Gwen Shamblin “Suits” up

The tradition of false teachers and abusive leaders trying to use the government as a club to threaten or crush leaders God has called goes back millennia. We see Sanballat employ the threat of reporting Nehemiah as treasonous and seditious in an attempt to stop Nehemiah (Nehemiah 6:5-7). Haman is another example we read about in Esther 3:7-10. Haman ended up being hung by his own noose. We find in the book of Daniel a similar attempted use of governmental power in Daniel 6:4-9 which ended up landing Daniel in the lion’s den. He emerged unharmed and then the plotters and their families were given their turn as dinner guests in the lion’s den. They didn’t fare as well. Today, particularly in Western nations, it is easier for false teachers to employ the weapon of government than in times past. They don’t need the ear of the king but can simply file a lawsuit against detractors. The Local Church of Witness Lee with the support of CRI attempted this tactic against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon. Scientology has used this vehicle for years. Recently a new player has ventured into the arena of trying to silence critics via the courts. In November of 2006 Gwen Shamblin and a number of her followers in Remnant Fellowship filed suit against Anonymous Blogger and Rafael Martinez. No one seems to know who “Anonymous Blogger” is but Rafael Martinez is the Co-Director of Spirit Watch Ministries.

For those who have not heard of Gwen Shamblin, Weigh Down Workshop or Remnant Fellowship a brief overview may be helpful. Gwen was a nutritionist who developed a weight loss plan that she claimed was biblically based. In 1992 she began marketing video tapes of the program and over the next eight years she made her mark in Evangelical churches around the world and across all denominations as well as being a regular in the secular media due to her meteoric rise and accumulation of personal wealth. She had over a million participants at $103.00 per person go through her program in addition to her book sales (Weigh Down Workshop and Rise Above) as well as other WDW trinkets and paraphernalia.

In August of 2000 we at MCOI received a number of phone calls and emails from folks attempting to verify Gwen Shamblin’s view of the Trinity. Since we don’t really track diet programs we hadn’t heard of Gwen Shamblin or Weigh Down Workshop. After looking at her website I called and spoke with Gwen. She was very firm that the doctrine of the Trinity was of pagan origin and taught by false teachers in the apostate church. MCOI issued a press release which within days brought this to the attention of the church. We also pointed out that she had started her own church, Remnant Fellowship. In researching how she was able to infiltrate the church virtually unchecked we began looking at her material. In her “Remnant Fellowship Introductory Video, 2000” Gwen tells the viewer that for 20 years her plan was to sneak in to the back door of the churches:

For the last twenty years I’ve had concerns about the state of the church and my first response was Weigh Down which was a message that sent lordship, total lordship, into the back door really of churches.

We have looked at Gwen’s teachings and claims at some length in our articles, “Weighed Down with False Doctrine” in the Fall 2000 MCOI Journal, “Gwen Shamblin: Weighed and Found Wanting,” in the CRI Journal, “Weigh Down Workshop – A Cult?,” in the Winter 2001 MCOI Journal and “Camping with Gwen: Or Will the True Remnant Please Stand Up?” in the Spring/Summer 2002 MCOI Journal. In addition Rafael Martinez and Spirit Watch have continued monitoring and commenting on Gwen and her movement. He has compiled a great deal of information on his website, Spiritwatch.org in the section titled “About Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship.” Gwen’s teachings are a matter of public record and in the spirit of 1 Timothy 5:19-20 Gwen and the Remnant Fellowship leadership have been publicly exposed and rebuked. As pointed out, by her own admission she had to sneak in under the doctrinal radar through the back door of the churches and she did so under the guise of a weight loss program. She is very clear that she views all churches except hers as Babylon and the pastors as well as discernment ministries are regarded as false prophets and false teachers.

With her core teachings and beliefs being fairly well known and accessible through the Internet, Gwen is experiencing a more difficult time in growing her church than she did in garnering a following in her weight loss business. Even though she has managed to get a few television appearances recently, interviewers such at Matt Lauer, raise the question of her being a cult leader. Although she laughs it off it would cause concern in the minds of the television audience. Add to that the adverse press which was generated after her followers, Joseph and Sonya Smith who live in Georgia, were arrested and accused of beating their son to death. The results of the trial may prove interesting to the future of Remnant Fellowship.

Along Comes the Lawsuit

Reading the lawsuit is a little intriguing. Most material is about “an anonymous writer/publisher of a website…” The anonymous blogger began blogging in August of 2006. At first they were copying and pasting the writings of an individual from a private online discussion group. They interspersed their own thoughts with this material and used a few cut and paste pieces from Rafael’s writings. The lawsuit was filed on November 6 and by November 28 all of the entries had been removed and instead two links to Remnant Fellowship websites were in place. Anonymous Blogger also posted a long apology to Remnant Fellowship and Gwen Shamblin amidst claims that the devil made her/him do it (visions of comedian Flip Wilson).

As I read through the complaint, it appears that what Rafael is guilty of is living in Tennessee and having an anonymous person quoting portions of his material without his permission or consultation. On page 2 of the “First Amended Complaint” the last sentence of point 1 reads:

Additionally, Plaintiff’s bring an action for defamation by the Defendant Rafael Martinez who writings are related to the postings on the aforementioned website.

Point 4 of the same page declares:

The Defendant, Rafael Martinez, is a resident of the State of Tennessee.

The next several pages cite sample statements from the website and make accusations about “Anonymous Blogger” but it isn’t until we get to point 7 of page 5 that Rafael is brought in to play again with the one sentence:

The Defendant, Rafael Martinez, has written numerous false and hateful statements regarding the Plaintiff’s and their religious beliefs that are related to the postings by Anonymous Blogger.

So far, no examples of his supposed misdeeds are given with the exception of the crime of living in Tennessee. Finally, on page 6 point 16 the document supposedly gives examples of Rafael’s objectionable statements. Point 16 reads:

Defendant, Rafael Martinez, published one or more written false statements that were intended to impeach Plaintiff’s honesty, integrity, virtue, and/or reputation. The false statements expose the Plaintiff’s to hatred, contempt, and ridicule. The defamatory statements include, but are not limited to the following and have the same objective as the aforemention website of the Anonymous Blogger:

The three quotes which follow were not taken from Rafael’s site but from the Anonymous Blogger’s site. Shamblin’s attorney, Samuel J. Harris, is not actually dealing with the truth and/or validity of the statements in context but is charging Rafael on the basis of how someone else may have used or misused them. Even though that is the case looking at them can be helpful:

a. “She won’t tell you about the marriages that have ended, the children who have been starved and the family relationships dissolved directly due to her application of “God’s Rules.”

Even though this is a cut and paste statement it should be demonstratably true in a court of law. There are a fair amount of phone calls and emails that MCOI and Spirit Watch as well as other ministries receive on a fairly regular basis from parents whose adult children have cut off all communication. In other cases they are threatened to have all communication cut off if anything questionable is said about Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship. In some cases the followers move to Brentwood, TN to be in the “New Jerusalem” as Gwen calls it. In other cases a distraught spouse whose husband or wife has been told to join the group or face divorce calls in desperation. I suspect this is one case that the witnesses who desire to testify will be so numerous that they will have to draw straws in order to determine who will get the opportunity in order to keep it down to a reasonable number. Having this sort of testimony in court documents will also be helpful in demonstrating the truthfulness of these claims from a neutral source.

b. “Furthermore, Remnant Fellowship teachings are dangerous and destructive. Over the past five years, Remnant members have lost dangerous amount of weight, with extreme fasting often advocated (even 14-21 day fasts). Family relationships are often damaged because any family member who tries to convince a Remnant Fellowship member to leave the group is cut off.”

The second part of this has already been commented on but the first part is again a matter of public record. She has stated on a number of occasions that she based her diet theory on the Holocaust. I am fairly confident that Gwen would stop short of saying that Hitler was just running a very successful diet program but she has been fairly clear that at least parts of her ideas are based on the examples of those who lost weight while in the prison camps.

The third is also a matter of public record:

c. “The most disturbing development of Remnant Fellowship’s teachings include its advocacy over the past couple of years of extreme discipline for children raised in the movement, included repetitive and harsh spankings and whippings for children who disobey and do not maintain emotional control.”

Phil Williams of News Channel 5 in Nashville has done some very good work on this as well as other questions on Gwen Shamblin’s teachings. In his stories on the death of Joseph and Sonya Smith’s son Josef, he was able to show that one of the teachings of Remnant Fellowship leadership at that time was the showdown spanking which could last for hours and may include repeated spankings until the child stopped crying. He also points out that Remnant Fellowship members use glue sticks (rods used in glue guns) to punish their children because they inflict a great deal of pain but do not leave marks. The description and confirming sources are cited in Phil Williams report and I won’t repeat them here.

The fourteen count indictment filed against Joseph and Sonya Smith on June 15, 2006 includes beating their son Josef with a glue sticks and locking him in a box among other charges.

Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship may have gotten themselves in between a rock and a hard place on this one. If they back down it will serve to embarrass her before her followers. On the other hand, if they proceed with the suit against Rafael they will be embarrassed before the court and have the evidence enshrined in the court documents. Rafael’s response makes me smile and I am glad to call him friend. He ends with these words:

So who says Gwen doesn’t believe in Christmas? She sent me an early gift, one I took with humility and rejoicing (Matthew 5:11-12). The unvarnished truth is my defense, as well as the fortress of my One True God in Christ by the Spirit and it will be all established in a way beyond refutation .. thanks to this frivolous opportunism by a cultic movement finding itself increasingly under scrutiny.


Comments

Gwen Shamblin “Suits” up — 73 Comments

  1. I noticed this morning that the signature at the end of the court filing was not signed by attorney Samuel J. Harris. It was signed by Remnant Fellowship member Robie Bass with a note indicating that Robie had signed Harris’ name by permission of Samuel J. Harris. I wonder if Samuel Harris has any actual knowledge of this?

  2. Robie Bass signed the complaint with my permission. If you wish to talk about this case, I’d be glad to. Call me at 615-456-0299. When the smoke clears and the truth is revealed, it will be clear that the members of Remnant Fellowship are good, decent, God-loving and worshiping people who love their children.

  3. i have my doubts unless this lawyer is a member of remnant or WD. Then he, like Gwen would give Robbie-the-Bobbie carte blanche like he used to have on the WD message boards at the end.

  4. I have no doubt Samuel that they love their children. I also believe that many, perhaps most of them, are good and decent people. Following Gwen wouldn’t make them not good, decent or lovers of their children, it would only make them deceived. Thank you for clarifying that Robie did have your permission so sign your name and for the invitation to discuss the case. I will decline that as this is a matter for you and the attorney for Rafael Martinez/Spirit Watch. With regard to Gwen Shamblin and Tedd Anger I have publicly requested to meet them in a public forum in the past and this was met with silence on their part.

  5. I am not a member of Remnant, but I challenge you on these pages to debate any issue regarding Remnant Fellowship. You obviously have editorial control but I’ll take that chance. Substitute any other name of a religion be it Jewish, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Baptist, Mormon, etc. for the things you opine about Remnant Fellowship and the religious bigotry here is disclosed and exposed. Your reasoning and logic is lacking, and your comments above reveal a disingenous understanding of the legal system. Remnant Fellowship and Gwen Shamblin have turned the other cheek for the past years, but there comes a time when one must fight falsehoods.

    Remnant Fellowship has costs Mrs. Shamblin millions of dollars, yet she is constantly criticized as someone who is using Remnant Fellowship as some kind of money-making scheme. Show me facts not your biased opinion as to how Remnant Fellowship is a fraudulent or deceptive enterprise.

    I, for one, see Gwen Shamblin as someone who has pursued what she believes rather than simply pursue money.

  6. Thank you Samuel for your additional input. First, do you speak officially for the teaching and doctrines of Remnant Fellowship and Gwen Shamblin? If not than any debate between you and I would be fairly fruitless since the purpose would be to bring Gwen and Remnant Fellowship back to orthodoxy in the essentials of the faith. However, we have written a number of articles regarding Gwen Shamblin, Weigh Down Workshop and Remnant Fellowship. We deal with the biblical teachings as understood and taught by historic Christianity since the first century. Please feel free to demonstrate where we are biblically wrong in those articles.

