About me

I'm just a believer that is recovering from my experience at Teen Mania's Honor Academy and I would like to share my journey of healing with you.

September 27, 2010

How about EHOAL?

I think its kind of presumptous for Teen Mania to assume that ESOAL - "Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime" is beneficial to everyone. What about people who have already been through an emotionally "stretching" experience of a lifetime?

- Broken Homes
- Sexual Abuse
- Gang Rape
- Abortions
- Jail time
- Accidentally killing someone else
- Cutting
- Suicide attempts
- Deaths of close family members
- Addiction
- Dysfunctional Families including neglect, abandonment, parents in jail, drug and alcohol addiction, physical, sexual and verbal abuse.

Every year there are interns with these wounds in their past. Every single example on this list comes from an intern or alumnus that I personally know. I'm sure there are many more things we could add to that list. (And if they tell you they don't accept interns that have CURRENT struggles with the things on this list, they are wrong.)

What if they did EHOAL instead? "Emotionally Healing Opportunity of a Lifetime." I think many interns have already had enough trauma. What if, instead of beating the crap out of the interns, they embraced them in the totality of their wounds and brokenness? What if they allowed people to freely express their pain and feelings without fear of condemnation or dismissal? What if they embraced courageous vulnerability instead of forcing many interns to hide who they really are and numb out to their feelings in order to look "spiritual"? What if they quit focusing on outward behaviors and instead sought to heal the underlying issues with love, patience and grace?

This comment came in yesterday and hits the nail on the head:

There are already enough teens at TM that have plenty of trials and tribulations to work with without having to take them out in the Back Forty and beat them somemore. Why don't they help these kids work through the problems they have? Teach them that Love will never leave them or forsake them. Show them how we make it through suffering with tenderness and Love.

Oh wait, that would mean they'd really have to put some real effort into their interns. Get to know them. And Love on them. Not just stand behind a podium and speak for hours then send them to work.

Maybe they should invest some time and money in getting some real counsel for these kids and help them be really emotionally stable before they leave. Instead of letting a few volunteers come in and "listen" to them every so often. Then, maybe they could make it through the harshness of this World.

Faith doesn't come from beating our bodies. It comes from "Hearing and Hearing by the WORD OF GOD." If they are constantly getting these speeches and classes and heavy work loads, what are they going to build faith in? Works Mentality?

They don't need anymore talented speakers. This generation needs some people who are interested in their lives for the long haul.

Someone at TM please get interested in these kids and get your hands dirty in their problems and Help them to understand what it feels like to tackle a real Victory without "ringing out" of life or GOD.

Who will step up and start getting interested in their lives and helping these interns with their real lives? I thought TM wanted to help this generation? Well, the generation is waiting for them every August and January. And they are not getting what they NEED from TM. Instead, they are TM's work Force. Used up. Then sent out into the world with False expectations.

47 comments:

I think that would be an awesome thing for them to have. So many of us come out of HS with wounds far greater than people can guess. The current climate at TM just makes those hurts worse in some cases. I would love to see these enacted. I don't suspect it will happen. If they cared about the hearts of the kids they brought there many of their actions might be different.

But TM will tell you the HA is not the place for people with those problems, that they are not equipped to deal with them... They are not a healing ministry, they believe they are in the middle of a war zone, where emotions can ruin you and the most important thing is to buck up and deal with whatever comes your way...
I would love for all the staff a t TM to got thought the teacher training I went through last year... It would change they way they see the world....

YES! TM are you listening? This is what you have been missing for so many years. It is time for the change you've been talking about for so many years.

Excellent post RA!

"What if they quit focusing on outward behaviors and instead sought to heal the underlying issues with love, patience and grace?"

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Maybe, TM could practice a little hospitality (give people some room to heal and grow).

That is the true reason why I wanted to become an intern. I believed I would get these things from a year of growth before I went to college.

I remember finally working up the bravery to talk about some problems I was having before I attended the HA. I thought I could go there and find someone who could point me in the right direction. But when I got there I realized very quickly that I couldn't expose those things at the HA. They don't take kindly to weakness. And A blunt answer would have only done more damage.

