Dear Ron Luce & Dave Hasz: Is This Honorable?

The leadership at the Honor Academy talks a lot about living honorably and treating people ethically. But is the Honor Academy honorable? Does it treat interns, vendors, and teenagers ethically?

– Teen Mania encourages and/or forces people to participate in dangerous activities like ESOAL that will likely end in injury or possibly even quarantine. When interns are injured, they are treated with suspicion, forced to continue and told if they miss too much time at work they will be kicked out.

– Interns often work overtime to the point of exhaustion. This has led to long term health problems including chronic fatigue.

– Teen Mania skirts the workers compensation law by calling interns “volunteers.” When interns are injured on the job, often because of TM’s neglect or the creation of hazardous conditions, TM refuses to provide any financial assistance or medical care.

– Teen Mania’s Corporate Exercise program has led to many injuries. Those who cannot keep up are shamed as complacent and lazy.

Staff members , including Dave Hasz, and campus leadership routinely ignore interns needs for medical care.

– Teen Mania encourages individuals with depression, bi-polar disorder and other mental illnesses to quit taking their medication. Then, when their symptoms worsen, they are punished.

– Teen Mania has covered up sexual harassment.

– Teen Mania has employed sexual predators and then failed to warn interns about them. When a female intern is taken advantage of by the predator, they are kicked out.

– TM leadership has attempted to cast demons out of those who are exhausted by the exercise regimen, question leadership, or have homosexual feelings.

– Teen Mania routinely lies to vendors and breaks contracts.

– Teen Mania routinely makes promises it fails to keep, i.e. recruiting for programs it fails to provide and reneging on promised job placements.

– Teen Mania humiliates interns as a strategy for behavioral modification.

– Ron Luce published lies about his own family in a book in order to boost his own reputation.

If any secular institution treated people the way Teen Mania treats the interns, it would already have been sued out of business.

Shouldn’t a Christian organization be held to a higher standard than the world?

218 Comments on "Dear Ron Luce & Dave Hasz: Is This Honorable?"

  1. LOVED this post…it's a really good resource to direct people to when they say, "Hey! What could possibly be wrong with Teen Mania?!" Keep up the amazing work, RA!

  2. I had to help this one GI who was staying for staff gather all her stuff and find her a place to stay , because 3 days before she was to begin her staff position, she was told that they wouldn't be able to hire her for work after all.

  3. i would agree. This is a good one!

  4. @ Anon 8:44, I had something similar happen to me during my last month at TM. I was trying to register for classes and lease an apartment, but TM had not renewed my contract (which, to be perfectly honest, was a good move on their part…my job was pretty usless at that point) and I knew something was up but couldn't get a direct answer from any of the staff. I didn't want to pay a deposit on an apartment or pay for classes when I wasn't going to be an SA anymore (and I didn't want to stay in Tyler, TX if that was the case). Finally, I just quit and told them I wasn't going to be returning as an SA. This was about two weeks before Summer vacation ended and work started up again. I still don't know why they didn't fire me or, at the very least, tell me that they were considering letting me go (though I'm sure they had already decided months prior). It was bizarre. I'm so glad I didn't lease an apartment. I'd have ended up spending money on the down payment and then more money to get out of the contract.

    Thanks, TM, for setting me up for failure.

  5. if they fire you, you're eligible for worker's comp. or whatever it's called. if you quit, no one owes you anything.

  6. For those of you who think TM did not hurt some of us here. Please, see scene 16 from the movie “Meet the Robinsons”. It’s almost as if it were written to represent this wonderful site.

  7. gc – I guess that would make sense. The thing is, had they simply been straight-forward and honest with me (we can't renew your contract) and then asked that I not claim unemployment b/c the ministry could not afford it, I would have walked away without doing so. I wouldn't have been so hurt. I wouldn't have left confused. I would have had closure. But they didn't respect me enough for that.

  8. This one quite possibly deserves its own tab in the header, updated as more charges continue to surface. A handy link list is much more convenient than what we've usually had to say ("Just read all the True Stories").

    Of course, there's also this: Give honor to whom you give honor.

    Don't you have to have been in a paid position to get Unemployment? Though I suppose it would be equally dishonorable of them to make you go on Welfare.

  9. Eric – I don't actually think I could have claimed unemployment. I was "paid" monthly, but the job was still closer to being an internship than true, paying employment.

