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The Need for Sua Sponte Judicial Review Laws For Pro Se Litigants’ Lawsuits

Judicial reform is needed to require that judges instantly dismiss abusive, frivolous lawsuits, especially those filed by self-represented / pro se litigants, before financial harm is done to innocent defendants needing to hire attorneys to get these abusive, frivolous lawsuits dismissed.


Cults and religious frauds use a variety of harmful tactics against their victims – including filing abusive, frivolous lawsuits.  This is one of the tactics used by Ken Parks (aka, Pastor Ken, Pastor Ken Parks, Pastor Ken Max Parks, Pastor Max, Ken Max Parks, Max Parks).  Ken Parks advertises on social media his unregistered, financially unaccountable ETC Ministries, Simplicity of Christ / SOC Ministries, and his unregistered “professional photographer” businesses.  He runs these activities from his apartment.  Despite calling himself “pastor”, Ken Parks is not an ordained minister.


The matters discussed in this website involve subjects which merit constitutionally protected public scrutiny, and this website provides documentation, commentary, and opinion on matters of public concern.

Paulette Buchanan, M.A.

Discerning Religious Fraudsters & Unhealthy Churches

Discerning Religious Fraudsters & Unhealthy Churches

Over the years, especially in more recent years, I have encountered way too many people who have come out of spiritually abusive churches, or what most refer to as cults or cultic groups.  Many of these “churches” claim to adhere to traditional Christian beliefs, so on the surface they can appear to be within mainline Christianity.  But these apparent “Christian” groups can hide dark behaviors and unorthodox beliefs that are antithetical to historic Christianity, and this true nature of the group is what leads to spiritual abuse, which goes hand-in-hand with emotional and even physical and sexual abuse of both children and adults. 

 

People shouldn’t underestimate how many cults are in our country, as well as around the world.  Many college campuses are hunting grounds for all kinds of dangerous, manipulative religious and non-religious groups, taking advantage of young impressionable people feeling lonely and vulnerable.  The Internet is also a very active hunting ground for cults.  There are disturbing statistics which show that a startlingly large number of people belong to cults, or they once were involved in destructive, traumatic religious or non-religious groups, or they have family or friends who either once were or are still involved in cults.  The organization People Leave Cults cites statistics on both the large number of various cults and the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by people as a result of having once been in a cult (https://www.peopleleavecults.com/post/statistics-on-cults).  Another informative webpage is found at https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/clinical-update-cults.  A more recent publication on cults is found at https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1280&context=jj_etds

 

Aside from the emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial damage my brother “Pastor” Ken Parks has done to me to “punish” me for my refusal to believe that he receives “dreams and visions from Jesus,” I have also had to leave so-called “Bible believing” churches because of pervasive spiritual abuse committed by power-lusting church leaders.  Every single church I left, of various denominations (and “non-denominational”), exhibited inexcusable and completely unbiblical meanness committed by men and women alike, and overt misogyny — especially against women abused by their husbands.  Without shame, church leaders and “Christian” counselors twisted Scripture to try to manipulate and pressure those they deemed non-compliant, and they used (abused) God’s name to justify their own evil behavior and the perpetrators’ evil behavior.

 

Many people who have experienced spiritual abuse from unhealthy churches can no longer step foot in a church or read the Bible without being triggered and re-traumatized.  Many people have lost any faith in the existence of a good, loving, just God because spiritual abusers twisted Scripture and distorted God to make Him in their own cruel pathological image.  Compounding that problem is the all too common fact that the abusers not only get away with the damage they’ve caused but they continue to flourish in either the same church where the abuse occurred or have succeeded in being welcomed and established in new churches.

 

Thankfully, I have known good, caring pastors in churches, some of whom have themselves experienced the brutal tactics typical of spiritual abusers.  I’m grateful for these fellow battle-scarred warriors, and thankful that out of their own painful experiences they have developed an even stronger, empathetic shepherd’s heart than they had when they first began their ministries.  But, sadly, for those of us who have been on the receiving end of spiritual abuse it seems sometimes that the wolves outnumber the shepherds.

