Monday, May 23, 2011

Chapter 18....Losing Our Son?

Chapter 18... Losing Our Son?

To begin a book with chapter 18, why? I begin here because this is a chapter in life. This isn't the beginning nor is it the end. This is a part of a journey we are on, this is not permanent. Today this feels like the most painful chapter but His joy comes in the morning. He knows the plans He has for me, for you, for our son the end He will be glorified, His truth revealed. I believe God will use this for truth, for healing.

Our firstborn child, a wonderful young man that described himself as a follower of Jesus, a song-writer, a student, a runner...How would I describe him? An absolute blessing, a young man with strong faith, a young man with so much God-given talent, so creative, a young man with strong love and devotion to his family. A joy to be around, a great example to his younger siblings, a tremendous blessing to his parents. A big brother to 6, today they miss him greatly. A son to a mother that adored him, a son to a father that was so proud of him. From the outside we looked like such a happy family, on the inside we were...there was no show, we were a family, a good family and we loved and we cared for each other.

So what changed, what happened, what came into our home that caused so much destruction? A church, Matthew 7:15-20, a place I trusted our son would be safe, a place where I believed our son could and would glorify God, a place that should give hope and reflect joy, show love, seek peace, be kind and gentle, practice and teach self-control. This place I sent our child with blessing has become my biggest nightmare to date. As I look at my family today, I feel like saying this “church” destroyed my family but instead I will say that somehow in this nightmare, my heavenly Father will be glorified. I choose to believe that the darkness within those walls will be revealed. I choose to believe that His light will shine and show the evil that lurks there..Ephesians 5:13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them... That in my pain, in what I see as loss and destruction, through that our son will be rescued by the Rescuer and will someday use this as a mighty testimony to our Lord and Savior and His saving Grace.

Our sons involvement at the Crossing Church in Elk River, MN started around Easter 2010. He was invited by a friend to come play on the worship team, his friend that I trust and who I know loves my kid. (I still trust him, I still know he loves my kid) Our son came home so excited, they gave our 17 year old son the ability to lead worship through song (his passion in life) he was excited and would share openly his joy of being there. He came home declaring they (the church) saw real leadership in him and believed in his talent. They lavished compliments upon our son. My first meeting with Eric Dykstra was in the hall after a service, I introduced my self as the mom, his response- a smile, a handshake and a “well done, mom” he is a good one, lots of potential, a natural leader, you did a good job. My response? Thank you, I hope he is a great blessing to the Crossing. My feeling for the Crossing? I will say their tactics, their music, their set-up, well, it's not “my thing” but I am not their vision, they are 'designed' as a church for 18-30 year old beer drinking, McDonald's eating, unchurched guys...not 38 year old moms. The leader, Eric Dykstra, a charismatic, dynamic speaker- he engages you the moment he speaks. I don't understand the way they do the things they do but I blindly trust them, I trust it is of God and I support my son.

September 2010, our son tells us the Crossing has offered him a position as a worship pastor to a new campus (not yet opened, still not open) he will be the Worship Pastor at the Anoka/Ramsey Crossing location but first he must quit his band, they will not hire him if he has a band, why? Because Eric says so. In hind sight this should have been a red flag. Our son is hired on PT, which we are promised, will not affect his schooling, it will only be a great opportunity for him to do what he loves, worship. We aren't thrilled with him giving up his band and his dreams but we support him, for now. He became more involved in the church, he is now 18 years old, going to school FT, (set to graduate in May 2011 with a 2 year degree) working at the church PT, working at home PT as a personal care attendant to a younger sibling, our only concern is we fear he may be taking on too much at church while going to school.

January 2011, our son returns to school after winter break to complete his 2 year degree in May- one semester to go. He says this semester will be “easy” as 200 hours will be an internship that he will complete at church, the other courses, no problem. He went back to school for one week. The Monday morning after school began he approached Mark and myself, he had been acting odd in my opinion and now made this statement, “I have something to say, I am going to speak and you are going to listen. You will not interrupt me and when I am done talking then you can talk and I will listen”. Never had he spoken to us in this authoritative manner, I also noted huge letters “TRUST” written on his hand. (something Eric Dykstra does) He began by informing us that he would be dropping out of school, he will be moving out, he will be moving in with Eric and Kelly Dykstra, he will no longer be a pca for his sibling, there is nothing we can say or do, he has made up his mind, he has prayed about it and feels God wants him to do this. Mark and I are shocked, we are not angry, we are shocked and I am sad. Sad that my son wont finish what he promised he would, sad that he would move out, right now. Sad that in a blink of an eye his whole life seems to have changed. I am sad, we are sad, we are not angry....not yet.

As the day progresses I keep asking questions the why, the how, the whats- as the story unfolds I learn that there was a meeting at church/work about stress levels, following the meeting Eric asks the group who has a stress level over 5, raise your hand- our son raises his hand, he is instructed to meet Eric in his office. He explains his stress level, at church 2.FT school 3.PT job at home, now enters Kelly Dykstra, she asks him how much money he makes at home, he tells her and she offers to match that and tells him to quit his job at home, they discuss school (he is going to graduate in 4 months) she counsels him to drop out of school as he wont need that degree- his career is with the Crossing, he informs her that if he quits school he will need to move out, she kindly gives him a new home (with her) So we (mom and dad) learn that our 18 year old son has been counseled by his pastors to quit school, quit PT job at home, move out and into their home. Angry? Yes. This woman is counseling my son in areas that are not her business, what right does she have to tell my son what to do. He was not seeking their counsel, he was asked, by the leaders, if his stress level was over 5 to raise his hand- he did what they instructed him to do and now they were further instructing my 18 year old son what to do with his future.

If this isn't insane enough, enter in NEW 26 year old girlfriend who is also a worship leader at the Crossing. Getting strange vibes from this new relationship of 2 weeks I begin questioning our son as to where this relationship is heading, I learn that within the 2 weeks of dating that she (girlfriend) has gone out with Kelly on a lunch date, during this time there was a conversation that I was told went like this, from Kelly “if you are afraid of falling into sexual sin and know you are right for each other then just get married”, I (mom) have officially lost it! Leadership at the Crossing has instructed my son and now girlfriend of 2 weeks to get married, he is strongly considering it- WHAT IS GOING ON?!

 Meanwhile, an employee is “let go” and staff is instructed to not speak with him or socialize outside of church with him, they are not told why. They do not question why, no one questions Eric Dykstra, it is not allowed- if you question him, you question his authority and this is seen as disobedience.
That night while sitting in my bed , the realization of what was happening and what my son is involved in hits me with great force. Crying from the pit of my stomach, I feel like vomiting- I cry out to Mark, I share my fears with him- I tell him about the lunch date, the marriage thing, the staff member fired and Mark too gets more concerned. We go downstairs and confront our son, we share our fears with him and ask him to get out of that church- I tell him I believe it is a cult and plea with him to leave.

The following day I get a text message from our son stating Eric would like to meet with Mark and I at 6:30pm, if we were willing...yes, we are willing. That evening we did meet with Eric, our meeting began with a mission statement, Eric's mission to “depopulate hell”, that he doesn't care who thinks he is crazy, they are on a mission to save those far from Christ- my thought? We (Mark and I) are on a mission to save our son. During our meeting we shared our concerns over the counsel our son had received by Kelly, also questioned Eric why the church had to monopolize all our sons talents including having to quit his band in order to work there, his response about the band “if he wants to work here he cannot be in a band” that is his rule. Why? Because. His response about Kelly's advice to our son, none. He did ask us at one point “what is it you want?”, I thought the question odd but responded with “I want my son not married for one year”, Eric looked at me, clapped his hands and stated “done!”, he really believes he has that much control over my son? Here Mark and I have been pleading with our son to hear us but with one clap of Eric's hand he believes he can stop this. Eric instructs us to go home, kick our son out- “he needs to become a man”, Eric states no longer can our son live with them (the Dykstra's)but he has another home in mind for him, a home with people that work at the Big Lake Crossing campus. So Eric will meet with our son tomorrow for lunch and tell him to not even discuss marriage for one year and we are to go home and kick our son out so he can become a man and go live with people he doesn't know because Eric said so.
We did not kick our son out, we gave him until May as previously agreed upon, without the Dykstra's instruction. But he has decided to move out now and into the home Eric has found for him. There is no stopping him, he is determined to run, quickly. Within days he packs up and moves out, it was painful and it was ugly. I told him in tears as he left that this was wrong, this was not how it should be, we should be happy for him, we should be excited for what lys ahead but we are scared to death and heartbroken. This very much felt like he was running away but why? And to what?

April 2011, we (Mark and I) are informed that there will be a wedding, Sunday May 22, 2011 at 8pm, our son will marry and again there is nothing we can do about it. Everyone within the Crossing is in full support of them, they are doing what God has clearly told them to do and again there is nothing we can do about it. Our son was here at home, alone, defiantly and defensively sharing his plan of marriage, my reaction was silence. What happened to my son? Where is he? And who is this ass (excuse my language) that now speaks to me so rudely? He did say the Dykstra's were unaware of the marriage plan, that they  would be meeting with them in the morning, I took it upon myself to make sure Eric knew our feelings regarding a way too fast marriage hadn't changed.
Tuesday morning 9am, I called the Crossing to speak with Eric, I didn't get through to Eric but I did get Kelly. I spoke with her for about 20 minutes, sharing our first meeting with Eric and our desire to still see our son wait for the one year we had asked him to wait. Kelly stated “we teach here that if you are no longer living under your parents roof and they are no longer financially responsible for you then you need not obey them.” That being said she shared from some personal experience and stated that during the meeting his parents view would be represented.
Later that day I sent a text to our son asking for an update, were there any changes to their plans or should Mark and I request a meeting with them. Eventually he responded, stating they would like to meet us at Broadway Pizza at 5pm, my response was 8pm would work better but asked if home would be more appropriate to meet, his response-”we want to meet in public” WHAT?! Meet in public?! There was a couple more exchanges, including one from Mark asking him “when did our home become enemy territory?” with no response..I waited quite some time then sent another message stating we (dad and I ) want to meet with you, alone- anywhere. He finally agreed to come home.

That night at 8:30pm he came home, once again defensive- he sat on the couch and once again instructed us, this time we were to speak and he would listen then he would read a letter to us and we would listen. What we heard in bits and pieces was, he did not need to “obey” us (same reasons Kelly gave) that Jesus came to divide, that your enemies would be in your own household, he shared his love for his now fiancee and that God was calling them into marriage, now. Again, everyone within the Crossing was happy and excited for them and why can't we be too. We also learned that it was the instruction of Eric and Kelly that he wanted to meet us in public, something he later stated he regretted following. When our son left that night sadness fell over me and his dad, what happened to our son?Why does the Crossing have so much say over our son? Why are their voices louder than ours?Why are their voices of God and ours is not? Many unanswered questions.

That night before I went to bed I wrote the following fb message to Kelly “May you never know the feeling I have right now. An 18 year old young man, encouraged to drop out of college (months shy of degree) move out quickly and yes, get married- advised, you no longer need to "obey" your parents, this isn't obeying- this is honoring and respecting the wishes of those that know you. And yes, we paid for that ring without knowing. I believe you have partial truth, at least I pray that is the case. Katie “

 I received this response the next morning “Katie, If you need to vent, I'm not available to you. Midnight Facebook messages are rarely Holy Spirit-guided. I'm sure you have plenty of friends to vent to, who will commiserate with you and love you through this. If you would like some counsel on moving forward and seeking a healthy family situation, I'm more than willing to talk with you. I would consider it an honor to share wisdom we've learned over our years of ministry. I am home today with two sick children. My phone number is (please don't give that to anyone else). You are welcome to call me after 9:30. Love,Kelly”. I did not call her and received this message the following day “Hi There, Katie, Before we move forward, I want to give you an opportunity to help clear a few things up. I'm thinking there's a fair amount of "he said/she said" going around. All I know for sure is that we (Pastor Eric and I) need to make sure our side of the street is clean. I'll leave it in your hands. If you would like to establish some common understanding before we move forward, you're welcome to give me a call. It might be helpful. Ya never know 'til ya try. I'll be available this evening (for the most part) and tomorrow between 8:30-12 if you'd like to call me. With prayers for peace,Kelly “....I called with hope for peace.

The conversation started with our son not needing to “obey” us, I stated I agree he doesn't need to obey us but he is to honor and respect us, and that he doesn't need to obey her. Kelly's response “I am his pastor, counselor and employer, he will listen to me” I was shocked and angry, who is she? My son doesn't need a mother, he has one. My son wasn't looking for her counsel, he was in a meeting, asked a question, raised his hand and control took over his life. During our call, Kelly took on a tone of authority, I recognized it as my son speaks to me in the same manner and I wasn't responding to it well, she then began letting me know how amazing I was- I felt like I was being manipulated. She did not deny telling my son to quit school, to quit his job at home, offering him a place to live, she also did not deny telling his fiancee to marry him to avoid sexual sin after dating 2 weeks.

This was an emotional phone call, I was an angry mother dealing with a woman that strongly felt she had the right to advise my son. At one point her tone changed, in a loud authoritative voice she began “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all spirits of (my ears close off here) and she “binds all spirits of” ears stop again- she was binding and casting demons out! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, it was completely inappropriate, this had nothing to do with satan and I believe I said that or possibly called her satan, not sure. I hung up the phone, wasn't going to listen to anymore of that. I came out of my room, scared, shocked, confused, laughing, near tears, what just happened?

Since this night I have begun investigating and have found so many disturbing things, I believe this church is a son, I believe, has joined a cult.

Warning signs -in part, “If your child has joined a church that now has taken up all his time. That he or she has just informed you that he wants to move out from your home and move in with the members. If he has given up his goals and the aspirations he had to further his education very quickly after joining.He starts to dress differently and loses interest quickly in his oldest friends. Anytime there is a very quick change in personality and lifestyle influenced by the new group they are attending and they cannot explain or share the reasons. These are all warning signs that cult like changes have begun
If one is already faced with their child joining there are some basic guidelines to follow. The first thing one needs to do is avoid pushing one to make a decision to leave. The reason for this is that they are probably being told this will happen from their parents and friend’s, so they look upon this as Satan attacking. so one needs to be as patient and understanding as possible even if they know it is wrong.
Scriptures are often used about leaving your family or Christ came to divide. While these are all true they need to be interpreted right. Groups often bring biblical teaching to an extreme. You can show them other passages like Jesus taking care of his own mother giving her over into hands of John even from the cross (Jn.19) Paul says in Eph.6:2, "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise. What is meant is that a family that is non believers is not to have hold over one that believes and influence toward ungodliness. What happens is that cults divide a family that was once together as believers which is certainly not the intent of the passages used in Mk.10:29; Lk.12:53 As Jesus said about his family being there to see him. Luke 8:21"But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." He didn’t separate from his blood family, but explained the true meaning of family and their relationship to God. Certainly Mary his mother obeyed God, yet his brothers and sisters were non believers until after the resurrection (James and Jude).
Crossing Church, I answer yes to 1,2,3,5,6,8,9,10,11,12
If you answered "no" to all of the above 12 questions, your church is very healthy. If you answered "yes" to three or more, your church is showing signs of being unhealthy. If you answered "yes" to six or more, your church is very unhealthy. If you answered "yes" to eight or more, your church is more than likely a full-blown authoritarian cult.
Yes to number 1, 2, 3 (2 week fasts) 4,5,6,7,8
Reading a book “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”
Chapter 5 Identifying the Abusive System
  1. Power posturing, leaders spend a lot of time focused on their authority and reminding others of it, as well
  2. Performance Preoccupation, these systems are preoccupied with the performance of their members. Obedience and submission are two important words often used.
  3. Unspoken rules and the “cant talk rule”
Chapter 9 “Because I'm the Pastor That's Why!”...sounds familiar


  1. OH MY WORD, KATIE!!!! Wowie wow wow! That is so sad and scary yet I'm not surprised.

    I have had no run-ins with the Dykstras. They are not my friends and they vaguely know my name but there has always been something -- couldn't put my finger on it -- that struck me as not right.

    I will continue to pray for you and your family daily. God is in control. He will take this situation and use it for HIS (not Eric or Kelly's) glory! I am sorry that your family is going through this. I wish I knew a way to make it better.

  2. They did a little clip on Kare 11 one time about their church and how they used bribes to get people to come's, PS3, etc. I wonder what Kare 11 would think of your side of the story. Someday, if you are brave enough to tell them, you should. Your story is a REAL story. I'm sorry you are having to experience this. It is every parent's worst nightmare for sure. I will keep you all in my prayers!

  3. Katie,
    You and your family will be in my prayers. Stay strong!

  4. The thing is, the people attending the crossing, don't see it as a cult, because so many Christians are blind to what a church should look like biblically. Many, not all, Christians are being entertained in a fun church that does some good things. You want a church where the sermon makes you uncomfortable because it describes the condition of your heart, but yet has people who love you and want to encourage and see you grow more into a Christ-like being.

  5. man alive, scarier than scary. praying for you and your family right now. May God give you strength and courage. blessings rosalie in new zealand xx

  6. We haven't met, but you know my husband and he shared your story with me.
    Be encouraged as the body surrounds you and lifts up your family in prayer. There is nothing beyond Christ's reach to heal, there is nothing so dark that He cannot redeem it. May God bless you with His strength and the might of His Word. Will continue to pray for your family.

  7. I read a book a few years ago called The Elk River Story. This collection of faithful men and women canvased Elk River in prayer.
    Maybe they would be a resource for you...something.


  8. Someone on my FB posted a link to this. I do not know you or your family (I live in TX ) but I just wanted to tell you that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am heartbroken for you and I just know that God will lead your son back home where he belongs. I am so sorry you are going through this ordeal. It is so sad. :( Much love to you.

  9.! My mom is a pastor here in MN. Used to be here in the cities but now lives up north. She's been involved in a few cult rescues. I've sent her a link to your post. I'm so sorry your family is going through this. As you said in the beginning of your post. somehow God will use this to the greater good. I will be praying for your family, and for Curtis, and for all that is going on within that group to become transparent.

  10. Katie- we went through a similar situation with my sister-in-law. She eventually realized that God would not want her to give up her loved ones, her family. I pray that Curtis realizes this quickly. I pray that Curtis can hold on to his faith, be part of his loving family, and go back to following his goals and dreams in a healthy way. Sending prayers and strength your way.

    Nicole Krueger (Mankato, MN)

  11. I don't know you, and I am sorry you are going through this. I have 7 children, and I know it is tough when kids walk away from what you want, and when someone else is influencing them.
    I went through a really long, painful, excruciatingly devastating time with a former church, NOT the Crossing. I thought there was a LOT going on, others agreed. It looked BAD. For 13 months I wasn't able to know or understand what on earth was going on.
    Just last night, after 13 months, we finally got the whole truth out and I can tell you that not everything that looks bad is what you think it is.
    There is a possibility that this is not a cult and that you are misunderstanding some things. As are they. And there is a good possibility that one day they will see where they were wrong. However, in all of this, remember, God has a plan and He means it for GOOD. For Curtis, for you, for the Dykstras and for The Crossing. Be open and ready for truth in the future. Sometimes God orchestrates things like this to grow and change things, and IS something Curtis needs to go through in order to become the man God is planning for him to be.
    As a mom, I have had to learn that when your kid grows up you have to say your peace ONCE and then let them make their own mistakes. If you are there with love and support through their mistakes they will feel safe coming home to you later. He needs a safe place to land. The marriage is done, just love them.
    I totally feel your pain in this.

  12. I am so sorry for all you are going through. All I can say is don't lose hope. I recently left a group very similar to the one you are describing. If my eyes can be opened your son's can too. I think the fact that he is so close to the inner circle is a good thing. He will be closer to the double standard and hypocricy. Also, I know this marriage thing sounds like a really bad thing to you right now, but I also married very young, and from within the circle (where I came from the teachings about marriage were very similar), but my spouse was a new member and was still able to keep a healthy perspective. The double standard was very evident to a newcomer! So, when I was ready to see the truth, my spouse was there to support me and help me get out. Make sure you let Curtis know how much you love him no matter what. He will find his way back home. You raised him, the things you taught him are still in there somewhere.

  13. Eric Dykstra is a dangerous, delusional man. Over the years, I have witnessed my niece become entrenched in Eric's cult. Although I have only been to The Crossing a couple of times, I only had to go a couple of times to recognize that Eric's sermons are performances, not teachings of the Gospel. The man is an egomaniac. A "Pastor" who is proud of a "swearing" billboard (The Crossing's early claim to fame), lures people to church by giving away cars and "crap", asks members to leave because they are not the demographic he was "called" to "save" (drug addicts and alcoholics), and brags about his sex life is hardly a credible man of God.

    His wife, "Associate Pastor" Kelly is no better. She is a drama queen who thrives on giving out unbelievably misguided advice. I find it curious that on The Crossing's website, the credentials of both Dykstra's are sketchy at best. While it appears Eric may have actually formally studied theology, I can find no credential to support the "Associate Pastor" status of Kelly.

    Over the years, because of my niece's involvement, I gave The Crossing the benefit of the doubt. But that changed this Easter. The stunt of luring people to church by giving away crap got international attention. As I read the blogs, most people expressed how appalled they were. However, members of The Crossing fervently justified their Church's (and Pastor's) actions. There was a "holier than thou, you just don't get it" tone to their rebuttals. Any criticism of the church or Eric was fiercely defended. There was a relentless drumbeat of how on track the Church and Eric must be to receive such negativity! After all, such persecution only comes into play when you are really introducing people to Jesus and making Satan angry by "depopulating hell"! That was when the benefit of the doubt ended for me. It is clear The Crossing is a cult.

    Referencing the link above, in a cult, all teaching comes from the one at the top (Eric--it is quite the rare occasion for anyone but Eric to "preach"). Those at the top (Eric) are charismatic and thought to be God-like and not to be doubted. Manipulation (luring people to church with crap) is used to keep members loyal. A cult makes financial demands on its members (stretch yourself in giving to The Crossing so that God may perform a miracle for you). The general consensus of members is that those outside the church are "unenlightened" (recurring theme in rebuttals to the Easter stunt).

    Unfortunately, Eric is a dangerous, delusional, charismatic man with the ability to mesmerize people. The Crossing may be a "Christian" cult, but it is a cult, nonetheless. Several people, such as my niece and Curtis, have fallen under Eric's spell.

    I am sad for my niece who cannot or refuses to see how entrenched she is. I am sad for Curtis and other members of The Crossing who are entranced by Eric. I am sad for those of us who have loved ones captivated by the cult called The Crossing. I join Katie and several others in their concern: there is a dysfunctional, menacing darkness at The Crossing. There is ample reason to be troubled.

  14. A friend posted a link to your Blog on Facebook. I was immediately drawn in to your story. Will pray for you.

    I also wanted to say that I LOVE the song in the video...I wish I could have a whole CD of that voice singing to me. My husband was in the room when I was playing it and he asked me what band I was listening to... What an awesome talent!

    I will be following your family's journey.

    In His Name,

  15. Katie... i attempted to leave a comment, but my characters were way too many to post [Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters].

    so i activated the blog i have been waiting to use on blogger, and your comment is there. hence, it is the only post thus far and if you would like i can delete it at a later date.

    please see my response here:

    thank you!

  16. Your story was shared with me by a friend and I just want to say, I'm praying for you and your family. Sadly, this is a common story. I came out of a similar cult that had a hold on me for 8 years. We are free now. I pray for freedom for you son and his new wife. Remember she is not the enemy, she is just as vulnerable as your son was. That's what is hard to remember is that so many of the "core" people in cults are simply deceived members. The leaders, the ones at the top, are the scary ones. They manage to wield control over others. No one should ever encourage someone to drop out of college 4 months short of a degree. How disrespectful of the investment you and your son made into his education.

    Based on my experience with unhealthy churches who seek to divide mother from child, brother from sister, and friend from friend, I COMPLETELY believe you.

    My heart is with you today.

  17. I am sorry that you are going through this. You don't have many options because your son is not a minor. You can 1) let him go and pray he will come back 2) hire a cult deprogrammer, or exit counselor as they are now called. Rick Ross is an expert in that field. Tell him that you need an intervention. He will know what to do. His email is at the bottom of the page I just linked to. Good luck. I will pray for you and your family.

  18. I am so sorry for what you and your whole family are experiencing. I remember being an idealistic and gullible 18 yr old, so I can definitely identify where your son is at. I think he will wake up someday, and he will need his mom then.

    Contacting Rick Ross might be a good idea, but I don't think Rick Ross is a licensed counselor, and his methods are a bit more forceful. He is more of a deprogrammer than an exit counselor. You may want to try one of these:

    Knapp Family Counseling:

    Personal Freedom Outreach: (This organization is Christian-based.)

    Steve Hassan:

    You also may want to contact Wellspring Retreat, which is a "rehab" for ex-cult members. They may have resources for you.

    Until then, the best thing that you can do is appear supportive and keep the lines of communication open. His cult leaders have prepared him for confrontation, and he (and they) expect you to be combative. The best thing you can do is go against their expectations and keep him talking. If you can keep the lines of communication open, then when he starts to have doubts, he will know that he has a family to help him through it. Right now, he is in the honeymoon phase, but eventually, he will start to question the cult in his mind.

  19. I will be following your story and praying for you and Curtis. I wanted to let you know that you got The Crossing's attention. They are going to "directly address" accusations at their service this Sunday.

    I hope your son comes home to you.

  20. Please get this story to the media as soon as possible! If they are going to "directly address" this on Sunday, get the media there! Expose them! Expose how they pray on the young by handing out xboxes, and PS3 and cars! Expose their tactics so this doesn't happen to more children and pray Curtis realizes who they are before it's too late!

  21. My wife and I were involved with the crossing church for a couple years. We were leaders of three separate teams, & we were very popular. I am empathic to your situation and I would like to share my own story regarding the abusive leadership at the crossing.

    Please feel free to share my blog as you wish.

    -Randy Quick

  22. I read your story and my heart went out to you. My familiy left a simular church I call "The Wacky Church" here in Princeton. They have recently changed their name and moved out of town a bit. (Like that will cover them up) You are a very brave mother. It will get worse before it gets better. And only surviving and trying not to see every other church and its leadership under suspicion. I go to a good church now and have for 14years. They came to town when "Wacky Church" wanted us to keep our mouths shut, stop talking to people we knew then for 10 years and not go to the authorities for the abuse that was going on. They said that all of our hard work, prayers and sacrifieses would be "null & void" and taken away if we disoboyed them, and that my family would suffer greatly in the future. It was horrible. People we worshiped with were not allowed to speak to us and our children were not allowed to play. It was sick! I was grateful when this new family came to Princeton and became the new pastors of the church around the corner from our house. We just about gave up ever going back to a church again. A lot of years have passed and my family was a very strong unit. Much like yours. No signs of anything wrong. But years later, when I thought my family was at peace, in a stronger place as Christians, my daughter meets a Princeton boy, claiming to be a Christian from a good Christian family (not the Crossings, he filled her head with nonscense and told her not to listen to us and within 6months (3years now), she was moved out spewing things out of her mouth that I never thought were in her heart.I can't help but go back to words of the "Wacky Church" has spoken over us as they too were "casting out the demons". It is then I have to remember that their God is not the same God that I serve and love. And that my God will come down on those that have led our children astry with a vengance. I don't take pleasure in that..only that God is just. Unfortunately it may be awhile before you and your son are reconsiled. If at all. God is bigger than all of this, I know you know that too. But I leave you with this thougt...This world and all its only temporary. That you and your husband gave him the foundation of TRUTH-no the Crossings or any other person or chuch. And some day you will be reunited with your son either here or in heaven and it will be good. That is what I hold onto when I think of the loss, pain and anguish I feel when I can not hold my daughter or see her. This is only temporary. God will send the solution for you.I will not stop praying for you unil He does. In Christ, Pearl

  23. There is a spiritual abuse questionnaire at

    You should contact Chris Lawson there, also Jan Markell at KKMS and Brannon Howse and see if she will do a show on this.

    This is typical Purpose Driven behavior. They tell you if the pastor believes he has received this 'vision' of the church from God, no one can question him.

    I would encourage you also to listen to Dan Southerland's seminar on transitioning and read Dan Southerland's "Transitioning" book about how to "transition" an established (traditional, biblical) church into one like this. He writes it from a favorable point of view and it is very eye opening to listen to him give the seminar because you can also hear the tone of voice.

    The transitioning book can probably be gotten through interlibrary loan or on Amazon if you want to check it out.

    Chris Rosebrough did an analysis of it (I linked here from my blog with a few comments)

    The seminar is available online here if you scroll down you can see 8 sessions. There are a LOT of huge red flags in this, but churches across the land are using it to set their people up for spiritual abuse like this. Pastor is master, his word goes. If he says God spoke to him, well then that's that, no one can question.

    Also on Rick Warren's they have a 5 or 6 part series of articles by one Chuck McAlister on how to transition an established church to this model.

    part 1
    part 2

    part 3

    part 4

    part 5

    part 6

    This kind of thing is becoming VERY very common unfortunately, and the bigger and more 'successful' the church, the worse the stories are. Just look at Perry Noble and Steven Furtick. (they seem to be brothers in arms almost). Noble's minions managed to completely destroy one man's life who wasn't even a member of their church, but just blogged about the publicly available message there and took issue with his teaching. Including identity theft, impersonation, and interfering with an adoption (as a result, this man and his childless wife were not able to adopt the child they were about to adopt). One part of the story is here:

    Beware of ANY church that makes false divisions based on demographics. Completely unbiblical. Any pastor that responds poorly to Biblical correction is a ticking time bomb... if the elders will not hold him to account, they are culpable too. Feel free to write me if you have any questions, my husband and I will try to answer them as best I can.

  24. So grieved for what has happened. It shows the need to know and understand Bible doctrine. K Evans blog shows how she has cult attachment to the Crossings.

  25. saw the link to your story on FB. I was in a church cult for six years. It took another six years for the nightmares to stop. It's been 9 years now and it still hurts so deeply. How I found the strength to escape can only be attributed to God. I pray that your son and his new wife will beseech God as I did and that the blinders will fall from their eyes in an instant as it did for me. We escaped, unscathed by that congregation but as I said, we suffered many, many years afterward because of the indoctrination.

  26. Anne, here is my contact info- looking forward to hearing from

    If anyone would like to speak with me privately, either email me above or leave "private" in your comment and I will not post it, but leave me your email so I may respond ;o)

  27. You and your son have been in my thoughts and prayers. I stopped by to see if there have been any developments. God bless you.

    I see my original comment is gone. I hope I did not say anything inappropriate.


  28. I just saw your story on KARE 11 again. My heart goes out to you. I lost a great high school friend to this same cult like behavior. I was in their wedding, but they pushed me away from the start. I think she's at the point where she wants to make contact but feels akward. I have kept my heart open to her for whenever she's ready. I hope you can do the same for your son. You may have to wait a while, but never give up hope that he will come back.

    Best of luck!

  29. I found out about your blog by reading another blog. I heard about the Dykstras before by listening to Fighting For the Faith and I could not believing how self centered Eric and Kelly are. They seemed very manipulative and what you are saying confirms that. I would not trust Kelly in the least. She may be in charge of "damage control" at the church and it would be in her and Eric's best interest to say and do anything to mitigate any bad media attention. She seems very manipulative, and based on what I read in your blog she would flatter you if she thinks it would be advantageous. I did not get a good feeling about her since it seems like she believes that she and Eric are in full control of everything to do with the church and could even dictate how people should live. They do not understand that God desires that His people make wise decisions about how they should decide things and that it is never a good idea to do things just because a pastor tell them to do it.

    God has given His word and as long as a certain decision is not sinful (or unwise) we are free to choose what we would do. A practical example: My husband was offered two jobs this past week, they were equal in terms of the pros and cons, each would have served the purpose God intends for us (doing mission work later). My husband could have chose one or the other and rest assured that he made a good decision. We prayed about it asking for wisdom. My husband chose one of the jobs because he had the freedom to do so as any were good choices.

    And about Curtis not needing to "obey" you. I have a practical example as to why that was not wise counsel. My husband and I were not minors when we began dating so we had the "right" to marry when we wanted to. My parents did not want us to marry before we graduated college. We initially did not want to go with that. But we ultimately did because we chose to be gracious to my parents and wait until we graduated. Kelly's counsel did not include anything about Curtis considering you when he made the decisions he made. He may have had no obligation to do something because you wanted him to, but Curtis was certainly free to do something in order to extend grace to you. The fact that Kelly's "wise counsel" did not leave any room for grace, makes her counsel extremely suspect. God was not under any obligation to save anyone, but being the gracious God He is, He determined that He would send His Son to die for our sins. What Kelly was advising was anything but Christ-like.

  30. I just wanted to say I feel for you and I am praying for you. Our family has encountered almost literally the exact same experinence but with Ihop (int'l house of prayer) school. We lost my brother to this and haven't seen him for over 5 heart aches daily for him & also now for you as I know you share this same hurt, pain and is indescribable

  31. Hello!
    I stumbled upon your story on Bring Me The News which brought me to your blog. What a story. The truth will prevail and the teachings of this church (and others like it) will be exposed, thanks to your vigilance. Because of your story, I will be vigilant with my own children, as well. Prayers and blessings are sent your way.

  32. There is hope. I was part of a cult in St. Cloud that had connections to Dykstra. My (then fiance) and I came out of it.

