Why We Left Christian Fellowship Ministries (CFCMI)
by Al & Dee Mac
If you are a member of Christian Fellowship Ministries, I am sure you are wondering why my wife and I left. If you are not a member, you are probably wondering why I am bothering to air someone's dirty laundry like this.
Well, I am posting this information in hopes that others will find it useful. I am not doing this in an attempt to 'draw followers away after me.' Honestly, I just want to be left alone. However, this is the only way I can present my side of the story, as I know it will be presented in an entirely different manner by the leaders of CFCMI. Additionally, I am not pushing this information on anyone. In fact, I'd say that the only way you could be reading this page is if you (1) happened upon it, (2) made a conscious decision to find it, or (3) someone has printed it and given it to you or sent you the URL. In any case, either you or someone else has done something to find it - I have not sent this page or the information it contains to a single person that didn't request it.
Perhaps my actions will seem hateful to many of you, especially those that still work with Christian Fellowship. WARNING - if you don't want to be upset, then maybe you should stop reading and go to another site, because this page will upset you. You will likely be told that I am 'disrespecting the leadership' or perhaps 'an angry and bitter man.' But bear this in mind: I, and many others, were sexually abused by a man who presented himself as the man of God. When I sought out a reason, and hoped for an apology, I received reprimand and rebuke. I was removed from all my responsibilities in the church for a time. Now who was it again that is supposed to be the hateful one?
Let me make it clear that my dispute is with those that have knowingly lied to defend LR Davis' legacy of 20+ years of sexual abuse. There are many that, ignorantly, have defended him. I do not blame you, nor do I have any dispute with you. I am not encouraging anyone to leave; I just want you to be informed about the men who lead you.
Since I will be adding information to this page periodically, I will not go back and insert into a section. Instead, I will append it to the end of the document; each section will be dated so you can tell what is new.
January 27, 2000 - Broken trust. This is the main reason I left. It is also the one that most current members of the church will have a difficult time accepting. In October 1991, I took a few weeks of leave and used that time to visit the church in Waukegan, Illinois. During that visit, I was sexually assaulted by the ministry's founding Pastor, Lloyd R. Davis. I did not mention this event to anyone until September of 1998, when I discussed it with Pastor Thomas (in Norfolk) and Pastor Paine (in Waukegan). Pastor Thomas told me that Pastor Davis had done this to MANY other men, and suggested that I just push the memory of it away and forget about it. Pastor Paine likewise acknowledged that Davis had abused many men, although he claimed he did not know of it prior to Davis' imprisonment.
Prior to September 1998, it was frequently mentioned from the pulpit that Pastor Davis was an innocent man, and that he had been imprisoned on false charges. After that incident in 1998, however, I never heard either Pastor Thomas or Pastor Paine mention his 'innocence' again. They were apparently careful not to mention it when my wife or I were present. A few weeks ago, I was informed that Pastor Paine was crowing about Pastor Davis' innocence during a service in mid 1999. That was enough for me - prior to this, I was willing to tolerate everything else, so long as the leaders refrained from public statements about Davis' innocence. But Pastor Paine, the General Pastor of CFCMI, has made a conscious decision to lie about the actions and behavior of the founding pastor, and therefore I can no longer support him and the ministry he leads. To do so would condone his abuse of his position and authority.
Now, if you do not believe what I am saying, that is your prerogative. It is my word against that of Pastor Thomas and Pastor Paine. However, I have a challenge for you: ask them to their face if LR Davis ever sexually abused anyone in this ministry. I do not know if they will be able to look you in the eye and lie to you; they may well be able to do so. If they cannot give you a straight answer, perhaps you should ask yourself, "Why not?" If you're afraid to ask the question, perhaps you should begin to ask why you feel that way.
You might want to go look at the transcripts of Davis' trial. There's a lot of interesting information in there, contrary to what you may have been told. I will eventually post the information that will tell you where you can go to have a look at them for yourself.
There are many men that were abused, and yet still work in the ministry. I have talked to some of them. Are you one of them? Do you know any of them? You might be shocked to realize just how many of us there are.
February 1, 2000 - Character defense. This is our attempted defense against the typical character assassination that is directed against those that leave. Below we have listed some standard reasons given for people leaving:
(1) "They said they weren't being spiritually fed" - One thing for sure that I have learned at CFCMI is how to study the Bible. I have learned quite a lot in my 10 years there.
(2) "They disrespected the leadership" - If this means that we did some horrible thing to people that had good intentions and only wanted to help, the answer is NO. All I did was seek some sort of reason for why Pastor Davis was allowed to abuse people all those years. (By the way, Pastor Thomas told me that he knew this abuse was going on long before Pastor Davis was brought up on charges - that makes him an accomplice in my book). However, we have recently heard that this phrase is used to mean that we lost respect for the authority of the pastors. I suppose I have to agree with that use of it - we don't respect anyone that says he is God's representative, and yet lies to defend evil deeds.
There are more, and we will add them as we have time.
February 2, 2000 - Contact issues. If you have been told that we will sue the church if anyone contacts us, that's not entirely accurate. In our letter to the pastors, we said that contact by any means other than mail would be considered harassment. By that, we simply meant that we didn't want people who were representing the church knocking on our door or calling us to get us to come back. This has apparently been misunderstood (or just misrepresented) by the leadership to mean that we will sue if anyone at all contacts us.
