me. I have noticeable Parkinson’s Disease. Nearly every time I am out and about, some perky, young, we call them hipsters in New York. It’s hard to explain the “Bethel vibe” but I know it when it is coming at me. They start chatting and then ask about my disease and then go in for the kill. Can I pray over you God can cure that for you. I always let them because I hope it gets through to them that it doesn’t work. They then get huffy and tell me that the reason it doesn’t work is because I don’t have enough faith. Then they start with the Jesus approach. As a man of Jewish decent, I really don’t think Jesus has much for me. I also don’t patronize Bethel or Bethel supported business for this and several other reasons. When the Chamber of Commerce starts calling those who don’t support Bethel they are committing hate crimes is ridiculous. Because of this I will not patronize any Chamber members. Be very careful how you throw around terms like that. To me, hate crimes are committed every time a Bethelite accosts me in the street or in a business and anti-Semitically tell people of the Jewish faith don’t have enough faith. I also take issue with the Mayor and the Dahles, all devoted Bethelites, have a Christian only Town Hall meeting. Just my opinion.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Harassing disabled people in public should be a crime – especially when a simple “no” doesn’t suffice to get rid of the harassers.

      People are entitled to spend their money where they choose. I suspect that Chamber CEO Jake Mangus didn’t do some of his members any favors with his shameless attempt to pander to a disreputable mega-cult by slandering thousands of decent people.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      David, you’ve given us an epiphany. You’re a man of extreme patience to put up with this sort of behavior, and of course there are thousands of people just like you who’ve been accosted by these unwitting dupes who’ve spent five grand to attend the BSSM. I agree with you that Jake pulling the “religious discrimination card” in this case is uncalled for.

  22. Avatar Monique says:

    Wow why is my comment gone…..hmmmm makes me wonder?

  23. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Well, I went’n’did it. After years of saying, “No, no, Hell no,” I just opened a Facebook account so that I could join the Bethel Affiliated site (thanks, Bruce) and was accepted. Now it seems I should join the Redding Chamber in order to refrain from patronizing any of the members. I wonder if there will be any backlash from Chamber members to Mangus’ blog. There should be, unless most of them are Bethel affiliated. If I were a member, I would want to distance myself from that Bethel love fest that Mangus wrote.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Beverly, friend me, I vetted you all ready.

    • Avatar Ann Webber says:

      Good for you Beverly! I hope you enjoy the connections you make.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      As I stated in the story, Beverly, I don’t support boycotting anyone.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        I know you don’t, R.V., but I can’t/won’t patronize businesses that drink the Kool-Aid, as you stated. Fortunately, that’s my choice. And apparently from the comments here, many others feel as I do. We may be selling our Redding cottage, and I hope there is some way to assure that it isn’t purchased by a Bethel front. I wouldn’t want to do that to the neighborhood.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Unfortunately some portion of any money spent in a business owned by a Bethel attendee – or that even employs Bethel students, etc. – goes into Bethel coffers, and could help motor Bethel’s Redding take-over (at least whatever money makes it beyond the plush personal bank accounts of Bethel leaders).

          No Bethel attendee is ignorant of the fact that Bethel’s agenda is to push its religion into every aspect of local society. There are no innocent bystanders (although most propably don’t know how malignant and extensive that agenda really is).

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          The main reason I can’t support a boycott of anything is in my conception of being a journalist, that crosses the line from being a journalist to being an activist.

  24. Avatar Sharon says:

    Good to know where our Chamber stands. I have been concerned about the phony BS Bethel relgion for years. I will not be supporting them in any way.

  25. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Hi everybody, I’m back! I’ve had a glass of wine. Let’s do this!

  26. Avatar Cameron says:

    I honestly don’t understand how so many people miss the point of Jake’s article. It was about hateful speech that shouldn’t be tolerated toward any person or group of people, using Bethel as an example. That’s it! Every ignorant hateful word simply proves his point.
    Before you completely write me off, I believe we all have the right to our opinion and our beliefs, but Jake didn’t right an article about LGBTQ rights. It’s not about the Casino, it’s not about housing problems or religious philosophies. How can people advocate for tolerance and respect toward the group they are connected to and in the same breath spit on those same rights of another group.
    Our country is so amazing because we have freedoms, but somehow we expect more than we are willing to give. Makes me sad.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      No Cameron, I beg to disagree. Jake has a six-figure job, and he clearly stated that all the HR managers in the Chamber should consider thousands of people in various Facebook groups opposed to Bethel to be “problematic” employees. This story barely mentioned LGBTQ rights.

      • Avatar Erin says:

        Not that Jake Mangas’ salary has anything to do with it but he does not make six-figures and that is not what he said. You are clearly a person of reasonable intellect, so I have to assume that you are smarter than to think that Jake Mangas would say that anyone opposed to Bethel is an HR problem, and suggest that HR departments fire anti-Bethel employees. That’s ridiculous. He is making a comparison by saying that if an employee were to speak about a person of another race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation in the same manner in which we see people speak about Bethel members every day, it would be an HR nightmare. And he’s right, it would be. But of course, you already know that. What you are doing here is jumping on a controversial article posted by someone influential that had an overwhelming response, and trying to stir the pot with a click-bait title so you can get more clicks and more readers. And look!! Most viewed article in 30 days by a mile! Congratulations.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Let me spell it out for you Erin: Jake says “fuck Bethel” is the same thing as saying “fuck black people,” and that should be a concern for every chamber member that actually has an HR department. He then labeled all Facebook groups “devoted to hating Bethel” as hate groups. It makes you wonder if Jake actually has a staff.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Cameron, it was the using of “Bethel” as an example of being the target of hate directed speech. I hope you can appreciate how that would push buttons for many who feel that Bethel is out and loud with their intolerance of who and how others choose to love that doesn’t fit their idea of “family values” . R.V. may not have focused his column on the the LGBTQ+ aspect but a lot of folks relate Bethel to that very subject. Surely Mr. Mangas is aware of that correlation, he’d have to live under a rock to not be. Like you, I’m sad, but it’s not for the same reason as you. I’m sad for the unnecessary rancor Mr. Mangas’ “letter” caused because of his feeling the need to use his position in the business world of our community to “school” others by unfortunately using an example of “anti-Bethel” rhetoric to do it. Well intentioned or not (I don’t personally know Mr. Mangas to make a judgement either way so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt ) , quite obviously it only served to fuel the fire.

      • Avatar Cameron says:

        I guess I don’t understand how using “bethel” changes the point of his article. I understand that’s a group you disagree with. But what if it was another group? My point was that people are missing the point because he used bethel but that shouldn’t change our ability to agree that intolerance and hatred toward anyone should not be tolerated. Even those you don’t agree with, in this case bethel.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Cameron, No one I know is missing your point regarding the acceptance of intolerance and hate of any group with which one disagrees. However, intolerance and hate are not always equal things. I don’t have to tolerate someone trying to take my legal rights away. That doesn’t automatically translate into meaning I hate them. What I think you’re missing is that in this case, Bethel Church was indeed trotted out as an example of being the victim of hate speech. Bethel Church is a very controversial subject in our community. It’s a hot topic that pushes the buttons of many people who feel marginalized and disrespected by this church. If a different example had been used I’m confident that it would not have gotten the same blowback. Also, one would have to be fairly naive to think that Bethel Church was randomly chosen to use as a virtue signaling representation of the victimhood of hate speech. Other than the obvious business aspect of that choice I personally find it to pretty much be a David vs Goliath thing with Bethel being Goliath. Something doesn’t ring true.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Cameron, the anger you’re hearing is I think partly due to Mr. Mangas’s use of “Bethel” as an example of being the target of hate directed speech. Maybe you can appreciate how that would push buttons for many who feel that Bethel (or at the very least, Bethel Elders ) is loud and proud with its intolerance of who and how others choose to love that doesn’t fit its “family values” narrative. R.V. may not have focused his column on LGBTQ+ issues and how they correlate to the subject of Bethel but for many those two things go hand in hand. Surely Mr. Mangas is aware of that correlation? He’d have to live under a rock to not be. Like you, I’m sad, but it’s not for the same reason as you. I’m sad for the unnecessary rancor Mr. Mangas’ “letter” caused because of his feeling the need to use his position in the business world of our community to “school” others on hate speech by using “anti-Bethel” rhetoric as an example. Well- intentioned or not (I don’t personally know Mr. Mangas to make a judgement either way so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt ) , quite obviously his doing so had only served to add fuel to the fire rather than putting it out. I agree with you that any intended or unintended fueling of further divisiveness is a sad thing.

