Barry Bowen is the Staff Investigator at Trinity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that investigates religious fraud, theft and excess. From 2005 to 2010 Bowen served as one of the third-party whistleblowers assisting the U.S. Senate in its investigation of six TV ministries.
INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):
· A Look Into The Latest Lakewood Church Protest
· My Ire Against The Church For It’s Apathy
· When Does Life Begin? Is It Any Of Our Damn Business?
· How Churches Resemble Organized Crime
· How Witchcraft Can Be Used To Grow A Church
· When Do Preacher’s Become Corrupt?
· Addiction To Power
· Informants Actually Can Be Useful (Never Thought I’d Say That)
· Preachers + Fantasy + Roleplay
· Lack Of Accountability For Preachers
· More Money Is Embezzled By Religious Leaders Than What Is Spent On World Missions – Est. $60 Billion
CONNECT WITH BARRY:
CONNECT WITH DE’VANNON:
· Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)
o TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs
· Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary)
· Leaving Hillsong Podcast With Tanya Levin
· Upwork: https://www.upwork.com
· FreeUp: https://freeup.net
VETERAN’S SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
· Disabled American Veterans (DAV): https://www.dav.org
· American Legion: https://www.legion.org
INTERESTED IN PODCASTING OR BEING A GUEST?:
· PodMatch is awesome! This application streamlines the process of finding guests for your show and also helps you find shows to be a guest on. The PodMatch Community is a part of this and that is where you can ask questions and get help from an entire network of people so that you save both money and time on your podcasting journey.
You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your life.
There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s dive right into this episode.
De’Vannon: Hello? Hello. Hello everyone. Our favorite staff investigator from the Trinity foundation over there in Texas is back today for part two of our T spieling series on these churches. Y’all his name is Barry Bowen. And this episode, we’re going to get deeper into the scandalous nature of some of the world’s most well known preachers and churches. Y’all. So in this episode here, we’re going to take a look into the latest Lakewood church protocol. I’m going to talk about my I, or that I [00:01:00] hold against the territory’s apathy. I’m going to talk about how criminal informants can actually be useful in investigating churches. I’m also going to tell you how witchcraft can be used to grow a church. And then Barry’s going to break down for us to have more money is actually embezzled by religious leaders each year than what it’s spent on world missions, which is estimated to be something around $60 billion. Yes, bitch, 60 billion.
Take a list and please.
Welcome everyone to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast. This is my second interview with. World renowned. And in some circles, infamous, especially if you lead a mega church Barry Bowen, he is the staff private investigator, the Trinity foundation, which is an organization that exists to eke out all the dirt that churches do both small and great, and to help bring to light the [00:02:00] truth so that you can make a more informed decision about the people who you choose to follow.
Barry, how are you doing today?
Barry: I am doing well. And I’ve got an alarm going off. I have to turn off
De’Vannon: done. I can’t be near it. Oh no, there we go.
Hey, at least I know that you, weren’t going to forget this meeting one way or the other. You have the alarm set and everything. I appreciate that. So on our last. At our last interview, we talked about Hillsong church and we got into like an overview of the church corruption. We talked about how you got into being a staff investigator and everything like that.
And the passions that drive you. And we talked a little bit about Joel Olsteen, Lakewood church. Everyone knows my history there of serving fiercely in the volunteer ministry. They are applying for a job only to be discarded from the ministry for not being straight up. They found out on my MySpace page, where [00:03:00] I had on my scaffolding clad outfit, which was nothing but underwear.
And I was talking about them on my space page, how I hang on in Montrose and just the gay district and Houston and how I wasn’t straight. And then they said it was such a scandal and they fired me from volunteering and it was, I was all heartbroken and everything for years. And now here I am to clap back at Lakewood church.
And so many other churches and by providing knowledge and information, so we’re going to get right into this again. And now the website, I want to tell everyone is Trinity F I that org, I believe that stands for Trinity foundation international, that it incorporate it. You know? So Trinity FII that org, if you want to research more about Barry, he has an amazing blog on there where he really gets very granular, like a good investigator would.
And he gives you some gross detail about the things that he’s discovered [00:04:00] about these churches over the years. So since we’re talking about Lakewood church, and since this just happened, I want to just get right into it. So these girls decided to show up. And show out in the middle of the service. Other than the video, I saw Sheldon actually down in the front theater seating you know, a few rows back from the pool pit from a podium.
And then I also saw them on like their microphones or megaphones or whatever outside doing a protest at Lakewood church. This is, these are people who are pro abortion girls who were pro abortion. My body, my choice is what they were saying. What is your take on this?
Barry: Well they opened up themselves to litigation and possible prison time.
There’s a federal law that makes it illegal to to trespass inside churches. This goes back to the 1980s, early nineties. There [00:05:00] was a group of pro-life protesters affiliated with an organization called operation rescue. They did massive sit, sit ins. Thousands of people were arrested in these.
And I’m on the other side there’s act, act up was the aids coalition to unleash power. They were advocating for more money for aids research. They were holding protests and they actually entered churches. And because of that when bill Clinton became president Congress passed face that’s an acronym, it stands for freedom of access to clinic entrances act.
Basically it made it a federal offense to do a sit in an abortion clinic or in our church and do the same thing. So I don’t know if the da and Houston and Harris [00:06:00] county will press charges or how they’ll go about doing that. But It could be in trouble for doing that. I don’t know of Lakewood pouring lots of money into pro-life organizations.
Joel Osteen for the most part tries to avoid topics like sin and politics. I mean, it does, that does happen. He does get interviewed and then it looks like I’m a deer caught in headlights. I didn’t want that question to be asked, but he likes to talk about the joy of the Lord all the time, but that doesn’t prepare people for human suffering and other topics.
There’s not a random out Joel Osteen. So the
De’Vannon: girl who did the the protest, her, her whole point was like this. She was like, you know, you want to stop me from getting an abortion and keep me from getting [00:07:00] critical health care and interrupt my life. So I’m going to show up here and interrupt your life.