    The whole situation still confuses me. Did they just forget about me? Did they not want to hurt my feelings by firing me? I finally got a partial answer from the director of Help Desk/I.T., but I think it was only because he was a good friend of mine and I basically acosted him in his office and refused to leave until he told me what he'd heard. He couldn't give me a direct answer, however, he said, "I wouldn't recommend getting an apartment." I think I decided that evening that I was through with TM.

  10. i agree with eric. this DOES deserve it's own tab. 🙂

    also, in order to claim unemployment benefits, you have to fill out your IRS forms. even if you are an independent contractor, you still have to fill out the forms. if you did fill out those forms, then you *might* be able to collect.

    either way, the way TM treats people is abominable.

  11. I have to wonder if Ron knows that vendors are being put off and paid late. He runs a large ministry. It is entirely possible that he isn't being told about these things.

    Frankly, I wonder how many of the problems that Teen Mania seems to have are directly related to the lack of education and business experience in the staff.

    Most HA participants interface primarily with someone other than Ron or Dave, right? Perhaps the problem isn't with Ron or Dave so much as it is with the lower level leadership in the HA. I can see Ron being so busy that he didn't know there was a real problem until it was too late.

    When you are running an organization, lots of people find reasons to complain. It's easy to loose the people who have real issues that require immediate attention amongst the people who are just making noise. That can leave important issues unresolved. It can leave people feeling unimportant.

    I haven't seen Ron in many years, but knowing his personality, I find it hard to believe that Ron, himself, had he understood each and every situation, would have acted out or personally approved of the offenses written about on this blog. Separating the person from the ministry (or the person who represented the ministry and hurt you) is difficult. But I wonder what happens when you take a step back and try….

  12. Anon 3:11 – I think there is a lot of truth in what you've said here, but I still disagree with a lot of it.

    "When you are running an organization, lots of people find reasons to complain. It's easy to loose the people who have real issues that require immediate attention amongst the people who are just making noise. That can leave important issues unresolved. It can leave people feeling unimportant."

    Firstly, I don't think it's a matter of "too many complainers". From my time at TM, we were encouraged not to complain. Ever. Complaining was a sign of weakness which could potentially cause division. Division = attack from the devil, so that was no good. So I don't think the TM staff had inboxes full of intern complaints to deal with. The issue is with the culture, the attitude that 'to complain is to sin and shame-on-you for feeling pain or not being able to find comfort in Jesus'.

    "Separating the person from the ministry (or the person who represented the ministry and hurt you) is difficult. But I wonder what happens when you take a step back and try…."

    I think that people have tried to make this seperation. I don't think this is a "torches and stakes" attack on RL, but I do think that people are asking for him to take responsibility for what has happened within his ministry.

  13. What has Ron done, now that these neglects and abuses have been brought to his attention?

  14. @ anon 3:11

    ron is not isolated from the rest of his ministry. neither is dave. and also, even if they were somehow (though, i think it is HIGHLY unlikely) unaware of the situation before this blog, they are now aware of these grievances and serious lapses of intra-ministry "integrity". in fact, this specific blog has been addressed directly BY RON to the entire alumni association, completely discrediting and denying what is here. what's more: the BBB will not endorse TM as an ethical non-prof because their financial records do not meet the very menial and basic requirements of transparency.

    i think it is very difficult to hold people who, at one time, dramatically changed our lives, even seemingly for the better, to their negligent, hurtful, dishonest, and even illegal actions. it is natural to want to give them the benefit of the doubt. but the evidence in this matter far outweighs any kind of reasoning or justification that might excuse this kind of behavior.

  15. well said carriesaum

  16. Believe me…Ron knows everything that is going on in his ministry…his micro-managing personality is one of complete control!

  17. It is impossible to know everything going on in a company, even when it is 10% of the size of Teen Mania today. Ignorance is no excuse though! If Teen Mania were to get in legal trouble, it would be him going to jail, not one of his staff members. The same is true of any corporation.

    The question now comes in what Ron will do to correct things. If I were him, I'd take a year off of the HA. During that year, I would send my favorite staff members to intensive customer service training. Anyone not cutting it would get fired. I'd revamp the entire HA program, removing all elements of military training. I'd do focus groups and invite parental, former staff, former intern and young adult opinions into every single aspect of the year. All marketing materials would be revamped to provide 100% visibility into the curriculum. A complete syllabus and schedule would be provided to parents so they can participate in their young adult's process. Monthly meetings would be held with the intern, parents or pastor and whoever at TM was primarily responsible for that intern's success in the program. I'd educate interns and staff in proper management of authority. (etc.)