    • Avatar JDQ says:

      Gay people don’t believe in bearded bros in the clouds gonna give us all our hopes and dreams if we waste our life on earth being nice to him…Or well, some do, but being gay is being gay, believing in fictional bs that has been the cause of so much pain, death and destruction throughout history all over the world, and for what? A crazy ass belief in your god, of course he’s the real god, none of others ones are real. Blah, blah no point cause you’re going to keep believing an altruistic story while going against all its beliefs and rules. You can hate gays and be a follower of an altruistic god…

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        I enjoy reading my super-duper annotated digitized King James Version Bible, with a full concordance of Hebrew, Greek and Latin. It’s like a genocide manual for a suicide cult.

  27. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    I applaud your efforts here, RV! One thing that has not been mentioned in anything I have read, is that Bethel affiliated businesses are given preferential treatment by the Civic Center and each other. Normally, bids are requested from several businesses, but having been a small business owner, I have seen the movement towards them purchasing, hiring and offering their services to others in Bethel. The BSSM students have required volunteer expectations and I suspect that they often help out some of the businesses, therefore creating an unfair advantage for these businesses.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Ann, you bring up a valuable point that I wish I knew more about. I know there are thousands of non-Bethel businesses, including start-ups, and if you haven’t drank the kool-aid, how can you not perceive the deck is stacked against you?

  28. Avatar Erica says:

    I wish the City of Redding was as worried about the parking situations in neighborhoods and over crowded rental homes packed with bethel students as they are with the safety of the Wolf scooter riders. Seems like RPD is trying to protect the bethel startups that only cater to bethel students.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Like all fads, the scooter thing shall pass.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        RV, Tucson, like other cities, have already banned scooters because they are creating problems. And it has nothing to do with Bethel, it is a problem where ever there is a college with inadequate parking. In fact two enterprising students have opened an online parking app where they rent out church parking lots near ASU. The churches get a percentage of the rentals.

  29. Avatar Carrie Whiting says:

    As a gay woman I have every right to be on the corner (as I did) protesting how Bethel tortures my fellow LGBT siblings through conversion therapy. It is a harmful practice that increases the risk of people ending their lives. I bet Bethelites boycott (whether intentionally or unintentionally) LGBT friendly establishments, and they are free to do so. (It is telling that Theory chose to open right from the 501 and suddenly they sell beer…) But any businesses that are there because of loans from Bethel and are making money off those businesses shouldn’t get my patronage. My gay dollars should not go towards hurting other people. I also think that all churches should lose their tax exempt status (but that’s another debate)

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Carrie, one of my favorite things to do in Redding is throw down some strong drinks at the 501 Club, and then go to Theory Collaborative and sober up.

    • Avatar Aaron T says:

      Hi Carrie,

      There seems to be some misunderstandings about what Bethel offers and endorses. If you have questions about why specific legislation was opposed, you’re welcome to email info@bethel.com or learn more at https://www.bethel.com/press/cabills/.

      Here is an excerpt from a Bethel website on the topic of “Do you practice conversion therapy?”:

      “No. We provide safe spaces people need to process what is on their hearts. We listen. We ask questions. We create an environment for sincere authenticity. Our conversations are led individually, according to each person’s goals and vision for their life. When people wrestle with issues of sex and gender in a Christian context, it can be life-giving to walk among others who have faced the same things. Since we too have experienced same-sex attraction, people who meet with us know we understand them and can resonate with how they feel.

      “‘Conversion therapy’ is a broad and ill-defined term that is often used to include forms of physical violence, force, manipulation, shame, or humiliation. We reject these practices as ineffective and harmful.”

      This Bethel Instagram post helps clarify as well: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1e7BAyhnhg/

      As far as your mention of loans, Bethel Church does not issue loans or own residential rental property. Businesses and property managers in the area may attend church services at Bethel, but their businesses are their own private endeavors.

      Hopefully this information is helpful!

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        The post above by Aaron T is misleading in the extreme.

        First of all, many of the people who have taken over a massive number of rentals (and forced what are often elderly and/or disabled locals into a nearly non-existent rental market) are not just “property managers in the area” who “may attend Bethel”. They are Bethel insiders with “ministries” – which is a smarmy attempt to disguise exploiting others for financial gain. They pack these rentals with crowds of Bethel students who, combined, pay far more than many local families and individuals can afford. These Bethel “ministers” then take their ill-gotten gains and displace even more local people.

        Secondly, I can’t think of anything more “violent” than teaching gay people that “god” considers them an “abomination”, and that they’re heading for an eternity of torture. And of course there’s manipulation etc. involved. These people are accepted only because they’ve been guilted and shamed into claiming they want to change their “evil” orientation, and be “cured” of their sickness. Bethel leaders have had horrible things to say about gay people.

        In addition, Bethel is a rabid supporter or anti-gay hate groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, whose leader tells harmful lies along the lines that the real agenda of the gay rights movement is to gain unfettered access to children, and that most gay men are pedophiles.

      • Avatar Katie says:

        https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/ex-gays-descend-upon-d-c-lobby-against-lgbtq-rights-n1074211?fbclid=IwAR2vhVZpPc3P7wI8eUGDH5HAZ7mozjQT7mD_cBEeGjzD_oIasua9YoB1scw

        Bethel and it’s adjacent ministries/organizations do in fact have a harmful agenda towards the LGBTQ community. People are not misunderstanding the discrimination and it’s frustrating for it to be dismissed as a misunderstanding over and over by Bethel leadership and members. If traditional marriage and gender identity is an important held belief by Bethel, great. Just stop calling it loving and safe. Don’t be surprised when people speak against it or express their feelings of marginalization in response to groups like Changed who are advocating against LGBTQ rights on a national level. That affects more than just those that choose to attend Bethel.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Aaron, and everybody else interested in what “conversion therapy” actually means, pay attention:

        “Conversion therapy” has become shorthand for the many scientifically discredited forms of “reparative therapy,” psychological and religious, used in the past. These therapies started with the premise that being LGBTQ is an illness or a sin that can be electro-shocked, medicated or prayed away. The one common denominator they all have is none of them have been scientifically proven to work, and many of them in fact are harmful.

        The tide changed way back in 1978, when psychiatrists declared the LGBTQ community (they didn’t call it that back then of course) wasn’t crazy after all. Since then, “affirmative therapy,” which starts from the premise that expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity naturally occur on a spectrum and are not an illness or a sin, has become the overwhelming preferred mode of treatment, outside of extreme right-wing evangelicals, which you can count Bethel in.

        Bethel has lots of money, but all it offers up for evidence than any one in its Changed Movement has actually changed are anecdotal stories and most likely tainted because the writers are being paid and toured around the country.

        I’ve asked Bethel to explain what they’re doing at Equipped To Love, their conversion therapy clinic, how many people sign up for conversion therapy, have you done any clinical studies, etc. I got the same boiler plate “we do know harm” nonsense posted above. If I had to guess, I’d say Bethel is using regression therapy (SOZO are whatever its called) to bring up childhood trauma–a highly discredited practice that’s illegal to perform on youth under 18 in California as it should be.

  30. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article R.V. There are two things that bother me about the Bethel business. There are numerous faith based colleges and universities in the United States where students can earn accredited degres in many areas including medical, science and teaching. Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is not accredited, so that after (expensive) years of training, students have no marketable skill except as ministers. But they can’t take the Glory Cloud with them to their new ministry, and they don’t learn how it is done in their training. From what I hear, being a student at Bethel a wonderful and uplifting experience. (The music is extraordinary!) Until you end up broke and unemployable at the end of the ride.
    Bethel is good business for people like my neighbor who rents out rooms in her house and parking space for people who come from all over to attend this Mega Church. By parking space I mean for campers and vans and motorhomes with extension chords running into the house for electricity.
    I’ve never questioned the property tax exemption for churches until now. I’m sure I would have the same reservation if SDA or Catholic churches started buying up properties all over Redding.
    Again, thank you R.V. for this article. I really enjoyed all the follow up posts.

  31. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    You are right Don. They chanted “Jews will not replace us.” What a horrifying event that must have been. So, this is a response to a post eons ago.

  32. Avatar Candace says:

    Sooo… not sure why my original post showed up before my self- edit of the same post ( I typically go back and tweak
    things just in case I royally screw up. It’s a learned habit from many years of proof-reading)? but my apologies. I’m quite sure it was operator error ( as in my error). For anyone that has any interest whatsoever in my comments the second one is more in line with my complete thoughts. For those with absolutely no interest in my comments that’s ok because it means you wouldn’t have read this far anyway ( maybe I need to START drinking, lol). Also, I’m interested to see what and if Aaron replies to Annelise as I thought her comments to be both fair and intelligent.

