Trinity Foundation

Turning the Tables on Trinity Foundation

Hey, Ole, is that a mote or a beam in your eye?

Ole’s at it again.

Ole Anthony and his cohort at the Trinity Foundation are behind Senator Charles Grassley’s current investigation of six prominent televangelists. As a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley has sent letters to Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Bishop Eddie Long and Creflo Dollar demanding answers to detailed questions about their expenditures, financial practices, credit card statements and other personal information going back years. Anthony told reporters the Trinity Foundation gave Grassley enough material “to fill a Volkswagen.”

Former Ole-ites contacted the Dallas Observer to point out that, in fairness, Grassley should ask Anthony the same questions. The media watchdog demands transparency of other ministries, but the foundation, they say, has had its own serious financial problems. ( See “The Cult of Ole,” August 3, 2006)

“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” says Doug Duncan, once Anthony’s right-hand man. Wendy Duncan, his wife and also a former member, is the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore, a book that describes the Trinity Foundation as a cult.

Doug Duncan describes Trinity’s most egregious financial transgression as defaulting on $42 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued in 1998 for the organization’s purchase of 13 apartment complexes in Oklahoma City.

Issued by the Oklahoma County Finance Authority, the bonds were available to Trinity because it was a charitable organization with the stated mission of helping the homeless.

“It was a federal project, underwritten by the government,” says Duncan. “This is public money being misused.”

The acquisition of 2,045 apartments was ballyhooed as part of Trinity’s “Dallas Project” to help the homeless and poor, but from the beginning there were questions about Trinity’s ability to service the debt.

“If I were buying the bonds, it would be the first thing I’d wonder,” Bryan Krizek, executive director of Christian Relief Services, told the Oklahoma City Journal Record at the time. “That’s very strange that an organization of so little experience is involved in a bond deal of this size.”

A Canadian-based real estate company filed a lawsuit to stop the sale, saying it already had a deal to buy the complexes. “They’re a bunch of Canadian carpet-baggers,” Anthony told the Journal Record. “They’re trying to stop some charitable work here.”

But the deal was less about charity than Anthony’s need to have a national platform, Duncan says.

“It was just Ole’s way of getting into the public eye,” Duncan says. “It put Trinity in charge of millions of dollars worth of property. We’d be landlords with a heart, and we wouldn’t evict people. That’s a lot of power and influence.”

Duncan describes Anthony as so anxious to get the deal done he “scammed his own board of directors.” A lawyer and an accountant who worked with Trinity examined the deal and expressed reservations, says Duncan, who was on the board at the time. “But Ole told them not to say anything negative to the board because Ole wanted to do it. If the lawyer and the accountant said this is a bad idea, the board might have gone against it.”

After the deal was completed, Trinity members discovered the apartments needed extensive remodeling. They’d paid an inflated price and didn’t have enough funds to rehab the complexes.

Trinity defaulted on the bonds in 2000. According to The Bond Buyer, a trade publication, Trinity officials told the management company it hired to divert rents from the project to Trinity’s accounts instead of depositing the money into the revenue fund as required.

In April 2000, though Trinity hadn’t made payments on the debt for the previous two months, Anthony boasted about the project’s success in an op-ed piece for The Dallas Morning News, calling it a “groundbreaking method for allowing faith groups and other nonprofit organizations to provide for the needy and homeless.”

In June 2000, The Door magazine, published by Trinity, proclaimed that “the Oklahoma City project was so successful the foundation was offered 160 units in Dayton, Ohio, and they again challenged churches to minister to the residents.” (It’s not clear if the foundation is still running the smaller Dayton project; Trinity Foundation didn’t reply to questions sent via e-mail. John Rutledge, an elder with Trinity, e-mailed to say they needed at least a month to prepare all the material requested.)

Internally Anthony finally acknowledged the project’s failure, but little was said to Trinity supporters. The only people who made money on the deal were those who received fees by persuading Anthony to dive into the project.

Samples of additional financial questions suggested by former Trinity members:

How much of members’ tithes and offerings and other donations have been spent for Ole Anthony’s pain medications for the last 20 years?

