Tales from the Cult is a website dedicated to preserving important artifacts from a church in Eau Claire where horrific spiritual abuse took place over several years. If you haven’t read the About This Site page, please do so before reading any article here.
I wanted to talk briefly about this site and its status before I post my article on the findings of the Financial Investigation in the wake of the Converge Report as there are a few updates that should be outlined ahead of time:
- In the article titled The Narrow Pathway, I mentioned the website was deleted, and I provided a cached version of how the page looked before it was deleted. The website came back online a few days later, and the text was replaced with a letter saying that “their systems were hacked” and “this site was not available to the public.” I want to be clear: in my investigations and reporting of the events surrounding Doug Lebsack’s relationship with Valleybrook Church, I have never used any underhanded methods to obtain my information. Everything I have ever and will ever post has either been public at some time or it is a private document for which I have permission from the appropriate party to post. And speaking of not using underhanded methods…
- My original intent with the Financial Report was to record the meeting with an audio recorder and post that, like I have done with other pieces of media. Very little commentary from me, just the media. And so that’s what I did: I recorded the audio. However, I arrived to the meeting slightly late and did not hear at the beginning when they requested that there be no recordings. And so that’s my fault, and I accept that. However, I did not and will not post those recordings, because they were not acceptable to have in the first place. I’m glad I have them since I didn’t take written notes (because I’d have the audio to listen to! Why bother writing?) but now that I’m writing an article instead of posting the audio, it’s nice to have notes. I will be deleting the recording after I am done writing the article.
- This little whoopsie on my part led to a great new development: a connection with the new leadership team at Valleybrook. “WHOA!” Some of you say. Let me be very clear up front: Valleybrook does not endorse this website. It’s not an official Valleybrook publication. I have been very critical of Valleybrook while it was under Doug’s leadership. Doug is no longer there. A transitional leadership team is in place, and as a dear friend of mine put it, “are working their tails off to turn around the Titanic.” These are good people. These are people who want Valleybrook to truly be a Godly place, a healthy place, and a safe place. They are as against the practices that went on under Doug as I am. And so we find ourselves “on the same team.” It is also important to note that Valleybrook as it exists today is no longer a cult. It is a community of believers trying to move forward while recognizing and dealing with a terrible past. I personally will not be returning to Valleybrook as a member, but I do feel that it would be a safe place for anyone who wants to attend.
So what does this mean for the Financial Report? Well, it’s going to be an article. It’s going to be a long article. But please note the following legal statement from Valleybrook:
In concert with Bryan Symes at Ruder Ware, LLSC, Valleybrook Church is considering the full range of legal options in connections with Valleybrook’s former leadership.
While this process plays out, to best protect the Church’s interest and maintain attorney-client privilege, we have been instructed to refrain from commenting about legal issues during the pendency of the matter.
Since “the full range of legal options” are being considered, it is beneficial for certain details to be kept relatively private. That’s likely the main reason the meeting was not to be recorded. Not to hide anything, but to protect their legal interests. I was personally satisfied with the amount and detail of statements that were made at the public meeting. I don’t believe Valleybrook is hiding anything. But in order to help protect their legal interests, I voluntarily am offering my article to the Valleybrook Transitional Leadership Team to review before I post it. I am allowing them to suggest things to take out or rephrase, but I am also keeping my right as a journalist to refuse their changes.
This is mutually beneficial for us, and for you. You will be getting better and absolutely accurate material, and their legal interests will be respected.
I personally am very grateful to be able to cooperate with the new Valleybrook Church in order to bring to light the tragedies that occurred behind the scenes under the previous regime.
Look for my article on The Finances coming soon!
Tales from the Cult is a free effort to bring stories of abuse into the light so they may be prevented from happening again. There is not now, and will never be, a fee to access this site. Thank you for reading, and please remember to share posts you find interesting to increase our web presence.