That’s that’s what she was saying is the why they presented themselves in the middle of the sanctuary, you know, in the middle of the service, he was like, you fucked up my shit and my fucked up. Yo shit.
Barry: So, so the background is the state of Texas. The state legislature is passed some pro-life legislation and then attempt to criminalize most abortions.
So that’s part of the background that we didn’t really mention earlier. I, there court challenges, I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out.
De’Vannon: On the one hand, you know, I mean, I don’t, you know, I, I agree with you, Joe, really. Doesn’t like to get his hands too dirty, you know, he answers with those non-answers, you know, after you asked after a reporter, [00:08:00] asked him a question after he answers it, usually I’m like, okay, I don’t know what the fuck you just said.
You know, he’s very like very like a politician. He doesn’t really answer the fucking question. I think he, I don’t really know what he said. I read an article that said he’s made his stance clear on abortion rights, which I don’t think he’s the sort of person who’s going to like be on the side of the woman.
So I don’t know. I’m all for like the protesting outside the building, you know, interrupting the, interrupting the service to do it. I get her anger and everyone was online was like, yeah, you go bitch. You do that shit. You know, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck Lakewood. Fuck Joe. And I just want people to be careful that you’re not getting into a realm of catering to anger and negative energy as we come back, what churches and politicians are trying to do, but I get where she’s [00:09:00] coming from.
She’s like, I don’t know what else to do. I’m not being heard. So I’m going to show up here and make this whole big scene. And at least I’ll get someone’s damn attention, you know, this way. And it’s unfortunate that women have been put in this position where they feel like they have to do this. And it’s unfortunate that religion is so tied with politics.
You know, laws are being made to effectively make someone obey God and not sin in. And my problem, I, my, I R I have towards churches is that they’re not vocal about this churches, in my opinion, should be, should be combating politicians and telling him to leave religion alone. You know, they should be at the very least saying, you know, let God deal with people, but it’s not for us to try to force righteousness upon people, whether you agree with abortion or not.
You know, I believe churches should open their fucking mouth for more than asking for money and just rosy stories.
Barry: Not him. TOF was a very prominent atheist was a [00:10:00] columnist I believe wrote from the village voice publication. That was an alternative newspaper and the New York city. And he was a pariah to the to the left because.
He was an atheist that opposed abortion. So what happens is a lot of people don’t know this, there are some atheists that also opposed abortion. So it’s not just a religious issue and for some people I mean, so when does life begin? That is an interesting question for me. And so when you look, when science looks at it, if they were to find a one cell organism on, on Mars, that’d be rejoice and we found life on another planet. And then they’ll say, well, this inside a womb is is parasitic or it’s it’s a clump of cells.
It’s not a life. I mean, I think there’s a lot of [00:11:00] disingenuousness I understand the argument about bodily autonomy. In the case of Texas this, the state legislature passed legislation that would have had a criminal I’m sorry sanctions against the woman that had abortion, so punishment for the woman.
So that really upset a lot of people on the that are pro choice.
De’Vannon: I, the way this whole argument comes down to people being nosy and not minding their own damn business. And whether life starts here, there are tether in the wound. Once the kids are born or somewhere, you know, the Lord hasn’t spoken that and you know why the Lord hasn’t spoken it because it’s none of our fucking business.
And if he wanted us to know that, that he would have said so, so everybody could have their own hypothesis, but at the end of the day, [00:12:00] I agree with the woman. It’s her body. It’s her fucking choice. You cannot make, you can’t help her have the baby. You can’t help her. You know, you, you’re not there for any of it.
And so, and by you, I mean, whoever the fuck it is, he wants to dominate. It seems to me, people get caught up in their feelings about certain things. When people get very emotional over children, you know, and stuff like that. But, you know, I’m gonna warn people about the nature of hypocrisy and the trick of the devil, which is to get you to focus.
On things that you find to be fault in other people you’re not focusing enough on yourself and what you can do to fix yourself. So are you worried about the gaze and wanting to get married and a woman who wants to get an abortion? You got your own things that you ought to be dealing with, but you only have so much time in one lifetime.
And if you’re going to invest heavy amounts of time into critiquing other people, then you’re not going to properly assess yourself to get yourself ready to stand before God. So I counsel and warn people to leave people [00:13:00] alone.
Barry: Well, and again, this is one of those difficult situations because of some of the court precedents.
For example, there are men that have attacked pregnant women. Ex-boyfriends that don’t want them to have a child. Things like this have happened. Women have been brutalized and then miscarried right after. And then it’s been taken to court. Did they kill a child? And then imagine a jury ruling that this was murder and then, oh, but guess what a woman decides to have an abortion.
It’s not, so, I mean, you’ve got a conflicts in the legal system. It really is. Challenging. How do you be consistent?
De’Vannon: Well, all I know is this, [00:14:00] I got to stand before the judgment seat myself in it, and I don’t feel like I have the luxury to spend time critiquing other people. I just don’t,
Barry: you know, Bible says the way that we judge others is how we ourselves will be judged.
So I, I want to err on the side of showing compassion. So I support Organizations that make that provides support for women going through an unwanted pregnancy. I mean, there are a variety of things that churches can do. They can provide baby formula. They can provide the services, things that women need that are going through that have a child they’re, they’re struggling financially.
Women need a sup often need a support network. They need to help them [00:15:00] people to help them with basic necessities, et cetera. And so there’s so much the church can do besides politics.
De’Vannon: Yeah. But however, they have become like corrupt and stuff like that. I wish the churches were more practical and actually did useful stuff. You know, like what you were saying earlier, you know, with the way way Joe preaches and you know, like he has such a positive message, but what he says is it really useful if you are going through like a serious problem, you know, maybe that’s his message and that’s the way he’s supposed to preach.
And I mean, I mean, God bless you. If you live such a life, you know, such a life where a nice rosy flowery message, like that is all you need, you know, but those of us who have been through like serious problems, but who are going through serious problems, we need a meatier, a stronger word than that. And so, but you know, but you know, but good on you.