** I really don't think being "blunt" or "bold" should be an excuse for hurting people. When it comes down to it, personality can always be tamed and so can being "Rude." Sorry that was a tangent.

I was on the outside a "model intern." But on the inside, I was hoping someone would try to get to know me. I was looking for someone I could trust to help me. I did have a wonderful CA but the issues I faced didn't seem like the specialty of a young adult with no experience.

Thanks for adding the "EHOAL" idea. I wasn't sure if I had made any sense yesterday. That really brought it all together.

Hope you are well, RA.

the only problem i see with this is that leaders would have to go thru this FIRST before they could lead interns thru it. and i think that might cause a serious problem, especially with the whole "jesus is my healer, and i just need to let go and get past it" mentality. don't get me wrong, jesus IS the Great Healer. letting go and moving on are important. but you have to understand the difference between accepting the healing as a process, as opposed to pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and calling it all healed. because really, it is much easier to not go to the deep dark scary places where we feel abandoned by god and just put on a good christian smile and pronounce we are "full of joy"...even when all we taste are the bitterness of our tears.

Good Point Carrie,
I have often wondered what a therapy session would look like with Heath, Dave and some of the others at the HA. I can imagine that they have been hurt really badly themselves and rather than getting healed they just did this. The sad thing is now they are passing that mindset on to others as sound healthy Christian ways to deal with problems in life. If we look at those that have been out 10+ years they are likely still asking repentance and for healing from actions and problems from the same things over and over. While they think they are good what has happened is the Devil now has a hook to grab onto and you see them fall in specific areas again and again because they never got their hurts truly dealt with.

Wow. R.A.
You just nailed it. Wow.
I've been sitting here in shock the last few days at just how much God desires us to love and just how much everyone even the church is trying to puff us up in our pride by making us think we can do it on our own.

I think the thing that really lacks in this site is the painting of the whole picture...ALL THE TIME! Honesty in every aspect of this debate. Including the opposing views...ALL OF THE TIME. I've seen BRIEF MOMENTS in some of your posts where you seem fair minded and objective and others where you paint an out of balance picture that makes readers feel like "If you go through HA...you WILL come out more screwed up than you were before coming". I really appreciated one of your replies to an earlier comment made by an alumni who said that their entire experience was positive. You expressed that you were happy for them. Let ME express that I truly believe that your hurt is real. I know people who were hurt during their time with TM. And that should not be overlooked. However, we should keep their PERSONAL hurt as the focal issue here..."I've been wounded by this ministry and I want to talk about it". But it feels more like "HA will screw you up...don't go". I know one of the people who used to work as a staffer for TM. Part of their job was processing end of year surveys taken by the entire intern class. Something you may or may not know is that when asked in the survey "Which retreat had the most positive impact on your life"...by far...year after year...interns say that esoal had the most positive impact. I'm not saying that there weren't a handful of people who were royally messed up by the experience. To me...that should be the focal point of this debate. I believe the truth of the matter is that Honor Academy is a very positive force for the overwhelming majority of people that participate...but there are a handful of people EVERY YEAR who are seriously wounded by the experience...and they need counseling, help and maybe even just a heart felt apology. I'm really interested in your thoughts and the thoughts of anyone else who can keep this discussion objective. However I'm not going to take anyone seriously who tells me I'm an idiot or I'm out of touch. My name is Ben by the way. That's as much of my personal info I'm willing to give. Look forward to your reply.

Heartsfire and Carrie. You are both hitting the nail on the head.

Sin consciousness = When we constantly have to ask forgivenss for things that are already forgiven and under the Blood of Jesus. Sin consciousness is often times disguised as humble. When in actuality many times it is prideful because we are unable to trust that God has forgiven us and we think we have to work extra hard to accomplish God's grace in our lives.

I believe healing is God's heart. Sometimes it is a process. Other times it happens in an moment. But either way, we have to accept that we need healing and let God do the work. I found at TM, I couldn't admit I was hurt. That meant I lacked faith. But it is just the opposite. Faith doesn't ignore that there is a problem but helps us to see through it until we step into our Victory. Victory that has been given to all of us who believe in Jesus. Faith draws out the joy in us and builds our strength. "Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God."

