Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cult of the Week: Fellowship of the Martyrs

This group caught my attention while watching "My America" with Lisa Ling. While I traditionally stray from Fundamentalist Christian cults, this one was too interesting to ignore...

This group seems to be inviting, loving, helpful to the poor, yet full of powerful, destructive contradictions. The core belief system is a complex mix of demonology, wife swapping, faith healing, and a direct commune with God while living in a spiritual oasis in Liberty Missouri.

The pastor, Doug Perry, a charismatic former businessman who forged his own ministry in 2004, posted lengthy sermons on YouTube, outlining in verbose detail what he deemed the gross shortcomings of the institutional church and describing his vision for a community ministry in which all the Christians work together to feed and clothe the needy. They come in the hope of spiritual awakening, personal sacrifice, and find joy in the give and take of it all. Then the disenchantment creeps in...

Perry, the son of an Excelsior Springs pastor, had grown disillusioned with the institutional church when he was a teenager. As a college student, he distanced himself after observing what he describes as seedy behind-the-scenes practices. And though he double-majored in religion and psychology at William Jewel College and earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he entered the business world. (so we have a son of a pastor, a double theological major and psychology major...what does that tell you? He knows how to manipulate, perhaps?)

By 2004, he was running his own furniture business, Built to Last Home, in Liberty. He said he was happily married with a child, living comfortably in a typical suburban neighborhood. It was then, he said, that he experienced a religious awakening.

During a prayer session in Blue Springs, Perry said, he was granted the power for 15 minutes to see the world from Jesus’ eyes.

The experience radically altered the course of his life. Within two years, he had closed his furniture business. God, he said, told him to stop paying for advertising and use the money to help the poor. He and his wife split up in August 2006, he said, and not long after, he rented out the first town home in Liberty’s Ashley Acres neighborhood.

Perry began his ministry with the idea that if individuals struggling with addiction or attempting to work through troubled pasts lived together with strong Christian mentors, and were therefore in position to receive a constant stream of support and ministering, it would help accelerate the healing process.

Because Perry considered his group a faith-based rehabilitation facility, he opened his doors to those he believed were most in need of assistance. Perry said he has housed drug dealers and addicts, at least one sex offender and “a guy that had gotten out of a super-max prison for killing a cop.” He has permitted parolees to use the place as a residence and has long grouped members together the way he says God instructs him to, which has sometimes meant pairing a recovering drug addict with someone still using.

The Martyrs believe God speaks directly to them. Members are taught to heed God’s voice, letting it guide them in everything they do. They also believe man’s transgressions can be traced back to the temptation of demons. “When you read in the news that somebody’s raped and killed 14 girls, who’s guilty?” asked Rusty McAlister, the group’s longest-standing resident. “Not the guy. It’s the demon.” I love's the devils fault.

There is extensive talk of demons and exorcism and the potential for violence. Perry has a rather unusual idea about marriage. It is said he believes that people are married or divorced when God, not a court, says they are. It’s an idea, he said, that’s “not out of the realm of what plenty of other groups around the country believe.” Wife swapping is not a common practice in conventional religious dogma.

Perry, whose website features a wedding ring wrapped in thorns, considers himself married to another Martyr, though they’re not legally wed.

“He was saying marriage is a covenant, but in actuality he was teaching people that marriage was kind of like being friends with somebody,” one member said. “That it happens, and then it falls apart. Then it happens again, and it falls apart.” Really?! That's what happens in high school, or a drunken romp at the club. Not a marriage.

The world wide pulpit is the Internet home to the hundreds of videos Perry has posted to YouTube, some of which involve Perry railing against the institutional church and urging viewers to pledge martyrdom. Perry tells his viewers that the perception of the Martyrs is that “we’re part of a group that seems to worship and be obsessed with death — and I think I might be hard-pressed to argue with that.” In another, regarding the institutional church, he says: “Something needs to be done. Something big, something dramatic, something that’s going to hurt real bad and something that’s probably going to cost a lot of people their lives.”

Perry denied that his ministry promotes violence. “The fact that I wouldn’t cry if God hit (the institutional church) with an asteroid does not mean that I’m going to take God’s job into my own hands and go blow things up.”