If you, if [00:16:00] you haven’t had harsh problems in life and that’s all you need, you know, it’s a brand, it’s a market. Maybe that’s all that they’re designed to do. But I still wish the church would actively do more because they take such public stances against some much, and yet they don’t necessarily do a whole lot.
Like when I was a member at Lakewood for all those years and stuff like that, I wouldn’t have, like, if I would have needed help to pay a light bill or, or some sort of trouble would have come upon me, I wouldn’t have felt like I could have gone there to ask for assistance. I wouldn’t have known where to go to ask for assistance, you know, and I just feel like churches should, should do more than give us encouraging messages and shit like that.
Barry: I can talk about that. Some, there are some churches will actually have a benevolence fund. So part of the church budget will actually go to helping people in need. And some churches you’ll have deacons in the Bible [00:17:00] deacons. They took care of widows. So so often in churches that have deacons, this’ll be a role that as wasted upon them.
Like the, the church my dad had worked at many years ago, they had a food bank. And so if somebody needed food, they could go to the church and would provide a sack of food are more than that. We would sometimes help pay for somebody’s electric bill. They couldn’t pay their electric bill, things like that.
Generally the church would have a limit to the amount of money that can be spent. And those are safeguards to be in place. So it’s not abused. Some churches will work together. A group of churches will give money to the salvation army. And so then the salvation army runs programs for housing and the homeless.
There are other and I live in the Dallas area and [00:18:00] there’s an interfaith network that runs a large homeless shelter here. I don’t know much about Lakewood’s Efforts in this area, because number one, I’ve never seen a budget for them. I don’t see where the money goes. And so this is something that I want to see churches being more transparent about is where is the money going?
I believe donors should check out organizations and before giving on a regular basis, if it’s just a one-time donation of $20, you don’t need to check out an organization. But if you’re giving hundreds of dollars year after year after year or more, check out the organization to see where the money’s going,
De’Vannon: they don’t like what doesn’t publish, like say an annual report.
Like I think I saw like maybe Joyce Meyer ministries or someone like that. They make it seem like if you request to see where the money is going, that it’s available. Have you ever requested it from Lakewood?
Barry: I have not. [00:19:00] I have not. Some churches are a members of the evangelical council for financial accountability, and that is one of their requirements help ever.
There’s a loophole there. If they believe that you’re harassing churches, whatever they don’t, you don’t have to provide documentation. So I have I know someone that runs the website, check my church. She Sarah, she contacts a bunch of churches and I asked for financial information and a lot of them don’t provide it.
I mean, it’s a problem.
De’Vannon: Well, I’m, I’m not surprised, you know, churches just don’t. They have all this shit to say there was a time that I had emailed before I learned how to research the Bible for myself. I had emailed a bunch of different churches to ask them like their stance on homosexuality and things like that.
Most of them wouldn’t reply, you [00:20:00] know, it’s, you know, personally and privately to somebody, but they, you know, they have such like a bold message to say about everything from the platform. But I’ll say this though. I know Lakewood, at least during my tenure there, they spend a hell of a lot of money on Chick-fil-A.
So that must at least be a few million in the budget because I was there at least 10 hours a week and got damn the amount of trays I saw Chick-fil-A plat or swerving by there on the carts was just ridiculous. I didn’t know that Chick-fil-A was such an anti LGBTQ organization, you know, at the time, I don’t know.
They always have been, so that’s just one thing I wanted to, to tell you, Barry, they, they do support Chick-fil-A intensive.
Barry: A lot of Christians do Chick-Filet they give money to different Christian causes, Christian organizations. They have I believe the foundation or, or their [00:21:00] it’s corporate sponsorship that how they fund it, it may come straight from the company, not the foundation.
I’m not sure.
De’Vannon: Yeah. So for those of you who don’t know, Chick-fil-A hobby lobby, you know, they are a staunch supporters of anti LGBTQ plus organization. So we do not support the hobby lobby. We do not support the Chick-Filet, no matter how cute the dam eat more chicken with the misspelled buck and chicken word billboards, the cows, trying to get you to eat all the chicken and shit, you know?
Fuck Chick-fil-A. So. At some of your writings, you, you feel like churches are a lot like crime organizations and things like that. What similarities have you found?
Barry: In the European union, they have adopted a legal definition of what is organized crime. And they’ve got like a list of, I think, 16 factors.
[00:22:00] And there are, if I recall correctly, there are four mandatory on the list. And then if four of six and then you meet several others, then you automatically are defined as organized crime. So number one, organized crime has to involve more than one person. So if it’s just one person operating by themselves, it’s not organized crime.
And generally they’ll have very specialized tasks. By the way, Wikipedia has an article on organized crime. And if you go there, it lists them says they activity must be over a prolonged or indefinite period of time. They use discipline or control. They perpetrate serious offenses, they use violence or intimidation.
They operate on the international or transnational level. They engage in money laundering, exert influence on politics, media, [00:23:00] public administration, judiciary, or economy, and they’re motivated by profit or power. So those are a really good list. And when I look at some of these televangelist organizations, there’s been a lot of, of money laundering.
I mean, this is information coming to us from informants I’ve found number of related organizations of televangelists and the offshore leaks database. There are drug trafficking has actually taken place on at least one televangelists jet that came out and a foyer request that I submitted to the FBI.
Because of the details, other details in that report, I’m not at Liberty to say what, who it is. There may be actually [00:24:00] several televangelists that have. Drug traffic. And in fact I suspect more than one the number of crimes they commit. I mean, there’s texts of Asian. One of our informants basically described these televangelist jets as laundering tubes.
We know that this televangelist have collected money in other countries and not declared it when they came into the United States. So if you carry money across international borders, are you leave them on the U S with cash? If it’s over a certain amount of money, you have to declare it to do not do so you can get in trouble for that.