    I could go on and on, but I have to get my kids in bed.

    The point is that people are people. People fail. Programs are implemented by people. Ministries are run by people. One person has 24 hours in a day to listen, watch, read and try to stay informed and there is NO WAY that Ron could have personally known and approved of each and every one of the situations described in this blog. Is it his fault? Yes, because he hired the wrong people and/or he trained them poorly.

    I'd love to see another email from Ron that just said, "Hey guys, it looks like there is offense lingering. I'm sorry if I hurt you. Email me. I want to work it out." I've seen Dave do that… Seeing the same from Ron would go miles towards regaining some basic trust from those who have been hurt.

    Anon. 3:11

  18. I worked in the Executive Office and I can honestly say Ron Luce does a really good job at avoiding certain issues. I just think he's really out of touch with reality (on purpose). He lives in his own little world he created for himself. He's a nice enough person, but he's still way out of touch with what's really going on in his own ministry… and I think he wants it that way. Although he may not know about every offense that happens at the HA, he is still the leader of organization, and ultimately responsible for "shepherding" that group of believers. TM may shun the responsibility of the local church and assume the role of a "para-church" ministry (of which I find no Biblical basis for), but he is still claiming to be the head of a Christian ministry and is held to a higher standard BY GOD as a teacher/leader. One thing that has been completely obvious in all of this is that he definitely seems to care more about running his ministry as a business than he does about each individual intern.

  19. @ Anon 3:11 PM
    While I was there I organized the finances for my department.
    Whenever we wanted to get something paid , i.e an invoice for a vendor, I would enter the invoice number, description, vendor etc, into the accounting system. As it was told to me, it was important to do this to generate a number that would be linked to the invoice for payment (P.O. Purchase Order #). It was important for us to have this done by a certain day as they would generate an document listing each open invoice that would have to be signed off on before paying and I am 100% that RL was one of the people who was a signor.
    He also gets highly detailed reports of event finances the week after.
    So yeah, I'm pretty sure he know about the late stuff.
    I have been involved with businesses that have wealthy clients and even banks. What I notice is that they will push vendors to their limits in paying, just so they can hold on the money. Or they don't pay becuase they have a more urgent invoice to pay on and they know that another will not turn theirs over to collection. Its really not worth a small business going through the hassle of a collections agency so they just have to keep calling in hopes of payment.

  20. RA.. "Esoal".. i mean are you really going to go there. Were you hurt in a terrible way and some how in the "bring it on" group at the same time and the commander told you to "Man up". Unfortunately i will say the same, this is just stupid, it was like going through "hell week" for seal training and it was awesome. All you had to do was ring the bell and you could leave, yes they wanted you to keep going and so did everyone else. If you are playing the championship game in football and get hurt, even the the guy is not going to get out of the game cause he wants to finish what he started. Its a matter of "manning up" and getting dirty, of rubbing dirt in the wound and moving on, going the distance that others aren't willing.

    "Humiliates interns" – we were freakin' teenagers when we walked in there. i need some humiliation to wake me up and mature me a little. Even Christ did the same thing silly, he so often called them children in front of everyone and told them they still were not listening. Jesus did the same thing, don't misread the scripture those disciples were men and they were humiliated in front of others. Its another way of maturity, jesus isn't that white anget you see in the painting, he was a hardcore guy.

    oh fun stuff to listen to.

  21. Brian S.:

    And there's the example of unbiblical false teaching you asked for!

    The Bible says:

    "God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world." (John 3:17)

    "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

    "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you…." (Matthew 20:25).

    "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children." (1 Thess 2:7).

    "Asceticism and severity to the body… are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:23)

    See, not only do you still have this self-righteous condescending attitude ("silly, stupid, man up" etc.) but you've been taught to think it's like Jesus. And that's a lie. Actually, that's blasphemy.

    The "fruit" of your comments shows clearly what kind of "tree" Honor Academy really is!

  22. Nunquam Honorablus | May 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Reply

    Eric, please become an attorney. Thank you for your comments 🙂

  23. Now I'm trying and failing to picture myself as the lawyer in Miracle on 34th St. 😀 Maybe in an alternate universe where I had no musical talents, that was me!

  24. Part 1 of 2 ( to long in length)

    NOBODY is forced in to esoal nor are they threatened to do esoal. I know people who were in my core (and cousin core) who never did esoal and none of them were forced to do anything. Esoal is a optional LTE, so please do not spread false reports about esoal.

    Also in order to become an intern you MUST have active health insurance (I was not allowed to go on the UPG LTE until I had active health insurance). I was never put in any dangerous positions nor did I ever think my health was in danger (In the World Awareness LTE you had to wear goggles to protect your eyes if you even thought about running and you were given plenty of water and food). When it comes to traveling (with ATF) which I did on 3 occasions they went overboard on safety to where we needed at least two other people with us at all time when we were getting some food or anything. Just remember that in the MT (some of my Core are apart of) when you put on LIVE events that accidents do happen. Anyway it seems that you are trying to spread more lies to enforce your bias against the ministry.

    I was an intern in Jan of 2009 but had to leave due to money. Anyway RA seems to have stolen videos that are not his and posted them on this site. It's just like if you download a movie online that you did not make, but yet you are stealing it from their respected owners. This is what recovering Alumni did when he posted the videos on this site and the owners (heath stoner) has asked RA politely to remove the video on this site due to the videos are not supposed to be seen by current interns to keep that level of surprise. Anyway the film does not belong to RA yet he will not give it up (which is theft) and is using this to hurt those who were positive impacted by this ministry.

    Not to mention that Recovering Alumni also vandalized the Honor academy's Alumni site by taking the email addresses from former interns who make up the "line"(that were not supposed to be published nor contacted by that of a Mass email unless given approval by TMM). It seems to me at least that this site's main goal is to hurt Teen Mania and the people who love this ministry NOT to bring any sort of change or healing.

  25. (Part 2 of 2)

    I think we all can agree that many ministries of Teen Mania bring ALOT of people to Christ weather it be ATF,GE or Extreme Camps and yes even the HA. Now I know some of you have been hurt by something the HA has done, but this site does not seem to be a place of healing, just a place where you can point fingers and rant how the HA hurt you without ever really helping bringing the healing that can only come from Christ. Now Its easy to find someone that has become bitter towards any internship. Usually this happens when God in fact did not call that person to the internship, so when they get there they do not feel God and get confused and bitter. But for the one's that God did Call to the HA and other internships their time will bring Joy and happiness as they make an impact for the kingdom. But this site instead of healing it brings doubt to the ones that God actually did call to the HA, and that my brothers and sister where the enemy might be using this site to bring division between us instead of healing.

    Let me share some of what I learned in my brief time at the HA. Here are te top three things that I learned in the HA: 1.) I learned responsibility to pay attention to details weather it be cleaning my room or my ministry placement ATF ops/volunteer caller. 2.) I learned that it might not be wise to drink in public because of the stereotyping out there. 3.) I learned ALOT of discipline through corporate exercise and some of the LTE's. Now in my little time there my family has seen some great improvements in me and I hope God continues to work in the lives of current interns.

    Now none of this is supposed to be hurtful but just raise question to the REAL motivations to this site. Anyway I will be back at the HA in Aug and hopefully i will finish my year this time. I hope nothing but the best for all of you and that God will not only heal your pains and bring healing, but that God also richly bless all of you.


  26. Wow, I am going to leave this comment up just because of your top 3 things you learned at the HA.

    Attention to detail, not drinking and discipline – not bad things but these have NOTHING TO DO WITH JESUS. And that's the problem.

    I encourage everyone not to get in a comment war with this person…Just let it slide. Anyone who has read this site for any length of time already knows all our arguments and where we stand…I leave this up just so people can see what the HA produces and teaches.

  27. AGREED RA!

    At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized those really are the top 3 things the guy learned. Bummer deal.

  28. Raymon Rodriguez | May 5, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Reply

    Before coming to the HA I was already a youth pastor (Assembly Of God) so even though it did not teach me anything new about Jesus or the power of his word, It did teach me some great christian principles like yes discipline and responsibility (which even the apostles had to learn). One of the things I loved was being surrounded by christian like me and reading the bible everyday and taking being a christian seriously. But yes the top three would still be what I mentioned in my last post. Because these were things I did not really think about as much as I should of.

    Anyway the reason I am coming back is Because I believe God called me there and I have to trust in his will for my life. Trust me I have a lot pay for like some big cavities and another collage to get officially ordained as a YP so I can preach at more churches. But if God is calling me to the HA then I should heed that calling regardless to what other people are saying.