    Second, if it is your view that truth claims of all groups must be regarded as equally true and anything less is religious bigotry, then I would be a bigot. I do not believe that conflicting truth claims can be true and not true in the same way at the same time. If one is true then by definition the other is false. In fact, if your definition of bigotry is holding that something is true and any truth claim that contradicts it is false than you are no less bigoted for surely you have filed this suit because you believe you are right and by default someone else it wrong. If you would define what you mean by religious bigotry that would probably be helpful.

    The historic Christian faith affirms the deity of Christ, the biblical teaching of one God who exists infinitely and eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence of God and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold to the Arian heresy of Jesus being a created being, reject the Trinity, reject the physical resurrection of Christ, teach salvation by works and organizational affiliation. Mormons teach an infinite regression and progression of gods. In their teaching God the Father was once a man who worked his way to godhood as all gods had done before him and we too can become gods and goddesses on our own planets. Again, salvation is by works and organizational affiliation. The official teaching of Roman Catholicism is salvation by works and organizational affiliation. If the New Testament is true then Jews like all other human beings, must accept Jesus Christ by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone for salvation. Officially Baptists hold to the doctrines I have laid out.

    Third, I am not sure how I “reveal a disingenous understanding of the legal system.” First, anyone can sue anyone else for anything. That doesn’t mean they will win. Second, a number of groups have and continue to attempt to silence their detractors through legal means. Other than that I am a bit confused as to what you considered disingenuous. I am not an attorney nor do I claim to be. It does strike me as odd that one can be sued because someone else, an anonymous someone else at that, cuts and pastes comments into their blog (plagiarism) but I suppose that doesn’t mean that legally Rafael isn’t obligated and responsible for the actions of someone else he has never met. I don’t think that is the case with the laws in Illinois but it may be in Tennessee.

    I have no doubt that Remnant Fellowship has cost Gwen Shamblin millions of dollars. It is also true that those millions of dollars came from Evangelical churches that by her own admission she came in the back door (deceived?) and that acording to her they are false (would this be religious bigotry?). I harbor no ill will about that for I believe that church leadership should have been guarding the flock as per Acts 20:28-31.

    None of this is personal. I am concerned about sound teaching in essential areas of orthodoxy which, as we and others have demonstrated from her own teachings, writings, audio tapes and video tapes, she denies.

  7. I, for one, see Gwen Shamblin as someone who has pursued what she believes rather than simply pursue money.

    The contention by Mr. Veinot, as you may have seen above, is mostly that what she believes is incorrect according to Scripture.

    Discerning Christ-followers, comparing a person’s beliefs with the Bible, aren’t that impressed by whether people are devoted to their beliefs, love their children, etc.

    These Christians, familiar with the Bible’s teaching on Grace, are quite familiar with the “legal system” — the legal system of the Bible that so many teachers, well-meaning and children-loving or not, tend to fall into. Orthodox Christianity holds that all the Rules about religious behavior are no longer necessary, because of the new life in Jesus Christ. We obey Him because we want to, not because we are compelled to.

    Unfortunately, though love may indeed be a factor, divergent groups such as Remnant Fellowship lead people right back into stringent following of religous rules — what Christians call “legalism.” And that sort of thing very frequently leads to religous hypocrisy and even abusive situations in some groups — though I am even less familiar with the specific aspects of Remnant than is Mr. Veinot.

    Reportetly, Mrs. Shamblin has actually done a really really fast “Bible study” of the book of Galatians, literally going through it as quickly as possible to prevent the content from sinking in, almost comically so. And for good reason, because the author of Galatians, the Apostle Paul, very pointedly condemns the very beliefs Shamblin espouses.

    That is the sort of thing that bothers thinking Christians, especially in “discernment ministries” such as MCOI — rejection of crucial doctrines, and even specific books, of the Bible. Only of secondary concern is any fear that the religious group members are mean or unloving to their children or just in it for the money, etc.

  8. 1. I do not intend (on these pages nor in court) to prove whether your religious beliefs or those of Remnant Fellowship are right or wrong. Religious debate and futility are practically synonymous terms. I would do better to donate such negotiating skills to resolve disputes between Shiites and Sunnis; the end result of stalemate would be about the same.

    My offer to debate was on secular issues related to Remnant Fellowship. The validity of the religious doctrine of your cult or that of Remnant Fellowship can only be judged by God. Not you, not me, nor any of your readers.

    2. The lawsuit is not an attempt to stop anyone from exercising their First Amendment right to free speech or free exercise of religion. If Rafael Martinez had limited his remarks to doctrinal criticism or even the pernicious, yet ironically hypocritical, labeling of Remnant Fellowship as a cult, then there would have been no lawsuit. After all, everyone has an opinion even the lazy, the stupid, and the disingenuous – indeed, even the cult known as Midwest Christian Outreach is entitled to mere opinion.

    I say “ironically hypocritical” because spiritwatch and Rafael Martinez show every sign of being a cult as much as Remnant Fellowship. If “cult” is defined as a cult a group of people devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream then self-appointed groups who devote themselves to labeling other groups would appear to be a little out of the mainstream for most Americans.

    3. You asked me to define “religious bigotry” and I do so as follows:
    Religious Bigotry is the obstinate devotion to one’s prejudices against others who have different religious doctrine and practices.

    I hope that clarifies the issue rather than your attempt which was confusing and self-serving on your part.

    Martinez’s devotion to being Anti-Remnant is apparent from his maintenance of website articles that periodically attack Remnant Fellowship members. He is obstinate in his dislike of Remnant as evidenced by his unfair and unChristian characterizations of Remnant as advocating harm to children through starvation and harsh beating. He is a bigot toward Remnant members every bit as much as one who maligns a Jew for being stingy or an Irish Catholic as being an alcoholic. Stereotyping on the basis of pop culture views and misconceptions is typical of bigotry.

    Nothing in Remnant Fellowship’s doctine nor in the character of its members are related to the death of Josef Smith. Despite the tenuous link, haters use the death of a young boy to further their own prejudiced agenda against Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship. Indeed you only rely on Phil Williams’ reporting where he only asks whether a link exists. I CHALLENGE YOU NOW TO STATE SPECIFICALLY WHAT THE LINK IS; if you can’t then have some decency and honor to not impugn someone in the tragic death of a child.

    Advising parents to administer a spanking for a child’s misbehavior is hardly the cause of death of anyone. Else Dr. Phil needs to “lawyer up.”

    4. I note above you attempt to mischaracterize what the complaint in the defamation suit is about. It is clear that the plaintiffs, members of Remnant Fellowship, are seeking a remedy for the false statements that characterize them as child abusers. Yet you disingenuously pick and choose to reveal to your readers what you want lawsuit to be about. That’s how you’ve chosen to publish your pages (frankly Remnant Fellowship does not seek to be overly litigious so they probably won’t pursue you), but we welcome Mr. Martinez attempting to substantiate his false statements. I predict he can’t do it, and it will be shown that his malicious attacks on Remnant Fellowship are based on his own self-serving assumptions to promote his cult’s agenda. Do you think he’ll use this lawsuit as a fund-raising opportunity?

    Martinez is being sued for his own lies. There does appear to be a link to the other blog and certainly Martinez’s lies are being geometrically propounded through the growth of individual blogging.

    For 3 years, Remnant Fellowship, has turned the other cheek to absurd accusations. They have endured government investigations which showed only that they are decent citizens. Since I doubt that Rafael Martinez has even $1 million dollars, I can assure you the lawsuit is not about striking out at Martinez so much as it is about setting the record straight.

  9. Mr. Harris-

    I also agree that the followers of Remnant are good people, but I have witnessed for years how they have been misled. It is easy for someone on the sidelines who hasn’t “lost” family to Remnant.

    Has your family sold all they have and move 1000 miles away? Does your family refuse to come home for Christmas or any major holiday because they want to be closer to their “true family?” Do they watch everything you do IF you get the blessing of a visit (usually to meet local Remnant families and check up on them)? Has your wife left you because you refused to move to Nashville (Franklin)? Have you been told that if you lost weight that you would’t be able to keep it off if you didn’t join Gwen’s church?

    Rafael Martinez has counseled many families who have delt with this as a result of Gwen Shamblin’s church. He is a good man who does not single out Remnant on his website. He does not hate the members of Remnant, but hates the results of what has happened to those who fall in it’s wake.

    I believe that you have also been taken in by Gwen’s charm. It is easy. Reporters are so kind to her on interviews, never asking “hard” questions. I just want to hear her answer why she doesn’t tell that Weigh Down is a recruiting tool for Remnant on these interviews.

    Not being rude or disrespectful, but Remnant is a cult. All the red flags wave like crazy around this group. There have been beaten children, there have been dissolved marriages, and even children are asked to follow the diet and fast.

  10. 1. Please name the child that has been abused as you and Martinez have repeatedly say and I will personally contact the Department of Children Services if abuse is confirmed.

    2. I think some non-Remnant family members would have better relationships with their Remnant family members if they would communicate rather than judge. I have not observed the controlled isolation of Remnant Members that you claim. They seem to be very ordinary (I have called them typical “boring” American families) people.

    3. Perhaps Rafael Martinez has been blinded by his hatred of his supposed determination of “the results of what happen[s] to those who fall in [Remnant’s] wake.” By the way, could you tell me what “happens”? These blanket assertions are never backed up with facts by the anti-Remnant crowd.

    4. Another characteristic of the Anti-Remnant crowd seems to be judgmental of everything around Remnant without any actual knowledge of the subject on which they speak. In your case, you have reached the conclusion without knowing me that I have been taken in by Gwen’s charms.

    Gwen Shamblin has great charisma. I have known Gwen Shamblin for almost a quarter of a century. Maybe I have developed an immunity to her supposed Svengali-control mechanism. (That was said sarcastically for those of you from Rio Linda.)

    Recently I debated Gwen for over an hour and a half regarding American policy in the Middle East. Of course I was right and Gwen only thought she was right. Here’s the shocker, two people disagreed.

    Yet not once in our debate did I say “well what do you know you beat and starve children” or “you are responsible for marriage break-ups so you need to shut up.” Not only would those assertions not have been true but it would not address the issue being discussed.

    4. You speak of dissolved marriages and somehow blame Remnant. A marriage break-up is a complicated thing based on many factors. Yes, all churches seek to have both spouses worship together. Is it one factor in the break-up of a marriage? Probably. But placing the blame on the church or on Gwen Shamblin is analogous to silly name calling when you can’t win on the merits of a disagreement.

    5. What I have observed of the Remnant Fellowship members is very happy families. Yet I also see them as families who have all the family day to day struggles. Nonetheless, Remnant members appear to me to approach those struggles with a certain inner peace that others envy. The arguments you make in support of Rafael Martinez could be made against any other church.

    For example, your last sentence could be addressed to the Roman Catholic church. Of course, it could also be addressed to just about every other church. All I ask at this point is that you point out a specific, documented case where a Remnant child was harshly beaten or starved as the result of Remnant doctrine.

    Now if you say Josef Smith, I say that there is no link from Remnant doctrine to his death. Of course, a Remnant hater wouldn’t hesitate to use his tragic death to propagandize against Remnant. I will hold off on further argument until the matter is heard in a court of law rather than the court of rumor, hearsay, and media spin.

    I would also point out that the child did not die of starvation. So ask Mr. Martinez who is the other child starved to death. Name one. Surely there was a government investigation. It is one thing to disagree with Mrs. Shamblin’s views on diet and weight control, but it is simply an unfair distortion to say her views are causing harm to children without any factual evidence.

    6. I am sorry that certain individuals have “lost” touch with Remnant members. I would suggest that they reach out to the Remnant families with love and understanding rather than with an attitude of winning an argument. Remnant members live and work in communities; they are not isolated in some compound. So they are accessible. Perhaps these Remnant members who you claim have “left” their other families will respond to non-judgmental love rather than an accusatory tone. You can solve the problem or perpetuate the misunderstanding – the choice is yours.

  11. “1. Please name the child that has been abused as you and Martinez have repeatedly say and I will personally contact the Department of Children Services if abuse is confirmed.”

    You keep turning away from the Smiths. There is not media spin on this story, except from Remnant. The story of a boy being beaten to death is bad enough. No spin needs to be added.