When you deposit money in a bank. If you deposit say $9,900 in one bank, then go to another bank [00:25:00] on the same day and deposit $2,000. You’ve committed a crime. This is called structuring. The federal government prohibits people from trying to evade this reporting requirement. So anytime over $10,000 is on deposit into a bank, 2000 cash and has to report it.
There are documents called suspicious activity reports. And unfortunately there’s this bank secrecy act, which prohibits the banks from releasing some of this or the government from releasing this information. I think it would actually. That some of the televangelists are involved in international money laundering, but we’re not at Liberty to attain some of those SARS suspicious activity reports.
I’m gonna tell you either way [00:26:00] organized crime. There are several televangelists that have had links to mafia. In the course of my research, I’ve found two televangelists that receive loans from mafia. So one of the ways the mafia made a lot of money was through something called loan sharking.
They would offer high interest loans, the people that banks would pass on. And so one of those people was Rex Humbard. He was a televangelist pioneer in the fifties and sixties. He he got money from one of the New York five families through actually one of the unions. So the mafia to cover unions at that time, it was.
And what happened was the unions had a huge pension funds. And so by getting their people in and taking over the unions, that access to all this money that was invested on the behalf of the [00:27:00]union employees and I’m so alone was made to Luxembourg church ministry and Tilton, Robert Tilton and other televangelists.
He he was involved in getting a loan from Harmon Beeb or BB. I’m not sure how you pronounce his name. But this guy had a working relationship with Carlos Marcello who was the mafia leader of the new Orleans mafia. So, I mean, there’s really weird stuff like that. There are additional Remmers that have not been able to verify.
I keep looking for evidence, but I’ve not found it. But, and there was a guy named Mickey Cohen that he was involved in Sunday up a casino in Las Vegas. So he worked on the west coast and Mickey Cohen was involved in the mafia. [00:28:00] He went to a Billy Graham crusade. He a former person that worked for the mafia became a committed Christian, left the life of crime behind and try witnessing to him.
And so Mickey Cohen He decided I’ll try Christianity. And but he did not want to leave his crime behind because that made a lot of money. And in 1980, I’m sorry, 1957, the New York times wrote a story about it. And so th this Christian friend of his challenged, Cohen’s like, well, why are you going back to crime?
He says, they’re a Christian, but ballplayers Christian Cowboys, Christian politicians, why not a Christian gangster? And so that, that quote is just crazy, but I really do think a number of these people operate like gangsters. Hmm.
De’Vannon: So [00:29:00] the thing about that, that stands out to me is the way that we can use.
Righteousness as a motivation to do just about anything in our heads. So I even heard where LATAM or Putin believes that this war, that he’s raging is the will of God. Like he feels like he’s doing that. You know, it reminds me of when saw before you became, Paul was out persecuting, the people who believe in Jesus, because he felt like it was righteous.
You know, people can get in their emotions about, just about any fucking thing and believe that the ends justify the means and everything is okay. And cool. So they’ve used mafia money to bankroll these churches, but you know, publicly they’re going to speak against crime and stuff like that. And you see, this is why it does do deal.
We, it does due diligence for us to know the people we’re supporting. I’ve heard it said before. [00:30:00] Like, did, you know, witchcraft, w I talk about witchcraft and stuff like that quite a bit, because it’s real that I’ve been a victim of that before, but there is there certain churches and things like that that I have heard of where like the pastor, you know, wanted to have a high following of people, a large number of people.
And so, you know, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a spell or a ritual or whatever you want to call it, that can be done in order to, to, to, to shift the tide in your favor. It, so that you will grow a large audience of people, which involves human bones. And you know, so you don’t really, you know, just as something big and popular and flashy, the roots of that thing might be quite dirty.
You know, you never really know what you’re dealing with. And when we talk about these preachers in these pastors and everything, I like to remind people, you know, you don’t really know them, you know, when they show up to preach there at. [00:31:00] You know, so they’re showing you a certain side of them and aspect, you know, they have their game face on, you don’t know what them people are doing and saying when they’re not around you, you know?
And so you don’t really, really know them. And so I’m wondering what your thoughts are. On exactly when pastors become corrupt. I know some of them go into it with, you know, just with the corrupt intentions from the beginning, they just want to open a church for a year or two, milk it for all of his worth and then closed the bitch down and, you know, hit the Vegas baby or whatever the case may be.
And I think some of them started off good. Then they became bad from when I was a drug dealer. One of the things that surprised me the most was how addicted to power over people on became what I, when I came to a point where I had influence over people, it changed me. And from that experience, I learned that whenever a person has sycophantic people around them and people, you know, cooling after them and stuff like that.[00:32:00]
Before, you know, it, it can begin to corrupt and alter your motives in the power you have over people and the knee to now keep them around. You can influence the decisions that you’re making before you were aware that that’s happening to you. And so these churches now have all of these millions of dollars and all of these followers, they have to keep those people in order to maintain their lifestyle and what they’re doing.
And so when I hear preachers talk, it’s almost like they’re trying to toe the line and that kiss everybody off and stuff like that. So their word is not pure, you know, anymore. What are your thoughts on. And then they give you a specific example of that. When I was reading on the Lakewood riots, you know, they were, they had asked them about the whole gay thing.
And at the end, I think Joel said that he would definitely never marry somebody because that’s against his beliefs, but they let him in Victoria would attend the gay wedding. You know, if their friends got married, that’s what the [00:33:00] article said, you know, that’s different than what they’ve said previously, because before they were just like against all the gay shit, you know, all of our gay beauty and glory entirely, so answers like that, make it seem like what a preacher says, shifts with the temperament of the world rather than just being a standard.
So what do you think about when do preachers become corrupt in how their message has changed by about by trying to maintain their lifestyle?
Barry: Yeah, I mean, it varies from preacher to preacher. Some of the people that I investigate. I think they were always frauds. Unfortunately it’s, you can get into legal trouble sometimes if you name names and you say they’re guilty of fraud and they’ve never been convicted of fraud.