  33. First, let me go on the record and say that I like Jake and his family.

    My first reaction to Jake’s Bethel post was to admire it in a clinical way as a savvy move, since Bethel brings so much new business money to Redding. Writing his post was a gamble worth taking since it will probably pay off in the long run, as it will boost the Chamber’s income exponentially when grateful Bethel business owners become dues-paying loyal Chamber members. Can you think of any other wealthy Redding organization that has the potential to bring a steady stream of new businesses into the Chamber’s fold each year? I can’t. Only Bethel. Move over heathens. The Chamber’s got a new love interest and her name is Bethel.

    However, what made me cringe was that Jake seemed to lump Bethel haters and Bethel truth-finders into the same ugly pile. And that’s now what’s happening, where Bethel is playing the part of the victim. Likewise, as of tonight I saw one FB post that said, “I stand with Jake” – as if he’s being persecuted. I’m not talking about the few misguided idiots who’ve left Jake horrible messages (welcome to the world of expressing your opinion). I’m talking about Jake facing keen scrutiny from earnest people who have grave concerns about Bethel’s growing influence on Redding.

    Of course true hate speech is unacceptable in any form. However, it’s not hateful to ask hard questions – like how is Bethel changing Redding, and how does Bethel’s vast wealth influence our city leaders and politicians?

    For years now I’ve meant to have ANC join the Redding Chamber of Commerce. It seemed the right thing to do. Frankly, the annual dues are what held me back. Now, even if given a free membership, I wouldn’t want to belong to this group. Jake’s message had a chilling effect, one that casts aspersions on the scores of citizens who take issue with Bethel. And if I were a small businessperson who had honest questions and reservations about Bethel, I’d feel chastised and unwelcome by Jake’s message; and feel as if my concerns were being dismissed and unfairly characterized as hate speech.

    Jake makes Bethel sound like some little quaint place of worship, and golly, people should be allowed to worship in peace in their own way. Well duh. But that’s not the issue, and please don’t make it sound like it’s a Sunday school issue. Rather, the issue is how Bethel’s gigantic power and mammoth influence has already changed almost every part of Redding, from housing, politics and medicine, to education and the city’s direction and future.

    And that’s why multiple FB groups have evolved; to ask pressing questions and share information. And sure, I imagine there are hateful wingnuts in all groups (Some read ANC and leave comments), but it so happens that I belong to one of the FB groups in question, because I wanted to read what was being said, and the only way was to join, so I did. I know I’m not committing a hate crime against Bethel, rather, staying abreast of new information.

    Jake Mangas is paid handsomely as the CEO of one of the most powerful entities in Redding. And Bethel is the most powerful church in Redding. What a perfect match, especially now, with Jake taking some heat for aligning the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce with Bethel, we have two powerhouse giants in solidarity as the downtrodden duo. But really, there’s nothing down about them. They’re stronger than ever, joined at the hip, walking in unison, to who knows where.

    In the end, Jake’s conclusion to his blog is what I found most disconcerting:

    “Does Bethel Church have influence in Redding? Absolutely. Have there been many businesses created as a result of its presence? Yes. Will the people of Redding, both long-term residents and new arrivals alike, one day embrace Bethel Church and not fear or condemn it? As one of the Church’s cornerstones states, “Nothing is Impossible”.

    For me, Jake’s “Nothing is impossible” lifted from Bethel’s own cornerstone beliefs, begs some troubling questions: What if I don’t want to embrace an organization that is renowned for its position on LGBTQ individuals and issues? What if my fears are justified? And finally, what if my condemnation is well-placed? Does that make me a hater?

    No, it doesn’t. It means I’m awake and observant and I have the right to ask questions and express concerns. And that’s what R.V.’s doing here today, and what he’s been doing for more than a year with his investigations into Bethel’s ways and wonders. R.V. pulls no punches, and he calls it like he sees it, and when he smells a rat, he says so.

    • Avatar Kate says:

      Best quote on this topic, “Of course true hate speech is unacceptable in any form. However, it’s not hateful to ask hard questions – like how is Bethel changing Redding, and how does Bethel’s vast wealth influence our city leaders and politicians? Thanks Doni!

    • Avatar Anita Lynn Brady says:

      “However, it’s not hateful to ask hard questions – like how is Bethel changing Redding, and how does Bethel’s vast wealth influence our city leaders and politicians?”

      Recently I inquired to the City of Redding for a summary of Bethel Donations to General Fund. They had publicly donated $500,000 for the Neighborhood Policing Unit (many of us see it as a bribe, since the Bethel Expansion project was being scrutinized at the time). I knew that additional funds were being raised by Bethel via a gofundme type sourcing because I actually donated at the time. I got an email from Redding’s Financial Guru with a summary: in total, it is more than $1 million from Dec 2017 to present. Now that is INFLUENCE.

  34. Avatar Candace says:

    “… What if I don’t want to embrace an organization that is renowned for its position on LGBTQ individuals and issues? What if my fears are justified? And finally, what if my condemnation is well-placed? Does that make me a hater?
    No, it doesn’t. It means I’m awake and observant and I have the right to ask questions and express concerns.”

    Well said Doni, I believe you are exactly right. I think that sometimes the people with the largest bully pulpits are the biggest bullies.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Candace.. there are few Christian churches that support homosexual rights The Catholic Church, ironically has anti gay tenets. Do we scorn the Redding Catholic churhes? As I have said repeatedly…I guess I am one of the few on these pages that actually interacted with Bethel folks. I hired and worked with dozens of them. I never met one Bethel kid that had any animous towards a LGBTQ individual. Yes, the church may have their beliefs…just as the Catholic Church does, but individuals believe what they believe and once again, I never met a Bethel kid who didn’t treat a member of the gay community with respect and friendship. Heck, I hired a few openly gay Bethel students.
      Are Christian churches slow in accepting gay rights? Yes, of course they are. And I wish they would come around. But you can’t condem just Bethel

      • Avatar Anita Lynn Brady says:

        Having spent my life in Redding area, I can tell you that no other religious entity has set their goal as taking over the community (Bethel and their 7 Mtns of Domionism). Yes, there is a Catholic Hospital that causes the community to have to abide by Catholic “ethical dictates.” regarding their healthcare. Is that good? Heck no!

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        Why do you imagine that others here haven’t had extensive experience with Bethelbots?

        I managed several apartment complexes at one time in Redding, and one of the owners actually had to threaten Bethel with legal action because of complaints from parents about their conversion crews repeatedly coming on to private property (despite warnings, which they ignored) and trying to recruit children (especially teenagers) after school while their parents were at work.

        I also ran across more than a few Bethel followers in the course of working with the homeless who were unable to keep up with the constant demands for money from Bethel leaders (like paying the tithe and then some before paying their rent, Bethel’s exorbitant “tuition”, etc.) and still keep a roof over their heads. Yet these victims of Bethel still largely thought that Bethel was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doug, again, the letter from Mr. Mangas put the focus on Bethel. Regarding your “But what about the other churches?”, I’ve said more than a few times that I realize Bethel is hardly the only church that doesn’t condone homosexuality, it just happens to be the loudest and the largest within our city.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Doug, I have also interacted with Bethel-goers. In fact one such person is a long-time family friend who is a retired Bethel teacher. She sits at my Christmas dinner table most years. I’ll be honest that I’ve wrestled with inviting her sometimes as she shares our table with one of my children who is gay. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s hard to be gracious sometimes when said graciousness is being extended to someone who is negatively judging a cherished love one, but gracious I am. So, unless my child says they’re not comfortable with this person sharing a small, intimate family Christmas dinner with us, the invite will still be extended and gracious I’ll be.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Candace, Have you asked your friend her views on gay people? Or do you just assume because she is part of the church that she is anti gay? Ask her.. you may be surprised. As I said, I had a number of gay employees and the Bethel students always treated them with respect and were friends to them. I am truly saddened to read many of the insults and other disparaging names thrown around towards people that I have always found to be kind, smart, gracious and all around great people. That is what always impressed me about Bethel. How they strive to be the best person they can be. This coming from a non religious person. It’s very sad to me to see this hatred towards folks that do nothing but practice their faith.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook,

            You are being disingenuous. Since “practicing their faith” involves taking over the city and forcing their religion into every corner of the public sphere, the general population has every right (and even a moral obligation) to object.