But in October, a former member of the Martyrs was arrested in Oklahoma and charged with plotting to bomb nearly 50 churches. Gregory Weiler II, who lived with the Martyrs for roughly six months in the year leading up to his arrest, is accused of threatening to use an explosive or incendiary device and violating the Oklahoma Anti terrorism Act after police discovered in Weiler’s motel room bomb-making materials along with a list and maps of churches in the area.

Perry shrugs off the accusations levied by critics and other former members. He acknowledges the pitfalls that come with the Martyrs’ living arrangement, such as occasional theft and violence, but said he has no plans to alter the manner in which he runs his ministry.

“You get bonus points in heaven for the drug dealers and junkies and murderers or child molesters or whatever,” Perry said. “So if we’re going to be serious about saving the lost, then I want the most lost." I didn't know that salvation was on a point system, I certainly missed that scripture.

“If we’re going to get the hard cases, then we’re going to have some that relapse, some that make you want to pull your hair out. … I am mocked and reviled by bankers and pastors and lawyers that I know, and I am loved by toothless, hungry, lonely, hurting people. And I think that’s exactly the way Jesus would want it.”

Asked whether he believes the environment could pose a legitimate threat to the well-being of the children living on-site, Perry shakes his head. "God, he said, "has it under control."

So...there are some fundamental issues that I have with this group common sense wise and biblical. First and foremost, people of faith stood in line last summer to purchase soggy chicken sandwiches to protest the marriage and happiness of people, not them. Yet, we have "spiritual marriage" that would basically render probably 99.9% of all marriages ever, null and void, and billions of children bastards, and also renders God's holy institution of marriage no longer holy.  You know the crux of the holy roller argument...According to this group, you can be legally married, but if God "speaks" to you and tells you that your spiritual spouse is your brother/ sisters/ or best friends spouse then you must obey the voice that may or may not be God's. What happened to the sanctity of marriage? Marriage being between one man and one woman? What about what the Bible says, for God has made marriage a wonderful thing before Him, right from the Garden of Eden, and so much so, that He even refers to the Church as the Bride of Christ, admonishing men to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. Can you spell hypocrisy?

This church has an unnatural fixation on demonology and exorcisms. They believe that demons are the cause of depression, panic attacks, phobias and fears, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation (cutting, etc.), anorexia, agoraphobia, guilt, self-condemnation, worry, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-hate, anger and others. They believe they can heal people from physical problems like lupus, fibromyalgia, heart problems, broken bones, chronic pain, food allergies, epilepsy and seizures, infertility, addiction to Methadone and other drugs, brain problems (confusion, Alzheimer's, dyslexia, etc.), and others - even autism in children. When the demons get exorcised they have to go somewhere and something have to replace the space the demons occupied. This theory is the "cup model". There are three things in our cups, sin (red stuff), self (yellow stuff) and Jesus (blue stuff) and we ask Father God to fill us with Jesus, i.e. blue stuff when the demons are exorcised, otherwise they will comeback with friends. 

Fellowship of the Martyrs believe that they speak directly to God and they ask him for guidance for such mundane decisions like, "what shirt should I wear today? or "When should I go to the bathroom?" So what happened to free will, wisdom and choice? I thought the purpose of God creating man to have free will was so that they wouldn't be a bunch of mindless drones whose love for him wouldn't be actual love for him but mindless obedience. I know that's in opposition to what every single church doctrine tells us...If we get to hear audibly the voice of God tell us every move to make, then why do we need the Bible again? Wouldn't the source, the horses mouth, be the best source of the information, instead of a designers imposters, or something "inspired". Might I add that the most devoted saints in the scriptures seldom heard the audible voice of the lord. Sometimes it's only a few times in a lifetime, not on a daily, hourly, momentary basis.

According to the leader, he "heard" Jesus and God the Father arguing in a vision. How is this possible? Aren't they one in the same and on one accord? How can one have an argument with oneself? Only Nicki Minaj along with other schizophrenics that are eating the grapes off the wallpaper can boast that particular honor.  

