I wrote in my book, Fighting for Justice: Religious Fraud, Mental Illness, and the Collapse of Law & Order, that cult leaders are by-and-large narcissistic psychopaths. In their insatiable lust for power they are seemingly incapable of empathy. Yet cult leaders are very adept at “reading” the emotions of others and shrewdly using those emotions to manipulate people, oftentimes appearing to be empathetic. But it’s all an act. Cult leaders — whether religious, political, self-improvement, corporation, etc. — are oftentimes extremely intelligent. They are highly skilled at “sizing up” people, and they adjust their verbal and psychological lures accordingly.

My cult leader brother, Ken “Pastor Max” Parks uses classic cult 101 tactics, as seen in his online interactions. Over the years his own public online posts show his extreme vacillations on positions. When he’s trying to bamboozle those who identify as Christian and/or politically conservative he makes use of religious jargon, Bible quotes, and presents himself as pro-life and politically conservative. When he’s schmoozing with non-Christians, and especially with those who are very anti-Christian or anti-religion, he’s right there with them siding with them on pro-abortion stances, hurling vile insults and defamation at “stupid Christians/religionists” and railing against politically conservative ideas and entities. It’s the thrill of the con job, apparently, so that he can make himself feel intellectually superior over those he knowingly dupes. Sadly, it doesn’t take much to convince those who belong to one side or the other that he’s in their corner.

Especially for religious cult leaders, their primary motivation for gaining a following is not only to replace God in people’s lives, but to replace or redefine the idea of a good, loving, just God. All in all, religious, political, self-improvement, or corporation cult leaders seek to fill people’s “God hole” by becoming the center of their followers’ universe, promising to provide all the solutions to life’s difficulties, offering a place of belonging and camaraderie, and guaranteeing success and happiness to all who follow their “expert” or “enlightened” ways. From this primary motivation of replacing God, of becoming for all purposes God or at least god-like in people’s lives, comes the cult leader’s other exploitative tactics.

Once the cult leader’s lure has hooked a follower then, little by little, more is expected of the follower. Cult leaders know when to make increasingly more demands of each individual follower. They know how to make followers feel “special,” ordained to a greater calling and purpose than “non-believers” or the less “enlightened.” Followers’ ethical and moral restraints are systematically broken down as the cult leader digs his claws deeper and deeper into the very soul of each person, making more and more outrageous demands of their followers’ time, talent, and their very beings. It is at this point when followers give enormous sums of money and even their entire life savings to the cult leader, and it is also at this point where emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual abuse begins. Remember: the primary motivation of any cult leader is to become God in their followers’ lives, and their lust for all-encompassing power as God over their followers is insatiable.

This has been the path some of my brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks’ cult followers have taken after he played on their emotions and worked them up into a maelstrom of righteous indignation with his outrageous lies against me and my husband. My brother’s cult followers have harassed us in person and by phone. Would these people have committed the crime of harassment if they’d never allowed themselves to be lured in by my brother’s lies — “She’s a child abuser! She and her husband are domestic terrorists! They’ve threatened to kill me to stop me from being God’s minister! They’re wanted criminals and fugitives!”? Probably not. The sad thing about my brother’s cult followers is that not one of those who allowed themselves to be taken in by his drama queen lies against me and my husband (and probably against other people) ever contacted the police in my area to check to see if anything he said even had a smidgen of truth. If they had done that they would have realized that they’d been taken for suckers by my brother. No, it took the police contacting them after we made complaint about their harassment for them to wise up and realize they had been taken for fools by my brother. One can only hope they’ve learned their lesson.

Over the years I’ve heard directly from people who were initially taken in by my brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks’ use of religious jargon and Bible quoting, and they truly believed — for a time — that he was a good, godly man badly victimized by me and by others. But once their innocent questions were met with my brother’s paranoid attacks on their character, or they read through the documentation I’ve published demonstrating that he is a mentally unstable, dangerous, religious fraud out to scam people emotionally, spiritually, and financially, they wanted nothing more to do with him.

Thus there are lessons we can all learn from our online and in-person encounters, especially with those who use titles meant to evoke instantaneous trust (pastor, life coach, guru, spiritual guide, etc.): Never take anyone you don’t really know at face value. Check out and confirm everything they claim about themselves. Listen to your gut instinct when something they’ve said, posted, or done doesn’t sit right. Look for any self-aggrandizing, pompous statements in which they come across as vastly superior in knowledge, spirituality, or experience. Observe how they react to questions to see if they instantaneously go on the attack — especially making personal attacks — over some minor statement or disagreement. Don’t fall for them giving you special attention, overly praising you and complimenting you (that’s called grooming). And be on your guard when they attempt to lure you into some form of intense commitment to their “cause” especially if it involves giving them money or doing some kind of weird “favor” or committing a crime for them. Remember: God hasn’t dropped dead and He certainly hasn’t left any mere mortal in charge.

As I wrote in one of my prior blogs/updates, my first foray into the world of being interviewed by a podcaster was a complete disaster.  The podcaster failed to adequately prepare by reading my free book I sent him, and he failed to read the documentation on my stopabusivelawsuits website.  

Without recounting what I wrote earlier about this podcast interview debacle, the experience nonetheless served as a learning lesson for how I choose other podcasters to interview me.

Since that first disappointing podcast interview, I have had several excellent interviews by podcasters here in the States, in Canada, the UK, and Africa.  They’ve prepared well for interviewing me by either reading my book or reading about my book, and they’ve read the documentation on my websites.  I thank those podcasters for caring about their audiences as they work to inform and encourage those who, like myself, are victims/survivors of familial abuse and stalking, or cult/spiritual abuse, or who have likewise encountered the same corruption and brokenness of our court system and “law enforcement.”  In my podcast interviews I have focused on educating, not merely “kvetching”, about my own experience.  I give tips I’ve learned on how to cope in the midst of being victimized, emphasizing the importance of having a reliable support system.  I recount my efforts to try to change laws to offer more protections to victims.  I encourage people to speak up and tell their story online.  Most importantly I emphasize that keeping one’s sanity involves courageously accepting the road that none of us chose to be on, learning all that can be learned on this unexpected journey, standing up for oneself, being kind and compassionate to oneself and to others, gaining or maintaining faith in a good, loving, just God, keeping the eternal perspective, and choosing in the here and now gratitude for even the smallest of good things.  Doing these things wrests power away from the abuser.  

I’ve received excellent feedback on my podcast interviews, and I truly hope these interviews are of help to others going through or trying to heal from their own traumatic experiences.  Lastly, for fellow authors like myself, podcast interviews provide an opportunity to promote our books and websites, which are, again, intended to be of benefit to others.  

I encourage other victim/survivors to seek out appropriate and professional podcasts so as to give yourself the opportunity to make your voices heard.  It’s important to let other victim/survivors know that they are not alone.  We have a right to speak the truth and to offer encouragement to others.    

In the last few weeks I have submitted and had published in newspapers around the country variations of what I’ve written below (usually a shortened version, depending on publishing requirements): 

Without exception, after yet more horrific massacres committed by the mentally unstable we hear that family members and others witnessed the mentally ill person making overt threats of violence.  Yet reports to authorities resulted in no actions to stop the mentally ill person.  If the mass murderer used a gun, then the anti-Second Amendment folks demand to stop the manufacture and sale of guns.  First, due to HIPAA laws, mental health records cannot be accessed by gun sellers, so background checks won’t reveal that the person buying a gun has severe mental illness.  Second, here in the U.S. and in gun-restricted countries the severely mentally ill have used cars, knives, or their bare hands to kill people.  Nobody screams about taking away cars, knives, or cutting off everyone’s hands after a mentally disturbed person murders people.

The problem isn’t guns, cars, knives, or bare hands.  The problem is that from the 1970s-1990s state-by-state our legislators fell for the lies of the ACLU and other left-leaning activists who pretended to be mental health experts and insisted that the mentally ill be given the “right” and “freedom” to be released from mental health facilities.  Mental health commitment laws were obliterated based on these lies.  Legislators believed the lie that it would be economically beneficial to shut down mental health facilities.  The severely mentally ill were quite literally shoved out onto the streets.  We’re all paying the costs.

I speak from personal experience.  I have severely mentally ill family members who have victimized me and others.  One of them has guns and has made threats of violence against me and others.  But no mental health laws exist to involuntarily commit these family members into permanent mental health treatment and monitoring despite their terminal and worsening mental health condition.  Psychiatrists and psychologists I’ve spoken to also express their frustration.  Their hands are tied because our current insane laws prevent any meaningful treatment for the severely mentally ill.  I’ve written about my experience in my book, Fighting for Justice:  Religious Fraud, Mental Illness, and the Collapse of Law & Order.