  35. Avatar Seymour Garcon says:

    I made a comment and it was more about the Mayor Winter….and how I feel about her, and that comment was removed because I was angry. I never stated to harm or hurt anyone, but I voiced my anger and my disdain to how I feel, she has manipulated this community into following her ideals and her ideations…I was so angry that I may have typed a few negative comments about things, I really have no clue about….like her being a clinician. My comment spoke to her words and her actions, rather lack of actions, and at how angry I am at her for breeding discourse, and dismay! When the city council chose to spend 500 thousand on a lighted park, rather than spend that money on actually helping the underserved….it flipped me sideways, and upside down….I am now right side up again….I feel that Bethel and the City council are too intermingled and that the council is breeding a heavily destructive dissolution of everything that could be right in our community! Business’s are being impeded upon with homeless individuals and they are struggling, and Jake knows that. We in this town are forsaken, we in this town have been asking for the help, and we in this town are forced to wear the proverbial fetters while trying to fend for bits and pieces of sanity and I feel this is a practice of a simulation! They keep pretending, and they keep turning a blind eye. If perception is reality, then I perceive we are in bigger trouble that we even realize! I never ever wanted to attack the church, for they taught me that GOD was enthroned in my heart, and I learned to keep that always in mind when trying to get things to change politically! GOD is in my heart, and he has my back. We need to be able to vote the Mayor position in, not let it just roll to the next council member, because that is the way ours works! I just want people in positions of power to act and do for the masses, for all of US, but they don’t. They didn’t hear me say I was assaulted inside the city limits, and I begged for the mobile crisis unit, and I was denied….then they voted to spend 500 thousand on that park! Dr. Drew says if you don’t help those that can not help themselves and that are left to fend for themselves on the street…….that is tantamount to MURDER!

    The fact that we are a city of education and intelligent people is amazing, and when a city of those kind of people can ban together to do good…….amazing things can happen! I don’t see this ever being an issue we can resolve until our city council changes!

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Seymour…Ms Winters is only one of 5 City Council members. She has no special powers because of her religious affiliation. It was the majority of the council that voted for the lights in the park…why are you just blaming Me Winters.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doug Cook, yes, conversations with this particular friend have been had because she also has a gay sibling whom I’m very close with. It’s awkward due to the circumstances but she will answer questions honestly if asked. I always encourage people whenever possible to ask the source ( if they’re willing to answer) rather than simply assume. That said, I was not at all surprised to hear her viewpoint, it was as I thought it would be. It’s the “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing. We harbor no animosity towards one another, quite the contrary. She is never outwardly rude or dismissive to those with whom she disagrees. I am as steadfast in my belief system as she is in hers. She worries about her loved one’s after-lives. I care more about my loved one’s lives on earth which includes loving, accepting and respecting them as whole human beings rather than broken ones to be pitied, saved, or in need of “fixing”. Navigating the waters with friends and family who have fundamentally different belief systems is never easy. I suppose one has to weigh what one is willing to “look past” when it comes to protecting and respecting our own versions of “family values”and what that means to each of us. I do not think that this particular friend ever operates from a place of hate. She comes from a place of genuine concern that springs from her religious convictions.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Doug Cook, full disclosure that I have in the past chosen to part ways with a friend and past co-worker who is, was (?) along with her husband heavily involved with Bethel Church. She was very, very upset and in strong disagreement with Bethel elders’ public stance on homosexuality. To her this stance was heart-breaking and overshadowed all the good she perceived Bethel Church as doing. What I had a hard time with was her feeling this way while continuing to support this church. Looking back and realizing how very conflicted she felt, I’m sorry that I chose to do end our friendship. This happened when the anti-gay sermon went public and I was feeling very offended and protective of my gay child (adult). In retrospect I think
          I caused her even more pain and for that I’m truly regretful. That said, I am still no fan of Bethel Church.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Candace, I’m trying not to delve into the realm of whataboutism.. but here I go. As I said earlier, most Christian churches have tenets against homosexual acts. I don’t see how they are any different than Bethel. If you had a Mormon friend, would you end your friendship with them? I’m assuming you voted for and supported President Obama and Secy Clinton. They both were against gay marriage as late as 2011. Were they both anti gay? I doubt it…were the homophobic? No…it took them awhile to evolve their beliefs. Some evolve slower than others. I wouldn’t be so quick at ending relationships because of religious affiliation. Would you not be friends with Muslims that consider homosexuals criminals and in some countries they are executed? Would you not be friends with Catholics because of the leaders of the church looking the other way with their child molestation crisis? I was also not happy with the sermon you referenced, and I talked with many Bethel folks that didn’t like it either. One of the main reasons I support Bethel is I have seen first hand the quality of individuals that are members. That is why I hired so many of them. They are all around great people, kind and generous. Hard working with outstanding morals. One if my favorite employees during our initial interview, I asked her what she had been doing the past few years . She said she was in the sex trade industry. After the shock look on my face wore off.. she explained that she worked in Thailand for years getting young girls, as young as 12 and 13 out of prostitution. Which is rampant in that country. I can give many examples of kids like this doing good work. It hurts me to see how these kids are maligned in these pages

  36. Avatar Talking Donkey says:

    Mayor Winter some time ago surprised me spiritually by apologizing to the local indigenous Indian tribes for the atrocities committed against them over the years. By opening that door of reconciliation and forgiveness a brief light was cast on how Redding leadership can start to turn this city around…

    Matthew 18 im sure much to Mr Mangas’s chagrin does indeed allow Christians to hold other Christians accountable and offers the method how.

    For those of us who are believers one might then ponder the question,

    Is Bethel Church, and its leadership sinning against you personally or the city of Redding ???

    As a wear it on your sleeve Christian Mayor Julie Winter you are the powerful Redding leadership representative of Christianity for ALL Christians of our community and as such I challenge you to open another door of reconciliation and forgiveness.

    Publicly ask forgiveness of the LBGT community for the fear created by your beliefs that drive people away from instead of to our Lord and open another door of reconciliation and forgiveness and further show how Redding leadership can start to turn this city around…

    In Jesus Name

    • Avatar Seymour says:

      I appreciate u were moved by an apology from a city official, but for me that apology falls flat! I can tell my children the words I am sorry…..but if my actions don’t reflect the apology, the issues I need to change, then the “sorry” isn’t for reals…and only after I publicly voiced how angry she made me feel, she then decides to write a letter to NEWSOME to help with our homeless crisis….she should have felt compelled to write that simple letter weeks….no months ago! I am over being pacified and placated because I want to do what’s right! I am now over being angry at her, but the council still needs to realize that NO ACTION breeds discourse and decay for our community inside our society which makes up our culture….just my opinion and of course with ALL GOD’S RESPECT

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Winter’s “apology” to Native Americans is just another empty gesture by Bethel leaders since they are very much against the Casino expansion (they don’t want the competition for local dollars). Everything Bethel leaders do that seems compassionate or helpful is actually either a public relation gimmick, or has some other self-serving motive.

        As to her writing to the governor for help with Redding’s homeless crisis – that’s the height of hypocrisy. Bethel has done everything in its power to demonize local homeless people, to slash already negligible local services, and to contribute to local poverty and homelessness through Bethel’s monopolization of the area’s housing supply (which has created an extreme housing shortage that raises the cost of remining rentals), and its refusal to provide housing for its thousands of followers – even as part of its upcoming 39-acre $148 Million mega-church campus. The State didn’t create this crisis in Redding.

    • Avatar Candacec says:

      Doug Cook, I answered the question you asked me regarding my one family friend as honestly as I could. I also talked about my regret involving my friend/co-worker. No where did I say I was “quick” to end that friendship and in fact I struggled with it for some time and in fact explained my position to them, told this person that I loved them and that my decision was not an easy one or one that I made lightly and I wished them nothing but happiness going forward in their life. I did not simply end the friendship with no explanation because I don’t think that’s fair to do to someone you care about. To this person’s credit they replied that they were respectful of my decision and we left it at that. As a parent, aunt, friend and ally to many gay people it is often a difficult struggle for me not to feel
      like I’m betraying them with my support and encouragement of friendships with those who either support an anti-LGBTQ life-view or support an organization/church/politician that supports this position as well. I am not perfect, I am human, as are those with whom I disagree. I was telling you the struggle, that I, Candace experience. As far as the subject of LGBTQ+ goes, any agenda that supports efforts to roll back legal protections or implement new discriminatory laws against this group of people will never have my support. I don’t actually mind some forms about “whataboutism” because I think sometimes “but what about this” is a legitimate question. In your case it feels to me that instead of taking my honest answer to your particular question about my friend at face value you chose to instead make it political and virtue signal about how you apparently consider yourself to be above any sort of nuance when it comes to honest emotions that people sift through while navigating personal relationships. This is the reason I typically am loathe to answer you. It feels as if you’re more interested in your rebuttal to my answer than you are in the actual answer; evidenced by your subsequent slippery slope diatribe regarding Muslims, etc. intimating that I am some sort of knee-jerk reactionary. I am not. I also do not support individual character assassination based solely on “group think” public opinion and uninformed innuendo. Finally, I’ll repeat something I’ve said several times in several previous posts. There is a huge difference between “hurt feelings” and supporting discriminatory that would directly impact the lives of groups of people to the same rights that you and I enjoy to marry, adopt, etc.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doug Cook, as an aside, (on the subject of character assassination) in the political arena, I’d like to add that our Accidental Twitter-lord manages to assassinate his own character on a daily (hourly?) basis with no outside help.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Candace, about your aside…President Trump a dozen times a day says and tweets things that drive me crazy…but I glad he is our president and not Clinton.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        I don’t believe I said you were quick in ending the relationship…I stated I wouldn’t be quick to end a relationship over religious affiliation. I’m just very curious about your position on this, and I can’t help but to think that it is your particular bias against Bethel that drove you to this decision, rather than a overall disagreement with many denominations practises and beliefs. It would make relationships very complicated if you had to wade through their churches tenets to determine if a friendship is worthy of having. To me, it is no different than saying I’m not going to be friends with this person because he is gay. Just imagine if I wouldn’t hire somebody based on their religion, because of what their church believes in. Once again I believe you are somewhat blinded by your bias against Bethel. Which caused you to lose a friend, that is sad to me.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Doug, you’re making a fool of yourself, pretending Bethel ain’t what it is.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Doug… of course I have a bias against Bethel Church due to reasons I’ve stated numerous times. It is not the only like-minded church I feel a bias towards, it’s the loudest and largest here in Redding, CA. I’ve made no secret of that. Nowhere did I say or imply said bias would extend to me supporting the discrimination against people in the workplace due to their religion. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for some religious folks who would like work towards LGBTQ+ folks not have protections from being discriminated against in that same workplace. Again, not ALL. “Some” doesn’t mean all”. I enjoy a broad spectrum of friends and family, straight, queer, religious and non- religious. Most all of them are not interested in anti-gay rhetoric or actions or if they are they keep it in check around me. As far as the ONE friend I spoke about having parted ways with I believe I mentioned I regretted doing that. Good or bad we all have our innate biases. I readily admit that. I find it sad that instead of simply listening to an honest explanation of some personal struggles I admitted sometimes having navigating family and friends you chose instead to fit it to your own narrative of hiring, etc. Of course I don’t walk up to people and inquire about their sexual orientation or religious views. That would be intrusive and in my view is so far away from what I was originally saying in answer to your original question to be ridiculous and disingenuous. You win, I give up.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Candace, there are no winners or losers except for your friend who no longer has you as a friend and visa versa. Personally, it would never cross my mind to end a friendship over a religious affiliation, especially when they stated they don’t agree with the tenets of the church as you said, “She was… in strong disagreement with Bethel elders’ public stance on homosexuality.” I would think you would be proud of her, and embrace her disagreement with the church. I’m a simple guy, and am having difficulty understanding this revelation of yours. That you can have such a bias…or hatred for a particular church that it would cause you to lose a ‘dear friend’. I just find that incredible. ..and we’ll leave it at that and hope you reconsider your position. I have met many many wonderful people attached to Bethel.

  37. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Boy howdy, did I ever miss the parade!

    R.V. presents a three-legged stool of objections to Bethel. The latter two I largely agree with—though I suspect that downtown Redding, absent the influence of all of those ambitious hipster Bethelites, would still be the grim, culture-free death zone that it was for my first decade here. (Sorry McConnell Foundation…I don’t mean to minimize your significant and ongoing contributions.)

    Am I comfortable with Bethel taking over Redding? I am not. I think it’s an affront to the bedrock American ideal of separation of church and state. I also think that in Redding, this is a lost cause—it’s a done deal.

    As for the first objection—Bethel is a weird, homophobic, money-grubbing cult—I am familiar with that outlook, and it still makes me laugh. Larry up above points out many of the reasons why lost souls like me view that charge coming from other Christians as absurd. I could expand greatly on that, but suffice to say: Pot, kettle, black.

    Larry—and apparently Jake, the subject of R.V.’s letter—were raised in a prominent mainstream denomination that has, likely for centuries, covered up (and thereby condoned) the systematic sexual abuse of children. But yeah, Bethel is the evil empire because (like probably more than half of the churches in Redding) they believe in praying the gay out.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Steve,

      No, Bethel is the “evil empire” because it actively subscribes to 7 Mountains theology, which is the complete religious domination of the “7 Mountains” (government/the military, education, business, the media, entertainment, religion, and family life), which Bethel is well on its way to accomplishing locally.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Patrecia — I don’t see 7 Mountains theology as being absolutely different in kind from what most mainstream Christian sects would like to accomplish: Holding sway over every facet of life in America. It’s practically the GOP’s platform at this point.

        The difference is one of degree: Where others fail to deliver a top-quality experience, Bethel is apparently hella good at it.

        If the Catholic Church (as one example) was being honest with itself, it would admit that it’s losing market share because it hasn’t kept pace on the entertainment front. Sundays are no fun. Nuns strumming acoustic guitars isn’t cutting it.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Steve,

          I don’t see the Catholic Church (or any other local church) very actively forcing its way into every aspect of local society. Neither do other churches openly admit (through books written by Bethel leaders etc. if nothing else) that their goal is complete religious domination, and to make Redding a world-wide example of how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy. Anyone who doesn’t recognize the threat doesn’t know enough about the subject.

        • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

          LOL Steve Towers. I really believe that music is a major selling point for Bethel. Music can change one’s mood, and it can direct the scene as it does in all movies. It can manipulate your feelings. I don’t think churches want to get into a
          “battle of the bands”, and no other church in Redding has the resources to put on the shows that Bethel does.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      I wondered when you were going to weigh in, Steve. As a non-Christian – or any other religion – I call Bethel “a weird, homophobic, money-grubbing cult” and don’t feel my perspective is absurd. If I were religious and voiced that, then yes, pot, kettle, black. But since I’m not, Bethel’s takeover of Redding is just plain scary. How can seemingly intelligent people be bamboozled by this cult? What touches them so deeply that they adhere to the tenets? Are Johnson and Vallotton so charismatic that they hypnotize the faithful? Glitter and feathers falling from the rafters must have some magic. And the communion wine must consist of Kool-Aid.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I stopped thinking the attraction was Johnson/Vallotton long ago. To me (as I’ve said many times), they’re about as charismatic and theologically astute as a pair of hayseed used car hucksters on South Market/273.

        So what is it, then? I think Bethel has grown to have a mass that exerts a strong gravitational pull, especially on people who have a need to belong to something much bigger than themselves. The charismatic pull is the church itself, not the Goober and Gomer who sit atop the pyramid.

        I do think their adaptation of 7 Mountains theology was something of a stroke of genius, though. Perhaps the strongest predictor of business success is overarching obsession. The model reminds me of the Star Fleet nemesis, The Borg. “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          So glad you’re back!

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Steve Towers, if you see me on the street ( regardless of the fact that you’ve no idea what I look like, lol) and I stare through you with dead eyes and point at you while simultaneously letting out a loud piercing “gobble-like” noise. Run.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Steven, I wanted to impress upon you that while I stop short of calling Bethel a cult, there truly is a large number of people in the Christian discernment community that oppose the entire NAR network, which is global and fleecing the unwitting worldwide. Thus the vortex of money swirling around Shasta County. I’ve been reading my Bible a lot since I moved to Shasta County, but the only passage I know comes from Exodus, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” It’s one of those fancy computerized Bibles with a concordance, and “witch” translates to “sorcerer, false prophet, magician.”

  38. Avatar Lucy says:

    Lies being spread by a so called religious establishment is very suspicious and very unbecoming. I’ve talked to some bonafide religion pastors, like Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist Presbyterian, Catholic and other Nondenominational places of worship. Through all that, I didn’t find a single Pastor who wasn’t sceptical of Bethel. Gee I wonder why? Maybe it’s because in all good faith they couldn’t be supportive of a CULT either. That’s why groups that are investigating Bethel are so important. We may only be 2,000 strong in a group setting but there are thousands more in our communities that are suspicious too.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      To the non-religious, one sect of Christianity calling another sect of Christianity heretical merely comes off as pissing in the corners to mark territory. It seems as absurd as….well…..

      “This CULT says they worship the one true god, the Flying Spaghetti Monster! But their Flying Spaghetti Monster’s pasta is made from whole wheat! HERETICS!!!”