This group is one of the most anti-biblical groups that I have ever seen and whatever voice propels these people to join this group is not the voice of the Lord. Doug Perry does not have the moral center or authority to lead. This is one group that I can say is close to a modern day heresy as theology can come if it hasn't already been classified as one. In the old times, people like Perry would get hung, disemboweled, and have his head cut off for creating a dogma so outrageous. Sadly, that fate would be too good for him and would inadvertently grant a backwards yokel with a god complex the ultimate gift of martyrdom. 


Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct. Doug and the FOTMs are so far out of the Word it makes a man cry.
We have a friend and brother in Christ who recently was at the heart of story about the FOTM group. He related many of the things that are mentioned here. He lost his beautiful wife and children to this group. His wife came home and said God had told her that her marriage to him was over, she removed her wedding ring and that was it. I am not saying the marriage was perfect but there was no suffering for Christ, only selfish desire for what was perceived as the "easy way out". She will stand before Christ one day, and based on His truth, be held to account for being an adultress as well turning her husband into an adulterer if he remarries. So there is the truth.
What we got from Doug was on the news and the saddest thing was hearing absolutely no love in his voice towards the family and their struggles. He spoke not a word of the truth in the scriptures. He was clearly more concerned with "protecting" what is not his, his ministry. He was set on minimizing the bad press. Christ says we known by our fruit. It is so sweet to smell the fruit of patience, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and most of all, love. Unconditional, freely given, love. The same love we hold for those we are close to, given to those who drive us nuts, who say we're stupid or ugly or worthless. If we do not see even the smallest part of that expressed in his videos, how can we not question who rules his heart? Thanks for this article and it's references. We need to pray that many will see it and think twice before joining with this man and his lost and broken heart. Pray too the Lord will protect the lost from false prophets and guide them with His sheperd's hand to His Truth, not Doug's. May Doug fall broken like us all, it is only then can we know the full measure of His mercies and His true purpose of love.

Rebel Flower said...

Thank you, glad to wake some people up on this group

Anonymous said...

The person who the whole Lisa Ling story was about is my brother. I find it really hard to believe that his soon to be ex-wife heard God telling her to walk away from a marriage with 4 kids. I know he had good intentions when he first arrived there, but like the article said: disenchantment soon set in. When Doug was questioned about his actions (picketing other churches, etc.), and also shown the error in his ways according to scripture, he attacked the character of that person. I agree 100% with what this article said. Anybody who has half a brain should stay away from this guy, and group, because it's full of hypocrisy and lies. How does one know that what they are hearing in their head is what God is telling them? Some of the sheep following Doug need some sense slapped into them...especially a person who is about to lose her children because she "heard God tell her to take off her wedding ring." What a load of crapola!!

Anonymous said...

There will always be people who are in search of something that they can't find in normal places, so they are attracted to these lying charlatans. I saw Doug and this woman who is someone else's wife on Dr. Phil, and both he and she were angry and mean. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself...not love your neighbor's wife. What a punishment awaits him and his lost followers at the judgement.

Anonymous said...

watched Dr. Phil tell him off yesterday, let us hope people will realize that anyone that thinks he she can control you is crazy. I hope they get this guy and close him down soon. Before someone get killed or hurt. there are many children at the shelter and my heart goes out to them?

M Jaime Garcia said...

Your a piece of shit.. dude.. You should use god to make you look so inocent... because... so far dude your are a fucked up piece of shit and so is your cult..... I hope that you can find peace in your black ugly soul... LOL.!!!

Anonymous said...

Good for Dr Phil! Dougy thought he was smart, but Dr Phil sure put him in his place. Same with Rick Ross facing down the almighty "prophet", who could not admit any fallibility.

Doug Perry - Fellowship Of The Martyrs said...

This blog is full of misinformation, misquotes, misunderstandings and gossip. If you're seeking the TRUTH about what I believe and teach, then ask ME. We don't teach "wife swapping", I never said Jesus and the Father were arguing, I don't believe we're the only ones God talks to, demons are a TINY part of all that we do here (and the Bible confirms the reality), spiritual marriage has NOTHING to do with sex or physicality or spouse - and more twisted nonsense that this article repeats without any care or fear of the Lord.