Please provide the credit card statements for all credit cards used by Ole Anthony from 1987 to 2007.

How much does the foundation pay annually to rent properties from its directors?

The 2005 tax statement indicates that $40,306 dollars were expended for ‘management expenses.’ What are these expenses and who received these funds?

Were the trips, cruises and vacations given to Anthony by ABC News and others ever reported as income?

The 2005 tax statement indicates approximately $40,000 paid in utilities. Is the foundation using tax-exempt donations to pay utility bills of the homes of its elders and directors?

When was the last certified audit done of Trinity Foundation?”

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2007-11-22/news/turning-the-tables/

October 22, 2007          On Theology Today blog, Phil Naessens writes:

 “As I have so vigorously called for other leaders to resign from their positions for far less, I must now make the call for Ole Anthony to resign from Trinity Foundation immediately because he can’t be trusted. Finally, it really is a sad day when someone you have respect for turns out to be a fraud. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I take so long between posts. I want as much evidence as possible that what I write about is what I say it is. I take no great joy in exposing the heretics but I know in my heart that what I present for my readers is accurate and done ethically. Ole Anthony is a manipulative lying cult leader who needs to be stopped.”

http://phillyflash.wordpress.com/2007/10/22/ole-anthony-and-the-trinity-foundation/

 Independent Conservative (Darnell McGavock) conducted research on Ole Anthony and his Trinity Foundation and posted the following on his blog:

October 15, 2007          Ole Anthony (Trinity Foundation) Shades of a Cult!

“Nobody likes being disappointed. We don’t like hearing we’ve been misled by a false teacher. We don’t like hearing we tossed money to the service of something not of God while thinking God wanted us to do it. We appreciate the word of warning and thank the one who provides it. Which sometimes leaves us thinking that the one providing the warning can be trusted. Well it’s sort of a double disappointment when hearing that someone who helped stop the work of a pimp is running a cult. This is the case with Ole Anthony and his Trinity Foundation. While he’s called out pimps and exposed them for the benefit of us all, he’s running a cult and this can’t be ignored.

“While there is momentary disappointment when hearing someone is false. We should look beyond that and be joyful that the Lord willed that we would not remain deceived. Likewise, while I’m greatly disappointed with the deeds of Ole Anthony, I praise God that I learned the truth. And I will share the warning with you. Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that we trust Him, not put our hope in men. This is why I never provide  “good guy” list despite repeated requests from frutstrated saints who want to know who they can trust and I tell you to not even place your trust in me.  Even the guys I put on my own mental “good guy” list could disappoint me. This includes Ole Anthony, who was someone I felt was really a good and great man, but he has disappointed me. In the past I’ve recommended Anthony to people and now wish I never had….

“For you who would like to read an entire book about why Ole Anthony is a cult leader and his Trinity Foundation is a cult, you can consider the book titled I Can’t Hear God Anymore. It is written by someone who lived on the inside and her husband was one of the top men in the Trinity Foundation.”

http://www.independentconservative.com/2007/10/15/trinity_foundation_cult/#comment-6497

August 8, 2007

Ole Anthony, Trinity Foundation, ABC, and John Stossel are being sued for a story 20/20 did about prosperity preacher Fred Price in which they took some of his comments on videotape out of context in order to portray him in a false light. The Dallas Observer’s piece on their blog is a good summation of the story. See: http://www.dallasobserver.com/2007-08-09/news/ole-oops/

Also interesting is the YouTube video on Fred Price’s church’s blog, where you can clearly see how out-of-context this piece was. See: http://www.crenshawchristiancenter.net/ecomm/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=85

John Stossel and ABC have apologized, but on his Wittenburg Door blog Ole Anthony says:

“‘I’ve been sued so many times that I could play an attorney on television,’ said Anthony … ‘We have never done a pro-active investigation on Rev. Price. All we did was provide ABC [with] some footage,’ he said.”

