Awhile back, you might remember, we discussed the book that accused Ole Anthony of running a cult. Here, refresh your memory. In the interest of equal time, here’s what Wendy Duncan’s husband has to say about that:
Since John Rutledge (of Trinity Foundation) used your site to impugn my wife’s mental health, I figure I should be allowed to respond. Here is my response:
My response to Mr. Rutledge’s little piece he posted on the D Magazine blog about my wife’s book:
1. He refers to the book as being my wife’s “therapy,” says something about her “problems,” and comments that “if this is what it takes for her to get well then they are prepared to take a few hits.” I guess Mr. Rutledge is, in his oh-so-clever style, trying to imply that my wife has mental issues. This is absurd, though it is the kind of ad hominem style attack that cults like Trinity use to try to intimidate former members into silence. There is nothing wrong with my wife’s mental health. Shame on you, John, for implying otherwise.
2. “Ole’s theology is no more or less focused on breaking down personal egos than was the Apostle Paul’s.” I guess y’all are the final arbiters of the Apostle Paul and the meaning of his theology, though nobody there even has a seminary degree. Suffice it to say that this proposition is highly debatable.
3. You mock our characterization of Ole as authoritarian, but any former member of Trinity will validate this. Ole himself has even admitted it.
4. “We rebuff three times anyone who wants to join our spiritual community.” Flat-out lie. For example, Ole worked very hard at recruiting me, even pressuring me not to go back to college for my sophomore year at the University of Texas.
5. “These issues were never brought before the board or the membership meetings or the elders of our church, which met weekly during that time.” True, but misleading. Like most cults, Trinity wasn’t big on open debate. I did express a number of concerns over the years in one-on-one conversations with the leader, Ole Anthony.
6. “By the way, we’ve been called a cult before, first in 1991 by fallen televangelist Robert Tilton in his self-produced one-hour “documentary” Prime Time Lies.” False. That was far from the first time Trinity had been called a cult, but I acknowledge your cuteness in trying to tie our efforts to honestly tell our story in with the televangelists.
7. “We’ve made countless mistakes over the years, we can’t deny that, and some people have left because of our stupidity. We ask their forgiveness, if that’s the case.” A non-confession confession, along the lines of saying, “If I have done anything wrong, please forgive me.” I do not think many people left because of your stupidity, as you are a very clever bunch. People left because of the emotional and spiritual abuse they suffered at your hands, and you still have work to do on your apology if you truly have an interest in making amends (which I doubt).
8. “Since Wendy and Doug left the group, whenever visiting reporters want an alternative view from a ‘disgruntled ex-member,’ we always refer them to Doug and Wendy…” I do not know if this is true or not. All I know is that none of those reporters have ever contacted us.
Overall, I find this little piece by John Rutledge to be both snide and misleading. I think, though, that one of my family members had the pithiest take on it. It is creepy.