I believe there should be less focus on physical activities and more focus on getting Word that Builds faith so that interns can have the true foundation. Then, when the going gets tough, they don't recite, "I beat my body and make it my slave."
But instead, "Thanks be unto God who always causes me to triumph. Healing is mine because the promises of the Word are mine. Greater is He who is in me than He who is in the World."

But not just to recite these things, to actually allow the power of the Word to work in their lives. And build a sure faith that the Word is true.

Carrie, You are so right. I don't know Many leaders from TM that could take this stand of love, faith, and grace. From my experience, I haven't heard many people who get encouraged in the Word about these things. I think it's because they themselves don't understand this.

I know that Teen Mania says that they're not "equipped" to handle people with this kind of emotional baggage... but when I told them on my application that I dealt with depression, cutting and had been on anti-depressants in the past and had even attempted suicide... and they still chose to accept me... they're taking on the responsibility to "deal with" me whether they like it or not.

Another thing I'd love to share, is that TM goes all over the World representing Jesus. I personally have seen some really amazing things happen while on my trips but most of those experiences were because someone who was not a TM clone was lead by the Holy Spirit to do something out of the "TM box."

But the World is looking from the outside in. The Bible says that,they will know we are different by our love one for another.

If we can't even have Love, Grace, patience, tenderness (insert fruit of the spirit) with each other, HOw do we expect to draw in the Harvest. If we can't even take care of the ones' that God has entrusted to us, How will we show the world that we are different.

Instead, we create programs like the HA and from the outside looking in, We look like a bunch of "fruitloops."

Let's get back to doing it the way Jesus said. Through showing love one for another. Seeing each other through. Sticking with each other for as long as we need to. Showing kindness, and edifying each other.

We'll find that, just about anyone can climb and mountain or go through ESOAL. But it takes true strength to LOVE the way God loves. Without condemnation and seeing each other through until the end.

Thanks. I know this was long. I hope TM gets it straight.

I have a serious problem with your idea for the retreat RA.
My problem is this. EHOAL when pronounced aloud sounds far to similar to A-hole.

A better name would need to be in place before this could ever be considered(and I hope people don't take this comment seriously).

aHOLE

A Healing Opportunity for a Lifetime of Emotions?

Anon at 11:37am. I think you misunderstand a few things about this site.

1) This is primarily a recovery group, not a PR machine. Every post is aimed at our recovery from the hurts and bad teaching at TM.

2)I actually am saying “Don’t go to TM, it can screw you up.” The problems at TM are SYSTEMIC not isolated. Until widespread cultural and attitude changes are made, no one who attends there is guaranteed to be safe.

3) Just b/c current interns like ESOAL, doesn’t really mean much to me. There are a lot of things I thought were great when I was an intern that I realize now were damaging. In fact, I’d bet money that lots of people in this community once praised ESOAL.

To the Ben -Anon
PTSD shows up even in people who say the good was worth the pain. It shows up when they keep dreaming of ESOAL MONTHS and even years later. Many of the people suffering from PTSD would claim a far more positive experience than would admit that they are having PTSD because they have no knowledge that why they feel irritable and stressed and not wanting closeness with others is because of THAT EVENT. Many times people who have PTSD will say the pain was worth the good even when the pain was detrimental to their overall being. I have friends who have said many times over the years that they said they LOVED the growth in the retreat only to years later still be exhibiting issues with body image, Feelings of inadequacies, feelings like they have to be MORE of something before they can be any good to anyone. These issues are ones that I know from personal relationships with these girls started with ESOAL.

A key behavior to all of them is that they treat it like if they don't push themselves beyond what is reasonable they are failures in life. Girls from my core have Eating disorders that make the go back and forth from too fat to too thin. These are a direct result of hearing "It pays to be a winner and you're a looser" coupled with "I will beat my body and make it my slave." Ben I get that you don't get how dangerous this is. I get that you have likely never had to wipe blood from the inside of the toilet when a friend from your core came over and be worried sick about them. I am honestly sorry for you. Out of my friends group from the HA I left early and still had issues. 3 others have active eating disorders. You wanna show GOD's Power? Show God's children how beautiful they are even with their battle scars. God carries us through troubles we don't have to add new ones for him!