February 2, 2007   Unfair Park – Dallas Observer Blog

Sometimes You Feel Like a Cult, Sometimes You Don’t

Filed under: Religion and Other Assorted Blasphemies

The controversy surrounding Dallas-based Trinity Foundation and the book, I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult, by Wendy Duncan, is going national next week. And then, it’s going international. Of course, we were here first: In August we ran a story about Duncan’s book in which she says Anthony, who built an international reputation by busting televangelists such as Robert Tilton, is spiritually and emotionally abusive toward his followers. Duncan also claims the Trinity Foundation is a cult. Though many of his former followers agree, Anthony and members still involved with the group deny many of her allegations.

This month, the book received a rave in the Cultic Studies Review; Dr. Lois V. Svoboda called it a “page-turner” and insisted it “ranks along side of Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control and other first person cult narratives.” On February 8-10, at the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions conference in Birmingham, Alabama, David Clark, an international expert on cults and thought reform, will host a session called “Ole Anthony, the Trinity Foundation and the Cult Controversy.” Then, in June, he’ll do the same thing at the 2007 ICSA International Conference on Cults in Brussels, Belgium. There, 100 speakers from 22 countries will conduct sessions on everything from recovery for former group members to recent research developments on cult-like behavior.

Which is just dandy with the Trinity Foundation; at least, so it seems from the sounds of silence coming from Anthony’s people. But a spokesman for the foundation said in an e-mail that “we have chosen not to respond to the book in order to leave open the possibility of reconciliation with Doug and Wendy.”

Because that’ll happen.
The program for Clark’s session says: “Involvement in [Anthony’s] group has produced testimony how people can be made vulnerable to the psychological manipulations and spiritual abuse of a ‘skilled spiritual leader.’ The book also focuses on how to regain psychological and spiritual health after leaving this group and explains how others caught in similar circumstances can do the same. The workshop will cover how anyone can be vulnerable to join a cult. How the new community and the cult of personality change a person into a new identity will be explained.”

Clark says the Duncans will be attending the presentations. But he’s had no contact with Anthony or other members of the Trinity Foundation.

Clark, who lives in Pennsylvania, says he has been intrigued with Anthony since they met in 1994 at a conference called “Evangelical Ministries to New Religions.” Clark had seen Anthony going undercover to bust televangelists on ABC’s PrimeTime Live with Diane Sawyer. Since he had worked for months with Sawyer for an expose on cults, Clark wanted to know more about Anthony. “I thought the guy was eccentric,” Clark says. “Ole Anthony is an articulate person, but there’s an off-beat quality about him.”

He was taken aback because Anthony refused, unlike other EMNR conference participants, to allow his workshop describing the Trinity Foundation’s structure and mission to be recorded. “I was struck with that,” Clark says, “What is his problem here? What struck me then was his us-versus-them mentality of him about the mainstream church.”

Last year Clark met Doug Duncan, whose story is chronicled in his wife’s book, at a cult conference in Denver. Clark found the Duncans’ involvement in the Trinity Foundation similar to his own experience in a cult called Church of the Living Word in the early 1970s. Since then, Clark has spent his life studying cult dynamics. He was a founding member of the Former Cultists Support Network.

“When I met Doug, I was impressed with him personally,” Clark says. “I thought he was level-headed. His story had the ring of truth to me. The factual foundation of the book is extensive and supported by former members and eyewitness testimony. It was eerie because of my own experience. I’m used to listening to a lot of first-hand stories of eyewitness accounts. I deal with so many groups that are like this.”

Clark decided to do a workshop on Trinity this month because the group has an internationally high profile but few insiders have ever described their own experiences inside the group. What the outsider sees is very different than what the insiders see.

“The way the organization is set up concerns me,” says Clark, “this role Anthony has of opening up the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He’s known for quoting Scripture. He dazzles people with a tap dance about the Bible. He’s like a psychological pit bull.”

Wendy Duncan’s seven-year involvement with the Trinity Foundation ended after Anthony repeatedly refused to consecrate their marriage. “Anthony said he didn’t give a ‘rat’s ass’ about their marriage,” says Clark. “That says a lot about what he’s like.”