I don't hardly see how wishing my violent death proves that YOUR theology and relationship with Jesus is what it ought to be. I doubt anybody will listen and it seems pretty pointless to even comment on this page full of hate and lies, but everybody is going to have to answer for the words out of their mouth (that's Bible, not me).

If all the people that SAY they love Jesus were actually ACTING like Jesus, it would be a lot more convincing when they tell me I'm wrong. I welcome anyone to talk TO me instead of just ABOUT me. If you have questions, then ask me directly. I'm not hard to get ahold of. If you don't have the discernment sufficient to separate out the lies, innuendo and gossip, then you're probably not ready for what's coming anyway.

I pray the hard hearts evidenced on this page would be softened and God would move in their lives and let them see through the eyes of Jesus.

Rebel Flower said...

Really...I don't find anything that you teach to be particularly uplifting, spiritual or insightful. First off, your views are in contravention to scripture, so let's not play that game with me. I'm not one of your minions who will believe the nonsense that I have heard come from your mouth. If you read my post thoroughly, I never wished for your death, I stated that your teachings are heretical and as such in the old days, you would be burned at the stake, drawn and quartered or put on a trial by ordeal. If that is in someway confusing, I apologize that the use of metaphors aren't as brilliant as "blue stuff and white stuff."

Did I say that spiritual marriage was about sex? You just said that. The guilty speaks...I used yours and your followers words, so don't get mad at me for calling you out on your b.s.

You doubt anyone will listen to this page of hate and lies? Looks like the cult leader, and that is what I am indicting you with, listened to me.

I pray that whatever experience you think you have with the Lord won't further warp the mindset of those that are on the fence with religion. But you sir, prey on the weak minded and gullible and to debate that is misguided and frankly pointless.

I hope you can sleep well at night knowing how many lives you have ruined and undoubtedly will ruin in the future. I'm not so sure I could nor would want to.

Anonymous said...

What is horrible is that these kids that are involved with FOTM are probably getting sexually and physically abused on the daily. Marriage seems to be treated as a joke and promiscuity is probably common here too. To say "Oh God told me to do this" is...well ridiculous and I'm sure people have lied to get their way. "Oh God told me to rape this little boy". Hope there's not pedophiles that joined the group! It won't be long until a sex scandal breaks out from this cult, FOTM.

Anonymous said...

What is coming?

John Crowder said...

You know the concepts he breeds is designed for the last days, during the tribulation. We do know churches are having their issues not all but many are not actually in line with the teachings of Christ. Many cults will form and act like they are doing the services Jesus spoke about in communal settings. Many of them start out with great intentions then they begin to control their members over time.

Usually this control comes from taking the Word of God to extremes. We all are victims of some of these enthusiastic leaders. This will actually get worse as we get closer to the return of Christ.

While I agree with this groups concept I do not believe they are actually good for fellow believers. I believe if this group would follow God's way and not their own.

Like I stated earlier their intentions were good in the beginning, then they lost it with the charismatic fanaticism dealing with marriages and relationships which in any church is always the first and foremost problems within the body of Christ.

Then comes the radical teachings which ultimately destroy the foundation. I have witnessed this issue in just about every church I have been involved with. It's very sad God's people have to suffer these types of leadership within their communities.

It's not the intention of the way God runs things, God church has become littered with this voices of whom totally wish to control people with guilt. I'm hoping God will close those groups down He usually does if such an organized religion is not baring good fruit. Or looking for attention by self serving methods and tactics. So you can rest assured the sun even within is always exposed.

Anonymous said...

The hook is the common ground of agreements...

Hey, a great place to feed the poor, be a community, help people...

Those are good things and intertwined with "we need to stop fighting" and "learn to get along" which is good too,

but then bringing in bizarre teachings and using the excuse of "get along" to bypass normal constraints that would turn people away actually sucks you in more...

In actuality it is not about religion, it is about control and manipulation, and the religion is the "carrot" to entice and subdue...

In reality their words change depending on their audience... and nobody really knows what the leader ACTUALLY BELIEVES, because if they did no one would stay.

its a trap no matter which way you look at it. and they use fear (end of times - war, pestilence, disease, famine, etc..) to lock you into thinking "this is the only safe place"

Its a brain pretzel of control and manipulation...