@ Ben,
I just want to say thank you for giving a name and being clear about what you think, and dialoguing in a very kind manner. :) I understand why you think ESOAL is good. I think for many Christians, it seems like a very positive thing, especially to those who believe that they will be serving in some sort of isolated, volatile mission field. However, many interns are damaged deeply during that retreat and don't know it until years later. I have a friend, who is VERY pro-TM, and she did ESOAL about 10 years ago. This year, she JUST realized how traumatic it was for her and is now experiencing PTSD from being put in a coffin for hours on end.

I think TM does some really good things. I think they reach kids that are difficult to reach otherwise. I think they try really hard to share the gospel. But I think they have lost their First Love, and that is their biggest downfall. There is no Love in ESOAL. There is very little love at ATF's...there is a ton of fear, and lots of rules to be "better, but very little Love. And while I believe that DH loves all of the Alum in his own way, he does not run the HA as though Love is his driving force. Why would I send my child or encourage other young adults to go into a ministry that has ears only to hear what they want to hear, and hearts that are focused on results? Without love, ALL of our actions are useless.

And as for giving one side of the story here, well, this isn't a court of law. Also, if you go to HAStories, how many stories do you find from hurt alumni? How many comments do you read that are from hurt alumni? How many public forums does TM open up for another version of this story to be told? None. Zip. Zero. This site exists because TM does not open itself up to negative feedback. They have no ears to hear.

Philip - All day I've been wondering why I want to giggle when I read the word "EHOAL"... Thanks for solving the mystery :)

Healing? That sounds way too much like something Jesus would do. ;-)

@Ben--Compare ESOAL to this list of Coercive Persuasion Techniques as used by many cults (it's at the end of the linked article). It's identical, point for point. So the fact that the majority of interns think ESOAL was positive doesn't surprise me a bit--that's how it works, the techniques are designed to indoctrinate people to believe irrational things. If anything, it convinces me even more that it's wrong and destructive. What does it take to get someone to believe that rolling in vomit is good for them?

"Self-abasement and severe treatment of the body... are of no value against fleshly indulgence." --Colossians 2:20-23

I was on board with you when you first started this site. I understand the idea of getting together, sharing stories and starting to heal.

I can't understand the vengeance that has crept up in the last couple of months.

I think that going nuts over ESOAL is kind of silly. The physical issues associated with Teen Mania are not the issues that people need help recovering from. It is the mental and spiritual abuse that come up as a result of time spent at HA.

The concept of spiritual abuse and starting to overcome that is what drew me to this site initially, but what is here now is so far from that.

I guess what I'm saying is this: Don't let yourself get wrapped up in this whole thing and talking to the board and going to the news and forget what your heart was when you started blogging.

Jacki,
I think most of us agree that ESOAL may be the thing that gets everyone's attention. While I don't approve of ESOAL, I consider it kid-stuff compared to the other stuff happening at the Honor Academy (financial indiscretions, spiritual manipulation etc.)

The main focus of this site isn't ESOAL. But if it's what gets people to stand up and pay attention, then so be it.

And what's with everyone obsessing about where someone's "heart" is? The heart is deceitful... and desperately wicked. If you're referring to the "seat of RA's passion" or some such wordage... then I'd say it's still spot on: intent on dealing with injustice head-on.

Hi Jacki,

Thanks for chiming in. I've spent a lot of time on ESOAL lately for a couple of reasons.

1) Its that time of year and lots of people are searching for information on ESOAL

2) I agree that the long term damage from ESOAL is spiritual/mental/emotional. Sometimes though, you have to speak the language that people understand. Everyone understands physical abuse. Plus, the deeper reality of ESOAL is that it employs brainwashing techniques and hopefully I'll have a chance to cover that sometime soon.

3) I don't feel as though I've been seeking "vengeance." I think I've been seeking justice. Vengeance would be if I personally attacked someone and brought harm to them, their family or property. I haven't done that, at all.

That said, I appreciate where you are coming from. Perhaps ESOAL wasn't as traumatic to you, so these last couple of weeks have not really been helpful to you. I think that the longer someone spends processing through their TM issues, the less and less they need this site. Which is great! I know that people come and go as they are able to deal with things and many people have already totally moved on. Its hard for me to hit where everyone is at and I'm usually going for what I think the broadest issues are.

Jacki,
I think you make a good point. It is important to remember why this site was started and continue to focus on the healing aspect. However, I don't understand a comment like,

"I think that going nuts over ESOAL is kind of silly. The physical issues associated with Teen Mania are not the issues that people need help recovering from. It is the mental and spiritual abuse that come up as a result of time spent at HA."

ESOAL is a primary source of the mental and spiritual abuse experienced by many of the people who post to this site (See the true stories sections). Therefore, I think it's totally relevant to go "nuts" over ESOAL.

Additionally, knowing what ESOAL has done to people, how could we NOT bring this to light? Would you rather we sit back and do nothing and continue to allow people to be abused spiritually and emotionally through this event? Personally, that would make me feel like I was contributing to the abuse that goes on there...

Anon from 11:37am says...I guess I'll just comment on your points one at a time. And let me reiterate that I say these things with complete humility. Because without humility...objectivity is impossible. So I may say or think something now that with objective conversation...you may change my mind on. And visa versa. And I'm sorry if at any point you feel like I'm trying to teach you something with my abounding wisdom (total sarcasm there). I'm certain you'll feel like I'm stepping on your toes at some point. I'm really interested in this conversation and want to be a part. If you feel the need to verbally kick me around some...do it gently; ) You seem like a very intelligent, well thought out person. So here it goes.
1) It feels like the lack of humility by many of the comments left on this site could not possibly foster recovery. More so just bitterness and resentment. Healing will only come with forgiveness. Not you taking the ministry out. And as far as bad teaching goes...from my perspective from listening to the recoveringalumni response conference call, Dave seemed to be pretty open to the idea that he has in the past, taught things or formed ideas within the system that he now realizes were wrong and he is willing to receive correction. And he will continue in the future to receive correction on other bad teachings or ideas. I don't know much about any other personal conversations you may have had with him...but from your talking with him on the conference call, this is what I gathered. There were certain points you made that were second hand things you heard from other angry interns...presented as accusatory fact. To assume that these people had no reason to mislead or even stretch the truth is not objective. Unlikely...maybe...impossible...no. And to call Dave a liar like that doesn't seem to be productive towards what you say your goals are. Which leads me to...
2)If you feel like someone has a bad attitude about something...calling them names will not improve their attitude. It will merely be fuel for the fire. And you know that no matter where you are...no matter what you are doing you cannot be "guaranteed" safety. TM is constantly listening to alumni and considering their complaints to help form a better "more safe" environment for interns to grow. Will people be hurt still...yes. Will it get better and better over time...I think so...as long as the leadership continues to have objective conversations with the wounded. I think you are in a prime position to help see the change that you desire...but you will disqualify yourself if you allow anger to be the fuel that drives you.
3) I'm curious if it is even possible that things you thought were great during HA but do not anymore could be because of negative influences outside of Teen Mania. Or if they are undoubtably things you have come to a better understanding on. I only ask because I have been watching Dave's facebook page and there have been tons of alumni ranging from recent to more than a decade ago showing their support...who still feel like HA greatly enriched their lives and gave them passion to reach the world, courage to deal with their INNER selves, and vision for their future. Is it possible at all for you to be wrong in some of your accusations. I'm hearing Dave say repeatedly...I was wrong. And you may be right...he may be just trying to say what skeptics want to hear. But consider everything and everyone involved. There is clearly two sides to this debate. And I'm not talking about Dave vs Recovering Alumni. I'm talking about supportive alumni vs Recovering Alumni.

I yield the floor.

1) Regarding "bitter" comments, etc. I have already addressed that idea numerous times on the blog. I can't really do it justice here in the comments, but I promise if you click the recovery category and scroll a few months back, you will find plenty of explanation for that question.

2) I'm not sure what names I've called anyone with a bad attitude? On Friday, for the very first time, I said Dave was a liar. That wasn't based on an attitude. That was based on fact. (In the conference call, I said he was lying, not a liar. There is a difference.)

3)Resounding no to your first question. The majority of what I learned at TM (like 90% +) has been damaging to me either emotionally or spiritually. Its not because of negative influences. On the contrary, its because of Christian influences like my pastors, counseling, recovery groups, etc.