 

One example of such a wolf, a long-time religious fraudster, is a man who was abusive to his first wife.  They met and married at church.  A few years after they were married she discovered that he had a short fling with another woman when he attended an out-of-town training program for his occupation.  His wife discovered later into their marriage that he had been unfaithful just weeks before he took his marriage vows.  This man had a long string of sexual encounters prior to his relationship with his wife, including with a married woman whom he paid to have their unborn child aborted. This man also “confessed” to his wife during the end of their marriage that he had a “sort of” homosexual relationship with a friend of his who had been his best man at their wedding.  During all of these times prior to and during their marriage this man professed to be a “devout Christian” and spoke of how he “witnessed to” and “prayed with” the women he bedded, as well as with the man with whom he had a “sort of” homosexual relationship.  During the time this man was dating the woman who became his wife she kept her virginity in accordance with her religious beliefs and despite temptations.  Toward the end of their marriage the man “confessed” to his wife that if they had engaged in sex before marriage he wouldn’t have married her because, as he told the woman, “I would’ve gotten out you what I wanted and moved on.”  Not surprising, then, immediately after they married this religious fraudster showed his true colors and was emotionally and at times physically abusive to his wife.

 

This religious fraudster frequently flirted with and ogled women.  He also acted creepy around children, especially young boys.  Once during their marriage the man presented his wife with what she thought was a glass of water but which was filled with hydrogen peroxide.  The man’s passive aggressive abuse against his wife included throwing out his wife’s birth certificate and “losing” other important papers.  He would also consistently say and do things to upset his wife before she was to attend important events related to her job, such as award ceremonies or social get-togethers with her co-workers.  He acted the same way when, during her college studies, she had important tests to study for or she had assignment deadlines.

 

Toward the end of their marriage this religious fraudster told his wife about a “joke” he played as a teenager on a motorcyclist in his neighborhood.  He was amused at himself as he described how he had strung a wire across the road that the motorcyclist traveled daily out of the neighborhood on his way to work.  When his wife expressed horror not only at what he had done that could have potentially killed the motorcyclist but also that this man thought this “prank” was humorous, the man quickly dropped his amused demeanor and “confessed” he “now knew it was wrong.”     

 

The wife initiated several separations in their marriage, and most of the years of their marriage were spent in multiple sessions of pointless and even destructive marriage counseling with “Christian” counselors.  In marriage counseling the man would come across as sincerely trying to change yet complaining that his wife just expected too much from him.  He always tried to paint the wife as the cause of their marital problems despite his prettied-up “confessions” of the “mistakes” he made consistently.  This man’s “prayers” during such counseling sessions were manipulative against his wife and were nothing but a show for the counselors.  Added to the mental and at times physical abuse this man did to his wife was the spiritual and psychological abuse perpetrated by so-called “Christian” counselors and male church leaders who told the woman that if she would just be submissive and trusting of her (untrustworthy) husband then she would be happy.  One “Christian” counselor went so far as to call this woman a “demanding bitch.”  One of the church leaders, while in church, called the woman a “wench” to her face.  The woman point blank confronted these “Christian” counselors and church leaders with the question of what if their wives did and said the exact same things to them as this man “confessed” he had done and said to her.  Defensively, they deflected her question by telling this woman her expectations were unrealistic, that “men will be men,” and again insisted that her “problem” was that she refused to be submissive.  This woman countered their unbiblical, unethical, and misogynist deflection attempt by bringing them right back to her question and telling them they would call their wives mentally unstable abusive sluts if their wives acted against them the same exact way her husband acted against her.  The church leaders resorted to smearing this woman’s name during “sermons.”   Recognizing how mentally unstable these so-called church leaders were and how enabling they were with her abusive husband, she left that spiritually abusive church.