Clark praises Anthony for raising issues of homelessness and simple living. “A lot of the stuff he points out publicly is very noble and noteworthy,” Clark says. “I find Trinity very resourceful. I think in the anti-cult community he’s known for all those resources he makes available. But he points out that many other leaders of cult-like groups are known to be humanitarian. One example: Jim Jones, who led his followers in a mass suicide. “Very powerful people were associated with Jones and he was known for his social work with the poor,” says Clark.

Duncan, naturally, is pleased that her book will be getting attention at the two conferences.

“When I set out to write the book, I had no intention of starting a war with Ole Anthony or his group,” Wendy Duncan e-mails. “I only wanted to write about my experience in order to provide an alternative perspective on the Trinity Foundation other than the one which has been publicized in the media. Additionally, I wanted to write something that would help others recover from a cultic or spiritually abusive experience. I hoped that by sharing my story former members of Trinity Foundation and other similar groups would begin to heal from their experience.

“The one thing that puzzles me, though, is The Dallas Morning News’ continued silence over this cult controversy. The fact that someone has described the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation as a cult is newsworthy enough that it has been written about in the Dallas Observer and a national magazine [Charisma], yet the local paper of record has not taken note of it. My husband, Doug, says that they know they are complicit in building up Ole’s celebrity, and they do not want to print anything that could put themselves in a bad light.”

She doesn’t point out that several members of the foundation work at Dallas’ Only Daily.

“As I began writing the book,” Wendy writes, “I assumed that everything Ole told us about himself and his background was true. It never occurred to me that a man who preached rigorous honesty and demanded accountability from the televangelists would not hold himself to the same standard. However, in the course of writing the book my research turned up some discrepancies between what Ole says about himself and what could actually be verified…

“In my opinion, Ole Anthony is running a religious cult, although he has presented himself as one of the guardians of Christianity against the excesses of the televangelists. However, there are serious issues that call his motives and credibility into question. I think it is this lack of veracity that is gaining notice for my book in certain circles-especially the various apologetics and anti-cult groups.” –-Glenna Whitley                 http://www.dallasobserver.com/blogs/?p=2293#more-2293

Comments

  1. One major point that needs to be emphasized is that the Duncans are only two of many members of Ole’s group who have left feeling abused and disillusioned. Wendy is just the only one who wrote a book. (Some of the others’ experiences were highlighted in the book, but under assumed names.) Most victims of cult abuse don’t speak out because they have been traumatized and feel vulnerable, so the lack of a public chorus of “happened to me too” does not mean that Doug and Wendy are just lone rangers in their assessment of this group. Trinity’s statement that they will not comment to the press in the interest of reconciliation is rather ludicrous since they have already defended themselves — first by suggesting that this thing between Ole and the Duncans is merely “personal”. Ole’s sidekicks have also not remained silent behind the scenes or piously left the Duncans alone as prodigals they hope will come home. Doug and Wendy have had to entertain spiritually twisted backlash of the same mind-bending quality that flavors all of Ole’s so-called ministry. Without fanfare, Doug and Wendy have privately tried to help those who were hurt by Trinity. They are quite unassuming and their motives are merely for the pain to stop. The fact that the book has now taken wings as a document for international discussion by cult watch experts is a side item that the Duncans never expected. They have shied away from personal notoriety in deference to the message, which I think speaks volumes about their character, if not their honesty. In contrast to the arrogance of Ole Anthony, it is refreshing. They have bravely risen above a nightmare and instead of just nursing their own wounds, and have taken the emotional risk to help others. That’s God’s grace at work, folks.                     Comment by J.T. — February 2, 2007

From the DMN in January of 1989:

Anthony is the reason the Trinity Foundation exists. And there are times when even to its members the foundation looks uncomfortably like a cult of personality.

Like some cults, it is a small group that is led by a charismatic leader who claims to have the only absolute, complete religious truth in the world. The core of Anthony’s doctrine is that one’s personal desires and ego are an illusion, blocking the emergence of Christ incarnate in every person. Only by “abandoning yourself completely to God’ can one join and in some sense become Christ, Anthony says.