I think what it comes down to is this...my bad experience doesn't invalidate your good experience (and vice versa). If you grew closer to the Lord, I think thats awesome. But, here is the rub - do the ends justify the means? Just because some people had a great time, does that justify devastating the lives of others?

If you are supportive of the HA, I would think you would want to do everything possible to ensure it is a safe environment, in every way, so that every intern who comes has the opportunity for a positive, God-filled experience.

Oh, and yes, it is entirely possible for me to be wrong in some of my accusations. Key word there being "some."

Just to clarify I wasn't saying you had a bad attitude...I was responding to your #2 point about "cultural and attitude" changes needing to be made.

I didn't mean attitude like, "Hey you have a bad attitude!" I meant more like the general attitude on campus towards the weak, the broken, etc. That kind of thing...

I just feel like ESOAL is 3,4 days and the internship as a whole is a full year.
I am not a TM fan in the slightest, but I'm having a hard time understanding the ESOAL focus, especially since it is the single thing at HA you can opt out of...

To the many comments about PTSD...it's a little presumptuous to diagnose the thousands of interns who have gone through ESOAL. I'm not trying to say that you didn't experience this...but keep the focus of this debate rational. Doctors, counselors, pastors, and parents have seen ESOAL in action and determined it was a safe event. Some of you have seen doctors, pastors, counselors, or have parents who said it wasn't safe. So clearly...we have two sides. Don't present your side as absolute concrete fact when there is dissension among experts as well as participants. This conversation is lacking humility. Which will not produce anything good.

Anon - Maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone here is saying that all interns will develop PTSD. But, clearly, some alumni have been diagnosed by a professional. And, as stated above, its the kind of thing that surfaces after a period of time....Those are both concrete facts.

@CarrieSaum - "Also, if you go to HAStories, how many stories do you find from hurt alumni? How many comments do you read that are from hurt alumni? How many public forums does TM open up for another version of this story to be told? None. Zip. Zero. This site exists because TM does not open itself up to negative feedback. They have no ears to hear."

I agree. As a result of their brainwashing and commitments to "Never speak ill of the Honor Academy or its members; past, present, or future," the will NEVER allow anything negative to be presented, much less accept blame for it and try to apologize and fix it.

Anon @ 4:50-- I find it interesting that you suggest that "angry interns" have "reason to mislead or even stretch the truth." What reason?

Consider the motive. What would these "angry interns" stand to get out of it personally if they were to misrepresent what happened at Teen Mania? Nothing much that I can see.

Now, what would Hasz & Co. stand to get out of it personally if they were to misrepresent what happened at Teen Mania? ...Yeah.

Anon @ 5:35-- What experts, and what did they study? Offhand I can think of Dr. Wade French as reported on KLTV...

After further thought, I would like to give the HA's side:

The Bible says you will have trials. It also says you have to obey your leaders. Therefore I can do whatever I want to you and you must submit and endure it. This psychologist, who happens to be the brother of a prominent staff member, agrees that rolling through vomit and other brainwashing techniques are great because it worked on his kids!

Did I miss anything?

If that was too much sarcasm for you, can I have a mulligan?

Anon 4:50 I find it really interesting that you mention Dave's Face Book page. I have looked at it as well. I just have a few thoughts on the alumni writing there. I have to put it into bullet points to help organize my thoughts. I'm not being a smartie pants.

1. I recognize that many people who have been abused will often try to support (even defend) the person who has abused them. Just a thought. I'm not saying that everyone is doing that on His FB page.

* Many people who are abused (especially those who don't realize it) will often times try to gain status, love, respect (the list goes on) from the very person who has abused them. He does have a certain intimidation thing going on with interns and some alumni.

2. It seems that Mr. Hasz has so many people encouraging him that he may not listen even if there are some legitimate problems. This is why I say this:

I am concerned anytime I hear a spiritual leader say that He/she doesn't listen to negative. “I don't speak negatively and I don't listen to those who do.” -- Ron Luce http://thinkexist.com/quotes/ron_luce/

Many times "negativity" to TM is (from my experience) anything that doesn't see them in the light that they wish to have.