 

For dramatic effect, this religious fraudster admitted himself into the psychiatric ward of a local hospital toward the end of his marriage.  He was diagnosed as bipolar/manic-depressive, and he was given medication that was supposed to treat his condition.  But his wife knew this was a ruse to give himself an “official” diagnosis that he would then use to get him off the hook for his own selfish manipulative choices.  This man could act irrational and mean-spirited toward his wife, but as soon as the phone rang he was calm and jovial with the person on the other end of the phone.  He would rush to help people with household projects and church projects, but he wouldn’t mow the lawn or take care of his own property despite his wife pleading for help.  This man came across as so caring toward others, especially at church, but treated his wife too many times like trash on every level.  He was addicted to getting attention and accolades from others, all at his wife’s expense.  The wife didn’t buy the bipolar/manic-depressive diagnosis.  She saw too many times where he chose to turn on and then turn off his charm and fake righteousness.

 

The wife tried very hard to keep her marriage together with this man, desperately wanting to believe his claims that “this time” he was a “changed man.” This man faked a few “born again” episodes in their marriage, claiming that he hadn’t really meant his previous conversions prior to knowing his wife and prior to their marriage.  All the while, this man was active in attending and at times leading Bible studies and giving guest sermons from the pulpit.  This man would be on his best behavior with his wife for a short while, but then he would revert right back to who he really was.  During their final separation this man “confessed” to his wife that he only acted his best with her to win her trust again so he could then break her trust.  He told her that her problem was that she just wouldn’t “accept me the way I am.”

 

Just prior to the last separation that led to the woman divorcing this man, he tried to hook up with a married woman who had been his girlfriend back in high school.  In the midst of this final straw leading up to the last separation in their marriage, he manipulatively tried to fake having a stroke in the bathroom as his wife got herself ready to go to work.  He jerked himself around on the bathroom floor making incoherent grunts and garbled “I’m ‘aving a stroke.”  Some may judge the woman as being calloused, but she continued getting herself ready for work because her gut instincts told her he was faking.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, the man got up off the floor and resumed his own preparations for work.  When the woman asked how his stroke was going, he responded “it got better.”

 

During a nearly two-year separation followed by the divorce process — a process that took thirteen months from filing to finalization because the man kept putting in for extensions of time for the final divorce hearing— the woman found out that he was attending another church and conning men and women alike into believing that he was being victimized by his wife who was divorcing him.  He played the victim act very convincingly and smeared his wife’s name to everyone.  He did this so convincingly that a woman that his divorcing wife got to know went on and on about what a great guy this man was, without realizing that this man was the soon-to-be ex-husband of the woman.  The woman gave this other woman a blow-by-blow account of all that this religious fraudster had done to her throughout their marriage.  The other woman’s accolades and praise of the man ceased.   

 

All throughout the long separation and divorce period (a total of almost three years), the woman received multiple sporadic late night and early morning obscene phone calls.  The night before the final divorce hearing, which the man could no longer stop as he had accomplished in his previous delay tactics, he phoned the woman very late at night pleading to come to her house.  She refused him and asked him if he had called her numerous times before and made obscene noises.  Regardless of whatever answer he gave, she knew this man was behind the obscene phone calls.  In his typical way of making warped “confessions” he told her that he had made “some” of those phone calls, “but not all of them.”  “See, I’m being honest with you,” was the way he tried to manipulate her, as if such “honesty” would assuage her justifiable outrage.  She knew from previous similar “confessions” he had made all throughout their failed marriage that he had made every single one of those obscene phone calls.  She told him to never call her again and that she would see him for the last time in court the next day and thereafter he was to stay out of her life.

 

Some time later, when the woman was engaged to marry another man, they saw the religious fraudster in a store where they were shopping.  The ex-husband followed (stalked) the woman and her fiancé around the store.  A few months after they were married the fraudster ex-husband mailed to the woman a commemorative ink pen that had belonged to her father — an item that the man had stolen from her years before. 