“This (his group) is the only place that I’m aware of on the face of the Earth that it’s told to you that it’s finished. Well, how come nobody else teaches this? I don’t know and I don’t care. Where’d you learn this? From God!” Anthony says on one tape of his teachings.                Comment by Jeffrey Weiss — February 3, 2007

Dallas Observer, August 2, 2006

He brought down Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant and Larry Lea, three of Dallas’ high-flying televangelists in the early 1990s. And when he wasn’t diving in dumpsters to pick through preachers’ trash, he was entertaining journalists from around the world at “The Block,” Trinity Foundation’s collection of homes in East Dallas.

Reporters, heathen bunch that they are, found much to admire at Ole Anthony’s Columbia Avenue compound: a small group of believers living simply, dwelling together and sharing their possessions, much like the early Christians; a  charismatic, highly intelligent leader who challenged the compromised state of American Christianity; and a foundation dedicated to helping the homeless  as well as hunting down slippery TV preachers.

I remember a reporter who broke some of those stories on the televangelists telling me only a little facetiously that the person we really needed to investigate was Ole Anthony. But let’s be honest, folks: We in the media were too busy begging Anthony for the next collection of dirt onAmerica’s shadier televangelists so we could call it our own. Then former Trinity  member Wendy Duncan came out with a few months ago called I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult; in it, she describes Trinity as a cult.

We must admit she kind of forced our hand. Dallas Observer investigative reporter Glenna Whitley set out to determine whether any ofDuncan’s claims hold water. And you’ll find the result of her work in today’s cover story, “The Cult of Ole.” You don’t want to miss this special report. It’s hitting Dallas newsstands right now.

Starting tomorrow right in this space, Glenna will also report some intriguing stuff about the famous Robert Tilton Primetime Live expose that you’ve never heard before.
Julie Lyons, staff editor

Click on the link to read the Glenna Whitney’s article on Ole Anthony and the Trinity Foundation in the Dallas Observer.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/Issues/2006-08-03/news/feature.html

Clink on this link to read the thread on Rick Ross.

http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=2433&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

 Dallas Observer Article

 Sometimes You Feel Like A Cult
Sometimes You Don’t

The Dallas Observer                                    By Glenna Whitley

The controversy surrounding Dallas-based Trinity Foundation and the book I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult, by Wendy Duncan, is going national next week. And then, it’s going international. Of course, we were here first: In August we ran a story about Duncan’s book in which she says Anthony, who built an international reputation by busting televangelists such as Robert Tilton is spiritually and emotionally abusive toward his followers. Duncan also claims the Trinity Foundation is a cult. Though many of his former followers agree, Anthony and members still involved with the group deny many of her allegations.

This month, the book received a rave in the Cultic Studies Review; Dr. Lois V. Svoboda called it a “page-turner” and insisted it “ranks along side of Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control and other first person cult narratives.” On February 8-10, at the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions conference in Birmingham, Alabama, David Clark, an international expert on cults and thought reform, will host a session called “Ole Anthony, the Trinity Foundation and the Cult Controversy.” Then, in June, he’ll do the same thing at the 2007 ICSA International Conference on Cults in Brussels, Belgium. There, 100 speakers from 22 countries will conduct sessions on everything from recovery for former group members to recent research developments on cult-like behavior.

Which is just dandy with the Trinity Foundation; at least, so it seems from the sounds of silence coming from Anthony’s people. But a spokesman for the foundation said in an e-mail that “we have chosen not to respond to the book in order to leave open the possibility of reconciliation with Doug and Wendy.”

Because that’ll happen.

The program for Clark’s session says: “Involvement in [Anthony’s] group has produced testimony how people can be made vulnerable to the psychological manipulations and spiritual abuse of a ‘skilled spiritual leader.’ The book also focuses on how to regain psychological and spiritual health after leaving this group and explains how others caught in similar circumstances can do the same. The workshop will cover how anyone can be vulnerable to join a cult. How the new community and the cult of personality change a person into a new identity will be explained.”

Clark says the Duncans will be attending the presentations. But he’s had no contact with Anthony or other members of the Trinity Foundation.