Our legislators need to follow the science on severe mental health issues, establish medically ethical privately-run, state-monitored mental health facilities (like nursing homes and hospitals), and enact sane involuntary long-term and permanent mental health commitment laws.  Until our legislators come to their senses, this bloodshed will continue.

In March, 2022, a person in Fulton County, Georgia emailed me to express concerns about former Fulton County Magistrate Judge Allyson Pitts running for a Fulton County Superior Court Judge position against incumbent Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Reese Whitaker.  This person had read my www.stopabusivelawsuits.com website which details how in 2015 Allyson Pitts, when she was a family court magistrate judge hearing protective order cases, behaved in a rude, unprofessional manner toward petitioners, their attorneys, and toward security staff in the courtroom, denying some petitioners protective orders despite overwhelming evidence, and issuing willy-nilly protective orders against others who were in fact the victims.  Our report of Judge Allyson Pitts’ reprehensible behavior to Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) resulted in their acknowledgement that Pitts did indeed violate Georgia state law regarding the time period that restricted the issuances of protective orders.  Unfortunately, the JQC did not acknowledge the fact that Pitts also broke the law governing the requirements of protective orders when she refused to issue an arrest warrant against my brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks for his violations of the protective order my husband and I obtained against him.  My brother continued to possess firearms and he continued to publish alarming, threatening statements on his social media accounts against us — clear violations of the terms of the protective order we obtained against him.  More details about this 2015 incident are found at https://stopabusivelawsuits.com/?s=allyson+pitts 

After I received the email from the Fulton County, Georgia resident, I searched online and found both Allyson Pitts’ campaign website and Judge Paige Reese Whitaker’s campaign website.  Pitts’ website used religious jargon and endorsements from religious leaders to promote herself as (somehow?!) qualified to be a superior court judge.  My husband and I read her religious jargon with utter disgust and we couldn’t help but find similarities between her and my brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks’ use of religious jargon so as to play off of people’s religious sensitivities in order to falsely promote themselves, deliberately deceiving the public about who and what they really are.

In stark contrast, Judge Paige Reese Whitaker’s campaign website was professional and cited her actual accomplishments.   Her endorsers were fellow judges and attorneys, and non-attorneys who had their cases heard before Judge Reese Whitaker.    

After reviewing all this information, I emailed Judge Reese Whitaker’s campaign staff and I shared with them the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s letter that cited Pitts’ violation of law, and I expressed my concerns about Pitts abusing her power and damaging more innocent victims if she were to become a superior court judge.  A member of Judge Reese Whitaker’s campaign responded to my contact and assured me that Judge Reese Whitaker’s campaign staff would do all they could to inform the voters of Fulton County of the JQC’s determination against Pitts.  This member of Judge Reese Whitaker’s campaign also told me that for some years a number of people had raised concerns about Pitts’ behavior on the bench and that Pitts does not have a good reputation in the legal community.   

The attorney who presented our complaint to Judge Pitts in 2015 regarding my brother’s violation of the protective order we had against him also unexpectedly reached out to us to inform us that flyers were being sent to Fulton County voters that included the JQC’s letter regarding Allyson Pitts’ violation of state law and how it impacted us.  Our former attorney told us that the incumbent Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Reese Whitaker is “good people” and that she has a very good reputation as a fair, knowledgeable, and competent judge.

So we were very pleased when the Fulton County, Georgia May 24th election results showed that Judge Reese Whitaker had won about 65 per cent of the vote against Allyson Pitts.  My husband and I sent our congratulations to Judge Reese Whitaker’s campaign staff and we expressed our relief that Allyson Pitts was prevented from becoming a superior court judge who would, undoubtedly, detrimentally impact innocent victims like we were when we appeared before her in court in 2015. 