So there, I mean, there’s one specific [00:34:00] person I have in mind, but I’m not going to say the name that I don’t believe for a minute that he believes anything. He preaches, I’m convinced it’s totally a scam, everything he says. And I’ve watched videos where he preaches. So a little over a week ago, I was on Facebook and Facebook recommended an article to me, and it was about a expert on syrup killing and this This expert.
And I don’t remember his name. He’s living in the U S and France. He told many stories, He he had claimed to the interviewed over 70 serial killers. And, but there’s this fans of the true crime genre. They just ate up his articles and books, his speeches, but some people started raising questions.
And so there was a Facebook group that was formed to [00:35:00] investigate and, and they, they went in all in and they discovered numerous lies. So I was reading this article and I came across a term that I had never seen before. Methadone, many. And the Amidah maniac, they tell, constantly told tales about themselves.
They’re lying habitually, and there’s a word called pathological liar. And it’s a clinical diagnosis. There are people that lie all the time and some of these preachers are a lot like that. And when you construct a mythology about yourself, sometimes they’ll tell fanciful stories about their past.
And what happens in with a liar is you tell a lie and then you have to tell another lie to cover the previous lie, and it becomes a habit. And when you become a perpetual liar, [00:36:00] you’re no longer authentic. And I think this is a serious problem that we have not really explored much a planning to write about it more in the future.
But I think this is actually how some of these people got started a white lie, a little lie, they tell, and then they have to tell another and another. And so what happens is because of that, they, but they stopped being authentic. And because of that, their moral compass is shattered. They I think line can actually be a precursor to becoming a criminal.
And so this is a new line of thinking that I’m exploring. There’s one person that I’m looking at that we actually had an informant contact us and said that this pastor’s in. He doesn’t believe the Bible at [00:37:00] all. He laughed about the Bible on a private setting. And so I’m not going to say who the preacher is.
I’ll leave it to other people to be curious. I mean, you know, I tell you off the camera of it. There’s there are people like this, that it’s a scam and this preacher preaches the prosperity gospel is well-known in prosperity gospel circles. Yeah, I mean, there’s a book, there’s a Bible verse about crime when it, or sin, when it, it lust desire.
It’s not just talking about sexual to talking about other things. And I forget the exact context in the verse, but when we desire something that maybe we shouldn’t have Greed. I mean, you look at the 10 commandments grieve, do not [00:38:00] even desire your neighbors ox or whatever it says in that verse.
Yet the Bible says we’re not to be lovers of money, but you look at the prosperity gospel preachers of the bunch of them are lovers of many. That’s almost all they preach about sermon week after week after week. So some people, I think they compromised there are priests they’re stories of priests and pastors that developed a gambling habit and because of gambling losses, they embezzled funds.
So maybe that’s what led to them getting involved in crime. There are pastors that had a flying, got a woman pregnant then, well, what are we gonna do? We’ll help pay hush money. And so. Jim baker is not the only person to ever pay us money, but somebody that was not a wife that he was involved sexually with.[00:39:00]
But I mean, things like this happen and I think that’s another way it can lead to criminal and other bad activities is not being faithful to espouse. There are people that will blackmail you and there, if someone gets pregnant that’s how are you going to take care of that child?
I mean, they don’t want their church congregation knowing that they’ve done this. I mean, I’ve heard of pastors pressuring women to have abortions. They got them pregnant. I mean, that’s related a little bit to what we spoke about earlier. But yeah, so lying, I think leads to crime can lead to crime.
There, the Bible talks about the fruits of spirit and one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control and I’ll be the first person to admit that I had been lacking in this area in my life at times. It’s a hallmark of people that have [00:40:00] addictions and some of the pastors that we investigate, I suspect of having addictions.
I mean, I don’t have the proof then I’m not going to name names for that reason specifically. But there are some that have taken various narcotics, some for ’em because of pain. And I don’t know when a person lacks self-control they can create a lot of.
De’Vannon: Yeah. So what, what you’re saying is in there, the lack of lack of self-control besides getting strong out on dope, you’re talking about the superfluous lifestyles in general. So yeah, [00:41:00] so
Barry: that’s for me and self-control, I want to write a book, but I’m a natural procrastinator. I’ve been, I’ve struggled for years.
And completing things that I start. This is just one of my, one of my weaknesses. And so I mean, there are a lot of poles, a lot of American struggle in the area procrastination. And that’s actually another topic that I might want to write a book about because one of the areas where I’ve had struggled, there’s not much written about it.
And that’s the topic of maladaptive dangerous. I’m the person that can daydream for hours and just not even realize it. And suddenly where did the day go? It’s wild, but very little is written about that in the literature on procrastination. And so a person that lives in a fantasy world, imaginary world, what if your air, your mind is going in the area of [00:42:00] human sexuality?
What if this becomes sexual fantasy sexual role playing? There’s all kinds of problems that can happen in that realm. I think and I’ve not seen the research for this, but I would not be surprised if some rapists, some sexual predators. They struggle with maladaptive daydreaming in the area of sales show, fantasy and sexual roles.
There, there are a variety of things that I want to explore that are going to make people uncomfortable. And when I see some of these preachers preach the way they engage in storytelling makes me think that there is fantasy or role playing involved.
De’Vannon: You’re [00:43:00] saying that they, that they’re losing touch with reality.
De’Vannon: let’s see. The thing about that is the people around them are not challenging them because, you know, we’re not taught in churches to challenge authority and they’re probably not truly encouraging themselves to be checked and challenged either.
So, so I can see how our preacher can devolve in the middle of their congregation because you know, preachers are not really accountable to anyone. The government doesn’t hold them to account of. People already have them in high esteem because there’s supposed to be clergy or whatever. So they really are some of the most unaccountable people in the world.
Then when you don’t have accountability, you can go buck wild, you know, quite easily, you know, before you even realize it. But you know who, you know, who really is going to check them, you know, who, you know, that’s what you’re trying to do through your organization and thank God for it. But those people don’t operate from [00:44:00] the perspective of fear.
