“Cult” is certainly a loaded word. The title conjures powerful connotations and apprehension and should never be used lightly when describing a religious group or a religious leader.
However, when the shoe fits…it is an important word. A word of caution and a word of powerful warning.
The dictionary defines Cult this way: A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
For years, I and my brothers and others have personally witnessed many cult-like tendencies and practices employed by Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia and his close surrogates. The examples are grotesque, they turn my stomach. Following are two terrible examples and I share them so you may learn…take warning…and not allow these things to happen in your church.
“I don’t know how much Paul has told you about our family’s story (the XXXXXX) but here is the short version. My mom came to them about going to the police to turn my stepdad in for finally admitting to her that he had molested me since I was 8 years old and Bob told her to keep it quiet, never to go to the police and that the only counseling she would receive was marriage counseling and that NO ONE wanted to even hear what I had to say! When she asked if they were mandated reporters they were furious. Which is disgusting since they knew that my underage sisters were all still living in that house!
Anyway, a series of rude agressive phone calls followed (pratically threatening my mom to keep her mouth shut) and when my mom and I did go to the police, Bob called my husband and told him he needed to get me away from my mom, that she was acting crazy and it was so wrong that she was taking me to the police. On an interesting and sad side note, my husband went to Bob’s house that night and said these words to him “If you found out someone had abused your sons, wouldn’t you go straight to the police??” I guess we know now that his answer would be “No way!!”
So, we all got kicked out of Calvary and I mean literally taken aside and told not to come back!! Which I couldn’t be more grateful for now!! You can’t believe how many people have heard our story since then and said that the only reason a pastor would be so adamant that child abuse be kept a secret is if was a child abuser!!!”
Here is the recounting of another terrible story of cult-like counseling from an eyewitness:
“There was a point that Sue Dowds told me, that I was not to question her in any way. If I did I was in sin, and I needed to repent now… I just looked at her thinking She is off her rocker, Im not aloud to question her. But, of couse I didnt say anything. Just wanted to get through the moment and “survive”
I was given a list of who my friends could be….. how controlling is that.
I was also told how to dress, not allowed to show my arms. Visalia summer no tank tops”
The above examples should never happen at a Calvary Chapel..and make me righteously angry. I do not accept that this is tolerable behavior by a sitting Calvary Chapel pastor and his surrogates. I strongly encourage Pastors and Leaders in the CC Movement to unite together and denounce this sort of cult-like counseling…all stemming from the leadership of pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia.