Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.1
The ten characteristics outlined below are features commonly found in cult leaders2. I would ask those that know Edward Byskal whether these traits are exhibited in his leadership of Cloverdale Bibleway Church.
1. Glibness/Superficial charm
Glibness, the ability to perform with a natural, offhand ease, is a hallmark of cult leaders. They are able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse, and convince. They are captivating storytellers. They exude self-confidence and are able to spin a web that intrigues others and pulls them into the leader’s life. Most of all, they are persuasive. Frequently they have the capacity to destroy their critics verbally or disarm them emotionally.
2. Manipulative and Cunning
Cult leaders do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, which makes all self-serving behaviors permissible. Their hallmark is interpersonal manipulation based on charm. The manipulator appears to be helpful and but is covertly hostile, domineering. He discharges powerful feelings of fear and rage by dominating and humiliating his victims. He is particularly successful when, through an overlay of charm, he makes an ally of his victim.
3. Grandiose Sense of Self
The cult leader enjoys tremendous feelings of entitlement. He believes everything is owed to him as a right. He presents himself as spiritually superior, enlightened, a vehicle of God, a genius, the group’s rightful leader, and sometimes even the most humble of humble. He has an insatiable need for adulation and attendance. His grandiosity may also be a defense against inner emptiness, depression, and a sense of insignificance. Paranoia often accompanies the grandiosity, reinforcing the isolation of the group and the need for protection against a perceived hostile environment. In this way, he creates an us-versus-them mentality.
4. Pathological Lying
Cult leaders lie coolly and easily, even when it is obvious they are being untruthful. Confronting their lies may provoke an unpredictably incense rage or simply a Buddha-like smile.
Cult leaders tend to create a complex belief system, often about their own powers and abilities, in which they themselves sometimes get caught up. It is often difficult to determine whether the lies are an actual delusional distortion of reality or are expressed with the conscious or unconscious intent to deceive.
They are extremely convincing, forceful in the expression of their views, and talented at passing lie detector tests. For them, objective truth does not exist. The only “truth” is whatever will best achieve the outcome that meets their needs. This type of opportunism is very difficult to understand for those who are following the cult leader. For this reason, followers are more apt to invent or go along with all kinds of explanations and rationales for apparent inconsistencies in behaviour. “I know my leader must have had a good reason for doing this.“
5. Lack of Remorse, Shame, or Guilt
At the core of the cult leader is a deep-seated rage which is split off (i.e, psychologically separated from the rest of the self) and repressed. Some researchers theorize that this is caused by feeling abandoned in infancy or early childhood. Whatever the emotional or psychological source, cult leaders see those around them as objects, targets, or opportunities, not as people. They do not have friends, they have victims and accomplices-and the latter frequently end as victims. For cult leaders, the ends always justify the means. Thus there is no place for feelings of remorse, shame, or guilt. Cult leaders feel justified in all their actions since they consider themselves the ultimate moral arbiter. Nothing gets in their way.
6. Shallow Emotions
While they may display outbursts of emotion, more often than not they are putting on a calculated response to obtain a certain result. They rarely reveal a range of emotions, and what is seen is superficial at best, pretended at worst. Positive feelings of warmth, joy, love, and compassion are more feigned than experienced. They are unmoved by things that would upset the normal person, while disturbed by seemingly insignificant matters. They are bystanders to the emotional life of others, perhaps envious and scornful of feelings they cannot have or understand. In the end, cult leaders are cold, with shallow emotions, living in a dark world of their own.
Hiding behind the “mask of sanity,” the cult leader exposes feelings only insofar as they serve an ulterior motive. He casts himself in a role of total control, which he plays to the hilt. What is most promised in cults–peace, joy, enlightenment, love, and security are goals that are forever out of reach of the leader, and thus also the followers. Since the leader is not genuine, neither are his promises
7. Incapacity for Love
As the “living embodiment of God’s love,” the leader is tragically flawed in being unable to either give or receive love. The leader’s love is never tested; it must be accepted at face value.
8. Need for Stimulation
Cult leaders live on the edge, constantly testing the beliefs of their followers, often with strange behaviour or rules. Other mechanisms of stimulation come in the form of unexpected, seemingly spontaneous outbursts, which usually take the form of verbal abuse and sometimes physical punishment. The cult leader has a cool indifference to things around him, yet his icy coldness can quickly turn into rage, vented on those around him.
9. Callousness/lack of empathy
Cult leaders readily take advantage of others, expressing utter contempt for anyone else’s feelings. Someone in distress is not important to them. Although intelligent, perceptive, and quite good at sizing people up, they make no real connections with others. They use their “people skills” to exploit, abuse, and wield power.
Cult leaders are unable to empathize with the pain of their victims. Meanwhile, part of the victims’ denial system is the inability to believe that someone they love so much could consciously and callously hurt them. It therefore becomes easier to rationalize the leader’s behavior as necessary for the general or individual “good.” The alternative for the devotee would be to face the sudden and overwhelming awareness of being victimized, deceived, used. Such a realization would wound the person’s deepest sense of self, so as a means of self-protection the person denies the abuse. When and if the devotee becomes aware of the exploitation, it feels as though a tremendous evil has been done.
10. Failure to accept responsibility
Cult leaders rarely accept blame for their failures or mistakes. Scape-goating is common, blaming followers, those outside the group, a member’s family, the government, Satan–anyone and everyone but the leader. Blame is a powerful reinforcer of passivity and obedience, producing guilt, shame, terror, and conformity in the followers.
On a more personal note, this will likely be my last blog. Why? I had only originally wanted to do a couple of blogs on the women’s issue and then found out way more than I wanted to know.
But now I don’t really have much more to say. I have said all that I wanted to and think it is enough. Also, I don’t like to repeat myself. Have I said that before?
If anyone does have more information that they want me to deal with, please feel free to send it. But I have gone through all of the stuff that I have been sent and would just end up mowing the same part of the lawn again.
There will be some that are unhappy that I am
putting down my pen hanging up my keyboard and others like Mr. Mad that will probably think that my first blog was one too many.
I may start up another blog in the future if I get real upset about something else but we’ll see.
Thanks to all of those that posted comments, whether you agree with me or not. I certainly have learned a lot in the process. Thanks in particular to those like IGWT…AOPC with whom I have had a lot of email exchanges. We have discussed bringing this to an end and I have appreciated his advice.
The blog will stay here for those that are googling for answers. Or those that are looking for questions that a certain Canadian minister should answer before they give him any money. Comments will be able to be posted for 2 more weeks and then they will be closed permanently. But if I don’t approve something for a couple of days, don’t get to upset. When you are out of internet range because you’re traveling, there’s nothing you can do.
My final statement is simply this: There’s never any reason not to ask questions. Do it nicely and in a civilized way but always ask questions. And if you’re in a church and they tell you not to ask questions, it’s really simple. Just leave. It’s probably a cult.
If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.3
On November 13, 2010 I published a piece titled “Don’t Take My Word For It – Listen for Yourself“. That blog contained a link to a sermon by Edward Byskal that was delivered by him at the Cloverdale Bibleway Church on October 3, 2010.
As I said then, while most of the sermons of the church are posted on their website, you can’t get this one. It is mysteriously missing from their website.
Because Edward Byskal does not want you to hear this sermon.
Because perhaps those that heard it would be less likely to send him their hard earned cash.
Unfortunately, the link that I used in the earlier blog was only good for a couple of months and no longer works. Hopefully, the links below will last a lot longer. I want to thank one of my readers for allowing me to use their link on Dropbox.
Here are 2 links(right click on one of them and then save the linked file to your computer):
This is the sermon Edward Byskal does not want you to hear.
Titled “The Age of Deception”, ask yourself while you are listening to Edward Byskal:
Who is being deceived?
Who is the deceiver?
Your comments are welcome.
So are the people that attend the Cloverdale Bibleway Church all asleep? Do they have any clue about what has gone on in their church?
I will confess to not having put up the section in the September 12, 2009 letter on financial issues because they were all looked at in a previous blog. I don’t like to repeat myself.
Have I said that before?
Some have suggested that I am adding commentary to the questions but the questions posted in the prior blogs and in this one are exactly as in the letter of September 12, 2009. The only thing I have done is remove references to anyone other then Edward Byskal, the person to whom the letter was addressed. Any commentary was included by the elders in their original letter.
In this final installment, the church elders raise questions relating to the overall personal conduct of Edward Byskal. The standard warnings from the previous installments continue to apply.
Here it is:
Conduct of a Pastor, Bishop or Spiritual Elder
The following scriptures outline the character and conduct required of a spiritual elder or Pastor:
A bishop then must be blameless… of good behaviour … no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler… I Timothy 3:2-3
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate… Titus 1:7-8
We raise the following specific concerns regarding your conduct and behaviour which we consider to be inappropriate for a pastor:
- 1. Requiring [Mr. Y] to apologize to your grandson after they attempted to deal with his inappropriate behaviour in church. They were not required to apologize to another unrelated young brother who participated in the problematic behaviour with your grandson. It is troubling that you interfered with deacons that were simply trying to do their job and that the interference was only in respect of your grandson and not the other young man.
2. Challenging [Mr. Y], the chair of the deacon board, as to whether “he believed the Message” in referring to your interpretation of a specific quote in a meeting with him.
3. Informing [Mr. L] (a deacon) and [Mr. A] (the church treasurer and a trustee) that they were under the influence of a demon.
4. Physically assaulting [Mr. S] in a meeting that was witnessed by [Mr. J];
5. Verbally and again physically assaulting [Mr. Y], in June 2009 in an incident witnessed by several including [Rev. J], a minister in the church.
6. Verbally abusing [Mr. X] in a phone conversation in November 2008 in which you requested that he and his wife meet with yourself, [your son-in-law] and [your daughter]. You informed him that he was being led of the devil, that his wife was a gossip, and that if he didn’t like the way you did things, he should go to another church. [Mr. X] stated that he had never in his life been spoken to by a brother with such lack of respect.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves… II Timothy 2:24
He [Jesus] was both pastor, prophet, trustee, and deacon. Sure was. So then you see what He did, let that be your example in the house here at this Branham Tabernacle, that we want to be a house that He will be honored in with everything, every office, every place, that there be no taking back. There’d be gentleness, and sweetness, and kindness, but just straight on the line; every man’s at his post of duty. See? That’s the way, that’s the way He wants it. He never slagged. When it come time to say, call what was what, He called it. When it come time to show gentleness, then He showed gentleness. He was sweet, kind, understanding, but stern; and everything was right to the dot with Him, and He did that for your example. CHURCH ORDER 63-1226 (emphasis added)
While we understand that you have apologized to [Mr. Y] in an email for the June 2009 incident, we do not believe that these are appropriate actions for a Pastor or minister of the Gospel. We also believe that apology via email, which has occurred in several situations, is not the appropriate venue for a pastor that has wronged someone.
You have stated to [Mr. A] on several occasions that you “welcomed” the movement of this issue into the courts and that you think that the courtroom is the proper place for dealing with sexual abuse as “it is not a church matter”. That you would make statements such as these is difficult for us to comprehend. However, it is clear that your failure to properly address these issues or to show true humility to [the minor child] [the minor child’s family] or his family have caused them to turn to the police. They did not feel that their concerns would be dealt with properly within the church. This is shameful.
1 How far, Brother Branham, can or should a deacon go to keep order in the church? Should we keep the order or wait until Brother Neville tells us what we should do?
That isn’t Brother Neville’s job, that’s your job. See? You don’t tell Brother Neville what to preach on, how to preach it. See, that’s your job, you deacons, you’re supposed to do that. You take care of that. That’s nothing to Brother Neville, that’s your job. See?
Now, if a policeman’s out here on the street and he sees a man stealing property out of a back of a car, should he call the mayor and say, “Now, Mayor, your Honor, sir, I am working for you here on this police force. Now, I find a man up the street here, he’s–he was stealing some tires off of a car last night. Now, I just wonder, what’s your opinion of that?” Huh! See? See, that wouldn’t be sensible. Would it? No, sir. If he was doing something wrong, arrest him. CHURCH.ORDER_ JEFF.IN COD THURSDAY_ 63-1226
- 1. Why did you indicate to [Mr. X] that the situation had been dealt with, when restitution to the victim had never been made?
2. Although [Mr. X] outlined his concerns to you, why did you not consider at any time that his concerns had any merit but rather were frivolous in nature?
3. Although the concerns regarding [your son-in-law]’s actions have been explained to you on several occasions, why do you still not consider that he did anything wrong? Why are you still defensive of inappropriate business dealings?
4. Why did you resist having [your son-in-law] resign as a trustee? It has already been pointed out that he was ineligible to continue in his position because of his wife’s unfaithfulness. Inappropriate business conduct should also not be acceptable behaviour for those holding spiritual offices within the church.15. In light of all of this, why do you still strongly insist on having [your son-in-law] play his [musical instrument] on the platform?
On we go to Part 4. The following are 7 questions from the September 12, 2009 letter to Edward Byskal about a relative that was holding a position within the church. Edward Byskal never even attempted to meet with the elders to try to answer these questions.
Again we are perplexed by your use of non-scriptural standards when dealing with your family members:
- 1. Why was [Mr. J, a non-relative] asked to step down when [Mr. Z, a relative] was not, even when you were questioned by several brothers as to the appearance of a lack of fairness in the issue?
2. Why did you ignore the advice and concern of Trustees, Deacons and senior members of the church concerning the public revelations of [Mr. Z]‘s alleged unethical business practises? Even if the charges were completely false, prudence would dictate that he step down until he had the opportunity to clear his name. These are standards that the business world generally applies but the standards you have applied appear to fall woefully short of those of the world.
3. Why wasn’t [Mr. Z]’s immediate resignation required from the Board of Trustees when you became aware of [additional problems]?
4. Why were you not forthright in informing the trustees that as pastor you had requested [Mr. Z]’s resignation? Again, simply informing the Trustees that [Mr. Z] had resigned would have been sufficient. However, you appear to have done everything possible to avoid having him resign and to hold on to his positions, notwithstanding his obvious personal and business issues. Were you simply hoping that his personal issues would blow over so he could continue uninterrupted in his positions?
5. Why did you mislead the board and allow [Mr. Z] to attend the trustees meeting in June 2008 after you had requested his resignation? Why would you want him in a trustees meeting in any capacity at all, knowing his questionable dealings?
6. Why was [Mr. Z]’s resignation produced only after you were told the issue would be raised at the trustees meeting if a letter of resignation was not received immediately?7. Why have you not kept your word and obtained [Mr. Z]’s resignation from [another] board when you promised that you would do this?
Here are unanswered questions 11 to 15 which I am presenting as part 3. Standard warnings from the prior 2 parts apply equally here.
- 11. Why have you refused to let this issue be judged by spiritual brothers in a scriptural fashion? [A member of the minor child’s family] met with you shortly after he became aware of [the minor child’s] sexual abuse and requested that the deacons investigate and judge the issue. You indicated that it was completely inappropriate for the deacons to be involved, when Brother Branham indicated that he would support the deacons, would never interfere with their decisions and said the gift of a deacon is to “keep the church clean”.1 Instead you suggested that a lawyer that you had consulted on the issue (who was not a Message believer and who none of us has met) should be used to settle the matter. [Mr. A] specifically requested that you consider allowing senior respected pastors or ministers within our assembly to mediate the issue. Again, you have steadfastly refused.
12. Why did you indicate to [a member of the minor child’s family] that your daughter’s sexual abuse of his brother was not a “church issue”? This appears to be in direct contravention to the principles outlined in I Corinthians 5. Overtly sinful conduct on the part of a church member, particularly one that regularly partook of communion while seated on the platform in plain view of the congregation for a period of over 9 years, is something that should be dealt with and addressed by the church.
13. Why did you not require [your son-in-law] to step down as a trustee as soon as it came to your knowledge that his wife was unfaithful?
The scriptures require that the wife of a deacon (which qualification also applies to a trustee) must be faithful3. [Pastor X], pastor of [another church], came to you several years ago for counselling regarding a brother in the church whose wife had fallen into sin. [Pastor X] confirmed that your advice to him was that, “because of his wife’s transgressions, this brother could not hold any office or responsibility in the church, not even as a song leader.”
Why would you advise others to do certain things in accordance with Scripture – but you yourself are not prepared to follow the same scriptural requirements? Given your advice to [Pastor X], [your daughter]’s infidelity should have caused you to immediately remove [your son-in-law] as a trustee. You did not. Instead it appears your conduct is akin to those whom Jesus referred to in Matthew 23:3 – All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
14. You have indicated to various brothers that you handled the matter of [your daughter]’s infidelity with [the minor child] correctly by the Scriptures and Message. You stated that your daughter’s repentance was sincere and, as a result, her sins, although horrendous in nature, were forgiven and under the blood. You have accused some of us of attempting to take these sins “out from under the blood”. You have stated that the revealing of the sin to [Mrs. Y] “could not have been the Holy Ghost.”
We strongly disagree and, given that [your daughter]’s sexual relations with [the minor child] continued until he was 24 years old, this proves the repentance in 1990 and again in 1996 was not sincere; the sin was not under the blood and was thankfully revealed by the Holy Spirit to various ones in order to cleanse the church of this sin.
15. In emails to several brothers, you indicated that your daughter had lived an exemplary life for the past 18 years, while in fact for 8 of those years she continued to live in an adulterous relationship (as indicated previously the relationship was not discontinued until 1999). You have ministered many times that you are always wary of repentance that results from being caught. Why were you not wary in this case?
It appears that your actions have been based on your daughter’s apparent willingness to repent when she was caught and on your earnest, although misplaced, desire to believe that her lies were the truth. You have sought to bring her to repentance twice but in both instances she fell back into the sin that you had thought she repented of. We would ask the question – has there ever been true repentance or does she continue to live with unforgiven sin in her life?
1 We wonder today, what, why the gifts and things are not in the church, operating the way they should be. Why, the gifts are put in the church to separate and take sin out, to keep the church clean. THE WORLD IS FALLING APART 63-1115 (emphasis added)
In the decisions that was made by the board of trustees and deacons here in the church, of course, they can’t please everyone. We cannot do that. I have not one thing to do with the trustee board or the deacon board. I have not even a vote unless there’s a tie, and I have to be here to do it then;…But what the trustee board and them board’s decision they make, we certainly stand behind them one hundred percent, ’cause that’s what they’re here for. And their decisions is between them and God. I cannot, cannot and would not, by any means, contrary that decision. EVENTS MADE CLEAR BY PROPHECY 65-0801E (emphasis added)
2 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I Timothy 5:20
3 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. I Timothy 3:11
One of the concerns in the elders’ letter (see my prior post) to Edward Byskal related to financial issues. While these concerns were obviously much less important to them than some of the other issues, I think in most churches the financial issue alone would have caused a massive cry for the pastor’s resignation.
Their most significant concern was that Byskal funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds into a private charity controlled by him. This was done without the apparent knowledge or approval of the church board. When they found out about it, the church elders specifically requested for the funds to be returned to the church.
I want to again express my thanks to a former church member that sent me an mp3 file of a meeting held on October 30, 2009 which was conducted by Edward Byskal at the Mt. Baker Bibleway camp, north of Seattle, WA. I also received an audio file of an unpublished portion of a meeting at the Cloverdale BIbleway church on October 21, 2009.
It is interesting to hear Edward Byskal respond to the allegation by repeating it:
That you, brother Byskal have removed approximately $400,000 from Bible Believers of Washington since the year 2000 and put it in Bible Believers of which we have no access to, of which we have no records of and that’s true.
And that’s true? Byskal admits that he took the money without authorization? But does he think he did anything wrong?
He refers to a similar issue experienced by William Branham when he helped a number of people in need. Edward Byskal says:
And he said “The trustees knowed nothing about this.” And I said “It wasn’t necessary for them to know it.” And so he said “Well” then he said – what did he say? I guess that’s the end of it.
That’s his response? “That’s the end of it“?
If Willliam Branham didn’t have to tell his board about where money went, then Edward Byskal, who obviously considers himself on the same spiritual level, doesn’t have to either.
But lets look at the facts. By his own admission, Byskal took a total of $453,000 and transferred it to a non-profit that he controlled with his son-in-law. It’s a little sketchy exactly where all the funds went after that but he does admit that he paid his wife $119,500.
Isn’t there just a small difference between
1. giving away money to deserving poor folk without your board knowing
2. giving it to your wife without board approval?
Sitting here many miles south of where Edward Byskal lives, I have been wondering about his life style. He definitely doesn’t come across as being the least bit humble but does he live in humble surroundings?
How does a person live when they are earning a poor pastor’s salary of over $120,000 per year?
Through the wonders of the internet, I was able to focus my spy satellite on the home of Edward Byskal and it appears that the money that went to his wife at least went for a good cause.
You be the judge.
In Canada, when people take money without permission, maybe it’s OK.
But here in the US, don’t we normally call it stealing?
Admiration is the daughter of ignorance – Benjamin Franklin
In addition to those in my last blog, Edward Byskal has supporters outside his church. You would think that a minister would check the facts before opening their mouth.
But Edward Byskal does have some supporters among the clergy. A few sent public emails of support. Some have been guest speakers at the Cloverdale Bibleway church. Others have had Edward Byskal as a guest speaker at their church.
Do these ministers support the cover up of sexual abuse? Do they condone Edward Byskal’s attack on those that left. It appears that these ministers are either willingly ignorant or completely lacking any sense of morality. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and just call them ignorant.
If you somehow have the misfortune of attending the church of one of these ignorant ministers, perhaps you could ask them to read my blog. At least, they wouldn’t be ignorant anymore.
Again, my thanks to the people that sent me the emails that came from the following ministers.
Here’s the list:
Tim Pruitt, Pastor, Evening Light Tabernacle, Homer, LA
Gerd Rodewald, Pastor, Bible Believers Bieselsberg, Bieselsberg, Germany
Rev. Tim Pruitt and Rev. Gerd Rodewald sent an email to the congregation of the Cloverdale Bibleway church on September 20, 2009. In it, they refer to the problems of Edward Byskal as occurring in “his own church”. That’s a very curious comment because I always thought that the church was God’s and not owned by some man. If it really is Edward Byskal’s church, then I can understand why he might be mad when people left.
The 2 pastors go on to state that “there is not a minister in our generation that has been so singlehandedly used of God since Bro. Branham.”
A question: Did the fact that Judas hung out with Jesus and was one of the disciples somehow absolve him from his betrayal? Did the fact that Solomon started out as a wise man somehow make up for the indiscretions of his later years?
Is admiration somehow clouding their judgment?
Jason Watkins, Pastor, Bethel Tabernacle, Beaufort, SC
Rev. Jason Watkins sent an email out on September 21, 2009 in support of Edward Byskal. In it he says, “Thank you for living a spotless and virtuous life and being a multi-generational example of dignity and graciousness… That you’ve remained always kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor you have always preferred others above yourself… You bless them which persecute you: you bless, and curse not. Thank you for being a merciful man.”
Hello???? Is Rev. Watkins speaking of the guy who spoke the sermon on October 3, 2010? In that sermon, Edward Byskal was ungracious, unkind, unloving, preferring himself above others. He referred to those that left as following after Balaam. He was full of cursing, not blessing. Edward Byskal was not prepared to extend any amount of mercy to the people who, for what appears to be valid reasons, left “his” church.
Tim Dodd, Pastor, Bible Believers Fellowship, Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Jospeh Hamid, Pastor, Believers Tabernacle, Murfreesboro, TN
David McGeary, Pastor, Christian Life Tabernacle, Bedford, TX
Ron Spencer, Pastor, Full Gospel Lighthouse Church, Elkton, VA
If you would like your name on this list, simply invite Edward Byskal to speak at your church.
We’ll ensure your name makes it onto this infamous list.
I should add that the Pope also has many supporters in the clergy but that does not stop the press from asking hard questions.
Finally, if you feel that your name has been mistakenly included on this list, please copy me on an email to Edward Byskal withdrawing your support from him and I will remove your name from this list.
This is the Hall of Shame.
From my prior blogs, you should know all about the questions that have been raised about the conduct of Edward Byskal, the pastor of the Cloverdale Bibleway church.
But would he successful without his key supporters?
Here is a list of them. Would the people in the church remain there in fear without these people providing their support? Doesn’t one have to assume that they are in full acceptance and support of everything that Edward Byskal is alleged to have done, including verbally attacking everyone that disagrees with him?
I obtained this list from the Believers Faith Challenge Report published by the Cloverdale Bibleway church. It purports to come from Bible Believers, which is an organization also controlled by Edward Byskal. It is available for download from the Cloverdale Bibleway church website.
In addition to Edward Byskal, the people include:
- Victor Adimora
- Rev. John Andes
- Rev. Ken Andes
- Kim Dingwall
- Ivan Huang
- Luis Izquuierdo
- Rev. Tom Rae
- Milko Ravbar
- The mysterious Rev. Tim
- Rev. Ernie Villanueva
- Rev. Murphy Wong
There are 12 “ministers and laborers” listed in the propaganda report. Are they supposed to be the 12 apostles? Are they the 12 patriarchs?
Or is it the Santa of Fear and his 11 reindeer?
And what are in the sacks that laden the sleigh? Is that money? Is that cash that they are hauling off? I should warn you that I have received information directly related to the use of donated money by Edward Byskal and it shocked me.
What is the purpose of the Believers Faith Challenge Report? Is it simply to tell people “the mighty works of God that have recently taken place within the Bride of Jesus Christ.” Or is there something else going on here?
What is the purpose of the following messages which occur throughout the propaganda report page?
Pray about what God would have you to do in support of this ministry.
We invite you to assist in providing or sponsoring Print Stations for these Pastors.
Please consider these needs in your prayers and support as we continue to work together to make this precious Message available to Believers around the world.
WHAT CAN I DO FOR AFRICA?
PROVIDE MORE OF BROTHER BRANHAM’S MESSAGES BY
1. Sending In More Message HUB Print Stations
2. Help Sponsor A Translator
The cost of translation varies from country to country; however, we seek to be good stewards on your behalf.
What Can I Do?
Sponsor a print station for:
A foreign church $1,200
Your church $1,000
Sponsor toner & paper supplies for a foreign church
Be a part of spreading this End-Time Message. The testimonies of what the Lord has accomplished around the world is (sic) truly amazing! Another Book of Acts is being written again.
Doesn’t this sound surprisingly similar to the appeals for money coming from our good friends, the televangelists?
The real question is: Is Edward Byskal a good steward?
What of the cloud of allegations surrounding him that relate to money being diverted to another charity for his personal use?
Are there audited financial statements available to the public that show that the funds have not gone for personal benefit? Is this a man deserving of our trust?
Or is the Santa of Fear and his 11 reindeer hauling away your hard earn money for purposes not related to the Gospel?
Is it really a Believers Faith Challenge Report?
Or is it the Charlatan’s Cash Challenge?
According to the London Evening Standard newspaper:
The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.
In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.
Is this what Edward Byskal has done?
Through his actions, did he put his interests and his daughter’s interests ahead of a young boy of 15 years old? According to a letter in my possession, he apparently allowed the sexual abuse to continue until the young man became an adult. Why did he then require the young man to beg for forgiveness from the husband of the woman that seduced him.
Let me ask you a very simple question. What would you have done if it was your child that was being abused? How would you feel?
Are you “Balaam”, just because you think that the Pope or Edward Byskal should not put their interests first?
According to the letter, Edward Byskal asked his daughter whether she had been “penetrated” by the young boy. Why, when she responded “no”, did he wash his hands, like Pilate, and ignore the entire situation.
“I certainly felt I was conducting according to the Word of God.”, he stated.
I’m sure the Pope feels the same way.
A while back while doing some initial research, I stumbled on to a “message” (code word for followers of William Branham) forum and was jumped on by some for referring to them as branhamites. When I asked them what they wanted me to call them, I was told that I should refer to them as believers, message believers, or their preferred term, ”Christians”.
The word Christian only appears 3 times in the Bible. In Acts 11:26, it states that in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. So a Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is not someone who simply believes in Jesus Christ because we are told that even the demons believe that and shudder.
So how can you tell if a person is a Christian? Actually it’s pretty easy based on what the Bible says is required of a follower of Christ.
He went on to say, If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Did Edward Byskal do this?
Is that why they pulled it from the website?
Listen to the sermon and then ask yourself this question: Are these the words of a Christian? Does his sermon contain any of the hallmarks of a follower of Christ?
- Is understanding mysteries more important to him than love?
- Is the possession of prophetic powers the evidence of spiritual wisdom or is it love?
- Does faith that can remove mountains trump the power of love?
- Does the great personal sacrifices that he speaks of mean that he does not need to show love?
- Is he being kind?
- Is he boastful of his own accomplishments?
- Does he seem just a bit arrogant?
- Is he insisting on his own way?
- Is he irritable or resentful?
Now please don’t start yelling that I am being judgmental. I am simply asking questions.
There has been a lot written on how to properly apologize. There is general agreement that to effectively ask for forgiveness from a Biblical perspective, you should do the following as a bare minimum:
1. fully acknowledge what was done that hurt the other person – be specific, don’t be vague (Leviticus 5:5, Numbers 5:7, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9)
2. take personal responsibility for your actions (Proverbs 28:13 )
3. don’t make excuses and don’t be defensive (Genesis 3:12, Exodus 32:22, I Sam. 13:12, Luke 14:20)
4. Express how sorry you are that you offended the person (2 Corinthians 7:10-14).
I have had it pointed out to me that Edward Byskal confessed and repented of his terrible acts. Because of this, the people that attended the Cloverdale Bibleway should forgive him and treat the matter as though nothing happened.
This apology took place on June 21, 2009 and I want to thank the person that sent me a copy of this apology. As with so many other important things, this apology was removed from the sermon that is located on the Bible Way website, so you can’t listen to it for yourself.
So here is my analysis of this apology so that you can judge for yourself. I have not included the entire apology but here are the important parts.
“You have spoken with me and it has never gone anywhere. Not to my wife not to other ministers, unless I have felt I have needed their assistance.”
Within less than 2 months, Edward Byskal stood in front of the church and, it is reported, totally destroyed a family by uncovering the indiscretions of a man in the congregation that had tried to stand up to Edward Byskal (thanks again to the person that sent me the email outlining Edward Byskal’s vindictive actions). Is Edward Byskal’s statement true when 2 months later, in front of the entire congregation, he breaks the confidence of a woman that came to see him privately for counselling?
“The reason for my standing before you today is because I am asking the congregation for your forgiveness in anything that I, my family have done wrong or especially the way I have conducted things.”
Is this just a wee bit vague? What did he do wrong?
“I want to say at the time I certainly felt I was conducting according to the Word of God.”
Is this an excuse? How can you do something wrong if it is in accordance with the Word of God?
“I am presenting myself and my family before you if you in your heart feel we have done wrong.”
If you feel we have done wrong? Is he acknowledging that he actually did something wrong? What’s with the “IF”?
“And I would like to say there are a lot of true things that are not very lovely. They need to be lovely. What you may hear or have heard certainly would be my council that you may consider it that it isn’t entirely accurate and you should leave it in the hands of God. That is what God has spoken to my heart. Leave it in the hands of God.”
“There are some that feel that I did not handle the situation that took place more than 15 years ago, in this congregation involving my family. And before God, the searcher of every heart, I can say that at the time, at that time I did what I believe was the Word, and that the Word of God teaches.”
Why did he say “more than 15 years ago” when he should have said “20 years ago”? Was it because 15 years ago, the young man was an adult, but 20 years ago he was only a 15 year old teenager? Was Byskal trying to take away from the serious nature of his failure to act? Is this what you would call a “half truth”?
Does the Word of God teach that a pastor should not tell the parents when he becomes aware that their son is being sexually abused? Does the Word of God teach that it is OK to hide and cover up sin?
Why did he have to get up in front of the congregation a few months later and repent all over again (I have an audio copy of this second repentance as well as the public confession by his daughter).
Can you understand why some people don’t trust this man?
I certainly can.
If you read my first blog, you will know why I started it. A minister was seemingly picking on women for no apparent reason. At least no reason that I could discern, although he appeared to give some hokey semi-spiritual reason for doing so, which just didn’t make any sense to me.
I started digging around. Started finding that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
The pastor, Edward Byskal, apparently finds himself in a huge conflict of interest when he discovers his daughter is sexual abusing a young boy in the church. Everything gets covered up.
Time passes. More conflicts of interest. Relatives in leadership positions are reportedly engaged in unethical business dealings and it is brought to his attention. Again nothing happens.
He is questioned as to whether he is removing funds from the church without authorization.
The elders of the church reach the end of their rope and write their pastor a letter requesting his resignation for the multitude of problems they are confronted with.
His response? He starts lashing out at people over the pulpit. He publicly exposes the sins of people that have come to him for counselling.
As a result, all the elders leave, save one. I wonder if the pastor had something on him?
A new church starts. Over half the congregation leaves Cloverdale Bibleway.
Byskal holds special meetings to calm the people that remain. Some of the people that have left the church get copies of these meetings and are of the view that he is only telling half-truths. His minions rail on the people.
Emboldened by support from other ministers who may not not the full story, he lashes out again at those that had the moral conviction to walk out on his leadership – “I don’t call them a church, I just call them the people that left”, he declares in his sermon of October 3, 2010.
What’s my motivation? I hate bullies and will always try to stand up for those that are being mistreated. Am I wrong for doing this, as some have commented? I don’t think so.
A few months ago I read a quote on a wall at the university which said “I asked myself, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about that?” Then I realized, I was somebody.” (Lily Tomlin)
That’s why I’m writing this blog. I am doing something about what I perceive to be an injustice. I received a comment from someone about people still “trapped” at Cloverdale Bibleway. I guarantee they are referring to women.
The challenge? Send me something to prove that my reporting is wrong. I have contacted the Cloverdale Bibleway church several times at the email address that they have on their website. I welcome comments from Edward Byskal. If you think that I am not reporting, please let me know. I am happy to present your side of the story.
Unfortunately I didn’t even get a response. If you attend the Cloverdale Bibleway Church, please pass this message along to your pastor.
I may run eventually out of steam but, for the time being, I still have plenty of ammunition.
Stay tuned for my next blog, How Not to Apologize.
In John 17, Jesus prayed “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me that they may be one, even as we are one.” He continues by praying, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them that they may be one even as we are one.”
