Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 3 – I can’t hear God Anymore – Life in a Dallas Cult – A Book Review – Robert S. Liichow
Discernment Ministries International
I Can’t Hear God Anymore
Life in a Dallas Cult – A Book Review
DMI always strives to speak the truth and expose error even when that error is found to be in a leading Apologetic ministry. Several mouths ago I received an email from Doug Duncan who worked for many years with Ole Anthony. Anthony is he founder of the Trinity Foundation as well as the leader of an independent Christian commute in the inner city of Dallas, Texas.
Many of us may remember Ole and his organization when they ere used by PrimeTime Live in their expose of televangelist Robert Tilton, Larry Lea and W.V. Grant Jr. Due in large part to the work of Ole and the Trinity Foundation Mr. Tilton was basically run out of Dallas and his once mega-church was turned into an empty building Larry Lea left his leadership position and eventually Mr. Grant went to jail on tax evasion charges. This work was well documented and frankly having been associated to some degree or another with all three ministries I can say Ole was doing the “Lord’s work” in his expose of them.
Over the years DMI has worked with the Trinity Foundation by supplying Anthony with materials we received from various religious scam artists. We also receive The Door religious satire magazine which is published by the Trinity Foundation. From time to time I would receive an e-mail from Doug Duncan and occasionally from Ole.
A few months ago I received an email from Doug with an attached newspaper article in which the Trinity Foundation and especially Ole Anthony were shown in a very bad light. Doug mentioned that his wife Wendy had recently published a book about her life (and to some extent Doug’s) as a member of Anthony’s commune. I asked for a copy to read and upon reading her book it seems that Ole, in spite of the good work he has done in exposing religious frauds, has been leading an aberrant group, spiritually abusing the members and teaching a wide variety of false doctrines.
The Dallas Observer article described Ole and his commune by saying:
And of their leader, a tall charismatic man named Ole Anthony. Many of those curled on the sofas in the office of the Trinity Foundation had been with him for more than a decade. They were idealistic young Christians, drawn in by his energy, brilliance and demand for complete transparency. They’d given up their money, their careers and for some, their own wills to follow Anthony, just as he followed Jesus, albeit in his own idiosyncratic way. No one who met Ole (pronounced O-lee) Anthony ever forgot him. Though his blond hair had turned white his eyes were still the same piercing blue, and they zeroed in on listeners with a ferocity that could be unnerving. Everyone in the room had come under his withering glare at one time or another and they loved him for it, or said they did. (1)
I underlined a couple of points in the above citation that bear keeping in mind. First of all, the people who got involved with Ole and his group were young Christians, i.e. people with no genuine biblical foundation. Upon meeting Ole (whom I’ve met personally) they were bewitched by his very strong personality and intelligence. It doe not take too much these days to point out the disturbing flaws, fakes, frauds and religious shysters within and without the Church. It was easy for Ole to draw away some disciples unto himself by offering to these ignorant sheep something totally different from the Americanized perversion of Biblical Christianity. Sadly, these believers had nothing to weigh Anthony’s doctrines against and they were misled. Until Wendy’s book was published there was no real exposure of much of what was taking place in the commune. The Dallas Observer article continues:
They lived on “the Block,” a row of old prairie-style houses off Columbia Avenue in East Dallas, where they studied, ate and worked together. Some had taken a vow of poverty and worked as “Levites” for Trinity, an old fusion of church, shelter and public foundation dedicated to its role as a religious watchdog.
Last month, former Trinity member Wendy Duncan, now Doug Duncan’s wife, published a book called I Can’t Hear God Anymore. Doug, who was once Anthony’s roommate, married Wendy and left the group in 2000. Her book calls Trinity a cult. She claims that Anthony subjected his followers to “hot seats” scathing verbal attacks that were supposed to be cleansing but brought them under his control and scarred some so deeply that they will no longer pick up a Bible.
But allegations that Trinity is a cult began as early as the late ‘70s and have surfaced numerous times since, often by members’ families, sometimes by the media. In 1989, Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News wrote, “there are times when even to its members the foundation looks like a cult of personality.”
More then a dozen former Trinity members interviewed by the Dallas Observer agree that Trinity bears many cult-like traits:
- Zealous commitment to a domineering leader not accountable to any authority.
- Discouragement or punishment of dissent and doubt.
- Use of mind-altering techniques such as denunciation sessions–the infamous hot seats.
- Dictation by leadership of how followers should act, sometimes in great detail.
- Breakdown of personal boundaries, such as denying members permission to marry.
- Encouraging a sense of elitism or special status for the group.
- Fostering an “us vs. them” mentality.
- They claim that Wendy Duncan’s book is accurate and that Anthony’s influence caused enormous damage to their lives.
- ‘Ole used intimidation to get his way,” says Rick Beamer”
- Robertson, a Dallas radio DJ and voice actor who belongs to Trinity off and on starting in the ‘70s “It’s his will in the guise of the group’s. (2)
All of the bulleted points in the article are the common denominators of any abusive cult group. It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into the various aberrant doctrines and practices, however I do urge you to first, pray for Ole Anthony and those who remain under his spell. Secondly, if you are interested in a good eyewitness account of how someone who loves the Lord can end up in a cultic group for years before being liberated I think you will find Wendy Duncan’s book a compelling read.
Copyright © Robert S. Liichow
1. Whitely, Glema. The Cult of Ole, The Dallas Observer.
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