    “2. I think some non-Remnant family members would have better relationships with their Remnant family members if they would communicate rather than judge. I have not observed the controlled isolation of Remnant Members that you claim. They seem to be very ordinary (I have called them typical “boring” American families) people. ”

    I TRIED to work with my Remnant family. I couldn’t get past the WDW. I have low blood sugar, and couldn’t go until “tummy-growl.” I had a 10-YEAR-OLD repeat to me that her mommy told her I didn’t love God enough since I couldn’t do the diet. I don’t judge. I have a broken heart…as do many others in this country. I have a lot more stories, but I can’t implicate myself. I might be seen as the enemy by Remnant.
    I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around my Remnant family like I did when my father was an active alcoholic. Just like alcoholics are addicted to alcohol, I feel like Remnant members are addicted to Gwen’s religion. Yes, it happens in lots of other religions, but none of the other ones have affected my family like this, nor the families of any of the people I’m close to. Back to the point, I know alcoholics who are good people and who love their children, who are part of society, and who have jobs…BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT!

    3. Perhaps Rafael Martinez has been blinded by his hatred of his supposed determination of “the results of what happen[s] to those who fall in [Remnant’s] wake.” By the way, could you tell me what “happens”? These blanket assertions are never backed up with facts by the anti-Remnant crowd.

    While you’re speaking understanding, I have to have what you call “blanket assertions” to protect the names of those I know. We’re SCARED to be found out and further separated from our family. THIS IS NOT NORMAL for families in America. I can talk and disagree with my Remnant family member over just about anything but religion or diet. If I say different, she asserts I’m attacking her or Gwen, and then conversation is done. I have never yelled or said an ugly thing about Gwen to her, but she will yell and say ugly things about me. I’m not the only non-Remnant family member who has felt this way.

    #4, see previous response

    5. What I have observed of the Remnant Fellowship members is very happy families. Yet I also see them as families who have all the family day to day struggles. Nonetheless, Remnant members appear to me to approach those struggles with a certain inner peace that others envy. The arguments you make in support of Rafael Martinez could be made against any other church.

    Rafael Martinez attacks other churches, too. Have you seen his website, or just the parts that are toward Remnant? I’ve never seen this inner peace you speak of. If I did, I’d actually feel better about Remnant. I want my family to be happy.

    I have members of my family, including some who have just become Roman Catholic. I’m not Roman Catholic, and I have debated doctrine with them. I’ve never been yelled at, called names, told I “just couldn’t get it until I met the leaders,” or anything but patient explanation until I understood why, and I do ask a lot of questions that are not attacks as you seem to believe.

    #6
    You say I’m anti-Remnant, but I’m pro-family. You haven’t gone through what any other Remnant family member has gone through. You attack me like I’m the attacker, when I was trying to reason. I didn’t mention abuse, just beaten children. I didn’t mention starvation, but that children have to follow the diet. I mention divorces when the spouse refuses to move to the Nashville area, and you went off on that marriage problems start before Remnant… but will moving to Nashville solve any problems if that is so? I have a broken heart, not an agenda.
    I just wanted to speak up for a man who has helped me understand.

  12. My, my Samuel, you have been busy this weekend. Between family obligations yesterday, friends over last evening and digging out from the snow this morning I haven’t had the opportunity to respond. Although I will not quote your comments in full, (in an attempt at brevity which is sometimes difficult for me), I will cite which comment (8 or 10) and date that I am responding to as I go. That will make it a little easier for the readers to follow the pea as it were.

    In comment #8 (Jan. 14), number 1 you write, “My offer to debate was on secular issues related to Remnant Fellowship. The validity of the religious doctrine of your cult or that of Remnant Fellowship can only be judged by God. Not you, not me, nor any of your readers.”

    I am not now nor have I been in the past overly interested in the “secular issues related to Remnant Fellowship.” MCOI’s interests are theological in nature with some interest in behaviors which may stem from particular theological teachings. In the sense of ultimate or absolute judgment of the “validity of the religious doctrine” you may be correct. However, if the Old and New Testaments are indeed the inspired, inerrant in their original writings, word of God, then we can know beyond a reasonable doubt the “validity of the religious doctrine.”

    In comment #8 (Jan. 14), number 2 you write, “I say ‘ironically hypocritical’ because spiritwatch and Rafael Martinez show every sign of being a cult as much as Remnant Fellowship. If “cult” is defined as a cult a group of people devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream then self-appointed groups who devote themselves to labeling other groups would appear to be a little out of the mainstream for most Americans.”

    This is an interesting hypothetical definition but is not the one we use. As you are aware, defining terms is very important or actual communication does not occur. The definitions which MCOI uses and which are commonly affirmed across the denominations that fall under the umbrella term “Evangelical” are theological and sociological. Professor Alan Gomes in his 1995 book Unmasking the Cults has developed the working definition:

    A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

    He also points out that there are cults that stem from other religions, such as Sufism and the Nation of Islam which both claim to be Islam while denying the essential teachings of Islam.

    Dr. Ronald Enroth has outlined the sociological definition of a cult in his 1983 book A Guide to Cults and New Religions:

    …include consideration of such factors as authoritarian leadership patterns, loyalty and commitment mechanisms, lifestyle characteristics, [and] conformity patterns (including the use of various sanctions in connection with those members who deviate).

    For a fuller treatment of this I would suggest the resources found at Apologetics Index http://www.cultfaq.org/cultfaq-perspectives.html “What is a Cult: Sociological vs. Theological Definitions.”

    In comment #8 (Jan. 14), number 3 you write, ” You asked me to define “religious bigotry” and I do so as follows: Religious Bigotry is the obstinate devotion to one’s prejudices against others who have different religious doctrine and practices.”

    Does this definition apply equally to Gwen or does it only apply to those who disagree with Gwen? In other words, is this your universal definition or a one way definition of convenience? Your characterization of demonstrating that Gwen’s teachings are false equals being a hater is interesting. Since you obviously disagree with our views are you by your own definition a hater and therefore, as you put it, a bigot ” every bit as much as one who maligns a Jew for being stingy or an Irish Catholic as being an alcoholic. Stereotyping on the basis of pop culture views and misconceptions is typical of bigotry.”?

    As far as your challenge. “Indeed you only rely on Phil Williams’ reporting where he only asks whether a link exists. I CHALLENGE YOU NOW TO STATE SPECIFICALLY WHAT THE LINK IS;” I have only reported on and drawn attention to Phil Williams report and the indictment and provided a link to the indictment against the Smiths. I made no other claims or assertions as to the guilt of innocence of the Smiths and have no more knowledge of the case than what is publicly available. These are questions that a court of law and a jury of their peers will have to decide.

    As to #4 in comment #8 (Jan. 14), I simply quoted from your filing and provided a link to the filing in order to allow the reader to verify the context. As far as your question, “Do you think he’ll use this lawsuit as a fund-raising opportunity?”, probably not but that is something he would have to comment on in court or will be verifiable prior to that. In all the years I have known him I have never seen a request for financial support. That doesn’t mean has hasn’t made such pleas but I have not seen any of them.

    In comment #10 (Jan. 15), number 1 you write, “Please name the child that has been abused as you and Martinez have repeatedly say and I will personally contact the Department of Children Services if abuse is confirmed.” I don’t recall nor do I find that I have made such an accusation much less “repeatedly.” Is this public accusation a false one designed to impugn me or are you prepared to cite the documentation where I supposedly have “repeatedly” said this?

    As to item 2 in comment #10 (Jan. 15), for now I will let family members of those who are involved with Remnant respond.

    In comment #10 (Jan. 15), number 4 (the first #4) you write, “In your case, you have reached the conclusion without knowing me that I have been taken in by Gwen’s charms.” This is an interesting “blanket statement” about any conclusions I may or may not have come to. Would you care to substantiate this or is a simple assertion sufficient in your opinion?

    In comment #10 (Jan. 15), number 5 you write: “For example, your last sentence could be addressed to the Roman Catholic church. Of course, it could also be addressed to just about every other church. All I ask at this point is that you point out a specific, documented case where a Remnant child was harshly beaten or starved as the result of Remnant doctrine.”

    My last sentence was “None of this is personal. I am concerned about sound teaching in essential areas of orthodoxy which, as we and others have demonstrated from her own teachings, writings, audio tapes and video tapes, she denies.” (Comment 6, Jan 13). In that comment I stated that Roman Catholicism officially proclaims a false gospel. That was, by the way, the point of the Reformation. I am not exactly sure of your point here. Again, as to treatment of children, I have made no claims but only observed and pointed to the claims and documentation of the claims of others.

  13. Mr. Harris-
    I feel that, as a family member, I need to respond to the following comment:

    “2. I think some non-Remnant family members would have better relationships with their Remnant family members if they would communicate rather than judge. I have not observed the controlled isolation of Remnant Members that you claim. They seem to be very ordinary (I have called them typical “boring” American families) people.”

    The truth of the matter is, we have gone through prolonged times of isolation from them. When they do come around, we are continually told by our family in Remnant that we can only have a relationship with them IF we don’t speak against RF or Gwen Shamblin, and IF we don’t belong to a certain support group that they see as “the enemy” (or worse). We have NEVER told them, “We can have a relationship IF……..” We have also in the past been told by the family that our churches are counterfeit and that our pastors are misleading us, and so on. Now, tell me again, who is it that’s doing the judging?

  14. Jean,

    I have done similar actions that you speak of. I have told my mother if she voted for or even said a nice word about Bill Clinton she would never see her grandchildren again. I still love my mother and I never really honored nor meant to honor such an extreme approach. We are all guilty of judging others; indeed it would be impossible to function without exercising discretion. Of course I was right about Bill Clinton being the scum of the earth and my mother being a mind-numb Democrat but let’s not get to far off point.

    I simply offered Suzanne (and I noted that Don took my response to Suzanne and assumed it was addressed to him) a suggestion to reach out.

    Is it unreasonable for Remnant members to not want to listen to negative comments about their freely chosen religious beliefs or their friend, Gwen Shamblin, especially from persons who may not know what they are talking about?

    As an example, IF (PLEASE NOT THE HYPOTHETICAL NATURE OF THIS PARAGRAPH) I were to say that Midwest Outreach (MO) was a meddling organization that deceives people into believing it is an authoritative entity for determining which groups are cults (and mind you the English language definition of that term will not suffice and MO will use some self appointed academic to define a cult) and further that MO and its charismatic leader disingenuosly disparage others for their own self serving goals, seeking MO money from emotionally hurt family members, THEN I could understand why MO and those who support MO would not want me around. IF I said those things and associated myself with a support group antagonistic to MO, I would not be whining that MO people won’t communicate with me.

    So why are you surprised that Remnant family members would limit contact or at least request that you refrain from criticizing the people and beliefs that are important to them. Also one can hardly feel welcome in the company of someone who joins organizations (you term it “support groups”) antagonistic to one’s religion. I wouldn’t expect a Black man to associate with known member of the KKK. There are limits to tolerance – this is common sense.

    You obviously didn’t like it when the Remnant family member allegedly slammed your religious belief. If, like Suzanne, you seek a relationship not based on control but on love and understanding, then you can not attack their beliefs; likewise they should not attack your beliefs. Of course both sides are free to make honest attacks, but my point is “HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT FOR YOU?”

  15. Mr. Harris –
    Your reply totally missed the point of my post. I’ll be generous and assume that you misunderstood, rather than intentionally muddying the waters. Once again…..We are not “allowed” to speak negatively about Remnant or Gwen Shamblin at risk of losing contact with our family in Remnant. However, we are subjected to continuing attacks on our beliefs, our churches, and our pastors to our faces as well is in their “testimonies” on Remnant’s website. We no longer initiate or instigate. They do. Period. I have friends and family I disagree with politically. We agree to disagree. When they bring it up and want to argue, I will banter freely with them but the friendship stays intact. It is true friendship/love which survives differences. However, when family members continue to tell us that the price we must pay for their “love” and “relationship” is our silence concerning their beliefs and leader, while all the while they continue to malign ours…..well, I’m shocked you don’t see the difference. Or at least that you pretend not to. So to answer your question, “How’s that working out for you?” It’s NOT. Sitting around biting our tongues and trying to be agreeable in order to receive their fake brand of love isn’t really much of a basis for a family relationship, especially knowing that one misstep will be swiftly followed up by loss of contact with them.