  33. i have attended (actually this last april 2011) a sermon at princeton "campus" upon the request & advice of a close family friend who expressed interest in helping me educate my young kids on religion. being raised catholic and (no offense to anyone) having issues with organized religion, was completely appalled at the topic of the week- the sex bed and the sinner (it had a different, more unoffensive name that i cant recall). but anyhow, i have always been led to believe that there are some topics that are not talked about so loosely in such a setting. i found it to be very awkward and baffling to be discussing this in the manner that is was being offered. also pretty offended, i wasnt expecting to be attending sex-ed. the way this man talks is very directing, almost as if you are the only person in the room and he is lecturing as fast as he is judging. i am an unmarried single mom of two... with two different men... i felt like he was almost hating on me for my actions and choices. i have made my mistakes and do not go to church only rarely, but i dont feel like im a bad person for any of this, or by no means a non-believer. and feel that just because my way isnt his way (which in just this one time heard many references to his own sexual tendencies- very disturbing...) doesnt mean that i dont believe in god or jesus nor do i feel that im judged by the higher powers. i left there feeling very uneasy and immediately called my grandma- a devout catholic even though she has decided in last few years its not necessary for her to attend mass to be accepted into HIS loving ways. she too was upset at what i told her, advising me to cease attending. i had decided upon the second or third reference to erics sexual situations, only a short time into the "service", not to be attending again. unfortunately my son, 8, often almost begs me to take him back. it pains me to read your story. i was referred to check out the stories about the crossings accusations by a girlfriend when we were recently discussing baptising our kids. after i had said i had been to this 'church' she told me i HAD to read up on it. im glad i have now. it makes me feel less "unbeliveing" and not so crazy for what i had witnessed to be a supposed 'religious service'. my thoughts and prayers go out to your family and those who havent realized yet what a scam this organization is. i no longer bring up church or any kind of similar topic when speaking to my friend as shes a very sensitive person, but im with hope that it doesnt drag her any further in- this person is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict who has just been seeking out a way to comfortably show their devotion to their higher power... a lost person seeking guidance and acceptance... as it seems they prey on the emotionally weak and those looking to be repented, this person is a perfect candidate for their scam. and i find it sad and scary that they feel this is the place for them. but as for my son who just wants to be educated, we are currently seeking information from other friends who attend more traditional realistic groups. everyone seems to be helpful so i have hope that he will be properly directed. once again so sorry for you and your familys pain... praying for a quick return of your son.

  34. Wow! God really does work in amazing ways. I have attended this church for the last 4 weeks now and I too have felt there is something a "little off" with the way they do things. Especially the last service I went to. Pastor Eric was telling half truths in his sermon. Saying when Jesus returns he is going to have tattoos and suggested we get tattoos. I found this odd. I went home and read these versus for myself in the book of Revelation. They mentioned he will have a word only he knows "written on him". Also the words "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" on his robe above his thigh. Nothing about a tattoo. I just don't understand why a pastor would spin words in the scripture. Plus I have never heard a pastor boast about himself so much. I thought the teaching wanted us to be humble. For instance he came flying in on a 4-wheeler one particular service and almost flips the thing over. I was sitting in an aisle seat and was slightly offput by this. Many things could go wrong on an atv however he chooses to race through his congregation on an obviously not well maintaned machine.

    Then there comes the part when they ask for money or "thrive" I believe they put it. Where every week they gave a testimony of someone who was broke and gave faithfully and was almost instantly rewarded for it. They have offering envelopes for people to fill out with spaces for names and addresses. Why do they need to see who gave? That really troubled me. Then Kelly came out and gave a really nice story about where the offering was going. She listed a water purification system for an orphanage in a third world country I cannont recall. Then she goes into how they need money for a soundboard and as she mentions that she says something along the lines of isn't that something how the sound cracked or squealed once she mentioned it. I however heard nothing. The sound system they have would blow away any home theatre around. The immediate issue for offering than was air conditioning for the day care center in the church. Wait a minute. In my opinion if you care about the orphanage with bad drinking water so much wouldn't you address that first? I feel us privelaged americans can handle one hour without a/c but their orphanage could probably use clean water a little more.

    I'm glad I have seen other non flattering stories on this church and will no longer be attending. I'm glad I realized before I did fall under their spell. Like I said God really works in amazing ways! Now I pray he sorts this church out. Thank you and God Bless.

  35. I am so thankful for your note,and even more thankful that you listened to and discerned what you were hearing while attending there- this blog and others does serve a purpose...YOU!

    The scripture twistng is very common, the money thing CRAZY- have you listened to the podcasts on Eric? There was a conference last fall regarding his false teachings, here it is in case you'd like to hear it...

    Thanks again for your comment!

  36. Wow, seems like crossing church has hidden all the evidence of its wrongdoing from the public. Now anyone who speaks out can only be taken on their word, and those who are not going to believe them are going to have to walk in there and find out for themselves what a gristmill it is.