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Steve Towers, no reply button offered below your reply to my comment but, yep, you’re spot on. Not my intention to trivialize anyone’s real concerns (including my own), which is why I addressed that comment to you specifically to serve as a brief bit of levity in an otherwise serious and somewhat contentious conversation. I figured you’d get it and you didn’t disappoint!

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Actually Steve, Bethel’s heresies aren’t simply a pissing contest between two sects. The vast majority of mainline Christian’s reject Bethels views completely.

  39. Avatar Robert V. Scheide SR. says:

    We are fortunate to live inside this great religious experiment. One needs to expand this out to the national level. The republican led government is attempting to pull off the same program nationally. Throwing children in pens in deplorable conditions, anti anybody who is not white, laws against all LGBT life styles, a preference for Christians and many other comparisons.

    We all can see the effects that Bethel is having on Redding, multiply that by the whole country take over by that religion. The country is already being run by a small group of people (label them Trump Voters) and note who the fundamentalists have drug along with them, some Nazi’s, White Nationalists, anti Jews, anti gay, anti women.

    You can change all this come next November.

  40. Avatar Tim says:

    Bethel is a tax dodger!
    Bethel gave over a million dollars to local government!
    Bethel is anti-immigrant!
    Bethel brings in immigrants on F/M1 Visas!
    Bethel is anti-education!
    Bethel offers pre-k through college education!

    LOL. Bethel Derangement Syndrome is strong here…

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      Really strong here? I only see one comment making those claims.
      Maybe you should just make that claim to the person who made that comment instead of making a broad statement that denigrates a whole lot of civil discourse.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Tim — Bethel’s stated objective is to exert control over government, schools, business, media, entertainment, religion, and family life (the 7 Mountains). You apparently find much of the hand-wringing here to be overwrought.

      You’re a self-described libertarian who opposes government intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Surely you’re not entirely dismissive of people who have an analogous concern, but with the intrusions coming from a particular church.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        I empathize with people who fear/realize they are losing influence in society – even those objectionable white separatists who share these exact concerns. Impotence sucks, and there is no little blue pill for time marching on without you.

        But the Libertarian in me asks “which party is desiring what is has not earned?” What right do any of us have to prevent newcomers from playing by the rules and giving it a go under their terms?

        If anything, we the entrenched are the privileged. We won the ovarian lottery and if some upstart can overcome our head start, maybe the problem lies with us.

        PS: I don’t agree that “Bethel’s stated objective is to exert control over government, schools, business, media, entertainment, religion, and family life (the 7 Mountains).” My understanding is Bethel’s objective is to lead the “religion” mountain and for its followers to find ways to rise in prominence in the other 6 mountains. Once that happens, God, not Bethel Church, would be in control (or would be ready to begin the end of days or whatever).

        So yes, their goal is to have their members be in top government positions. But I don’t see where they want the church to run the government any more than the Catholic church was in charge of Kennedy (or the Mormon church would have been in charge of Romney).

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          My knee-jerk reaction was that you’re splitting hairs regarding the 7 Mountains stuff. After a moment of reflection: Okay, maybe you’re right.

          You asked: “What right do any of us have to prevent newcomers from playing by the rules and giving it a go under their terms?”

          Sure, so long as playing by the rules included the rule about separation of church and state.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Agreed – if Julie Winters starts trying to pass blue laws, I’ll be right there protesting with you.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Why do you suppose Bethel and its national ilk want their members in charge of government? We can currently see the answer to that very clearly at the national level, where Trump and his dominionist appointees are creating and supporting harmful Old Testament-inspired laws, breaching the constitutional separation of church and state, and handing special privileges (at everyone else’s expense) to fundamentalist “Christians”.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Aside from his failed Muslim ban, do you have an example of Trump creating old testament laws or special privileges for Christians? Seems to me he has mostly ensured that Christian 1st amendment rights aren’t worth less than anyone elses.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            OH PLEASE. Trump has made it possible for religious homeless shelters, foster care agencies, medical providers, and any other religious social service agency that discriminates against gay people (and anyone else they don’t approve of based on their Old Testament prejudices) to be rewarded with federal funding.

            However, to pander to his flakey fundamentalist base he denied federal funding to any medical provider that even mentions abortion. As a result, comprehensive health clinics like Planned Parenthood can no longer receive federal funding, even though abortions only comprise 3 percent of their services, and are NON-government funded.

            Meanwhile, he will be pouring money into lying, heavily religious anti-abortion fake clinics known as “crisis pregnancy centers”.

            In addition, he and the religious extremists he has appointed to head nearly every federal agency and commission are now pushing through a law that would allow so-called “Christians” to deny gay people (among others) housing, employment, and a whole slew of services.

            He and his dominionist Seretary of Education are working on robbing public schools of billions of dollars in favor of funding inferior fundamentalist church schools, which are subject to no public oversight.

            He has surround himself with religious “advisors”, who are allowed to advise him on both domestic and foreign policy.

            I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things. However, it’s obvious that this is not simply giving Christians equal rights – it’s giving them special rights, while taking away the rights of everyone else.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            There is a world of difference between the government discriminating against someone and a private organization discriminating against someone (as illustrated here, with folks boycotting bethel owned businesses).

            I’m not thrilled with Trump funding crisis pregnancy centers, but neither was I thrilled with Obama paying for sex changes.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Tim,

            Of course choosing where to spend your money is not “discrimination” – especially when it involves a raise-the-dead cult with admitted in-progress plans to take over the city for religious purposes. That could actually be considered self-defense.

            However, unsuspecting people walking into a public business and being humiliated by being denied services (very possibly in front of other customers) based solely on their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation etc. most certainly IS – as is denying those groups basic needs like employment and housing. That’s what our federal government under Trump is actively abetting.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Oh I see. It is okay for consumers to discriminate, but not private business owners?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            I would personally have less of a problem with religious haters refusing to serve certain groups in businesses that are supposedly open to the public if they were honest enough to post signs on their businesses and notices in their advertising warning the public of the treatment certain groups of people will receive if they walk in the door. Of course they won’t because they know that their mindless discrimination will cause them to lose business among most other groups as well.

            Every business owner has choices to make. If they support something that’s harmful to the community they may lose business – it’s as simple as that.

  41. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    On Gay response, which I have posted on here and had one article printed with a rewrite that was probably too harsh to print, I have pointed out the difference between Redding and Wyoming.
    This weekend in Sheridan, Wyoming the production of She Kills Monsters will be preformed. Like The Laramie Project it has received multiple favorable comments. The educator who produced this play offers the same observation of others on how Wyoming is always remembered for the Mathew Shepard murder.
    While Redding suffers, and apparently is getting worse, from Bethel Derangement Syndrome, the reddest state in the union has embraced gay rights.

  42. Avatar Monique Leona Welin says:

    See….the voice of discontent can breed dissent…to fight what is wrong….that is all I wanted to convey….our mayor has bred this feeling, because she does not listen to the nobody! She hears what her church tells her……and that is what is WRONG!!! OF course an opinion!

  43. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    RV, since this article was printed over 30 new people have joined Bethel Affiliated, congratulations. Shows a lot more interest among Redding residents.

  44. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Greetings everybody, I’m back! I’ve had a couple of brewskies. Let’s do this thing!

  45. Avatar Michael Kuker says:

    Helpful terms to consider when engaging with certain commenters. (Not naming names because, c’mon, we all know who I’m talking about.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealioning

  46. Avatar Joe says:

    I wonder how much money the top people pay themselves for telling sucker’s that they have supper powers ?

    • Avatar Tim says:

      I don’t know, but I do know Lisa Rossbacher, Humboldt State’s recently departed president, was paid $500k/year in salary & benefits to head a college in which 7 of its top 10 degrees earn less than minimum wage.

  47. Avatar Talking Donkey says:

    “City of Redding will take over homeless peoples finances if they are deemed unable to do it on their own…”

    “Redding Mayor Envisions Forcing Homeless People To Stay In Temporary Shelter”

    Repeat after me … First the homeless, then the gays …

    https://www.ijpr.org/post/redding-mayor-envisions-forcing-homeless-people-stay-temporary-shelter?fbclid=IwAR1US5A4ApOCa34EKYTbYUC-AQLp3HgfotAWXjxVgoRxJ1nueJ8EqaE9Tdc#stream/0

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      This is truly incredible. Since Bethel’s efforts to bus a lot of mainly local homeless people out of the area (and get unsightly homeless people off the streets of its world-wide base of operations) didn’t work as planned, they are now trying to institute forced concentration camps.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Hi there, Chris.

      I’ve seen first-hand what homeless campers do to the greenbelts that abound in Redding. For that reason, I’m not opposed to rigorous enforcement of the law that makes camping within City limits illegal.