 

The woman found out through the grapevine that this religious fraudster pursued a woman who was dating another man at his church.  He succeeded in seducing that woman away from her then-boyfriend and they ended up getting married.  Some years later the man was apparently fired from one of his jobs.  Fast forward to present day: The religious fraudster is now one of three leaders of a very small “church” in a converted building that once served as a business location.  This religious fraudster — addicted to putting on a religious con job and getting attention and accolades — was (and apparently still is) a real charmer, a skilled chameleon who passes himself off as a scholar in all things biblical.  Interestingly, on that assembly’s website, the last name of this man is not included (nor is the last name of a second leader in this “church”), and this man’s second wife’s name is altered from her real name (if they “correct” this omission and name alteration I’ll assume it’s because one of their leaders has read this blog).  This omission of last names is strange and seems to indicate they both have something to hide (and it can be safely assumed that the third leader without a listed last name may also have something to hide).  This religious fraudster and his apparently enabling co-dependent second wife are following in the unoriginal footsteps of so many other con artists who re-create themselves in some new religious setting, taking their full bags of tricks with them.  Apparently there is mutual enablement occurring in this “church” among its leaders, their spouses, and the few people who attend that assembly.  Not one of the three leaders of this “church” list any credentials qualifying them in any way to be teaching or leading a religious assembly.

 

What are the lessons to be learned from this account of a religious fraudster?  First, what kind of church fails to list the last names of any of its leaders?  That should sound alarm bells in and by itself.  Second, what kind of religious schooling, training, and qualifications do those setting themselves up as church leaders have?  Third, what kind of personal and professional references do church leaders have, not just in the past few years but stretching back over decades’ time?  Fourth, how are these church leaders held accountable?  Too many times church leaders establish themselves as unaccountable and infallible pontiffs, and the blame for them being able to do so rests squarely with people who fail to practice any level of discernment and who fail to conduct even the most basic background checks on those setting themselves up as leaders within a religious assembly.          

 

Without exception, those of us who’ve experienced spiritual abuse or who have witnessed others being spiritually abused have varying levels of enduring anger and pain that rarely get resolved in this lifetime because so few of us ever see the abusers face any justice for the damage they’ve done.  In the case of crimes committed by religious fraudsters, victims witness far too many times the failures of our law enforcement and court system.  Consequently, a number of charlatan church leaders who abused children, teens, or adults (or all three) never face any arrests, never mind convictions, due mostly to their crimes being beyond statutes of limitation.  But the indescribable crippling pain experienced by their victims has no statute of limitation.  Added to the soul-dragging weight of the initial offense, victims then get hit with church members and other church leaders actually coming to the defense of the abuser(s).  Defamatory gossip against victims’ characters and reputations are common tactics used by abusive church leaders and their defenders.  They denounce the victims as being demon possessed or mentally unstable or “unforgiving,” and exclaim that God is going to send the victims straight to hell for speaking truthful warnings against their beloved (yet guilty as sin) church leaders.  I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but it is amazing how vigorously co-dependent enabling church members — who have qualified themselves for hell by defending the indefensible — loudly and rabidly cast damnation to hell upon those who speak the truth about the brutally hellish behavior of abusive church leaders.  These cultish defenders of spiritually abusive church leaders oftentimes proclaim how many people have been “saved” by the spiritually abusive church leaders, or how “spiritual” and “righteous” their leaders are, all the while ignoring their inexcusable, dismal failure to have saved their church leaders’ past victims and save any current or potential victims from the spiritually abusive church leaders.

 

Scripture verses such as Luke 17:3 and Acts 3:19 make it clear that we are not commanded or obligated to forgive an unrepentant offender when that person does not show any “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).  Someone who is genuinely repentant does not continue to engage in those activities that have proved to be their downfall, such as being addicted to presenting a false image so as to achieve power, prestige, attention, and accolades.  God does not forgive those who are unrepentant, and we’re not better than God.  But for our own sanity sake, we have to keep entrusting that unrepentant offender to God’s ultimate justice, and continue to pray that those offenders will not harm anyone else, and even pray that they will have a true, enduring “come to Jesus” conversion moment.  Entrusting to God the unrepentant religious fraudster is not a “one and done” event.  It’s ongoing, whenever the overwhelming rush of painful memories of those fraudsters assault our minds or whenever we see them actively deceiving, and therefore abusing, other people.

 

In conclusion, we must follow the teachings of Scripture by researching the backgrounds of people presenting themselves as religious leaders.  We must practice careful discernment and demand that a reliable, trustworthy system of accountability exists in churches.  The health and well-being of souls depend upon us doing so.

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