  16. Jean,

    I didn’t miss your point. Maybe you missed mine.

    You answered the essence of my point. YOUR APPROACH IS NOT WORKING.

    Since you can’t change your loved ones attitudes then you must seek out solution which logically means looking at what you can change. I note for example that you can’t help yourself in attacking the Remnant family member as being fake in attitude and affection. Are you so filled with hatred of Remnant that you consider maintaining peace with your family member to be an action of intolerant tongue-biting? Is the price of tolerance too high for the relationship?

    Reminds me of an old lawyer’s closing argument; I have always attributed it to Gerry Spence, the great trial lawyer.

    It’s a story of a wise old man and a smart-aleck boy who wanted to show up the wise old man as a fool.

    One day this boy caught a small canary. The boy had a plan. He brought the bird, cupped between his hands, to the old man in front all the town elders. His plan was to say, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?” to which the old man would answer, “You have a bird, my son.” Then the boy would say, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?” If the old man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and the bird would fly freely back to the forest. But if the old man said the bird was alive, then the boy would crush the canary until it was dead.

    So the smart-aleck boy sauntered up to the old man and said, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?” And the old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” Then the boy said with a malevolent grin, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?”

    And the old man, with sad eyes, said, “The bird is in your hands, my son.”

    My point is: The answer to your problems is in your hands.

  17. Greetings Samuel,

    I am glad for your clarification, “I simply offered Suzanne (and I noted that Don took my response to Suzanne and assumed it was addressed to him) a suggestion to reach out.” Perhaps you would be kind enough as to demonstrate where Suzanne has “repeatedly” claimed child abuse (In comment #10, Jan. 15, which you now clarify as being directed to Suzanne). After all, I am sure that you wouldn’t commit libel in this forum and are therefore able and prepared to back up your accusation against her.

  18. Well Don, you have muddied the water to the point that clarification is almost not worth the effort. There is no such accusation against Suzanne. She has barely discussed the issue of corporal punishment. I don’t know who she is and seriously doubt that Suzanne is the real name of the poster. Nice try to create some sort of moral equivalence misdirection when the discussion is going against your agenda.

    Don, I was referring to the need to reach out to Remnant family members with an open mind rather than vitriolic accusations and also the issue of whether I was taken in by Gwen’s charm as being addressed to Suzanne.

    But let’s get back to what I have addressed against you. Do you have the guts to answer this question rather than play word games to evade substantive discussion:

    Paragraph 1 of post number 10 was directed at you. Above in article inviting comment, you support Rafael Martinez’s absurd claim that Remnant advocates repetitive and harsh beatings of children claiming that it is a matter of public record.

    What public record (and not the sensationalistic media’s regurgitations based on rumor and false assumptions) indicates
    a. Remnant Fellowship’s advocacy of repetitive and harsh beatings of children
    b. Remnant Fellowship has encouraged the starvation of children.

    Rafael Martinez has made such statements. You have indicated your support by comments above. In your posting number 12, you seem to back off supporting Martinez’s accusations of Remnant advocacy of child abuse.

    Several times (that’s repeatedly in my dictionary but you may have some unknown academic with a different meaning) in the main article, you support Martinez’s statements that clearly suggest Remnant advocates child abuse either by starvation or harsh beatings. Accusation of child abuse is a terrible charge given that child abuse is itself a terrible thing. The clear import of the main article above is that you believe Martinez is truthful and that evidence exists which supports his published statements.

    Why don’t you clarify things with a simple yes or no? Answer this question for me so we are on the same page:

    Do you personally know any fact where Remnant and/or Gwen Shamblin has advocated starvation and harsh beating of children?

    A simple yes or no would clarify your position and then you can push your agenda. Anything less only convinces me that you are not a man of integrity but choose to operate your fundraising adventure here not for the pursuit of truth (or even doctrinal challenges, which I acknowledge is fair game). The families of Remnant Fellowship members need to know that Remnant is not some child abusing cult where kids face pains of hunger and beatings that would make Oliver Twist’s orphanage look like a candy store at Disney World.

    Is your argument against Remnant doctrine so weak that you have to support false accusations of criminal conduct that are asserted by Rafael Martinez’s lies.

  19. Mr. Harris –
    “The answer to your problems is in your hands.”

    Indeed. And that is why we have been doing what we can to “get along”. It’s not “judging” or “intolerant” to notice that their love and attentions are fake. Any time they say their love comes with conditions attached, their actions speak for themselves. My tolerance, though stretched to its limits, is intact. Theirs, however, is questionable. Recall, I’m not the one setting conditions on them.

    These are not, as you like to say, “ordinary” or “boring” people. Look up and down your street some day (unless you live in Brentwood, that is) and see if your friends and neighbors spend every waking minute fearing whether they ate one more bite than God would have wanted, whether they spend all their social time with only those like-minded saints they worship with multiple days a week, whether their “religion” dictates who they marry and what clothes to wear to social functions, and on and on and on. If this seems normal to you, then I will question whether or not you were honest here when you said you aren’t a part of Remnant Fellowship. Yes, I’m sure you observed VERY happy families – they wouldn’t dare appear otherwise, for fear of being judged for it!

    One more thing – you said Rafael Martinez is “obstinate in his dislike of Remnant Fellowship”. I suppose the irony of that statement is lost on you, in light of the immense dislike (hatred) of Rafael Martinez within Remnant. Or did you never hear him being referred to as the devil? I have!!

    I’m also anxious for the day that “the smoke clears and the truth is revealed” – until then……

  20. Greetings Samuel,

    You write, “But let’s get back to what I have addressed against you. Do you have the guts to answer this question rather than play word games to evade substantive discussion:

    Paragraph 1 of post number 10 was directed at you. Above in article inviting comment, you support Rafael Martinez’s absurd claim that Remnant advocates repetitive and harsh beatings of children claiming that it is a matter of public record ”

    I went back to reread the initial article and am greatly perplexed at where the so-called support for your accusation exists. I comment that:

    There are a fair amount of phone calls and emails that MCOI and Spirit Watch as well as other ministries receive on a fairly regular basis from parents whose adult children have cut off all communication. In other cases they are threatened to have all communication cut off if anything questionable is said about Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship. In some cases the followers move to Brentwood, TN to be in the “New Jerusalem” as Gwen calls it. In other cases a distraught spouse whose husband or wife has been told to join the group or face divorce calls in desperation. I suspect this is one case that the witnesses who desire to testify will be so numerous that they will have to draw straws in order to determine who will get the opportunity in order to keep it down to a reasonable number.

    This says nothing one way or the other about child abuse but rather addresses loss of communication and potential family break up. Further down I mention that:

    Phil Williams of News Channel 5 in Nashville has done some very good work on this as well as other questions on Gwen Shamblin’s teachings. In his stories on the death of Joseph and Sonya Smith’s son Josef, he was able to show that one of the teachings of Remnant Fellowship leadership at that time was the showdown spanking which could last for hours and may include repeated spankings until the child stopped crying. He also points out that Remnant Fellowship members use glue sticks (rods used in glue guns) to punish their children because they inflict a great deal of pain but do not leave marks. The description and confirming sources are cited in Phil Williams report and I won’t repeat them here.

    This does of course deal with child abuse but child abuse as reported on by Phil Williams. I agree with you that several times qualifies as repeatedly, so for the 3rd time (twice for me and once for the post you later indicated was directed at Suzanne and then subsequenntly qualified that item #1 had been directed to me) please produce the accusations of abuse that I have supposedly “repeatedly” made. No reading in between the lines or hoping for some invisible ink to appear for your rescue.

  21. Jean,

    I see nothing but irrational emotion. Why do you pursue a relationship with people you accuse of offering fake love and attention?

    And yes you do set conditions for your love apparently. No talking to the irrational on this as you are the source of your own problems. You strike me as someone who thrives on unhappiness. I wish you well in overcoming such a difficult attitude.

    I don’t live in Brentwood. I also don’t see Remnant members as being obsessed with taking one more bite. Weight control is difficult. I am overweight. I have not encountered the prejudice you claim exists. I have also seen unhappiness due to stressful situations among Remnant members, but most members seem to have a strength of character to overcome the challenges that life offers.

    You paint a picture of some Mao-inspired culture where everyone dresses and acts the same. That is false. They dress like any ordinary American. You add the term normal. But what is normal? John Wooden, former basketball coach of UCLA, said there are two kinds of people in the world, the good and the bad, and the good decide which is which.

    You have proclaimed yourself normal i.e. good, so I guess you get to decide who lives normally and who does not.

    By the way, I put myself full name up on the posting, you do not. How arrogant and self-righteous of you to question my honesty. I can assure you though I am not a member of Remnant. I have known the Shamblins for almost 23 years. I did work briefly for Weigh Down Workshop in early 90s when it was a much smaller outfit.

    Finally, there is no irony in my statement that Martinez dislikes Remnant Fellowship. Of course Remnant Fellowship members are less than happy with a man who spreads lies about them. If he lied about me the way he has lied about Remnant Fellowship, I can assure you my language toward him would be worse than “devil”. He’d have to consult a sailor’s manual.

  22. Don,

    You couldn’t answer the question,

    “Do you personally know any fact where Remnant and/or Gwen Shamblin has advocated starvation and harsh beating of children?”

    with a simple yes or no.

    I hate wasting time here with an intellectual coward and maybe intellectually challenged. You could have cleared up your position with a yes or no. You also didn’t provide answers to other questions asked in the previous posting number 18. Is it that you can’t answer the questions without weakening the position of your agenda?

    You support Rafael Martinez’s claim of child abuse. If you don’t then your article is unclear. To support such a claim is to be equally guilty of saying Remnant Fellowship advocates child abuse. You try word games and semantics, but that is the normal reading of your article regardless of what exact words you use.

    You can clarify by stating directly instead of in your round about, obscure manner:

    Does Remnant Fellowship and/or Gwen Shamblin advocate child abuse through harsh beatings and starvation.?

    Yes or no. Your readers are entitled to your clear position on this.

  23. Mr. Harris –
    I don’t pursue the relationship with these people – they have come to us….with their quantifications and stipulations.

    The use of the words “lies” is very subjective and only as good as the person you believe as truthful. So before you accuse Rafael Martinez of lying in order to justify the hatred of those in Remnant (I didn’t say they were unhappy, I said they hate him), you may want to do a brief study on the lies that have come out of the mouths of those you will attempt to represent, for they are legion.

    Do you mean to say that you can’t figure out why some of us here don’t use our full names? This has nothing to do with arrogance or self-righteousness. It is because of the full knowledge and “fear” of consequences from these “normal” happy people who like to dictate who we speak to, and who we defend, and who we associate with. You, however, have again misspoken. I did NOT paint a picture of people who dress alike did I? I said that they are told what to wear at SOCIAL FUNCTIONS. This is true and prove-able. How they act is another story, but I see no point in arguing this with you any further. I do have a life that exists outside of these four walls and real life calls.

  24. Your accusation was that I “repeatedly” said that children have “been abused.” The exact verbiage was “you and Martinez have repeatedly.” No matter how much you have tried you have been unsuccessful at squirreling your accusation around to be something else such as “support of Rafael’s claim.” As I pointed out, I was clear as to what claims of Rafael’s I was affirming. Either I have “repeatedly” made claims that children have “been abused” or I have not. To use the Rushism which you have previously employed, for those in Rio Linda, “I” would mean me, Don Veinot, not someone else. “Repeatedly” as you and I have already agreed would be “numerous.” “Said” would be my personal statement either written or verbal. You are the one who made the accusation and I expect that you will produce the evidence or retract the libel. Name calling and attempts at bullying only demonstrates the weakness of your position. The answer to your question lies in your ability or inability to prove your accusation.

  25. Failing to answer the simple question only shows the weakness of your position. I say it now, several times in the main article you have supported Martinez’s false statement. I agree you don’t use the precise words, but your article supported(and thus “said”)the proposition that Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children. You can clear this up by simply saying either:
    A. I, Don Veinot, think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.
    or
    B. I, Don Veinot, do not think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.
    No name calling, I’m just trying to understand who you are and where you are coming from. Answer the question.