Once again, we have no dispute with anyone except the leadership. If you counted us as your friends, you will not get the church in trouble if you contact us. However, bear in mind that you might get yourself in trouble with the church by having any dealings with us. I will say this again also: we are not here to pull people out of the church. If you are content to remain with CFCMI, that does not offend or bother us.
March 26, 2000 - Forgiveness. We have been told that we should "forgive and forget" everything that has happened. We cannot do that for two reasons: (1) we cannot forgive where there is no remorse or repentance for what has been done, and (2) if we forget what has happened, we leave the door open for it to happen again.
March 28, 2000 - What good will this do? This is another favorite of the leadership. "What good will it do for this to come out now? Pastor Davis is dead. You just want to tarnish his reputation."
For starters, Lloyd tarnished his own reputation - no one forced him to create a ministry centered around young men that could be used to satisfy his sexual appetite. He is dead, but most of his victims are still alive. If they came to the pastors for help, they were probably told to "just deal with it" or to forget about it. That's what they wanted me to do. Is it justified to protect the reputation of a dead man at the expense of the feelings and future mental health of his victims? If you don't think sexual abuse (even abuse of adults) causes people trouble, maybe you should talk to someone that has been abused, or visit your local library.
Here is an additional issue that you should consider: many of the men that were active participants in group homosexual activity still hold positions in the church - and some of them are taking care of your children in Children's Church and other activities. Don't believe me? Go read the transcripts for yourself. The names are in there.
Here's the address for the transcripts:
You can get a copy of all 2500 pages for about $700, or you can just visit the clerk's office and read them there. The phone number to the office is (847)360-6681. You can also read the transcripts here. NOTE: It appears that the transcripts are no longer available for free to members of the military.
Just for the record, although someone might have been involved with that kind of activity in the past, it doesn't necessarily mean they're doing it now. But remember that the current leadership is comfortable with keeping things covered as long as it protects Lloyd's reputation.
"But wait," you say. "They've done a lot to prevent any kind of sexual abuse problems." To their credit, yes they have. But do you trust them to tell you if something happened? After all, they let Lloyd abuse hundreds of young men over a period of 20+ years - and they're still trying to keep that covered. It's your choice and your children, not mine.
So what should be done? How about a public admission of what happened? That would be a good start. I think if this issue is never addressed, Christian Fellowship may not survive - not because of some outside action, but because bitter and sweet water can't come from the same well. What good would telling the truth do? More than some people might want you to think.
March 31, 2000 - More character defense
(1) "You're just angry because you couldn't have your way in some petty matter" - I tolerated not having my way in much of anything during the ten years I spent in CFCMI. Those of you that know me are aware that I am not easily provoked to even giving the appearance of being angry. We tolerated Ed Thomas' control of my life, his dislike of my marriage to Dee, and numerous other ungodly inequities, for a long time. But I finally had just had enough - and I don't need a vision or an agenda from God to want people that claim they are God's messengers to stop lying to the people that trust them.
(2) "They've fallen away and are being used by the devil" - Let me just say this - WILL YOU PLEASE STOP GIVING SATAN CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING YOU DON'T LIKE! Give credit where it's due: I was the one that decided to leave. Ed Thomas did not tell me to leave, nor did Dee pressure me to leave (in fact, I had to convince her to leave). I made the fully conscious and thought-out decision that I would no longer allow my life and my family to be subject to control by liars.
The purpose of this page is not to prove that I am not upset. I am upset - and I'm using that as motivation to provide the whole world with information that should not have remained hidden for this long. You see, in the past, the leadership could drive people away and tell you not to talk with them; they could do a pretty good job of keeping you from finding out 'what really happened.' Thankfully, the internet has changed all that. Thank you Mr. Gore. Nearly everyone has internet access, and that means that they might just stumble upon this page - especially if they are told they shouldn't look at it.
April 1, 2000 - April Fool's day. Let's see if I can make an entry that's appropriate for today. I used to believe everything I was told. I was told that God would take away people's joy of life when they left the church, that he would take away my salvation if I dared choose to live a life that wasn't under the thumb of a pastor - and I believed it. That was mighty foolish.
I must say that I have really enjoyed the last two months. I don't have to wrangle my schedule to make it fit church events. I don't have to miss family reunions just because they're on a Sunday. I don't have to "check with the pastor" (translation - ask his permission) before I go out of town for a few days. I can spend time with my wife without having to run off to a church event every night. We don't have to wait until Monday (official church 'family night') to go out somewhere.
For the first time in my life, I know what it is to be free to do what I want to do - I went straight into the Navy from high school, and joined Christian Fellowship when I was in the Navy. Until now, I had someone else controlling when and where I could go, whether it was a chief, a lieutenant, or a pastor. I like being free.
April 10, 2000 - I'll let this one stand by itself.
"It stands to reason where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there is service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master." - Ayn Rand
May 18, 2000 - Heavens! I've allowed a whole 5 weeks to go by without making an entry. I guess that shows you how much of my time is used up by thinking about CFCMI. It's about time to start another page, anyway - this one is getting really long. Check back in a couple of days and there should be some more stuff.