But in Edward Byskal’s sermon of October 3, 2010, he states very clearly that “we are not one”.
Who is he referring to?
It is fairly obvious. He is speaking of those people that left his church because they lost confidence in him. Not because of doctrine, not because they believed something fundamentally different from him. They left because they did not want a man, who they believe covered up sexual abuse, to be their pastor.
In Proverbs 6, Solomon tells us that “a worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing”.
Solomon goes on to state that one of the things that God hates is a person that sows discord among brothers.
From what Edward Byskal says, it sounds like the people who left want unity. He talks about women wanting to get together regardless of church to simply fellowship and be friends.
But he is directly opposed to this. He screams at the people, “WE ARE NOT ONE.”
Yet David says in Psalm 133 that it is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity. Are they not God’s people simply because they took a stand against what most people would believe to be sin?
Is Edward Byskal standing in opposition to the very prayer of Jesus Christ? Is he promoting discord among brothers and therefore becoming something that God hates?
And what of the people that are shouting “Amen” when he proclaims “WE ARE NOT ONE!” Are they removing themselves from the Body of Christ?
I honestly don’t know how a Christian could sit through a sermon that is so pointedly in opposition to the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Maybe they all left.
I was recently sent a link to a sermon by Edward Byskal which was delivered by him at the Cloverdale Bibleway church on October 3, 2010.
Unfortunately, while most of the sermons of the church are posted on their website, you can’t get this one. It is mysteriously missing from their website.
Click here to download the sermon that Edward Byskal does not want you to hear. Listen as he tears down another church and the pastor of that church.
This will be the subject of my next blog.
I’ve been struggling with exactly where to start as I have a ton of materials on the Cloverdale Bibleway church and have been very busy researching.
Someone told me to listen to a church service from Canada. I was shocked at the non-Biblical constraints placed on the women in this church (see my first blog). I couldn’t understand what would lead to this heavy-handed method of dealing with women. As I related in my last blog, the pastor of this church seemed to be motivated out of fear that he would lose more of his congregants.
Because of a big scandal, half the people had left his church during the past year. Personally, with the way women are treated there, I don’t understand why any woman or Christian man would stay. I guess it’s because they like the kool-aid they’re drinking.
It is alleged that the pastor, Edward Byskal, covered up the sexual abuse of a 15 year old boy by his oldest daughter. Apparently, he not only covered it up but when he could have stopped it, he did nothing. Unbelievably, he didn’t tell the boy’s parents. That in itself should have him defrocked.
How do I know this? The elders of his church gave him a letter outlining all of the accusations against him. I want to thank the person who sent me a copy of the letter.
St. Paul in 1 Timothy 5 says that we are not to admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. The church elders did this and this is the evidence they collected.
The pastor’s daughter’s told her best friend of her sexual escapades. The friend eventually got to Edward Byskal and told her that his daughter had seduced a 15 year old boy. I’m not sure why women need to confide their deepest darkest secrets in a friend but I guess that’s just the way we’re made. Or at least some of us.
The elders confirmed with this woman that she had informed Edward Byskal that his daughter was sexually involved with the young man. They also talked to the young man, now an adult, and received evidence that he had met with the pastor just after his 16th birthday and that the pastor was aware that his daughter had committed adultery with the young man.
Edward Byskal’s story did not agree with the witnesses. He indicated that he had not met with the young man. His version of the truth is difficult to swallow. He stated that he had met with his daughter when he was told of her unchristian behavior but had merely asked if she had been “penetrated.” When she said “No”, he then took no further action. Does he use the same definition of sex that our good President Clinton did?
Why did he not tell the parents? Why did he excuse his daughter from telling her husband?
As a result of his lack of action, the affair continued for another 9 years.
And people are still following this man as their spiritual leader?
Does this pastor think that it’s OK for an adult married woman, such as his daughter, to have oral sex with a minor? Or was he just afraid that she might go to jail, so he covered it up? Did he think his daughter would tell him the truth when she was caught with her pants down?
Well, not surprisingly she lied to him. According to the letter, she was, in fact, having sexual intercourse with the young man. Even though Byskal was told by his daughter’s friend that sexual contact was taking place and even though the young man admitted to Edward Byskal that he participated in adultery, why did he not take any action?
Was his inaction the result of a bad case of filiacarcerophobia, the fear that his daughter might go to jail?
According to the letter, he finally went into action about 4 years later when his daughter’s friend once again told him that the sexual contact had not discontinued. But the way the letter tells it, he makes the statement that it was God that told him and not a woman.
Does Byskal thinks he is some kind of prophet? Does he believe that somehow he inherited the mantle of William Branham.
By this time, the young man was no longer a minor. Did Byskal think it was OK to finally tell the husband because the young man was now an adult?
The letter states that Byskal forced the young man to apologize to the woman’s husband even though it was his daughter that was the seductress. Wouldn’t you think a pastor would have a better understanding of the impact of sexual abuse on its victims?
The letter outlines how, not surprisingly, this second attempt at stopping his daughter didn’t accomplish anything. She continued to have sex with the young man. She went through the act of repentance, but, was it sincere when the relationship was never terminated?
There were other problems outlined in the elders’ letter which pale in comparison to Edward Byskal’s handling of his daughter’s sexual abusing of a minor. These included covering for some other relatives that were involved in shady business dealings and the typical mishandling of money. All serious stuff that a pastor shouldn’t be involved in but nothing compared to failing to tell parents that their child is being sexually abused.
In the letter, the elders asked for their pastor’s resignation. Apparently, things were shaping up for a big fight but before it got to that the elders packed up and started a new church.
You can’t really blame them for not wanting this guy for their pastor, can you? They didn’t leave because of doctrine, they left because they didn’t trust Edward Byskal.
So what is the pastor’s reaction to all of this? Is he sorry? Is he truly repentant? Does he exhibit any kind of humility?