  26. Mr. Harris,

    I find in very amusing having once worked in the legal field to find that you have so much time to devote to his forum, which brings the question are YOU really who you say your are or are you one of the leadership puppets of Remnant. The attorneys I’ve worked for were always way too busy to spend this much time arguing about nothing on a forum. I think the posters here have answered your questions, you simply won’t accept their answers. I think that if you would truly read what they are writing you will see the pain inflicted upon these individuals by members of Remnant.

  27. Jean,

    Missed your post the first time. Ok, I didn’t know we were being so technical about word choice here. I don’t know if they hate Rafael Martinez for his reckless and/or knowing misstatement of facts (called lies by some people) but even assuming for argument that they hate him, it obvious why. You tell me I’m abusing my children – well let’s just say I’m not going to greet you with a big hug.

    Big Deal that’s there’s a dress code for social functions. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But so what? Society has imposed dress codes in many situations. In the Air Force, I often was told what to wear. At a school prom people generally conform to the norms of the particular group for social functions. If a person doesn’t like it they can either not go, go and dress differently, or quit Remnant if they find it overbearing. I’m sorry they don’t conform to what Jean thinks they should do.

    Jean, you ‘re stuck in a self-created quagmire of bitterness. Keep it up and tell me someday whether it brought you or anyone else happiness.

  28. Samuel wrote: “Failing to answer the simple question only shows the weakness of your position. I say it now, several times in the main article you have supported Martinez’s false statement.”

    Simply asserting it doesn’t make it true.

    Samuel wrote: “I agree you don’t use the precise words,”

    This is a step in the right direction since I didn’t make that accusation in any words.

    Samuel wrote: “but your article supported (and thus “said”) the proposition that Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.”

    The article reported and directed the reader to the reports done by Phil Williams. I am in no position to confirm or deny the validity of his claims other than the sources he provides in the report. The reader will have to determine is his report is reliable or not.
    Samuel wrote: ” You can clear this up by simply saying either:
    A. I, Don Veinot, think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.
    or
    B. I, Don Veinot, do not think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.”

    What I may or may not think is really quite irrelevant. As you have so aptly put it, “After all, everyone has an opinion even the lazy, the stupid, and the disingenuous… ” It is what you claim that I have stated that is at issue. Not what Rafael may or may not have stated which I did not comment on, nor what Phil Williams stated, but what I, in accordance with your accusation, have “repeatedly” stated.

  29. Mr. Harris,
    While I have not worked with any law firm, I do have friends who are lawyers,and I find your amazing amount of time invested here quite interesting, and possibly very ‘telling.’

    However, what I found even more interesting is how much you “sound” like other mouthpieces for Gwen Shamblin. The thing that was so ‘consistent’ over time during the ‘Great Controversy’ when Gwen dropped her wooly suit to reveal the ‘wolf’ she is.. was how much alike all WDW mouthpieces ‘talked’/’wrote’. It’s like talking to clones.

    As I have been reading through this thread I kept wondering how in the world , if you are not RF, did Gwen or Robbie ..or Ted or whoever contacted you, found a lawyer that was so much like them? e.g.:the twisting of words and ‘bait and switch’ tactics that are employed, the wordiness alone that boggles the mind.

    Then you answered my question in post # 21 when you wrote:
    “I can assure you though I am not a member of Remnant. I have known the Shamblins for almost 23 years. I did work briefly for Weigh Down Workshop in early 90s when it was a much smaller outfit.”

    You can say your are ‘not a member of RF’ all you wish, but as far as I’m concerned, you are not an ‘outsider’ to RF by any means. You don’t have to have official RF membership to be of the group.

    Walk like a duck, quack like a duck–hey–you are a duck!

  30. The only disingenuous and irrational discussion here as been from the clones of the Anti-Remnant side of the argument. I am a fast typer and it doesn’t take that quick of a wit to respond to blatantly disingenuous argument.

    The bait and switch is Mr. Veinot not stating his real position. I don’t expect to change the minds of anyone here. Those minds are sealed tight and I don’t have the time to pry such minds open. But I am learning much about how the anti-Remnant people evade issues.

    From my post above it would clarifying if Mr. Veinot would state A or B as his position. Obfuscation is on his part not mine. Courtesy would demand a direct response. Why the evasion?

    I am honored to be considered among the people you mentioned. Gwen, Ted, Robbie, and others are all people whom consider friends. They have acted with honor in the face of being called child abusers, and your mean spirited opinion of them impresses me not one iota as being factually based nor grounded in the spirit of Christianity.

    So quack, quack.

  31. Don,

    I have argued that the meaning you conveyed (not your exact words) is that Remnant Fellowship advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh beatings. I have asked you to answer whether my interpretation is correct. I simplified to a choice.

    If you say that you did not mean to convey a message that Remnant advocates child abuse then the matter is ended. You could correct me with a clear statement and I would acknowledge a misunderstanding.

    If you state that Remnant Fellowship does advocate child abuse through starvation and harsh beatings, then I will understand your position. I would probably argue for factual substantiation, but getting a direct answer out of you is like pulling teeth.

    To paraphrase J. Gillespie, if it clucks like a chicken, it must be a chicken.

  32. Mr. Harris is a chameleon – he chooses to take one to task for either “the meaning you conveyed – not your exact words” or at times to have an issue with the exact words, (Cult is to be defined to his specifications exactly, never mind that upon looking it up in the dictionary I found 5 definitions, one of which included “A religion regarded as unorthodox” I would submit to you that Mr. Veinot simply defined unorthodox)or of course to answer with a question his question, and his phrasing and then demand a simple yes or no.

    The last one is cross-examination 101.

    Then he complains about the amount of time he has wasted here – but of course he continues to check for new posts, AND to post.

  33. Actually – let me correct myself because I seemed to have assigned something J. Gillespie inferred to Mr. Harris incorrectly – and it would certainly get jumped on with that lightening speed typing..

    Mr. Harris simply complained about the disingenuousness of the arguments that he was forced to respond to with his speedy typing and not so quick wit.

  34. Well when the personal attacks come out and the merits are not addressed you know the other side of the debate has run out of ideas.

    I just would like a clarification of where Mr. Veinot stands. Instead of getting an answer, I get some non-sequitur obfuscation.

    When I ask for precise definitions that is consistent with requesting precise statement of where Mr. Veinot stands on whether or not Remnant Fellowship advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh beatings of children. We can’t communicate with each other unless we understand what the other is saying.

    So far I don’t know where Mr. Veinot stands on the issue. He appears to back off the clear implication of his article above. He claims that Phil Williams, Channel 5 Nashville, has established a link between child abuse and Remnant Doctrine. I don’t think that is the case, but such an assertion by Mr. Veinot would seem to indicate he believes as Mr. Martinez stated on his website that Remnant advocates child abuse.

    His devoted followers now look to attack me without holding him to answering the question on the table. I suspect that as the cult leader, his minions will blindly defend him in the face of the obvious reality that he is evading the argument. I recognize signs of a cult following when I see it. I wish I had the energy to intervene for those Midwest Outreachers who can’t break away.

    Why do his mindless followers here at this blog not demand that he shut me up by answering the question?

    A or B.

  35. Mr. Harris-

    I didn’t post yesterday evening after getting home, but did take time to look for the quotes listed in Count 3 so I could read them in context. The first one is easy…I haven’t seen the article that it was in yet, so I read that article first. (Remnant uses the media) I couldn’t find the other two. It is kind of interesting that of all the paragraphs he wrote, there were only three to choose from. I was also glad that he asked the same question I asked: why doesn’t she say that the Weigh Down Diet is a recruiting tool for her church on the interviews? When I tried WDW, I just thought it was a diet that would bring me closer to God. Instead I passed out waiting for my “tummy to growl” and was belittled for not being obedient and loving God enough. I kept going to the meetings trying to keep the closeness with my Remnant family member, and “hid” my “real” dieting and exercise program. Our group was later told that if we wanted to keep our weight loss off, we needed to join a group of “true believers.” Well, many women ran seeing red flags… but some of them started to go to church with my Remnant family member. I chose the chuch I grew up in and caused a major rift in my family. I didn’t say it was a cult, I didn’t say anything negative. I just said it wasn’t for me.

    You’re right, I don’t use my “real” name. Last time I posted a comment using my “real name”, my gifts to the Remnant children were refused for over a year because I was one of “Gwen’s enemies.” The comment was asking the same question I ask over and over but never get an answer. Do not compare this to teasing your mother for having opposite political views. I have never punished anyone I knew because they had a different view on anything… I would reason and politely debate, but never would punish.

    You can call me bitter or wrong or whatever, but I know what I experienced. You haven’t had these experiences, and refuse to put yourself in my shoes for even a moment. I still try to see both sides of this arguement so I can understand, but you clump me in an anti-Remnant crowd. I will not argue with you if you attack. I’m just trying to see what is going on.

  36. Mr. Harris –
    Sorry … let me clarify. I said they are told how to dress at social functions. I SHOULD have said they are actually told what colors they are to wear, not just how formal the attire is to be. Check out the pictures on their website and you’ll see it for yourself. All color coordinated – and you don’t find that at all odd?? “Controlling” is the word that comes to mind…..

    I’m sorry that you find me to be so bitter. Maybe if you could see and hear the real heart of what I and others here are saying you’d actually find people wounded by family members who just don’t care about us or communicate with us any more in any real meaningful way. Bitter? No. Hurt, yes! And it hurts even more to see what’s become of them. So if it makes you feel better to psycho-anylize and label me, please – by all means – feel free. But it would serve you much better to look deeper and listen to see and hear what your dear friend, Gwen, has done to so many people and how her teachings have ruined more lives than you can imagine. What you see here is just the tip of the iceberg.

  37. I don’t find my remarks the least bit lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous. I thought I was being straightforward, and certainly not pretending any ‘unawarness’.

    I don’t demand anything of Don V…nor you, Sam.

  38. Mr. Harris (may I call you Sam?)
    Your circular logic and condescending attitude here has at times caused me to throw back my head howling with laughter. At other times I’ve had to scratch my head and ask: what kind of lawyer has this much time to devote to a forum like this? Your typing may be fast and your wit (in your humble estimation) may be quick. Yet I find myself wondering: if this is the best lawyer Mrs. Shambin’s money can buy, times must really be hard!!

  39. My, My!!!! Do you think that we scared Sam off? Maybe he got a new client. I wonder if he can handle 2?

    Sam are you coming out to play today?

    I believe that Don has answered you (by the way I don’t follow Don, I just adore the honest work he does) and I believe the others have explained their pain and position very well.

    By the way I too was hurt by Ms. Gwen but I don’t care to share in this forum.

  40. this seems to me to be an unusual thing for a lawyer to do, posting about a pending case in a blog. the style of this discussion is very familiar. but not what i would expect from a professional in law.

  41. Well Petunia, when you are not mesmerized by your leader, take not that there are over 40 clients just in the case against Rafael Martinez.

    Nobody has said anything that required a response. And everyone above seems to want to discuss everything save for the essence of the lawsuit. Since you think Don Veinot has answered me, help me out. Did he choose A or B. What is Mr. Veinot’s position? Tell me is A or B; they are mutually exclusive.

    A. I, Don Veinot, think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.
    or
    B. I, Don Veinot, do not think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.”

    The title of the article concerned the lawsuit. Mr. Veinot appeared to support and communicate that he believed in Rafael Martinez who has written or stated in recorded speeches the allegations set forth in the Complaint. I have no beef with Mr. Veinot challenging Remnant doctrine or calling Remnant a cult; his opinion on those matters are protected by the First Amendment and further I don’t place any value in them (that is my right). But when people accuse others of what can only be heinous crimes such as child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation, they step over the line.

    Mr. Veinot would shut me up on this site simply by telling me which statement is an accurate interpretation of his beliefs. He had no problem offering his opinion on other aspects of the lawsuit.

    The question for you is not where is Samuel J. Harris, but rather, where is Mr. Veinot’s answer. Cluck, Cluck.