      I’d be in favor of having a large and well-kept designated camping area for the homeless, preferably somewhere close to where bus transportation and services are available. I would pair that with a zero-tolerance policy for camping elsewhere.

      As for making the camping area a concentration camp where the homeless are incarcerated for 90 days? F*** that noise. Redding may be Bethelville now, but it’s still in the United States. This ain’t Nazi Germany.

  48. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I tried to find confirmation of that grim HSU factoid, and couldn’t.

    What I did find was data on the salaries of working HSU grads 2, 6, and 10 years after graduation relative to the national median. Also mean debt upon graduation, and ROI in terms of how many years it takes to recoup the dollars not earned while attending college. None of those data convinced me that I should have gone to HSU instead of UCD. Neither did they convince me that HSU is a diploma mill that primarily churns out less-than-minimum-wage losers.

    • Avatar Steve Towers says:

      This was supposed to post up above under Tim’s comment about the worthlessness of most HSU degrees.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      See open conversation for a more thorough discussion, but here are the 10 most popular degrees from HSU along with the average first year salary of its graduates. Full time minimum wage is $25,000 in California.

      1) Psychology $22,000 (181 grads)
      2) Biology $26,000 (157 grads)
      3) Business Admin $33,000 (156 grads)
      4) Wildlife Management $21,000 (110 grads)
      5) Physical Education $25,000 (100 grads)
      6) Natural Resources Conservation $23,000 (100 grads)
      7) Liberal Arts/General Studies $20,000 (97 grads)
      8) Art, fine & studio $17,000 (86 grads)
      9) Social Work $29,000 (77 grads)
      10) English Language/Literature $20,000 (64 grads)

      https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/?115755-Humboldt-State-University (click on “fields of study,” then “largest size”)

  49. Avatar Curious says:

    Fascinating discussion and range of opinions. My Bethel neighbors seem to all be very nice and considerate folks, but since I have never attended a Bethel service I have some questions. How much control do the various Bethel leaders exert over most members? One fundamental group with a couple of thousand members in Redding insists that members who work handling medical, police, bank, tax or court records report “hidden sins” (STDs, abortions, LGBQ, extramarital sex, drug use) to church leaders for possible shunning. Does Bethel Church seek this type of control over members?

  50. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Can someone tell me why religions deserve protection from “hate speech” but politics doesn’t? Or to ask a more appropriate question, why aren’t religions considered political organizations?

    “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day. Keep fighting tough, Republicans, you are dealing with human scum who have taken Due Process and all of the Republican Party’s rights away from us during the most unfair hearings in American History……”

    I don’t think I need to attribute this quote. We all know the author.

    So, he can say that about a political party, but if you called Bethelites or Muslims or Christians or etc. etc… “human scum” it would be hate speech. I don’t get it.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      I don’t know Larry, considering the source I don’t really mind assuming the title of Human Scum. Sounds like a cool punk/metal band that wouldn’t let him sit in.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Who says religions are protected from hate speech? Certainly not on these pages.

      • Avatar Larry Winter says:

        You’re right Doug. Hate speech is protected by our Constitution except under certain conditions. It can be a cause for dismissal for a federal employee attacking protected classes of people, including sexual orientation and religious beliefs. But not political beliefs.

        And this is the point I’m trying to make, though it’s somewhat muddy. So let me ask you this. Do you see the Hate Speech in what our President says the same as the Hate Speech you say is on this page? Should the realm of politics be treated differently than the realm of religion? I say no because they are so intertwined in a person’s mind to make the line of distinction blurred.

  51. Avatar Talking Donkey says:

    Fear not Patrecia Barrett, others can write letters as well, and we shall have a copy 😉

  52. Avatar Candace says:

    Doug Cook, you left yourself wide open with your “simple man” comment. No matter because I’m not buyin’ it. The phrase “I give up, you win” was not meant literally as in “winners” and “losers”, it was meant more as “I give up, it’s like speaking to a wall on steroids.” I’ll pay you your due diligence for one particular thing – you’ve got gas-lighting down to an art-form. Sort of. My hope for you is that some day you change your mind as to what you consider as hate speech and who you label as hateful. Having said this I’m now more than happy to leave it “there”.

  53. Avatar Candace says:

    Doug … *I’ll say you’ve done your due diligence for one particular thing

  54. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    WELCOME TO CITY OF BETHEL +!+

  55. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    I say have a two hour community round-table with Aaron T and Anita Brady and Patrecia Barrett and Julie Winter and let the words fly, water and crackers provided. The media and the onlookers on the perimeter…Sorry, Bill and Kris, you’re not invited, you’re Old World, it’s your younger apostles that really run the show, especially the BSSM. You each have up to 5 minutes to present your case and then let the public see the real story.
    November 5 Special Election Outcome: Megan Dahle received 11,000 more votes in Shasta Co. then Elizabeth Betancourt. How many members does Bethel claim ? Just askin’.

  56. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    PS Jake, shame on you, you know better than to go partisan, religiously or politically. Not good for membership. MS. Dahle will not be able to bring home the goods to Shasta Co. as a place-holder legislator. Her continuous Nay votes will only statemate everything we need here in the North. Should she be elected keep an eye on her votes for Monsanto, Vape/Cigarette, Opiod legislation, they gave her money, let’s see if she’s bought off by them ?

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      If’n I were a Chamber member, I’d start impeachment hearings. If that failed, I’d resign my membership and ask for a refund. What do you bet he voted for Meghan.

  57. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Doug Cook,

    Bethel followers are taught (and most believe) that the rest of us non-Bethel people are controlled by Satan, and that the only way to save us (and the world at large) is to take control of our government and other institutions for their hate-filled Old Testament “god”, and force us to abide by brutal Old Testament laws.

    Bethel also heavily supports and praises right-wing hate groups that advocate criminalizing homosexuality, and even promote the death penalty for gay people in other countries. In fact, a co-author and close associate of Bethel leaders (Lou Engle) has been front and center in those efforts.

    Bethel itself was instumental in creating a film (in which Bethel’s second-in-command Kris Vallotton appears) based on a blatant lie, and that whipped up a frenzy of hatred for Planned Parenthood, and support for denying women control over their own bodies in any stage of pregnancy.

    An abortion the former Planned Parenthood employee who is the “heroine” of the film supposedly witnessed provably never took place. In addition, she told her best friend before her imaginary “revelation” that she was having financial problems and might need to declare bankruptcy, but that an anti-abortion group had offered her three thousand dollars per speaking engagement if she would turn against Planned Parenthood. This greed-inspired liar is now the darling of the anti-abortion movement, and highly praised by Bethel leaders.

    Bethel leaders advise their followers to avoid education (other than the $12,000.00 heavily religious “tech” training it provides), marry young (ready or not), and immediately start producing babies for the cult. In what way is that good for the community?

    Bethel is guilty of the REAL hate in this situation – the rest of us simply object.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Correction to my post above. Bethel leaders urge their followers to avoid all SECULAR education, through which they might be exposed to a wide range of idea, better information, and accurate science.

      As Bethel leader Bill Johnson recently said “Don’t let yourself be educated out of your faith!”.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      And some commeters wonder why many of us boycott Bethel busnesses.

  58. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Patrecia. What you are saying is not true at all. The majority of the Bethel students I hired already had degrees, mostly from major secular universities. I had a recent chat with a young lady that worked for me 5 years ago. She graduated from UCLA film school prior to coming to Bethel and is now a successful independent film maker in Wyoming. What you claim is just not the truth

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Doug, which Wyoming film festival, dedicated to women directors, does your successful UCLA graduate, who could only find work at Cattlemens attend? I am very interested and have been involved with film making in Wyoming especially at the restored Ajax.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Doug,

      I have never run across a rank-and-file “supernatural” student with a degree from a major secular university. In my experience they are mainly young people with nothing beyond a high school diploma.

      Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t a certain number with some amount of education who see this as a stepping stone to starting their own lucrative prosperity gospel scam in another location (as many do). Unfortunately there are always plenty of rubes who actually believe this superstitious garbage, and who will hand these charlatans their last dollar.

      Other than that they seem to be mainly kids who have no direction to their lives and little in the way of friends and family, who are pulled into the cult by the standard “love bombing” techniques and all the other attention they get. It’s no wonder so many of them wind up on the streets, or under psychiatric care.

