The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: counselor47 ()
Date: June 04, 2006 06:11AM

I used to be a member of the Trinity Foundation, a Bible-based cult in Dallas, Texas. I left (along with my wife) in 2000, and since that time my wife has written a book, [i:dec8163291]I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult[/i:dec8163291], about our experiences there. The problem with this group is that the leader has managed to convince everyone that they are a mainstream Christian group, perhaps a little eccentric, and that they are doing the body of Christ a great service by serving as televangelist watchdogs. They publish a magazine, [i:dec8163291]The Door[/i:dec8163291], that is a Christian satire magazine. Actually, [i:dec8163291]The Door[/i:dec8163291] is sometimes quite funny, but overall some of the humor has gotten more mean-spirited ever since Trinity took it over from Mike Yaconelli and Youth Specialties back in 1996. [i:dec8163291]The Door[/i:dec8163291] sometimes has informative interviews with interesting people in the world of religion, including one not too long ago with Rick Ross! I am going to quote a brief passage of Ross's interview with [i:dec8163291]The Door[/i:dec8163291]:
[i:dec8163291]Certainly people that become involved in tight-knit groups find themselves in the midst of a community where they have a sense of belonging, a sense of acceptance. In destructive cults, the friendships they experience and the acceptance is highly conditional. There is no legitimate reason to leave. Those who leave become marked or estranged from the group. People are no longer friendly with them.
DOOR: Ostracized?
ROSS: They're called losers, backsliders, reprobates. They're rebellious against God—however the group terms it. The bottom line is the friendships they feel they've made and the sense of acceptance they feel the group offers is really not unconditional and instead quite the opposite. Most people could leave a church or a club or an organization and still have friends in that group and still communicate and still have a sense of history with that people and a continuing relationship—but that is most often not the case with the groups I deal with.
So even though people have this feeling about community and acceptance that, in and of itself, is often deceptive. It is not quite the way it seems.[/i:dec8163291]
Incredibly, this exactly describe our experience upon leaving Trinity Foundation. How the interviewer (Pete Evans) could have written this without dying from the irony I'll never know. If anyone is interested in my wife's book you can find it at

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 04, 2006 06:29AM

I have never received a single complaint about Trinity from anyone.

Trinity seems to be a benign group.

What specifically do you think makes them a "bible based cult"?

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: counselor47 ()
Date: June 04, 2006 07:23AM

There are a number of abusive practices at Trinity that define it as a cult, including an excessively authoritarian style of leadership, the shunning of former members, and heretical neo-gnostic doctrines. I've spoken with over a score of former members, and every one of them that spent a significant amount of time at Trinity says it is a cult. However, most of them are too emotionally and spiritually damaged to want to speak out about it, and most of them are still afraid of possible retaliation if they do. However, with the advent of my wife's book, that may change. Now that someone has broken the ice, I suspect more former members will be emboldened to come forward.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 04, 2006 08:07PM

I have never heard such allegations about Trinity.

It seems that they have an elected board and this is the first time that I have heard Trinity or Ole Anthony described as "authoritarian."

Frankly, the group doesn't seem like a "cult" to me, based upon its disclosures through 990s, Charity Navigator etc. or through any contact that I have had with them over the years.

Sounds like you might have differences with Trinity over relious beliefs.

But it is behavior, dynamics, structure of a group that defines it as a cult according to Singer, Lifton etc. not its theology.

See []

It will be interesting to see if others come forward as you say to echo these sentiments and offer further evidence to support your conclusions.

No one has every emailed or contacted me regarding problems with Trinity as an ex-member and you are the first to post about this here.

What Trinity is most known for is exposing televangelists that seem to be more focused on making money and living well than theology or sharing their faith such as Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton and most recently Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The work of Ole Anthony and Trinity in this area has helped the general public and the network television investigative teams have not uncovered anything about Trinity or become suspicious it seems while working the organization or Anthony.

Your wife's book is certainly a first in its claims against Trinity.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: matthewtoo ()
Date: June 04, 2006 10:51PM

Call Trinity and ask if some members feet were burned during a fire walk event in east texas around 1986.Ask,ask, ask! I am sure even they won't say it didn't happen. This is not about theological disagreements. It is about out of control individuals who have harmed people in numerous ways for years and years.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: counselor47 ()
Date: June 04, 2006 11:01PM

Anthony certainly has done a good job of presenting himself the in the way that he wants to be seen. He has an elected board, but in my opinion, it is a rubber-stamp board that consists mostly of his own disciples.

My differences with Anthony are much more about abusive practices than about religious beliefs. For years Trinity did "hot seats" as a systematic way to break down the egos of the members. I think that is the reason that none of the former members have spoken out up until now--they are still too terrified of Anthony.

I would be happy to send you a complimentary copy of my wife's book. She did considerable research into Anthony's background and found out some very interesting information. She also describes the practices and behavioral structure that supports her opinion that the Trinity Foundation is a cult. Her book is based not only on our experience (I was a member for over twenty years, she was there for seven), but she also interviewed dozens of former members and incorporates their experiences, too.

If you look deeply enough into Trinity so that you are going by more than their own PR materials, I think you will begin to uncover some of what my wife is saying in the book.

Did you read the information on the website:

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 05, 2006 08:08PM

counselor 47:

I didn't see much substance at the Web site, it's essentially advertising promoting the book.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Date: June 11, 2006 10:27AM

I have never heard anything but good things about Trinity.

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 11, 2006 07:35PM

Other than "hot seats," which you say are not done any more, what other specific practices are destructive?

Does Anthony exploit the group financially and live like a rich man from monies taken through Trinity?

Is the board elected by the members or hand picked and subject to Anthony removing them at any time?

Who owns the property of Trinity and controls its assets?

The Trinity Foundation of Dallas, Texas
Posted by: counselor47 ()
Date: June 12, 2006 03:14AM

First of all, I have to agree that our website is designed to sell the book. That is the primary way we have of getting our story out. As far as hot seats go, Trinity may have stopped doing the annual, formally scheduled hot seats, but the implied threat of a hot seat is always there for any members who become "too rebellious." Also, Trinity's whole excessively authoritarian and controlling approach to the concept of "spiritual covering" is troublesome. People who are familiar with the International Churches of Christ (formerly the Boston Church of Christ) will understand the problem with this sort of "Shepherding" approach to discipleship.

As to the board, they are hand-picked by Ole, though they go through the process every year of having a membership meeting and letting the members vote on the board. It is a testament to Ole's degree of sophistication that he makes the group go through the formal exercise of the membership meeting each year.

The foundation does not have a lot of property, but what they do have would be formally controlled by the board through the President, which is Ole, of course.

As you know, one of the hallmarks of a cult is the issue of control. You would be hard pressed to find any of the 40 or 50 former members we are aware of who would not classify Ole as being ultra controlling.

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