You know, they don’t think they don’t think something’s going to happen to them. If they do something that’s not right. They know that no one’s going to come and get them, you know, likely, you know, and I was thinking this morning about, you know, to your point about how they get superfluous. And they, you know, they rack up all this money, all this fortune, all this fame.
And I was just considering, you know, the prophets of old and the preaches from the Bible days, you know, a lot, usually those people weren’t very well. You know, outside of the Kings, you know, the Kings of the entire nation of Israel, they weren’t rich, you know, and they were not popular, you know, easy keel Steven, you know, the, you know you know, Isaiah, Jeremiah, no, those prophets were sent to argue with the nation of Egypt, Israel with the people were supposed to be God’s people.
They weren’t really sent to argue with the world. You know, a lot of the contention in the Bible is happening, you know, in God’s nation, you know, his internal [00:45:00] conflict, but generally speaking, the, the great preachers we think about were not popular people. They were not liked, you know, they were heavily persecuted and stuff like that.
And you flip the script today and the preachers today are well received everywhere. They go, they have celebrity access, they have money and power and everything like that. But from the beginning it was not. So, and so I don’t know. What do you think about that? The contrast there.
Barry: The, on the Bible, there’s a verse in second Thessalonians.
It talks about the falling away of the church, the church descends into apostasy. So the church becomes, becomes corrupt from within it’s a prophecy from scripture. And I believe we are witnessing that today. It’s been happening for centuries and some would say the church has always been corrupt. There’s always because centers are involved in the church.
When you look at [00:46:00] early Christian literature, this is not in included in the Bible, but the dedication was like a little booklet, whatever it, it was instructions for early Christian leaders and it prohibited the pastor from begging for money if they did. So they’re considered to be a false.
I mean, people don’t today in the church, most people have never even heard of the dedication that I don’t know, even know it exists. And unless you are to take a church history course in a seminary, you probably have never heard of it. So I mean, this is one of the problems that Christians don’t know their history.
The Bible says about false teachers or teachers in the church that they will tell people what they want to hear. They’ll scratch their itch years. And I’m convinced you see that [00:47:00] with Joel Osteen, big time. And these prosperity preachers that serve like life coaches, always telling people you can be prosperous if you give money.
I am convinced they’re telling people what they want to hear. People that Preach that it’s not God’s will that you ever be sick? I’m again, I’m convinced they’re telling people what they want to be here. Most people, not, not everybody believes what they say, but it’s, it’s a problem.
There are the Bible talks about the full counsel of God, and you’re not getting that in a lot of churches. So, I mean, there’s two different types of preaching style. There is expository preaching where you go verse by verse and then there’s the nomadic preaching or a person does topic by [00:48:00] topic. I mean, I’ve listened to preachers, do both like a pastoral preach that entire book of the Bible week after week, going through verses to complete one chapter and then the next, then the next, and by doing that, you can cover a broad basis.
But in today’s church, a lot of preachers preach on topics that they feel comfortable with, or they prefer speaking on some churches that just churches they’ll have what is called stewardship month. In the month of February, they’ll preach about money. Some churches it’s a regular pattern.
They preach about Eastern your Easter and so on. But it’s very easy for a pastor just to stick with what makes them comfortable. And it’s not a good thing. You, a pastor should want to make [00:49:00]people uncomfortable. They should want to speak the truth in season and out of season. I mean, if you really believe the truth can set people free from bondage and you should be proclaiming it all the time.
And Christianity, it teaches that sin separates us from God. And so, I mean, this should be a a thing, but you hear less and less about scent. They’ll want to talk about love or prosperity or happiness. And, and there’s more to it. I mean, the Bible talks about suffering. The Bible talks about the fruits of the spirit.
The Bible talks about parents being godly role models for their kids. I mean, there, there’s so many topics that you can, a preacher can preach on or, or they can just start with one book and then preach to another. And, or you can do that in a [00:50:00] small business, a small Bible study. If your people were to do that, I think they would encounter the verses that offer a proper critique to the prosperity.
God. The Bible says that about church leaders, that they must not be lovers of money. Well, how many of these prosperity preachers are gonna quote that Bible verse or read it to their congregation?
Barry: You need them to be well-rounded in the word. The Bible says to study, to show yourself approved and to God, a worker that rightfully not ashamed dividing the word of truth. I just botched that verse. I know it, but it’s in, I think second Timothy I might be wrong, but study to show yourself approved under God.
When I was a teenager, I’m [00:51:00] at a new year’s resolution to read the entire Bible. And so I did not finish read the Bible that year. I made it a new year’s resolution this next year and then failed again. Third year I made that in a resolution. I read through the entire book. I’m convinced. I never would’ve read the entire Bible, had it not been a goal.
And so again, a lot of Christians, I think they go to church to get, be spiritually fed. They don’t feed themselves though at home. I mean, how many people this week, that claim to be Christians will actually open a Bible away from church and read it. And that’s where you really learn the word is when you study it on your own.
De’Vannon: Yeah. I be telling people that all the time, like we shouldn’t need to go to a church building to feel the closest to God when I was an immature Christian. I used to think that I had to go, you know, running the church and be at Lakewood or wherever. But specifically at Lakewood, because they’ve had the most.
I would [00:52:00] say intricate worship experience there. And so I would think that I had to be, you know, in the main sanctuary at Lakewood church before I could actually feel close to God, that was immature thinking, you know, now I know better. I actually feel closer to God when I’m not at church, which is how it’s supposed to be.
You know, when you, when you read through the Bible and everything like that, when the Lord is dealing with several characters throughout the whole thing, you know, I want to say reading, the whole Bible is good. People don’t do it from Genesis to revelation because it doesn’t follow order. I would suggest start in the new Testament.
It kind of work your way, you know, maybe like back from there, but cause they can confuse you, you know, and really hurt your mind to try to fit the thing in chronological order because it’s not in chronological order. Gosh, I lost my train of thought. What was I, what was I saying before I [00:53:00] launched off into that warning about the, about not reading the Bible and like a specific order. Okay.