John Crowder said...

Agreed, there will be false prophets among us. False teachers those who will be led to destroy even the very elect. This is a prime example of what the Bible tells us just a smudge of what's going to take place.

This kind of behavior will begin with meeting the physical needs of their following. Once reigned in followers will begin a process of using the Bible to control people much like Wacco, Jim Jones, other cults of past as well as new members who claim to be doing things in the name of Jesus.

I'm very sure we are on our way seeing more and more of these communities popping up, we are in the last days, beyond the birthing pains of our Lords return.

These gatherings are dangerous as well as some churches operating today.

The true Church is involved in preaching salvation saving souls and love lots of it. The sangtidy of marriage. The taking care of its parishners. Uplifting, and not always telling people their going to hell. Love and everyone serving each other without expecting things in return.

This a is a church which is healthy involving every aspect of what God is bringing spiritually, mentally and physically. Working to uplift each other that's the foundation which will never crumble.

This kind of church I believe will go underground as we approach the last days, they will gather in secret not exposing themselves to scrutiny or argument. Let alone be involved in religious ceremony or cult like behaving.

The true Church will simply disengauge from public eye. Loving one another serving each other according to scripture not following man but following Christ.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know how cults operate watch youtube "how cults work" will clue anyone in to the manipulative nature of these small religious groups, and about such leaders who seek to have puppet control over their converts.

Anonymous said...

Does so serious historical research and you will find Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be"The only begotten son of God who was born, lived and died so that all who believe in Him, shall have eternal life."

Dayle Craven said...

i'm so glad this was on TV again. this guy is a false prophet and misquote scripture and he uses people for his own gain. he makes up rules as he goes. he is only out for himself. jesus would never picket others. he is only about love. he is love. this man only promotes himself. RUN. AND RUN FAST.

Anonymous said...

I PRAY for all of the brothers and sisters here to hear deeper the words they are writing.....Satan has won this debate by allowing no mercy or forgiveness or TRUE authentic Christian LOVE to pour......

I thank you Lord Jesus for bringing us all together to glorify our father for he is truly the only one creator with whom knows the heart of all his children......

For all those here that have never sinned may you have my undivided attention and throw your rock at this person with whom has wronged you? or your brother? or sister in law!.......if not PRAY......better yet go down and see him with whom you are ACCUSING being this person Doug with whom I have never met, as I was researching demonology resources and discovered this write up, compelled by the Holy Spirit to bring some light into a very dark place.....I can see that this individual has been accused of many immoralities pertaining to his christian beliefs, based on one accusation. Stand in the Courage of the Lord and humble yourself to be bold enough to tell him to his face how unchristian you feel about him! if this matter so truly grieves you go down and speak to everyone there, if your still not happy take them all home with you, feed them and clothe them and remember they must be able to come and go as they please! Love you's my Christian brothers and sisters......Love you Father God and JESUS rocks!

Rebel Flower said...

That truly made no logical sense and I would delete it, but it just proves that the defenders of this cult are borderline, brainwashed retards, that are functionally illiterate.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what people portray God to be. To think that God is something to be feared is or that God would or could for that matter punish or kill anyone is absurd I believe that for too long people instilled fear into others by saying God would punish them for whatever behaviour and unfortunatetly people bought into it and to think in this day and age people believe that. From what I've heard the FOTM sounds like a cult and it's unfortunate for the children involved. Everyone has their own life lessons to experience and learn from. And as long as people continue to believe they need or deserve to be punished there will continue to be people like Doug perry to take advantage of the situation at hand.

Anonymous said...

I've been aware of FOTM for a few years. There's really nothing new here. Bad doctrine leads to bad practice, and from the 1st century until now there has been heresy. Any scholarly Sunday school student could tell the difference between Doug's rambling and the Gospel. Those he leads astray are willing victims, rejecting what is written and swallowing Doug's cartoonish error instead. There have always been heresies, some so extreme they come with poison kool-aid and sunglasses--others more obviously foolish but no less eternally dangerous. Doug gets attention and it is all he really wants. That, and followers. Someone has to buy the food. Doug looks well fed. Probably has a lot of lamb stew.