** I am very much an optimist. I truly would love to see TM and the HA turn this thing around for good. They have a great opportunity to reach this generation. But they are surrounded by people who look up to them as if they were on a pedalstool. Many of which only give them the "bright side" of things.

3. Could it be possible that people are still trying to Please Mr. Hasz after all these years? Is it possible that in some sort of silly way their identity is wrapped around their time at the HA?

Just my thoughts. Thank you if you read all of this.

I find this most interesting.
After the HA I was diagnosed with OCD and severe depression that I have been fighting since I left the HA. Severe depression and OCD.

Neither of which I had even a single symptom of before the HA.

So I spent about 5k of my own money, About another 10K of supporters money to get depressed and develop a major medical problem. I have spent about another 15k in the years since leaving the HA to get better. In my case Both my depression and OCD had triggers in the HA. In fact I would agree that 90% of what I learned at the HA was complete bunk. The number one thing I have taken from the HA are the friends, those few who still talk to me that is.

I went through ESOAL, and facilitated ESOAL, I truly regret both events.

I just wish I had a mulligan that lasted for all the classes and events at TMM 2001-2002.

Just my two cents.

Brian-A

RA, I love this post. But I think some of the people commenting have lost the point of it. I don't percieve that it is only about ESOAL. It's so much more than that.

I wrote the part in italics and I wasn't just speaking about ESAOL. (Although, I do like the idea of EHOAL). I was speaking about the entire program and life in general. That's why I touched on the "works mentality," lengthy speeches, issue of love and the wounded at heart, teaching how love one another for the "long haul" instead of being tossed aside, dismissed, and forgotten, and helping others to build faith by helping them to work through their real trials and tribulations.

I could say alot here but instead, I'll do what will really work, I'll pray for discernment in my fellow christians. And I pray that people reading this site will be encouraged in love.

Good Job, RA. Thanks again for understanding what I was trying to say and giving it some light to be heard.

So I was thinking about Les Miserables today... in how Javer though he was so right and so righteous in his pursuit if Jean Valjean. when he realize he had been in the wrong, it broke him... and he killed himself.

I honestly fear f or DH as I believe he will see the serious damage the he has caused other by failing to walk in grace. I woud ask the you pray for him as God leads him.

Ron on the other hand is so in his own world that nothing can phase him...

the thing is there need to be grace all around, grace for those who were hurt and grace for those who just can't see it. Grace for leadership and grace for those bring complaints.

IF we don't extend grace, who will.

I have been working through some trauma issues for a a few years now, and everytime I move to a new level of healing it's about extending grace and forgiveness to myself and the one who hurt me. ADn sometimes I get very angry, wondering when it's my turn to see justice, why do I always have to be the one to extend grace... but what's the other option, to grow hard and bitter (and I"ve been there too).

And in retrospect our healing will be much easier as we forgive though who have wronged use. The work DH and the HA staff have to do of coming to grips with all the damage they have done will be much harder.

To the guy/girl anon who was commenting on my PTSD comments. I am not saying everyone in the internship has it. However I would hazard from my own experience that it is a larger portion than realize. I understand how you misunderstood my comment and I am sorry for that. My own experiences and my education qualify me to make that call on many people, and some of the people I am still friends with from my time at the internship do have PTSD and are just starting to come to the realization. I am sure that most of these people filled out that they had a wonderful experience at ESOAL but now they are having issues because of it. I would say that their surfacing injuries would invalidate their positive reviews. I would state that your original comment about those wonderful reviews could be invalid because of not knowing how many people after 5 to 10 years are starting to notice that they are having mental issues from these kinds of discussions. I was using very specific examples within my friends groups.

That said I think a great deal of this could be fixed by allowing true openness. True Brokenness before God and before the interns you are serving with. To show God's heart for the nations and for each person on this earth. This is the internship I thought I had signed up for instead I found I couldn't spend one second being anything less than perfect. I still have problems being open to this day. Being vulnerable even with the people that it should be easy to do so with is sometimes impossible for me. These started at Teen Mania. God is love. When we love we are like him. I would love to see that love along with God's grace given to the hurting in the internship. An event that taught that God wishes for us all to be held and to grow as a group. I would Love to see an Honor Academy I would be honored to send my sons to. Right now however I would not be able to recommend the HA to anyone I know!