I’m sure I’ve got all the time. Yeah. Thank you Lord. I know what I was saying. So, you know, it’s more, you know, I now know that I get closer to God when I’m in my private time with him, then I preach spiritual independence to people all of the time, because there’s a scripture that says that there should come a time in your life.
And the Bible says that you will have me that no man should teach you. So this year means that you grow and gone to a point where you don’t or you no longer need a pre. Churches like school. Eventually you must graduate. You shouldn’t, you know, where they sell it to you in these churches. Like it’s a badge of honor.
If you’ve been a member there for X milestone years, 10, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years. And so they pump you up and build you up and make it seem like you’re more part of the family, or you have some sort of status if you’re a 30 year member or whatever. But [00:54:00] I look at you with somebody who has not grown in God.
Like you could have, you know, at this point, what, what are you still hearing these preachers say? Well, to your point, the messages are not heavily complex. They’re not a whole lot of deep themes in them. You know, these days, you know, they’re, they sound watered down and maybe people are going for the community and for the laser lights and all that.
But you had mentioned earlier about like the whole falling away and this, there is the whole thing. I love how. Like Chris cross and God has made scripture. It’s not something that’s so claim to understand because everyone can read the same scripture and you can get different things out of it. But I believe a person’s interpretation of scripture reflects what is in them.
I see when I was growing up and that scripture about there being a falling away, they always made it seem like it would just be a bunch of heathen folk who just didn’t want to fuck with God anymore and stuff like that. I don’t think they ever considered that the falling away would be because of the church itself, you know, [00:55:00] and because of preachers, you know, pushing people away, you know, either direct.
Or by their corrupt ass lifestyles. And then I, and I never thought I would see the day where I would be the one preaching against churches and against preachers and the way I grew up in church and everything like that. I never thought that this would be my ministry yet. Here we are, because churches are doing so much damage to people these days.
It’s just unreal. And I want to say, you know, various mentioned informants a couple of times. I don’t really care for criminal informants because they use the Judas on my ass when SWAT came and raided my apartment with the canines and the helicopters and the rifles, the semi-automatic rifles on the face shields and the cavalier vest and kicked my door in when I was a big, bad drug dealer in Houston.
You know, I guess you do have to be pretty big time to command all that sort of government funding to come and get your ass. That was a big time drug dealer in Houston. You know, [00:56:00] you know, when a swamp came and got me and all of that, so.
Damn it. I lost my train of thought. Like, again,
Barry: you mentioned informants, you mentioned formats. Well, I want to add something about that. W there are rumors of televangelists having killed people. And how do you back up the word of an informant? Often they don’t want to go on a record. I mean, some of our best tips for investigators come from insiders that have worked inside some of these organizations.
And so it’s important for an investigator to reach out to people that have seen things and in churches well in business business world they know that employee theft is a serious thing. And so I’ve worked retail in the past and you’ve got [00:57:00] companies like Walmart office Depot, staples companies like this, that they will have employees in these companies that they oversee procedures to reduce employee theft and other.
And so they’ll go into a store and check out a cash office to make sure that things are properly logged. There’ll be security cameras in the money room where the money is counted. They’ll make sure that the receipts that the registered. And what the money that was taken out of the register are match.
There are numbers, all phone number will be in the break room and employ if they suspect an employee, a coworker of doing criminal activity they could call the 800 number and report that person. And they can even get a reward for turning someone in. That’s been stealing from the company and the church world.
We generally don’t have those kinds of [00:58:00] people to re to call the contact that can do a proper investigation. For example us, we look at it, fraud, theft and excess, but rarely theft, because number one, we generally don’t have receipts and generally it’s the church not contacting us to.
Internally if they’re going to investigate, they would hire their conduct, their local law enforcement or an accountant or an attorney to do an investigation. So, I mean, we’ve looked at some theft issues, but not that much, mostly we’re documenting fraud, which involves deception lying in order to get money, things like that.
And extravagant lifestyles. So a televangelist somebody living w beyond their mains is a big red flag for us. And so we try to document those types of things. The pastor’s living in multi-million dollar homes, et cetera. [00:59:00] But the informants really can fill in the gap. For example they’ve told us where some of these people have homes.
We’d never, would’ve known that Joel Osteen at a home in California, if it wasn’t an informant that told us.
De’Vannon: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. I was just going to say, if anyone out there wants to snitch though, I’m not a fan of them. I’ll make an exception this time, then berries, you know, he’s buried Bowen on Twitter.
You know, that’s how I contacted him. And all of his contact information information will be in the show notes. Is there any other way an informant can reach you to the spill, some tea, if they so desire,
Barry: we have a form on our website that informant can fill out. They can filled out anonymously. They don’t have to provide a phone number or contact information.
However, when that happens there’s not really a way of following [01:00:00] up. I mean, we, we, we try to protect our informants. If, if they want to go public we can help them do so. If they want to talk to media, we can possibly help that happen. If they want to fill out a report to the IRS we know how to fill out a form 13, 909 to report a non-profit official who’s doing criminal activity.
There’s all kinds of different ways of going forward with an informant.
De’Vannon: I hear you for the protection cause informants, they need to be protected.
Barry: Yes. I’m not going to be on your podcast
De’Vannon: today. I’m not going to dive too deep into the protections. I wouldn’t want to divulge the way that you protect them.
We still have a few more questions. I just wanted to throw that out there. Since we were on the subject of informants
Barry: Main way we protect them is just with holding [01:01:00] their name. So like for example, we, if we were to publish a report with the IRS, it would say in our notes, it would say it was, came from a confidential informant.
We wouldn’t provide their name unless they gave us permission to do so.
De’Vannon: Hm. So you wrote somewhere that you feel like more money is stolen, I guess each year from the church than what has spent on world missions.
Barry: Yes. That came from the international bulletin of mission research every year, the January issue, they have a publish a table of global statistics. The person that started this I think his name was David Barrett or George Barrett.