  59. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Bruce, this is the second time in a month that you insulted my business, and by association, me. The last time you inferred that I discriminated against gays and people of color in my business..
    Let me explain to you why people in college or had graduated college worked for me. It wasn’t because they ‘ could only find work there’. It fit into their school schedule very well. I had kids from Shasta, Simpson and Bethel. My service staff averaged $25- 30 an hour with tips, working part time with a management staff that was accommodating with school schedules. They made good money working part-time, in a friendly work environment. So sorry, Bruce…none of my employees had to settle for working at the restaurant. I would have stacks of applications turned in weekly of students dying to work there. The filmmaker that I spoke of moved to Redding after college to attend Bethel… despite what Patrecia thinks, and she needed to support herself while attending school. She made the choice to….she wasn’t settling. I kinda expect better out of you.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Doug, I have insulted you/your business twice? You have insulted me/Wyoming numerous times with false/questionable sources. Now you want me to believe a UCLA film graduate wanted to work at Cattlemans when there are numerous film opportunities in Redding from Kathleen Kennedy to yes even Bethel and they have had numerous articles published about them in print and eline right in Redding. Why would she sling hash when Bethel has their own film crews as have been evidenced by their postings. As they say show me the proof or answer my question you avoided.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Bruce…quoting a source is not near the equivalence of a personal attack in calling me a racist and a homophobe. I don’t ever recall ‘insulting’ Wyoming. Whatever, sorry I offended you with my questionable source. As far as my employee…we don’t know her motivation other than she wanted to focus on her religious education and find a well paying part time job that fit into her schedule. Big deal, it’s a free country, she could do whatever she wants.

  60. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Patrecia, your comment is so nasty and mean about people you know little about. “…starting their own lucrative prosperity gospel scam”. Let me give you a few examples of these ‘charlatans’ you speak of. One young lady that attended Bethel that I personally taught how to fly just 5 years ago got hired this year as a First Officer flying for Alaskan Airlines flying an Embraer 175. By the way, this charlatan also worked tirelessly during our fire disasters last year flying spotter planes, directing resources to fires. Not bad for a charlatan. Another Bethel employee of mine just passed the California Bar and is now an attorney. Let’s see…2 other Bethel students of mine got hired a few years ago by a Sonoma county winery. One if them is now an assistant wine maker, the other is a marketing manager. I mentioned the other day about the gal that is working getting children out of prostitution in Thailand. Surely you agree that is honorable work. I can go on and on…the gentleman from France that is now a crew member onna Super Yacht in the Mediterranean. So yes, Patrecia. You don’t know what you are talking about. It is my experience that these kids are much more successful than average. Yl

  61. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great post Doug. Did these people get their aviation, law or vintners training at Bethel? If so that I need to apologize for questioning the education that students receive from BSSM. If their time at Bethel helped them pass the Bar or find work in a winery or become a pilot than I am wrong. I was basing my opinion on what I have observed about young people I know who attended this school.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      No Joanne, Bethel is a school where they get theological training, not scholastic learning. The students I mentioned all went to regular universities, which is contrary to Patrecia’s comment that Bethel does not encourage outside education. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth. What I am trying to show is that it had been my experience that Bethel students are some of the most well rounded, successful, impressive individuals that I have ever met.
      When someone like Patrecia says something like, “It’s no wonder so many of them wind up on the streets, or under psychiatric care.” It really hurts me and it pains me that probably some Bethel students are reading such a hateful comment. I have hired dozens of Bethel students, and are acquaintances with dozens more. I have never met one that wasn’t, as I said successful and impressive.

  62. Avatar Candace says:

    Patrecia,

    “Other than that they seem to be mainly kids who have no direction to their lives and little in the way of friends and family, who are pulled into the cult by the standard “love bombing” techniques and all the other attention they get. It’s no wonder so many of them wind up on the streets, or under psychiatric care.”

    While I’m most definitely no fan of Bethel Church, my personal experience with those I know who attend Bethel do not fit the narrative of not having had
    family or friends of their own prior to joining. Directionless? Maybe, but a lot of people search for guidance and a sense of belonging by joining churches. While I’d agree that a lot seem to be single, young adults, the people I know or have met already had local families of their own involved in the church or they moved here (couples with small children, older couples) mostly (when asked) because originally they were drawn to the promise of “community” (like most churches). I know you do a lot of investigating in re to Bethel as well as advocating for our homeless so I’m genuinely curious where your info comes from that supports your assertion that many of them wind up on our ( or other) streets or in psychiatric care? I’m not being argumentative, I’m genuinely curious because that of course is horrible.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Candace,

      First of all I had a great deal of experience with Bethel’s “supernatural” students over the many years I lived in Redding – both as a manager of multiple properties (mainly apartment complexes), and in working with the homeless. I have never seen the vast number of young people with secular college degrees that Doug describes.

      In fact that doesn’t even make sense. Anyone who devoted the considerable amount of time, effort, and money to obtaining such a degree would likely have gone on to immediately work in their field of study, rather than adding further to their financial burden by spending roughly five thousand dollars a year (including their required yearly trips oversees to work in other Bethel-affiliated scams) to get an unaccredited “certificate” from a religious cult that claims to teach non-sensical things like how to raise the dead and cure cancer. Chances are that people with the educational background Doug describes would be too educated and focused to be taken in by something that questionable.

      In addition, over the past year or two I’ve been a member of a local Bethel watchdog group which currently has about fourteen hundred members, including people who work in the mental health field, for social service agencies, and virtually everywhere else. It has also typically been their experience that Bethel students overwhelmingly have little education, and are often troubled and easily duped.

      It’s also entirely true that Bethel leaders actively discourage their followers from obtaining a secular education. The direct quote from Bethel CEO Bill Johnson I posted above is far from being the only thing they’ve had to say on that subject. They also tell their followers to ignore facts in favor of superstition with numerous statements like “Faith isn’t ignorant of reality – faith defies reality”.

      Finally, there are certainly young Bethel students who were raised in the cult, and have local families. It’s also true that people come here to join Bethel and start businesses. Where else could they be assured of having thousands of built-in customers, and of operating a business in a city that is being taken over and controlled by their church?

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Patricia, like you I dispute Doug’s claims of these highly educated college degreed individuals who would rather sling hash than work in their fields. For this Doug claims I call him a racist and homophobic when I ask for proof.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Not to belabor this much longer, but in a post about my business about a month ago, you insulted my running of the business and said that I discriminated against people of color and gay people in hiring. So yes, that is calling me a racist and a homophobe, and of course you have no proof that I discriminate against anyone. Which of course I never did.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Doug, you make so many posts that you can’t keep track of the responses as the only thing I have posted about Cattlemans is that the few times I was in there they were very high priced and had lousy service. That would reflect on management no matter who they were. And not to belabor the point which was I asked who the UCLA grad that you clearly stated was a successful filmmaker in Wyoming was.
            You continuely avoid the question.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I’m not going to give her name without her permission. That would be irresponsible. You have never heard of anyone taking a sabbatical from their jobs to pursue other interests or education pursuits? It happens all the time. Not sure why you are so focused on this one individual…it was Patrecia’s assertion that she had never met a Bethel student with a degree from a major secular university…that it is discouraged by Bethel. That is blatantly not true it is my experience, because I actually knew dozens of them, that the majority I have met do in fact have college degrees or are pursuing degrees. as the examples I gave above.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Doug, you said this particular UCLA film graduate was a successful filmmaker in Wyoming. I was involved with filmmakers in Cheyenne and my original question to you was which Wyoming film festival does she show her films at. That seems like a simple question that you do not have to give out her name. There is a Women’s Film Festival held at the Ajax. There is also a Cheyenne Cell Phone Film festival where entrants are given 48 hours to make a short film about Cheyenne. Does she attend any Cheyenne festivals or does she go to other festivals like the one in Sheridan? It is possible I know her and could personally prove your claim and then I could agree that you know what you are talking about.

  63. Avatar Candace says:

    Patrecia, thank you for answering me. As far as the “double debt”, educational focus, etc., for young people, I wondered about that as well. Being born and raised here I’m familiar with Bethel Church and the FB groups you’re referring to. As much as I dislike (to put it very mildly) this church’s teachings , I’m not comfortable broad-stroking many of their students as likely to end up mentally ill and/or on the street, which is why I asked the question. That said you mentioned that your info comes from local mental health and social workers. I was just curious as to the actual number of these (reported) cases, although, of course, one is one too many. Maybe one of the professionals you’re in contact with could provide that information? I would be very interested to hear a first-hand account on ANC from a local, non-Bethel affiliated social/mental health worker regarding this particular topic.

  64. Avatar Candace says:

    Patrecia, on second thought there’s more than likely no way to hear from a currently employed social/mental health worker in regard to my last question due to privacy concerns for all involved. That, and if they addressed the subject anonymously my guess is many on this site would not trust the source (or say they were “Bethel haters”). It was just a thought – have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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