Original Anon that I quoted in this post: Yes I totally agree, this isn't just about ESOAL in particular. I think ESOAL is a symptom of the problem, and kind of a microcosm of all of TM's beliefs taken to their extreme. If TM gets rid of ESOAL, but not the underlying beliefs behind it, then something else just as bad will eventually take its place.

Stephanie - Les Mis is possibly the best fiction book ever on grace vs. law. (I highly recommend the movie if you aren't a Broadway fan.) Excellent thoughts...I do think that if DH realized the damage he has done it would be beyond devastating....

Just throwing a few pennies into the fountain...

Anyway, I wanted to maybe shed a tiny bit of light as to why ESOAL has been receiving some focus from this community lately.

First, ESOAL just happened. And it received some serious local media attention. That's huge. So yeah, we're gonna talk about it a little bit.

Second, ESOAL as a singular event, is a microcosm of everything this community finds potentially hurtful about the Honor Academy as a whole. It's irresponsible, "voluntary" without truly being voluntary, and emotionally abusive.

It's also the easiest thing to clearly identify as dangerous. Even outsiders can understand that telling someone "It pays to be a winner, and you're a loser." is a foolish thing to do, whereas outsiders may not fully understand the potential dangers of say, the Honor Ring.

Micah, you said when you were talking about vengeance that you haven't attacked anyone...really? So how would you categorize your post blatantly "attacking" Dave and calling him a liar in every form of the word. You may not have brought physical harm to him, his family or property however I konw for a fact that you have indeed brought a lot of emotional harm to him AND his family. You'll never have any idea nor probably care I'm sure but seriously don't say your not vengeful because your words and actions don't line up.

Okay now I'm expecting your debate telling me how wrong I am :)

Anon at 10:24pm - That is not a personal attack in the way that say, slashing tires or saying he is ugly, or speaking falsely about him, would be.

The FACT is that Dave Hasz has lied repeatedly. Is there anything on that post you can dispute? Even one thing?

I would ask you, what do you call a person who does not tell the truth, over and over again?

Again, perhaps part of it is that people project a tone onto what I'm writing. I'm just stating facts and stating them passionately. I don't have a vendetta against Hasz for the sake of getting back at him for what he has done to me personally. I've been over that for years. I have a problem with what he does to people, continually, without remorse or repentance, and that he devastates people's lives in the name of God.

All of my critques have been on his very PUBLIC ministry, which I have every right to critique.

Again, what do YOU call someone who routinely deceives others?

Beautiful post. The Church has such an opportunity to come along side of those who have been hurt. It's sad that instead of being Jesus to the wounded they just wound them further. Christ never tore people down in order to draw them closer to him. I could never get over how guilty I felt after a TM experience, and I'm thankful that I understand what "No condemnation for those who are in Christ" means.

I pray that they would open their eyes. Sorry to derail the current conversation - I just wanted to add my two cents on the original post.

"Christ never tore people down in order to draw them closer to him."

Thank you! That's it exactly. How is ESOAL Christ-like? It isn't. At all. ESOAL is not a Christian event.

Hasz claims to be an althetic expert. All problems look like they can be resolved with "beating the body". AKA, to a hammer all problems look like nails.

Mouse

I was a staff associate a few years after my intern year. I personally worked with about 12 interns who were underneath me as their job placement. Because I felt that I had slipped through the cracks as an intern-without any adult actually getting to know me, I worked very hard to disciple my interns. I feel that is something sorely missing in most areas at Teen Mania. Several of my kids had self injury issues, sexual abuse issues, depression, mental illness struggles, and the list goes on. I hate it when programs or churches say they are not a rehab program. This was about 8 years ago. This new generation is even more in crisis. How can we ignore that the techniques that worked on the older generations is not adaquate for this time? These kids need love, compassion, counseling, and mercy. I don't think I could have handled ESOAL as I have been abused in the past. This type of behavior can cause serious disruption in the building of trust between leadership and interns, and violate the safe place they may feel they have at Teen Mania. WAKE UP Honor Academy-the kids who are not superstars are slipping through the cracks! And some kids who you think are superstars will fall later because there is no room for failure at your program.

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