Clark, who lives in Pennsylvania, says he has been intrigued with Anthony since they met in 1994 at a conference called “Evangelical Ministries to New Religions.” Clark had seen Anthony going undercover to bust televangelists on ABC’s PrimeTime Live with Diane Sawyer. Since he had worked for months with Sawyer for an expose on cults, Clark wanted to know more about Anthony. “I thought the guy was eccentric,” Clark says. “Ole Anthony is an articulate person, but there’s an off-beat quality about him.”

He was taken aback because Anthony refused, unlike other EMNR conference participants, to allow his workshop describing the Trinity Foundation’s structure and mission to be recorded. “I was struck with that,” Clark says, “What is his problem here? What struck me then was his us-versus-them mentality of him about the mainstream church.”

Last year Clark met Doug Duncan, whose story is chronicled in his wife’s book, at a cult conference in Denver. Clark found the Duncans’ involvement in the Trinity Foundation similar to his own experience in a cult called Church of the Living Word in the early 1970s. Since then, Clark has spent his life studying cult dynamics. He was a founding member of the Former Cultists Support Network.

“When I met Doug, I was impressed with him personally,” Clark says. “I thought he was level-headed. His story had the ring of truth to me. The factual foundation of the book is extensive and supported by former members and eyewitness testimony. It was eerie because of my own experience. I’m used to listening to a lot of first-hand stories of eyewitness accounts. I deal with so many groups that are like this.”

Clark decided to do a workshop on Trinity this month because the group has an internationally high profile but few insiders have ever described their own experiences inside the group. What the outsider sees is very different than what the insiders see.

“The way the organization is set up concerns me,” says Clark, “this role Anthony has of opening up the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He’s known for quoting Scripture. He dazzles people with a tap dance about the Bible. He’s like a psychological pit bull.”

Wendy Duncan’s seven-year involvement with the Trinity Foundation ended after Anthony repeatedly refused to consecrate their marriage. “Anthony said he didn’t give a ‘rat’s ass’ about their marriage,” says Clark. “That says a lot about what he’s like.”

Clark praises Anthony for raising issues of homelessness and simple living. “A lot of the stuff he points out publicly is very noble and noteworthy,” Clark says. “I find Trinity very resourceful. I think in the anti-cult community he’s known for all those resources he makes available. But he points out that many other leaders of cult-like groups are known to be humanitarian. One example: Jim Jones, who led his followers in a mass suicide. “Very powerful people were associated with Jones and he was known for his social work with the poor,” says Clark.

Duncan, naturally, is pleased that her book will be getting attention at the two conferences.

“When I set out to write the book, I had no intention of starting a war with Ole Anthony or his group,” Wendy Duncan e-mails. “I only wanted to write about my experience in order to provide an alternative perspective on the Trinity Foundation other than the one which has been publicized in the media. Additionally, I wanted to write something that would help others recover from a cultic or spiritually abusive experience. I hoped that by sharing my story former members of Trinity Foundation and other similar groups would begin to heal from their experience.

“The one thing that puzzles me, though, is The Dallas Morning News’ continued silence over this cult controversy. The fact that someone has described the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation as a cult is newsworthy enough that it has been written about in the Dallas Observer and a national magazine [Charisma], yet the local paper of record has not taken note of it. My husband, Doug, says that they know they are complicit in building up Ole’s celebrity, and they do not want to print anything that could put themselves in a bad light.”

She doesn’t point out that several members of the foundation work at Dallas’ Only Daily.

“As I began writing the book,” Wendy writes, “I assumed that everything Ole told us about himself and his background was true. It never occurred to me that a man who preached rigorous honesty and demanded accountability from the televangelists would not hold himself to the same standard. However, in the course of writing the book my research turned up some discrepancies between what Ole says about himself and what could actually be verified…

“In my opinion, Ole Anthony is running a religious cult, although he has presented himself as one of the guardians of Christianity against the excesses of the televangelists. However, there are serious issues that call his motives and credibility into question. I think it is this lack of veracity that is gaining notice for my book in certain circles-especially the various apologetics and anti-cult groups.”

http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,16986

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2007-11-22/news/turning-the-tables/