Jan 25, 2010 11:29 AM
Ed and Kelly Kang’s Twisted Responses to Truth
Pastor Ed likes to generally preach on the topic of truth. What I have come to see of him however, is that he likes truth as long as it’s convenient to Gracepoint. When truths arise that reveal the full, actual truth, he and his wife Kelly take to the following tactics in order to dismiss them.
When blogs like this one arise, which tell the “other side” of the story you hear about Gracepoint [and its stories of spiritual abuse and legalism] they take to measures of psychological manipulation and rhetoric. Here are the basic methods that they use.
I think this post could have the potential of being very long, so I’ll just write short summaries for each. I’ll try to expand them later if I get around to it. [Please feel free to add to this in your comments, you GP leavers who experienced similar things]
1. Play Ignorant – Ed particularly does this well, and he has that straight lawyers face when he says it. But as recounted by several commenters, if you raise a valid criticism of Gracepoint, he will often say something along the lines of “I didn’t know, had I known, I would have changed it, but you should have told me earlier.” But even after you tell him at the time, nothing will actually change. This has apparently been going on for years, and I’m glad that with the power of the web, we can expose this once and for all.
2. Blame - Ed and Kelly also often blame you as the reason. Instead of acknowledging the problems about their own church, they will say it’s your fault. You might be too petty, too critical, too weird, too sensitive, too abnormal according to them. Their accusations are very powerful, since you have been groomed to trust them, and now they call you these names, and you start believing them. The reality is that they are very defensive, proud people who refuse to change the legalistic, dictatorial leadership they have over the church, because they have come to fall in love their positions of power and control. The irony of all of this is that Kelly herself is the most critical person I’ve known. She might not like the way the band is standing, and the way the women are dressed during weddings, and the font on some print out someone made. To beat the dead horse, she complained that no one said “happy birthday” to her on her birthday. Do you Gracepoint members not see the hypocrisy in this?
Sometimes, Ed will combine this with his method of playing ignorant. ”You should have told me earlier” and the implication is that it’s your fault for having remained silent.
This is the primary way in which they invalidate Gracepoint leavers – they assert that there was something particularly wrong with them, and nothing with the church. They are too bitter, ungrateful, etc etc. They might add that “well, we’ve made mistakes” and gloss over their own sins, but infer that NOTHING was worth leaving about.
3. Minimize – Ed and Kelly will also minimize an issue if it’s something that reflects badly upon them. They will say, “it’s not a big deal” and then again blame you for being overly critical and petty. The issue could be about a biblical issue, but they will somehow turn it into it being about you and your problem.
4. Individualize – They tend to also individualize the problem. ”It’s just YOU, no one else has this problem.” But as 1vois has pointed out in a recent comment, you realize only AFTER leaving and meeting some others that others were told the same thing. Again, because of the power of the web, such lies told by the Kangs to individuals in private to control and manipulate people, can be exposed and made to be out in the open.
5. Claim Misunderstanding – Ed and Kelly Kang also like to twist the truth if it exposes them and their sins by stating it was all a misunderstanding. They mean well, they LOVE everyone, and they are basically godly, but hey, there are “petty, weird, ungrateful” people out there who just don’t “get it”. So they try to get off blameless by stating that it’s really not their fault, and the blame again goes toward the other party. There’s a theme here of blame, isn’t there?
6. Intimidate - They will often intimidate people into believing only THEIR side of the story. One of the things that used to bother me, and one commenter referred to once, is that they will refer “anonymously” to people who have raised disagreements or criticisms. They might be leavers, or they might be current members sitting there in that same meeting. I say “anonymously” because they provide enough detail so that most of the members know exactly who is being referred to. It’s especially intimidating when that person being referred to is you, and your “peers” know also. They will proceed to read some email or summarize what happened, and then give their opinion in a very authoritarian way about how wrong it is. Because of the atmosphere, people will agree. They will dare not raise any disagreements in the middle of such a meeting or agree with the “dissenter” lest they look like black sheep. After all, there’s the staff title and the potential of their own marriage they have to worry about, which I’ve written about already.
Or they might call you in for a meeting in their office. They will have your immediate leader, your leader’s leader, and even perhaps Ed and Kelly themselves in the meeting. They will interrogate you with details about what happened, and then proceed to use their lawyer-like, prosecution-style method of challenging your memories. Of course, all of the leaders are on one team, and you are on the other. You are intimidated, outnumbered, and you most likely will stutter and not get your facts all straight. In the end you will most likely come out confused and blame yourself. They justify this kind of meeting as a meeting necessary to gather all parts of the truth, but they are all biased to be pro-Gracepoint and its structure. None of the lower staff will dare speak up to be on your side. This doesn’t happen to all people, but people whom they feel are dissenting too much, or have some general problem with Gracepoint Berkeley.
[Based on some comments, and some additional thoughts, here are some more ways that the Kangs respond in twisted ways to truth.]
7. Sweep it under the rug/drown it – Ever since these blogs exposing the truth about the Kangs and Gracepoint have come out, they have attempted to obviously flood the web with as many Gracepoint urls as possible, and have signed up Kelly and Ed to random social network sites. I already blogged about that one. They did this without even trying to directly address any actual criticisms. Often, they try to make blanket statements stating that the the criticisms are all lies without any logical reasoning. Rather, they resort to name calling and one-dimensional labeling of the critics.
8. Divert attention away from it – I can’t say for 100% reason if this is true, but this is more my opinion. When doubts or criticisms about Gracepoint and the Kangs build, I’ve seen some sudden large activity like some presentation or group reorganization done. I remember feeling that it was somehow an odd time for such a thing, but it was done, and I think often, it did quell the attention to valid criticisms and doubts. This is more my intuition on this one, so take this one with a grain of salt.
9. Accuse all critics of being liars or slanders – This one is based upon nyoron’s comment. It seems that Kelly has essentially called all bloggers people who are incapable of having any valid recollections – we all have “revisionist memories”. Oddly, she doesn’t address what the truth really is. Bloggers like me, are also slanderers. So basically Gracepoint critics all have bad memory and like to slander them because we have nothing better to do with our lives. We seem incapable of telling truths according to her.
[end of update on 1/26/10]
This kind of blame game is old, and I’m surprised that you Gracepoint members don’t call it out in truth for what it is – the sin of Adam and Eve
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
When will the Kangs stop blaming and start repenting?
I particularly want to point out this verse to you Gracepoint members who know something’s not right there.
10 He [Adam] answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
Are you hiding from the Truth because you are afraid?