  42. Sam, it is absurd to pose the question as you have.

    “A. I, Don Veinot, think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.
    or
    B. I, Don Veinot, do not think Remnant advocates child abuse by harsh beatings and starvation of children.” ”

    Not any of us believe that any member of RF or WDW or the Shamblin family advocates child abuse…in those words.

    But, there is concern about what exactly they do advocate under the ‘view’ of it being good sound discipline and teaching measures. What is the result?

    Well, there was great concern about the potential for something ‘awful’ to happen that did..in fact..wind up happening, much to the dismay of those who were concerned in the first place.

    I believe that the concerns about harsh disciplinary measures and harsh dietary measures have been clearly stated by Don in his opening post on GS suits up on January 11. And, I feel that he has supplied links to take you to where you can read the ‘rest of the story’ on what was said there.

    However, Sam, concerning the harsh disicipline that possibly resulted in a child’s death:

    “Add to that the adverse press which was generated after her followers, Joseph and Sonya Smith who live in Georgia, were arrested and accused of beating their son to death. The results of the trial may prove interesting to the future of Remnant Fellowship.

    Phil Williams of News Channel 5 in Nashville has done some very good work on this as well as other questions on Gwen Shamblin’s teachings. In his stories on the death of Joseph and Sonya Smith’s son Josef, he was able to show that one of the teachings of Remnant Fellowship leadership at that time was the showdown spanking which could last for hours and may include repeated spankings until the child stopped crying. He also points out that Remnant Fellowship members use glue sticks (rods used in glue guns) to punish their children because they inflict a great deal of pain but do not leave marks. The description and confirming sources are cited in Phil Williams report and I won’t repeat them here.

    The fourteen count indictment filed against Joseph and Sonya Smith on June 15, 2006 includes beating their son Josef with a glue sticks and locking him in a box among other charges.

    Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship may have gotten themselves in between a rock and a hard place on this one. If they back down it will serve to embarrass her before her followers. On the other hand, if they proceed with the suit against Rafael they will be embarrassed before the court and have the evidence enshrined in the court documents.”

    A child is dead.

  43. I believe that Don answered you in Post #28. Also were you aware of the story that Channel 5 news did of a babysitter who reported child abuse to the authorities about abuse in Remnant Fellowship. What did that child really see and I think that it is a shame that they didn’t have enough information for DCS to investigate. It was enough to disturb the babysitter according to her in Channel 5 News Report. Carla Aaron of DCS is quoted to have said: “Hindsight is 20-20 and certainly if we knew what we know now, we would have loved to intervened at that point,” she adds.

    “But without anything telling us who the family is or even specifically what happened to the child, there is just now way that we would have gotten involved.”

    the report goes on to read:

    But that’s now changed. Franklin police are investigating — and DCS is watching closely.

    So, why isn’t Channel 5 news also being sued and why is it only a preacher who loves the Lord and loves helping hurting people who wants people to know what is up so that they don’t fall victim. He is not also reporting what he hears?

  44. Working backwards here (i’ve learned to respond directly so that everyone doesn’t think I’m talking to them)

    Petunia, what was the answer A or B in post 28. Your read his evasion as a direct answer. I sincerely want to know where he stands.

    J. Gillespie at least gave me a direct answer:

    “Not any of us believe that any member of RF or WDW or the Shamblin family advocates child abuse…in those words.”

    Well Mr. Gillespie and everyone, Rafael Martinez used those words to say that Remnant Fellowship uses harsh beatings and starvation on children. He is therefore going to be held accountable for such defamation.

    Yes, a child is dead. That does not justify hysteria and irrational actions just so blame can be thrown about.

    Petunia, DCS is not currently investigating anyone at Remnant, but several families were investigated because of bogus accusations (and some of you wonder why Remnant people are skeptical of the Anti-Remnant crowd).

    Franklin Police served a search warrant backed by an overzealous, biased Atlanta cop retaliating because Remnant has put up money and time to defend the accused. That was almost three years ago. No charges have ever brought by Franklin Police against Remnant members for child abuse. I think Franklin Police learned how the haters can mislead. They actually brought a SWAT team believing, I guess, that Weigh Down was the equivalent of the Waco compound. Civil rights were violated but after much discussions Remnant chose not to pursue a remedy by litigation.

    But for the statute of limitations, we might sue Phil Williams and Channel 5. If Rafael Martinez can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen and go back to the laundry room and fix that Maytag.

    As for the babysitter who had her 15 minutes of fame, I note that she didn’t report anything until months later; wow there’s some real concern for a child who supposedly is being beaten. It remains to be seen whether the child was even beaten to death. The Nifong-like prosecutorial teams and the Geraldo-Springer-Nancy Grace media atmosphere that exists in this country often lead to hysteria generated quite easily by the concern of all of us- the safety of children.

    Some of you have so convinced yourselves that Remnant is evil that you have convicted a couple in Atlanta without a trial and will not even acknowledge that the agenda here is driven by irrational hatred of Remnant.

    I will accept J. Gillespie’s statement of behalf of all of you: Not any of us believe that any member of RF or WDW or the Shamblin family advocates child abuse.”

    That’s right – Remnant has not done what Rafael Martinez has done. So while he scrambles through his writing and speeches to review what he’s irresponsibly published, he can now know that even his supporters at MO know that what he said about Remnant advocacy of harsh beatings is not believed by even their ardent foes.

  45. They way I heard the story is that Franklin issued a search warrant and it was later that Remnant put up money and time to defend the accused.

    Hummmm, I wonder what did the police find in that raid.

    I can’t wait for the trial.

    As far as Don’s answers, I will copy and paste what he wrote to you in Post 28:

    “What I may or may not think is really quite irrelevant. As you have so aptly put it, “After all, everyone has an opinion even the lazy, the stupid, and the disingenuous… ” It is what you claim that I have stated that is at issue. Not what Rafael may or may not have stated which I did not comment on, nor what Phil Williams stated, but what I, in accordance with your accusation, have “repeatedly” stated.”

    quack quack

    Has your phone rang today? Anyone looking for help?

  46. Mr. Harris-
    The third quote that you say comes from Spiritwatch.com’s site (that I cannot yet find anywhere) states, “The most disturbing development of Remnant Fellowship’s teachings include its advocacy over the past couple of years of extreme discipline for children raised in the movement, included repetitive and harsh spankings and whippings for children who disobey and do not maintain emotional contol.”
    Abuse is NOT in that statement, but an interview with a former Remnant member on News5 Firm Beliefs state Ted Anger advocated harsh beating of her children. I’ve heard from a child’s mouth about being spanked with glue sticks with no prompting on my part. No, I do not believe they believe in abusing children, but I think their definition of abuse is different than mine. But what they consider punishment could go overboard in the name of God.

  47. Well, the sad thing is that here is where we will go round and round the mulberry bush.

    I did not say that my opinion or that of others who are posting here is that no abuse has occured..or that GS and RF leadership don’t promote activities that to them are ‘righteous’, but to us are harsh and abusive..and that may well have resulted in a child’s death.

    The court is out on that and I’ve not heard anyone here pronounce any ‘sentence’.

    There is ‘just cause’ to ‘suspect’ ..and making a ‘discernment’ is not ‘judging’..it’s using the head God gave us.

    Hopefully, there will be a ‘coming together’ someday..in Truth and in Love..that’s the only way for any real ‘coming together’ to occur.

  48. Greetings All,

    It looks like you have all been quite active today while I was out. Samuel, in spite of your abilities at name calling and condescending demeanor in this forum I am under no obligation to be cowed to your demands. When you submitted a comment to the blog you in essence have come to “my house” so to speak. With the post you “rang the door bell” and I let you enter. In general you have acted as a rude, crude guest relying more on unfounded assertions, name calling and belittling than real argumentation. I don’t mind debate and in general rather enjoy it. It should also be noted that this is far more than Gwen would allow in her website where dissenting views are not tolerated. Having said that I would suggest that before you respond you read this through fully.

    You write: “I have argued that the meaning you conveyed (not your exact words) is that Remnant Fellowship advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh beatings. I have asked you to answer whether my interpretation is correct.”

    While it is true that you have asserted that this, there is nothing in text of my comments which supports the assertion. I didn’t state it in those exact words, nor any others words and the statements do not imply what you assert. I was clear as to what I was affirming in the initial post. Since you are unable to support the libelous statement that I have “repeatedly” accused RF of advocating child abuse and starvation it appears that the best that was available was an attempt to distort what I have clearly written.

    You write: “So far I don’t know where Mr. Veinot stands on the issue. He appears to back off the clear implication of his article above.”

    The article “Gwen Shamblin ‘Suits’ Up” was about the attempted use of government on the part of false teachers to silence their critics as is evidenced by the opening paragraph. Gwen just happens to be another in a long line of false teachers who have done so. In looking over the case as it is filed I noted that most of it was directed at “Anonymous Blogger” and one page with three listed statements with regard to Rafael. These were included in the article with comments affirming the split up of families and the ability to demonstrate that. I also pointed to Phil Williams and his reports. I took no position as to the truth or falsity of his report or the evidence he provides. Since I do believe in independent thought, the reader is expected to look at the information and make their own decision. After all, Scripture states in Acts 17 that the Bereans were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

    You write: “He claims that Phil Williams, Channel 5 Nashville, has established a link between child abuse and Remnant Doctrine. I don’t think that is the case, but such an assertion by Mr. Veinot would seem to indicate he believes as Mr. Martinez stated on his website that Remnant advocates child abuse.”

    You have again made a false allegation. What I said was:

    What I may or may not think is really quite irrelevant. As you have so aptly put it, “After all, everyone has an opinion even the lazy, the stupid, and the disingenuous… ” It is what you claim that I have stated that is at issue. Not what Rafael may or may not have stated which I did not comment on, nor what Phil Williams stated, but what I, in accordance with your accusation, have “repeatedly” stated.

    Notice the wording, 1) “What I may or may not think is irrelevant” followed up by a quote of one of your statements. In other words, my opinion does not matter a fig. 2) “What you claim I stated is at issue.” In other words, you claimed that I have made “repeated” accusations. Thus far you have not provided even one example to support that libelous charge. In the final analysis it really matters very little to me that you made the charge for my life and teachings will validate or invalidate the accusation. This is demonstrated by your inability to provide even a single example in support of your claim. 3) Notice the phrase “Not what Rafael may or may not have stated which I did not comment on…” In other words, I didn’t affirm or deny. I simply didn’t comment on it, not explicitly or implicitly. 4) “nor what Phil Williams stated…” Again, I didn’t comment on any claims that Phil Williams may or may not have made but was pressing you for the statements that you claim that I “repeatedly” made.

    The point of this exercise was to demonstrate to the readers the irrational nature of the defenders of false teachers which causes them to grasp at straws in an attempt to vindicate themselves. I do not take personally the name calling and personal attacks, for you are attacking a caricature of me.

    Having said all of that, the other readers did clearly understand what I have written thus far. It is this. 1) You cannot produce any statements (that is 1 or more) where I accuse Gwen Shamblin or Remnant Fellowship of “advocating child abuse or starvation.” As I have stated numerous times your ability or inability to substantiate your accusation would answer your question. I have not at any time nor do I now believe that Gwen Shamblin or Remnant Fellowship leadership advocates child abuse or starvation. As I said very early on, I believe firmly that they love their children. I would also say there is the law of unintended consequences.

    I need to divert momentarily to explain this in another context. Now, read carefully for I am not saying that Remnant Fellowship is like the group that I am about to discuss, but rather that there is a similar principle at work. The principle is the love of a parent who has believed a false teacher which could result in catastrophic consequences for the children in the parent’s effort to protect them.

    I watched a newly made documentary of Jonestown last which included interviews with Jim Jones son, another survivor and a news reporter who had been there. Jim Jones didn’t advocate child abuse or murder. From all reports, children were highly valued in that community. Jim Jones had persuaded his 900 plus followers that the United States was in civil war conditions and racism was at an all time high. On the fateful day he led them to believe that the United States was on its way to capture and abuse them and their children. In their minds they were not killing their children or committing suicide but were protecting themselves and their 300 children from torture by an evil government. In their desire to protect their children from the descending evil hordes they gave them poison laced fruit drink. A few adults had moments of independent thinking and were forced by to drink others or given deadly injections but for the most part the pressure to conform and the belief of impending evil carried the day in their choices.