More on my next blog.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. (Mark 7:7)
Let’s look at the role of women in the New Testament. It is clear from the Bible that men have headship in both marriage and in the church. However, this did not stop women from being active within the early church and from ministering to the needs of the people. A good example of this is Phoebe, of whom Paul states in Romans 16:
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
It is interesting to note here that the word “servant” is the Greek word “diakonos”, the same word as deacon. So in activities not involving teaching or church discpline, sexual distinctions seem not to have applied.
This brings me back to my current topic, which is why, at the Cloverdale Bibleway church, do women have to be supervised by men in any gathering? (see my blog from last week)
The Cloverdale Bibleway church follows the teachings of William Branham, a man that they follow as a prophet. If you were to attend the church, it would be akin to a UPC or other Pentecostal Holiness church, although while William Branham seems to have believed in speaking in tongues, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that this is practiced in their church.
There is an interesting website, branham.org, where you can search everything that William Branham said in his sermons. So I did a search on women meeting together and got the following results:
FELLOWSHIP_ KARLSRUHE.GR SATURDAY_ 55-0813
Fellowship , wonderful thing. Now, why does men like fellowship? Why is it men like to meet with men, women meet with women ? …(Woman: frau)… We all like to meet together . The ladies meet together and sew and talk; the men go to table and they have things in common that they like to talk about.That come from somewhere.
THE.WORST.SINNER.IN.THE.CITY_ MINNEAPOLIS.MN SATURDAY_ 56-0218E
And usually, it’s fellowship we want. And the Pharisees had no fellowship with Jesus, ’cause they were a stiff, starchy, sectarian group. And Jesus was the lovely Son of God. And you know, just like, young women , they have things together . They have their own talks; they like to be together : young women . And the older women , they have their times together. They like to associate together .
It looks from this that William Branham had no problem with women meeting together on a social basis. In fact, he thought it was normal behavior. I tried searching other terms to find if William Branham said that women couldn’t meet together but was unable to (if you can find something relevant that I missed, please leave a comment below).
Is it possible that Edward Byskal’s ruling that women cannot gather without a man being present was not born out of a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of the members of the church, but out of a fear that he might lose membership?
Why would a pastor be fearful when we are told that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment,and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:17-19
Is it because he is tormented by anopatriophobia, the fear of losing members, the fear that his congregation might shrink?
Apparently, this fear is well placed because half of his congregation left during the past year because of his mishandling issues arising from his daughter’s sexual infidelity.
This fear has so taken root in him that he appears to be displaying the traits of a cult leader. A normal religious organization would not have any trouble with you moving to another similar organization as long as you stayed in that same religion. Why? Because it is the belief system that matters, not membership in an organization. For example, if you were a Christian then you could move from one church to another and still be a Christian.
However cult leaders will say that you can only be in God’s will in their church alone. No other organization has the truth, all others miss the mark. So it is not the belief system that decides your future, but the belief system AND your membership in that particular group.
Cult leaders need to make you believe that there is nowhere else you can go and still be in the faith, and if you ever leave their church, then you are out of God’s will. This is a fear based control mechanism designed to keep you in the cult. It also gives the cult leaders tremendous power over you.
If you really believe that leaving the group equals leaving God (or means you are leaving your only chance to succeed in life), then you will obey the cult leaders even when you disagree with them, instead of risking being kicked out of the group. Exclusivism is used as a threat, it controls your behavior through fear.
At Cloverdale Bibleway church, is Edward Byskal the final authority in all spiritual matters?If you disagree with him, is it the same as disagreeing with God? Is questioning his leadership seen as a sign of rebellion from the true way?
Are all of the women at the Cloverdale Bibleway church simply going to fall in line and no longer meet without having a man present?
Does Ed Byskal really want to go to a TouchPoints or Aglow meeting?
I think that the estrogen levels would be way too high.
Welcome to my new blog, The Commandments of Men.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. (Mark 7:7)
The reason for this blog, and perhaps more to come, is that I heard something recently that really made my blood boil. A friend told me about some comments made by a minister in Canada at a recent church service. So, I went to the church website – www.bibleway.org – and downloaded the service from August 22, 2010 which was the one they referred to.
The minister, Pastor Edward Byskal, at the start of his sermon made the following comments (and I quote):
Some of our sisters have received an invitation for a ladies coffee time. I am not in favor of it. The reason is because there is no headship there. There’s no husbands there, there’s no ministry there. It may be nice but I believe that it’s a service without doing his will. The intent may be perfectly fine but because there is no spiritual headship…
And you just get a lot of ladies together… God bless you sisters but there is a certain place and a certain order and we want to stay with it… And so I thought I would just answer it that way. And said it was invited for an evening of fellowship and friendship.
Now if a couple wants to invite 2 or 3 couples or whatever more… that’s fine. That’s perfectly fine. That’s fine with me. But when it comes to having all a group of ladies together from Seattle, or here or this group or Living Word or whatever. No, I’m not in favour of it whatsoever. I don’t find anything in the message. So I trust that that answers that.
In a nutshell, Ed Byskal believes that women cannot talk to each other in a group setting unless a man is there to oversee the thing. Is this in the Bible?
St. Paul in his letter to Titus states in chapter 2:
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Where does it say that this is to be done under male supervision? Where does it state that it can’t be in a group? In fact, a group setting is probably the best way to do what St. Paul is suggesting.
Edward Byskal is saying that women have to be under male supervision at all times. It’s OK for couples to meet, but what if I’m not married? Do I have to spend all my time alone or under male supervision? This is the biggest crock of nonsense I have ever heard.
This man is obviously afraid of something. Is he afraid of what unsupervised women might say? “An evening of fellowship and friendship” is a obviously a terrible thing that must be stopped.
I am going to dig into the teachings of Ed Byskal and his church, Cloverdale Bibleway. What do they believe about women? And more importantly, what other restrictions do they lay on their members, particularly the women.