A compilation of all the true stories submitted by former Honor Academy interns.
A list of helpful books and websites for your healing journey.
A summary of abuses committed by senior Teen Mania leadership.
Internationally Recognized Cult Experts Doug and Wendy Duncan weigh in on the Teen Mania controversy.
Why this controversial description fits Teen Mania.
Read a synopsis of all my interaction with Teen Mania leadership documenting the multiple lies they've told and two fake "investigations." (Photo Courtesy of Bloomberg)
April 22, 2014
April 18, 2014
One item that was news to me: for the past two years, Ron Luce has used the Dallas marathon to raise money for Teen Mania - but instead of helping teens, he used much of the proceeds for vanity projects like a new coffee shop.
Saunier, Teen Mania’s development director in 2011 and 2012, says she would solicit donations for specific projects, but “was never comfortable that we were doing the right things with those funds.” She raised her concerns to superiors and nothing changed. Luce ran in a December 2012 marathon “to raise awareness and support for reaching America’s 26 million teens with the gospel of Christ.” The effort generated about $250,000 in donations, but within months Luce spent $68,000 on campus carpeting projects, $45,000 to install a coffee shop, and $25,000 to build the new conference room. At least one employee resigned in protest.
How could such financial mismanagement go on for so many years? Because Ron Luce rules Teen Mania with an iron grip and will not listen to outside counsel.
For example, on March 15, 2012, Ron and Katie Luce met with board members Daniel Williams and Paul Nelson, CFO Jonathan Hasz, and vice president of operations David Hasz, to discuss concerns and the organizational audit that Teen Mania received in January. Within six months, the Luces were the only ones standing: Williams, Nelson, Tom Muccio (another top board member), and the Hasz brothers all were gone.Read the whole thing here. (May require registration for a free trial in order to access.)
According to the Teen Mania bylaws, also obtained by WORLD, Luce can only be removed by a unanimous vote—a virtual impossibility since Katie Luce sits on the eight-member board. The audit recommended removing or revising Ron Luce’s almost unlimited presidential powers and replacing Katie Luce as a voting board member, but neither happened.
April 14, 2014
Ron Luce's Former Assistant: The Executive Office is a Toxic Environment because of Ron Luce's Verbal Abuse
April 8, 2014
The ECFA (Evangelical Center for Financial Accountability) "provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, transparency, fundraising and board governance."
Accreditation by the ECFA is supposed to ensure ministries adhere to the Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship so that donors can trust that their monies will be used in honest and appropriate ways. It is basically the Christian world's stamp of approval saying: this ministry is legit.
Given recent events, it would appear that this accreditation is worthless.
Teen Mania has been losing over a million dollars a year, since 2011, according to the ECFA.
It has also been confirmed by former communications director, Cindy Mallette, that Teen Mania failed to pay 3 mortgage payments which precipitated the foreclosure proceedings (contrary to Ron Luce's testimony that a payment was never missed).
And we now have testimony from Ron Luce's former assistant about absurdly lavish spending.
But the ECFA is not the only one to fall down on the job. Their former president, Paul Nelson also has much to answer for.
Mr. Nelson was the president of the ECFA for over 10 years. After leaving the ECFA, he became a member of Teen Mania's Board of Directors for several years (since at least 2009, if not earlier).
Teen Mania still touts its relationship with the ECFA and oversight by the Board of Directors as two crucial reasons why they can be trusted with your money. According to Teen Mania International's Finances webpage:
- The Board of Directors for Teen Mania Ministries is also highly involved in reviewing the significant financial business of the organization.
Given Teen Mania's current financial shape, how can anyone take ECFA accreditation or Paul Nelson seriously? For his incredibly poor performance in shaping Teen Mania's finances, Paul Nelson has joined the "The President's Council." It's unclear how this council is different from the Board of Directors or even what its purpose is but Paul Nelson is still a part of Teen Mania's leadership. And that should be very worrisome.
The only two things that I can conclude from this set of facts is that the ECFA and Paul Nelson are completely incompetent OR they both serve as yes men to Ron Luce. Either way, they have been abject failures at safeguarding Teen Mania's finances - and thereby the donations of thousands of people. Perhaps even your donation.
March 29, 2014
Breaking News: Ron Luce Fires Teen Mania's Communications Director for Refusing to Lie about Foreclosure
...What has happened to Teen Mania financially is the same as what is happening with untold other ministries, organizations, etc. in these tighter economic times.In addition, throughout her tenure as Teen Mania's Communication Director, Mrs. Mallette has been quite adversarial and rude in her dealings with anyone from the Recovering Alumni community so this 180 degree turnaround is quite surprising.