    A second situation, Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly allow their children to die due to the organization’s teaching on blood transfusions. Is this because the parents don’t love their children? No, far from it. They choose to endure the pain of losing the child because they have been persuaded that to give the child blood consigns them to be cut off from God forever. In other words, they allow the child to die because they love them.

    How does all of this relate to the question at hand? Again, I do not think (my opinion) nor do I have any evidence that Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship “advocate child abuse or starvation.” That does not mean it may not happen through the law of unintended consequences as the result of her teachings. Some of her followers may do one or both out of fear, fear that their child will be rejected by God for a misstep or having a pound or a few pounds more than Gwen claims that God finds acceptable. It may result through fear of peer pressure as others hold up their children as idyllic and they know theirs are less than perfect. The combination of pressures and expectations of the group can lead parents who love their children deeply to do things that harm their children badly.

  49. Don: You have spoken most eloquently in your last post (#49). This is the specific concern that all of us who have RF family members fear — the fear of what unknown “combination of pressures and expectations” imposed by the leadership of RF may at some point in time wreak on the physical, emotional, and, of course, spiritual lives of our loved ones. God bless you, my brother, for speaking so directly to this issue.

  50. Don –
    Thank you for your even-tempered, well thought-out responses here, even in the face of personal attacks and name-calling. You bring honor to God by what you do and in your behavior here. It’s obvious that you are calm, rational and peaceful, and it’s because you have truth on your side.

    By the way, Mr. Harris – if you’re still out there? I, too, am a “Ditto Head” and as a result have been trained to see thru the garbage. Your belittling, word games, name calling, etc. are very transparent attempts at silencing the opposition. Nice try, but it looks like everyone here is on to you.

  51. While I read your support of Rafael Martinez in the main article above as several or repeated communication of the proposition that Remnant advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh whippings; your clarification in posting number 49 satisfies me that me that you are not saying Rafael Martinez is correct. In fact your statement, “Again, I do not think (my opinion) nor do I have any evidence that Gwen Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship “advocate child abuse or starvation” clearly contradicts Rafael Martinez’s statement.

    Yet you choose to side with Rafael Martinez who did in fact make the statements alleged on Spiritwatch or elsewhere. You call Remnant leadership false prophets yet you support someone who at the very least recklessly misstates the truth for his own agenda.

    I have no hatred of you in my heart. The tone I took was definitely inspired by and mirrored the tone I was greeted with. Tough criticism always is characterized as rude by the target of the criticism.

    Which brings me to why I write this morning (I note that the postings time have no bearing with the actual time), you and your followers appear to be blinded to how you look if your own words are applied to you. I noticed this is the new separate article where you criticize those who claim to speak for God yet you claim to be appointed to speak as a believer, presumably by God. There is a word I use for the actions those who fail to live up to the rules they set for everyone else – hypocrisy. I say that not to be mean, but merely in some faint hope that you will engage in honest self-reflection. Given the nature of the problem I perceive, I doubt you will.

    Now you preach about “unintended consequences.” Let me tell you one that concerns me.

    I have no fear of mass suicide by Remnant Members, and I have no fear of a child being harmed by a Remnant member (though that is possible by any human being so I don’t exempt Remnant members nor MO people). What I fear is some “Eric Rudolph-like inspired” individual who is motivated by false assertions that children are being starved and beaten to go to Remant Fellowship’s church one day with an AK-47 and trying to run up the score Columbine style.

    Let me refer you to this website found on the Internet and relayed to me by Robbie Bass.

    http://djmedieval.livejournal.com/264718.html

    One poster stated the following:

    “They are a cult. They think that they are the new Jews and that Brentwood is the new Zion. I’m not even kidding.

    It was a hobby of my friends Jonathan and McFall to go there and observe them last year, and man, they’re crazy. Shamblin said she was a prophet, to my friend’s face, and also she said something to the media about how starvation is a viable way of losing weight because “the victims of the Holocaust didn’t die from it,” or some such nonsense.

    Those people also beat their children with glue sticks (the kind that go in a glue gun) because it doesn’t leave marks. They’re big into child abuse. They think beating your kid and leaving him alone in a room with a bible is a good way to correct behavior. They killed a child this way (in Atlanta I think).

    They deserve to be bombed.”

    We’ve tracked this down to a self-absorbed 23 year old History graduate from Middle Tennessee State University who lives in the Nashville area.

    Do I think you or Rafael Martinez intended to inspire violence against Remnant members? No. But words have consequences.

    Challenge them doctrinally but speculating on what you know not to be true about their treatment of children (and even Josef Smith was not beaten to death as the cause of death was not blunt force trauma; the press just went with a good story without gathering the facts (nothing new for the media there).

    Insinuating that people abuse children especially in light of the fact that it does happen by other groups could inspire a bomb or a shooter believing that Remnant is so evil that the deranged individual designates himself or herself as God’s avenging angel.

    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES INDEED.

  52. Samuel wrote: “While I read your support of Rafael Martinez in the main article above as several or repeated communication of the proposition that Remnant advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh whippings;”

    It would be more accurate to say “read in to” since, as I have pointed out, such is neither stated nor implied as I have repeatedly demonstrated. But I do understand that honesty about this on your part could potentially open you up to being sued for libel yourself since you have been unable to substantiate your accusation. Be not afraid, I do not have to resort to the courts in a vain attempt to silence my critics.

    Samuel writes: “your clarification in posting number 49 satisfies me that me that you are not saying Rafael Martinez is correct.”

    Of course, you will have to prove that Rafael has made claims that Gwen and RF “advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh whippings.” As with me, simply asserting that he has made such statements isn’t the same as demonstrating that he has made such statements.

    Samuel writes:” You call Remnant leadership false prophets yet you support someone who at the very least recklessly misstates the truth for his own agenda.”

    Two things here. 1) A false prophet is a theological statement formed from biblical definitions. It has to do with one who claims to be a prophet from God (as Gwen does) who is communicating directly from God (as Gwen claims). The criteria have to do with what they say about the nature of God, nature of man, nature of sin and nature of salvation. If they make predictions about future events which fail to materialize, they are a false prophet. Gwen is the one who, by her own admission on her own Remnant Fellowship video tape, states that she snuck in to the back door of the church. What she teaches on the above outlined topics is in contraction to Scripture and in the cases where she sites a passage it is most often out of context. 2) Rafael doesn’t claim to be prophet and thus the handling of this is different. If he has knowingly or unknowingly made untruthful statements that Gwen and RF “advocates child abuse through starvation and harsh whippings” he needs to be confronted with that, repent and make a public apology to at least the same degree as his previous statements were published.

    Samuel wrote:” The tone I took was definitely inspired by and mirrored the tone I was greeted with. Tough criticism always is characterized as rude by the target of the criticism.
    Which brings me to why I write this morning (I note that the postings time have no bearing with the actual time), you and your followers appear to be blinded to how you look if your own words are applied to you.”

    This one reminds me of when my children, Lee and Jennifer, were young. One day Jennifer came running in to the living room rubbing her head and crying,” Lee hit me back first!” Unwittingly, those five little words told the entire story. She hit him first and attempted to paint herself up into a position of superiority or at least moral equivalency with hopes that I would punish him for defending himself. In other words, she was claiming that she “mirrored the tone” that she “was greeted with” when in reality she was the instigator to begin with. I find nothing in my initial response as being rude to you. Rather the rudeness was initiated and for the most part was consistent in your comments though out the exchange. I have to admit this is very typical of Gwen and her defenders. Gwen initiated the attacks on the very churches and pastors who had invited her program in. If what she says on her audio and video tapes subsequent to the public revelation of her doctrinal teachings are true she was not honest about her beliefs prior to those attacks. That they rejected her and her message subsequently is not religious persecution. It is rejection of what they believe is false doctrine and an individual who they think was dishonest to them about her essential beliefs in conformance with Acts 20:28-31 and other passages. If should be noted that prior to our press release in 200 critiquing her teachings on the Trinity in 200, I contacted her thinking that she had misstated and offered to help rewrite them in order to circumvent the flap which ultimately occurred. I remain more than willing to meet with her to address these issues.

    All in all, I am not really overly surprised. Personally I don’t mind tough criticism; I get it all the time. I have a large group to whom I am accountable and criticism is very much a part of that accountability. A good friend once said of this type of ministry that, “Conflict is not an occupational possibility it is a job description.”

    Samuel writes: “I noticed this is the new separate article where you criticize those who claim to speak for God yet you claim to be appointed to speak as a believer, presumably by God. There is a word I use for the actions those who fail to live up to the rules they set for everyone else – hypocrisy. I say that not to be mean, but merely in some faint hope that you will engage in honest self-reflection. Given the nature of the problem I perceive, I doubt you will.”

    You have mixed categories here. Gwen claims to be a prophet, like Ezekiel or Jeremiah, and that we cannot pick and choose from what she says but that we must obey all of it. As a prophet she makes declarations about nature of God and salvation. Jesus isn’t God. God the Father is limited in location (sometimes he is in the office, sometimes he is out of the office). He is limited in knowledge (he doesn’t know what is going on in the office when he isn’t there and believes Lucifer’s lies because he is so gentle and kind). There are other things and we have written and documented these claims. The other category is that all believers are to “beware of false prophets.” My exact words were:

    Rather, all believers are “appointed” to “Beware of false prophets.” Jesus Himself said that those who do are “wise” and those who don’t are “foolish.” There is more written in the New Testament on the issue of false teachers and false teachings than nearly any other subject.

    This is each individual believer personal responsibility. All believers are to be Bereans which implies independent thinking. All public teachers, pastors and leaders in the church are to be scrutinized in the same way. That is what the whole of First Timothy and Galatians is about. The higher someone is elevated in public ministry the more accountable they become to a larger number of people. Basically leaders live in glass houses and everyone around them has Windex. As an individual is elevated into higher positions of leadership with the church the biblical responsibility to warn others and guard against false doctrine in essential areas of the faith increases. False prophets on the other hand tend to keep their followers fearful of questioning or holding them accountable as questioning the false prophet is viewed as equal to questioning God Himself.

    Samuel writes: “What I fear is some “Eric Rudolph-like inspired” individual who is motivated by false assertions that children are being starved and beaten to go to Remant Fellowship’s church one day with an AK-47 and trying to run up the score Columbine style.”

    There you go again Samuel (with apologies to the late Ronald Reagan). Provide my alleged “assertions.” The word “assertions” is defined as more than one.

  53. Who said the “assertions” had to be made by you? The focus of the article and therefore that response is individuals like Rafael Martinez. Thank you (sarcasm alert) for showing real concern for the Remnant children who face the threat of an inspired potential bomber. No where did I say you made the assertions; in fact you stated you basically didn’t think Remnant advocated child abuse.

    If you think I’ve libeled you, bring on the litigation. I dare you. I triple dog dare you. Thought you’d like the resort to childhood taunts.

  54. Samuel wrote: “No where did I say you made the assertions;”

    I confess you are correct. My apologies for reading in to the statement more than was there.

    Samuel wrote: “The focus of the article and therefore that response is individuals like Rafael Martinez.”

    Again, the focus (and since I am the author I know what my authorial intent was), was about false teachers using government in an attempt to silence their detractors. The incident between Rafael and Gwen being but the latest example of this. In an earlier article, “What was CRI Thinking?” http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/?p=2 I talk about the Local Church of Witness Lee doing a similar thing.

    Samuel wrote: “If you think I’ve libeled you, bring on the litigation. I dare you. I triple dog dare you. Thought you’d like the resort to childhood taunts.”

    Childish taunts are certainly fun at times. Frankly I never want to grow up I just want to be a really old child. As for litigation, as I mentioned before, it is not something that I find necessary as my teaching and public demeanor & behavior stand or fall on their own merits. I don’t really need Uncle Sam swooping in to my rescue because I “hit back first.”

  55. “I dare you. I triple dog dare you. Thought you’d like the resort to childhood taunts.”
    now there is professional lawyer talk if ever i hear it!