I forget he was the editor of the world, Christian Almanac and. He wanted to develop a [01:02:00]spreadsheet for global Christianity. He was curious about how much money is going to the church. How is it being spent? And when he got curious about, well, there has to be some money that’s embezzled. How much is that?
And there is an organization. My mind is blank. It’s an association of, of forensic accountants that they study fraud. And they have come up with an estimate of how much money is embezzled by non-profit organizations. I don’t remember the exact amount, just say 5% for example. So what they did David Barrett, what he did was he estimated how much money went into the church and para church organizations and then 5% or whatever percentage.
This was the helmet she estimated was embezzled. More money. W if this is ordered to be true, there’ll be more money embezzled by [01:03:00] religious leaders than spend a world missions. And we really do believe that to be the case. There are a number of churches that spend very little on world missions, and there are a number of really large mega thefts that happen that surface every year.
There are people that will still for year after year after year, before they ever get caught. And then when they’re caught the, the sums just add up really big. There was a woman named Laura Ford. She worked at fellowship church, a mega church in grapevine, Texas, pastor of the churches, ed young, Jr.
And she was embezzling for a number of years before she got caught. And one of the techniques that she used was the church ran a camp and sometimes parents, they would pay in advance for the kids to go to camp and then had to cancel. And so seek a refund. So she has [01:04:00] right up refunds, but then the money would go to herself.
And so this was one of the way that she was embezzling and there was no other person to really check her work. She worked in the church finance department. And so she was able to do things like this for a number of years without, before she got caught. Generally a church should have checks and balances.
You want to have two people signing checks if only one person signs a check that can be a problem you want to limit to how much can be charged on a church bank card. You want just say anything over a thousand dollars or $500 or whatever needs to be approved by a committee. So large expenditures have to be approved by a committee.
You want things safeguards and like that in place. You want the money counted. [01:05:00] If it’s a lot of money you want it counted on camera. There are things like that that can really reduce theft. You want multiple people counting and Those kinds of basic safeguards that the business world is adopted churches should adopt them to.
Do you have also the training in churches? Like for example, when I worked in retail had to watch a training video and one of the videos, it said that if you see something suspicious, ask questions I don’t think people are taught that, that go to work in most churches. There are texts laws that people need to be aware of that work in churches.
For example, if the pastor’s wife accompanies the pastor on a number of trips sometimes that’s, if the church is [01:06:00] paying for her travel that should be considered a fringe benefit. And it’s true. There are receipts. If you turn in a receipt for embarrassment or you reimbursement for an expense, you should have a receipt.
This is what can get some organizations in trouble if they’re reimbursing expenses without receipts. That is a big problem.
De’Vannon: You have a figure exam around about figures, about how much it’s stolen each year.
Barry: Yeah. Hi, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at it, it was in the January issue. I think it was about estimate about 60 billion this year.
I forget the exact amount. So in my book I’ve written a rough draft. This was a couple of years ago. I published the first chapter online. And again, it’s [01:07:00] a working rough draft, but a balance sheet for global Christianity. It’s on a website called the Christian Sentinel, a friend of mine, Jackie Eleanor runs that website.
And so I go into the meth methodology of this level, this about the spreadsheet for global Christianity. There’s a breakdown by region by Europe, north America, Africa, South Africa, south America Australia, so forth Asia. A lot of the money comes from north America. A lot of this theft. It really does
De’Vannon: well that doesn’t surprise me at all. Th the Americas is such a, it’s such a broken, broken country is just such a broken country. Like morally ethically. And, you know, and we just can’t get on the same page, but you know, what is America comprised of a bunch of different nations from all [01:08:00] over the world?
You know, we’re not really like to say you’re American means a lot. Like what, you know, in terms of like ethically speaking, you know, if you were from France, you know, you are French. If you were born in ELA, you know, you were Italian, you know, America has a bunch of people from all over the world who, who got over here, the indigenous people were the ones who were originally here first, you know, so this is really their land.
And so, so to say, you’re an American, you know, you were born here, but your nationality probably traces back somewhere else. That’s not here, which is something in my opinion is very unique to America, to America. But I think because of that, you know, we just can’t see eye to eye, you know, in this country. I don’t feel great unity here in So let me see.
I think that might be all I want to cover with you this time. I’m going to have to have you back [01:09:00] for a third time because I really, and so, so next time, like I really, really want to get into, we’re going to talk heavily, not today, but I’m just going to tease a little bit. We’re going to get into the Bible translations industry.
You have a kick ass firstname.lastname@example.org website, because one thing that I preach a lot to people is for them to fucking God damn learn how to read the Bible for themselves. I will cuss if I have to, whatever it takes for you to understand that you don’t need a preacher to comprehend what God is trying to tell you from his word or.
At least to look at it historically to see how it happened back then. So we’re going to talk about who translates the Bible, how much money they make and stuff like that. I found it to be most interesting and most terrifying as well. And then we’re going to talk about a couple of other [01:10:00] things too.
’cause this is this subject matter here. I don’t, I don’t like the rush in general, but especially something as valuable as this is as valuable as you are, as valuable as the information that you have and how much church means the people. I don’t want to rush through this. And so the we’ll go ahead and close out.
I felt like I’m running a revival, like a three-night revival or something like that. And this is the second night interview here, but we won’t do the benediction. We won’t do the Benedetti on it. We’ll just we’ll do that later. There. Anything that you would like to say at all about what we’ve said today?
Barry: If you have questions, if you’re in a church environment where you suspect fraud or theft or something, and you want to learn more about what laws may apply, feel free to reach out to me and [01:11:00] ask questions. I’ll be glad to try to answer them or dig deeper with you and to finding out what’s going on.
Thank you. Yeah.
De’Vannon: Alright then. Thank you so much for coming on and we will be doing part three soon.
Thank you all so much for taking time to listen to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you can find more information and resources at sex, drugs, and jesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.
My name is De’Vannon and it’s been wonderful being your host today and just remember that everything is going to be all right.