...We are being as open as possible with the public about what's happening. Sure, it's a sad situation to leave behind a place where we've built 17 years' worth of memories and life-changing ministry. But the decision to move to Dallas is a financially responsible one and frees us up to do even greater ministry than before.
Just yesterday, she gave an update via her Disquis account on this same comment thread:
I OFFICIALLY RETRACT MY ABOVE STATEMENT. It was made in ignorance of the true nature of Teen Mania's move to Dallas. I learned the truth in the days after I left the comment. The move was precipitated by a default on the campus's mortgage. When I learned the truth and confronted Ron Luce about it, he specifically directed me to tell the public, "what I told you to say," which is basically the statement above.
I still love Teen Mania and support its mission, but I could not support misleading the public. I stayed on for one week more as an attempt to convince Ron to be transparent with the public and, in doing so, tell the truth about the nature of the move and present a practical plan for how the ministry could move forward in a financially responsible way. I was removed from my position as Communications Director on Feb. 12 and fired on Feb. 14.
While this is not the first time a former staff member has exposed Ron Luce's lies, it is certainly the most recent and I commend Mrs. Mallette for refusing to spread his lies even at the risk of her job. That demonstrates a very high level of integrity. She joins a long line of recently departed staff members including the former COO, CFO, Director of Honor Academy operations, Director of Global Expeditions Operations, and several long time members of the Board of Directors. In light of this, I think its worth revisiting the words of another former senior staff member:
My issue is with Ron (Luce) specifically. Everyone is a tool, a pawn in his militant attempt to get his vision accomplished. He is militant about the vision, Dave (Hasz) is militant about the vision, and so is anyone who sticks around for any length of time. And, when you fail to dance “good enough” for the king, he just decides you are “not a good fit.” My issue with Ron is that he seems to discard people like toilet paper when they don't please him—his arrogance knows no bounds (he is right no matter what, and you better fall in line) and he had the compassion of a European dictator. But he's sociopathic, so he can win anyone over to his side of things... and those that don't aren't a “good fit.” I mean, people give up so much to come serve Ron's vision—lives, careers, friends, income, houses, etc., etc., etc... and when Ron is done with you, you're out on your butt. I can name multiple people whom this is happened to.
I applaud Mrs. Mallette for her integrity, for retracting her incorrect statements and for apologizing for her tone in her dealings with our community. If only all Teen Mania staff were so bold in embracing the truth, there would be no need for this blog! Make sure to follow the link to read her comments in their entirety.
And of course, this begs the question - What is the truth about Teen Mania's foreclosure situation and why is Ron lying about it?
February 18, 2014
On Teen Mania's website, you can see the following statements which assure teens that they will be able to spend the beginning of their college career at Teen Mania.
"Interns can spend their beginning college education fully engaged in changing their generation ..."
Unfortunately, this college credit is nearly worthless. The King's University is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) - the same body that accredits Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian College. I made phone calls to several colleges and universities to see who would accept these transfer credits.
Of the 3 state schools I called at random, none of them would accept the credits.
- University of Texas
- University of Florida
- Indiana University
But what about community colleges? In the past, many interns have stayed a 3rd or 4th year and gone to a local Junior college in their spare time. Perhaps future interns could go to a community college in Dallas?
The two biggest local systems are Dallas County Community College District and Tarrant County College. Between them they have 10+ campuses in the area but they do not recognize the accreditation of The King's University.
Perhaps this problem is limited to secular schools. Surely Christian schools would accept these classes as transfer credits? Actually, no. In fact, many Christian Schools do not recognize this accreditation body. Perhaps most surprisingly, even the alma mater of Ron Luce, Oral Roberts University would not accept transfer credits from The King's University (though they have their own direct partnership with Teen Mania). Even Sterling University which previously partnered with Teen Mania to provide college credits would not accept these as transfers. Other Christian schools that would not recognize the credit include Belmont University and Union University.
Outside of the schools accredited by TRACS, the only others I found that would recognize these credit hours were Liberty University and Trinity International University.
If you or your child plans to attend Teen Mania, please be sure your college credits will transfer to the university of your choice. It would be a shame to end up with thousands of dollars of student loans with no college credits to show for it.
February 11, 2014