Our message to Allyson Pitts?  Is it possible for you to step back and recognize even in some small way the irreparable damage you’ve done to innocent people who have sought your help only to be met with your apathy, your unprofessionalism, and your unethical and blatantly unjust behavior on the bench?  Justice is a human need!  We fully recognize that being a judge in a large city like Atlanta is challenging to say the least, but this fact cannot excuse your troubling behavior.  In our 2015 case before you, you violated our most basic human rights to live in peace without fear of threats.  We saw you violate others’ rights to peace and safety too.  Our advice to you?  Take a sabbatical from the bench and from the legal profession.  Get some personal counseling to pinpoint why it is you could reduce yourself to behave in such a reprehensible, cold-hearted manner and denigrate the judicial profession in front of thousands of people who have needed your help to right the wrongs being done to them.  And spare people your religious jargon in your pathetic attempts to deceive people that you actually care about right and wrong and about the people you are supposed to be serving.  Your law degree has given you the ability to help people.  Your best course of action at this point for personal and professional redemption is to put yourself under accountability to your peers and seek ways to right the wrongs you’ve done thus far by helping the most desperate in our society.  Take some professional courses aimed at practicing ethical behavior and dealing appropriately with the stresses of the legal profession.  Join a low cost or free legal aid society to help victims of abuse and simultaneously answer to that society’s ethical standards of conduct.  Whatever you choose to do, you need to stop subjecting any more people to your abuse of judicial power.  And stop underestimating the power of victims you’ve wronged to speak the truth about what you did to them.  Whether or not any of my words matter to you, the fact is that it is power-abusing, unjust judges like you that are the reason so many people have zero trust in our judicial system, and why criminal abusers like my brother get a free pass and are empowered to continue their illegal behavior.  Let that sink in, and choose to reform yourself.  

On March 3rd, 2022, I was interviewed for a podcast.  Just before the podcast interview was recorded, the podcaster admitted that he had only read “a quarter to a third” of my book, Fighting for Justice:  Religious Fraud, Mental Illness, and the Collapse of Law & Order.  In retrospect, I should have refused to go through with the interview at that point because, as it became very obvious, the podcaster was not prepared to conduct a well-informed interview.  In short, the interview did not at all allow me to discuss adequately my book and the documentation that backs up my book, the successes my husband and I have had, and our ongoing legislative efforts.  Due to the failure of the podcaster to prepare sufficiently for the interview, there really wasn’t anything of value to offer to other crime victims/survivors listening to the podcast.  

After the interview, I emailed the podcaster to express my concerns about how he conducted the interview, and he offered to not air it on his podcast.  At first, I thought perhaps some of the interview may be of help to the podcaster’s listeners so I agreed to air the interview even though I was clear that the interview could have been much better.  But as I continued to speak with others about the interview, some of whom have also experienced abuse and survived crimes committed against them, they expressed concerns that the podcaster’s interview would not have been of any benefit to me or to others who have experienced familial abuse, stalking, and other crimes committed by estranged family members.  I also came to the same conclusion, and therefore I emailed the podcaster again to inform him that I had decided that I did not want the interview to air.

The primary lesson from this experience for anyone else interested in being interviewed by podcasters, journalists, or any other media figures, is to require these interviewers to be well-prepared.  Again, as soon as the podcaster admitted that he had read only a small portion of my book (he also gave every indication that he had not read the supporting documentation on my www.stopabusivelawsuits.com website), I should have chosen then and there not to go through with the interview.  

The other lesson gleaned from this experience is that I will not publicize any upcoming interviews with any media figures on my websites or anywhere else.  This is due to the fact that my stalking brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks has a long history of interfering in many aspects of my life, and, of course, he does not want the truth to be told about him (the same applies for my other stalking, harassing brothers who still remain unnamed even though they’ve created their own public court records).  Did Ken, and/or my other brothers, contact the podcaster before the interview (the podcaster denied they did, but some of his questions, which he himself described as “devil’s advocate” questions, could have easily come from my brothers’ own mouths), or did the podcaster just do a poor job because he was not at all prepared to do a professional interview?  In any case, it’s best for all concerned that I protect myself and any interviewers from interference from my brothers, so it is just a wise course of action to not publicize any upcoming or past interviews I choose to do.       

 

On June 25th, 2021, in Georgia’s Northern District Federal Court Judge Eleanor Ross issued her ruling against my brother Ken “Pastor Max” Parks, deeming him an abusive litigant and placing pre-filing injunctions against him that require judicial review and approval of any lawsuit he attempts to file in that court.  These injunctions protect me and my husband — Paulette and Scott Buchanan —  and anyone connected to us from my brother Ken’s meritless, abusive lawsuits whether he files pro se or through an attorney.  Furthermore, Judge Ross’ ruling protects the general public in that she specifically warns Parks not to file any frivolous, meritless, abusive lawsuits against anyone, and that the court will conduct judicial review of any lawsuit he may file to ensure it is not frivolous, meritless, and/or abusive.   This federal court ruling provides additional protection to the October, 2020 Tennessee state court order that prohibits my brother from suing me and my husband pro se ever again.