  56. Deb, it’s called satire and humor, sometimes effective means of communication. When I mailed away to my correspondence school after drawing a picture of Bambi, they sent me a diploma, but they never said I had to write in some sort of stuffy manner that meets your preconceived notions of how a lawyer should “talk”. You can laugh Deb cause you know that last sentence was funny. I am just thankful there are no personal attacks here so we don’t have to play the game of who started it. (Sarcasm alert).

  57. Sam wrote: “When I mailed away to my correspondence school after drawing a picture of Bambi, they sent me a diploma, but they never said I had to write in some sort of stuffy manner….”

    I’ll admit I got a chuckle out of that.

    Gee, I love it when technical jargon is not bandied about and things are said in a way that’s easy for lil ole me to understand..but, somehow Sam, I don’t think that’s what you’ve done. That’s not what deb was talking about.

    However, you are consistent. You surely get points for that–somewhere.

  58. I personally owe a huge debt of gratitude to Don Veinot, Rev. Rafael Martinez, Adam Brooks, Teri Phillips and many others who have so eloquently upheld the truth of the Gospel, and discussed their own experiences with Gwen Shamblin and the Remnant Fellowship. I have had two minor stepchildren involved with the Remnant for several years, and despite their having been “disciplined” by various Remnant members, my ultimate concern is for their spiritual well-being. I pray daily for them and the other Remnant members who are being taught the twisted, graceless gospel of Gwen.

    Again, I am so grateful for those willing to confront false teaching. My deepest desire is that those in the Remnant would search the scriptures themselves and discern the true gospel.

  59. Question:
    1. Why would RFs attorney argue anything about the suit on a web page?
    2. “Remnant Fellowship has costs Mrs. Shamblin millions of dollars, yet she is constantly criticized as someone who is using Remnant Fellowship as some kind of money-making scheme. Show me facts not your biased opinion as to how Remnant Fellowship is a fraudulent or deceptive enterprise.”
    “Fraudulent”? Barely… More like control.
    My wife is in RF and I have sat in many webcasts where the leadership tells the followers to OBEY GWEN and Gwen says SELL WDW! Hey, every operation has expenses. Most churches voluntarily tithe, but this church uses free labor to sell WDW.
    RF leadership does not like being called a cult, but if the leadership were to stand and answer questions of concern, I believe that we would indeed find that their membership is duped in to a cult. Tell my WHY my wife has to go to TN three times a year AND is required to take our daughter even though I have protested?

  60. Why the response?
    Well, here it is Easter weekend, (Friday 4/6/2007), and my wife and daughter are gone until Sunday night to attend Passover in Tennessee.
    I specifically asked my wife not to leave me alone, or to take my daughter away from me, on family holidays. I have NO say! I have asked specifically that our daughter NOT be taken to the Summer Camp… she will. I have NO SAY. I asked for no Summer Camp because I know that my wife and daughter are separated and my daughter is subjected to “authority”. Authority means that the next oldest RF child has rule over her.
    If I were to step in and prevent my daughter from reaching the RF events, then I will be immediately divorced. As a non-believer, I am to be tolerated up to the point where I step in the way of their access to RF – beit my wife or daughter. No Cult?
    You think I’m making this up? Hardly.
    I have read email edicts from leadership that detail the “Drawing of the Sword”. I have printed email edicts that detail exactly WHY members are NOT to attend any function in any other church. To do so would “endorce” that church. By “any function”, the letter stated that even BINGO, or ANY event. RF members are NOT to step foot in any other church at any time for any reason, period.
    Not a cult?

  61. I can tell you all that the most painful part of all this is knowing that I did all I could to provide for my girls, but when RF came along, nothing we had planned previously mattered. It is all RF now.
    I have been left alone more than any other man can handle. I’ve been left alone to take a taxi from the airport because my wife could not pick me up because of an RF function.
    What hurts the most is that I proposed this family and we agreed on what I thought was everything. Our daughter was baptised in our Lutheran Church.
    I went away to work a job in another state because I was laid-off, and when I came back, she was totally immersed in RF. I dropped the ball – perhaps.
    We have NO date nights any more. It is ALL RF. Wednesday nights… forget about it! Saturday? … Forget about it! We can have a load of children over to visit, and she’s off in the office to worship Gwen. It doesn’t matter what is happening in our lives. When RF calls, she’s gone… and she’s gone a lot.
    So, Mr. Lawyer… a cult? That’s the main charge. Yes. Indeed this is a cult.

  62. Dearest CB,

    My heart aches for your pain….
    Continue to love and to explain to your wife that GOD has indeed made YOU to lead your family.
    Appeal to the directives that Gwen gives, she is supposed to be under your authority…
    YOur wife thinks she is doing something GREAT*
    The “beulah” women are very doted on in RF.
    Just continue to love here and plan things for your sweet family on non RF nights…
    That will show her honor and get some sweetness back…
    RF is so consuming but IF she is not honoring you then just PRAY for the lure to be broken…
    RF looks so beautiful on the outside but many a family has divided because of it….
    Dont let it destroy yours, just love and wait patiently upon the Lord.
    We left RF a short time ago because of all the
    “control” the leaders have over the members…
    We were shocked to find out that we couldnt attend a wedding or funeral in another church!
    There were so many biblical shortsightedness,
    to say that if we pay our respects at a funeral was to endorse all the sin of that church was too much..Very unbiblical indeed….
    Especially, there reasoning…They say that churches arent turning people from their sin
    so that makes them a counterfeit…
    What will they say to Moses? Jeremiah? Elijah?
    Paul?Jesus? Were these able to turn everyone from their sin? No! But does that make the messenger a counterfeit, NO!
    PUHLEASE! This church is sowing great seeds of judgement, condemnantion and biblical ignorance.
    I cant help but think once the money is gone the church will either repent of its pride and separitist notions or simply dissolve over time.
    So many I speak to (active members) are so scared of not getting it ‘right’ they really do not trust themselves, nor GODS spirit within them to lead them into “all truth”
    Some do not agree with all RF stands for but are to unsure to leave…They dont think there is anywhere else to go!
    But there are so many wonderful churches that are filled with the SPIRIT of THE living GOD…
    They have been taught to despise and to be wary of anyone outside of RF…
    But may your wife grow leaps and bounds and see what a dear man she has….
    Hang in there…..LOVE…LOVE…LOVE….
    Do not be bitter (Colossians)

    Gods best to you!

  63. … Very well put. Thank you for the comforting and kind words. Believe me, I’ll remain patient. This is year five.
    CB

  64. CB-
    The family that has been in RF for 5 years has recently left. The wife finally saw the sin within the “True Church,” and is not seeking the truth in other churches. Now she is very confused, but devoted more to her husband more than ever for not allowing a divorce to happen when she threatened. I pray the same will happen with your wife and daughter. It has been a true miracle in our family.
    I do have word that Gwesus and company has quietly applied to drop the suit against Martinez since it legally has no feet to stand on.
    I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. I hate what this “church” has done to families and believers.

  65. Honestly…
    This is just an extension of my wife’s being. I don’t know how to describe it, but it is basically that she has always wanted to be alone. To consider being married… to deal with a man – and his needs – has never been part of her constitution.
    The woman I married was my best friend mainly because I respected her ways. What I feel she never gave was the part that bends toward me. It has always been about her… I supported her colleges, I supported her Bible studies, but yet she left me behind and condems me for being a lesser man.
    What hurts me the most is that my own daughter tells me that I’m destined to Hell because I don’t belong.

  66. What disturbs me is that I proposed this family – and I laid out the plan in great detail. I provided, and during that provision, I gave great freedom for my wife to be indoctrinated into a cult that drew the sword in the family that I gave my best to make.
    When RF calls, my wife is gone.
    I asked specifically that my wife not leave me alone during traditional holidays, but that is to a deaf ear.
    I am only to be tolerated as long as I do not get in the way of my wife, or child’s, ability to reach RF’s required meetings in Tennessee.
    As a man who started out to create a family, and to have it disrupted by RF, I feel a great sense of disbeliefe and puzzlement. I provided the means for my wife to get involved in this group, and yet, I am vilified for not joining.
    Could a full-time, working woman have the means to join this group? I don’t think so.

  67. … unless she is single-minded to belong to such an “elite” group.

    By being such a provider, I enabled the dissolvement of my own family.

    I worked to provide income. I was gone a lot.
    I never saw it. I never suspected it. But now, there is a Gwen – who tells my wife what to think and do.
    I loved my wife before because she was herself – and she thought what to think and do. She would tell me when I was a “dork”… and I’d listen.
    Not any more.
    Now, I could tell my wife to go wax my car and she’d do it, because RF has told her to be subserviant to me… as long as I don’t get in the way of her access to RF. Nuts.

  68. After reading all of this with many words exchanged I was simply struck with that which is the source of arguements, or what has caused WD and the Remenant to be called into accountability in their teaching (note not just questioned): that Jesus is God in the flesh, not just a “son” but the physical manifestation of the Godhead, i.e. man- fully God, fully man. He did state very clearly throughout the gospel that he was “Yahweh,” why do you think the Temple Leaders picked up stones to throw at him, because he was making the claim that he was God in the FLESH!

    Why do I say this? Because if this is not the foundation of ANY teaching within the church, let alone any teaching brought forth in the world this is what happens: cultic behavior where unmerited favor is swithed to how much merit can you favor to prove you are holy will occur. The heart of man “is desperately wicked above all else” as the pslamist writes and thus DOES need the cleansing of Christ’s blood AS WELL AS the accountability in holding to this very truth. When a teacher holds themselves above such accountablity this should be a massive red flag. When we come to the realization that we can do nothing in and of ourselves that merits God’s favor but to trust only upon the sacrifice of Christ who was FULLY God and FULLY man only then will we STOP the rationalizing of our own thoughts and behaviors.

    The Remenant Church and WD has deviated from the FOUNDATION of the Bible, the scarlet thread that runs from Gen to Rev. Jesus is God and has always been Jehovah, was in the beginning and for all time, and deviating from this truth will always be the trademark of a cult: distorting the Gospel message.

    Also as a follower of Christ, one should welcome accountability if they are in the roll of leadership, this is something that Paul even touched upon for himself, why? Because he knew once again “the heart of man is desperately wicked.” I don’t see Ms. Shamblin doing this very thing and that is very alarming.

  69. I recently finished EOOE from weighdown. I have had a hard time in the video sessions because although I saw a form of Godliness, I didn’t see the heart. What struck me in all the teaching was it was all based on man’s effort, with no mention of grace. I also noticed that all the people that are interviewed for the lessions, always are very careful what they say, and always look to Gwen for approval. I thought maybe I just misunderstood, but once she got to the part that “all the other churches are false churches, I knew that Gwen was not teaching truth, but false doctrine. CB you can pray, because that is one of the most powerful weapon of warfare. You can also love with the fathers love, and lastly, you can fight with the sword of truth, which is the word of God.

    Ms Allen, very well put, I see God’s truth in your words.

    In closing I am not a follower of Don Veinot but I see the truth in his words also. To Mr Samual J Harris, you didn’t get it at all. Mr Veinot answered you repeatedly but you just didn’t get it, I would ask you, Are you a follower of the One True God, and has Jesus knocked on the door of your heart?

  70. I would suggest that none of you waste your time trying to get Samuel J. Harris to listen to reason. This is what the Word says of him:

    Proverbs 23:9 (NIV) Do not speak to a fool,
    for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.

    Thank you to Don and all the others for your honesty.

  71. I am not part of the Remnant Fellowship, but I have had an immensely improved life learning to put God first from my WD materials. I was led to the Bible through WD. I visited the Remnant Fellowship, not knowing they didn’t believe in the trinity. I was about to join the Catholic church, as a matter of fact, and no one was pushy or rude to me. I saw joy and love in all the people I met. It hit me the next morning after worship that they had changed the words in “Holy, Holy, Holy” from “God in three persons…blessed trinity” to something else. On the way home my WD friend questioned the leadership of the Catholic church due to the actions of some priests being “swept under the carpet”, but she did it in the privacy of her vehicle. Our responsibility to God is to put him first. If I don’t agree with something Gwen says in the WD materials, I fast forward it and pray for her. I take to heart what I believe will HELP my relationship with HIM. Our world is constantly sending us messages. It is our responsibility to sort the good and bad. Gwen may have come in through the backdoor, but God led me to the Bible and a wonderful peace.

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