    Anyway I did not come here to start a fight nor a heated debate. I have been reading your post since last year and I love the different perspectives that you giving, But I do believe that this site is starting to become a hate TMM site than a healing site. By the way thank you RA for not deleting my posts but letting other people come up with their own conclusions, I would like to talk with you privately (RA) to understand why you chose this approach to TMM, maybe we will talk, maybe not. God Bless

  29. I raise my glass of wine (formerly water, but a carpenter said something) to the Alot Of Discipline! I picture it hanging its big shaggy head in shame when it realizes it can't keep all the commandments and responsibilities on its own; it fails Alot. Don't cry, Alot. Jesus said the only real responsibility God gave us was to believe in Him (John 6:28-29). You may be the Alot of Discipline now, but the pupal stage is called the Alot of Failing which metamorphoses into the Alot of Grace. (Learning that from Galatians helped me, Alot.)

    (Yeah, you'll have to visit the link for that to make any sense, but I couldn't resist. I can't help being a copy editor; it just kind of happened! Don't hate me!)

  30. Nunquam Honorablus | May 5, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Reply

    Eric that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life what the heck

  31. Thank you for Alot my smiles today. I enjoyed the story a lot.

  32. mom of ex-intern | May 6, 2010 at 4:09 am | Reply

    Eric P. I LAUGHED OUT LOUD–thank you–I really needed that today

  33. I have noticed that a lot of ex interns are alcoholics. The bible would call them winebibbers.

    I wonder if these were behaviors before TM or as a result of their experiences with TM.

    I tend to believe we should "come out from the world and be separate" and to "not be drunk with wine" because "wine is a mocker" (doesn't say how much)

  34. Are these accusations or allegations?

  35. Are you adding to this list?

  36. Re: accusations or allegations – What is the difference? Educate me.

    Yes, the list can be added to.

  37. Anon- Define "alcoholic" please. If by alcoholic you mean someone that drinks Alcohol, then I would say add me to that list. If my alcoholic you mean someone with a psychological or physical dependence on alcohol then I would like some evidence for your allegations.

  38. ok…when i first read this post and saw the part about TM covering up "sexual abuse" i was shocked. i immediately clicked on the post and read what happened. now…i feel like you are purposefully exaggerating a bit on putting "sexual abuse" on this post. this is not sexual abuse. now, i'm not saying that what happened to this girl wasn't wrong. it was 100% wrong and it still made me really sad for her and confused on what nothing was done. i'm very interested in what dave has to say about this situation. and i also understand how she said she felt like she was about to be raped, especially if she's been raped before like she says she has. so i'm not downplaying what happened to her, but i do think that you're going to far to put on here that they covered up sexual abuse, when in reality what happened to her was not sexual abuse whatsoever. you should probably put, physical assault or something like that b/c this is misleading.

  39. Nunquam Honorablus | June 30, 2010 at 12:03 am | Reply

    Anon 6:05- actually, I think you might be right. Instead of sexual abuse, it's more like sexual harassment.

    Regardless, the fact of the matter isn't what kind of label to put onto the action- it's the fact that Teen Mania tried to cover it up. That's the problem here.

  40. @Nunquam I totally agree that the issue is about the cover up. In fact, I just emailed Dave Hasz regarding this story b/c I would like to hear from him about this situation. What bothers me is I was actually in this tribe this girl says she was a missionary to, and I didn't hear anything about this happening. I feel very out of touch. But I still disagree with the label "sexual harassment"…I don't feel like there was anything sexual about this situation. Once again, I'm not saying it wasn't wrong, or downplaying it. And once again, I could understand how it could bring up sexual thoughts since she says she has been raped before. But I think in this situation the labels definitely matter, and it should be called sexual abuse or harassment b/c that is misleading. It should be called physical assault or physical harassment or something along those lines. but that's just my opinion.

  41. I emailed him a while ago about this.

    This is his response
    DH has stated and I quote–

    "To Niki's story – she WAS thrown to the ground by two "tribal guys" and taken to the chief. There were other interns around but it should NOT have happened. After that LTE we changed the structure of the LTE – interns no longer decide for example what their traditions are etc. for their tribe. This is what led to this situation.

    As to the signed document I have never seen it or heard of it until it was posted. I would NEVER condone such a document. The two guys were severely disciplined for the incident as well. I am sad for Niki and we are working on getting in touch with her as well. This was wrong and should never have happened."

    A common theme I am seeing, from both the conference call and in communicating with DH is that he is ignorant to what is going on at the HA.

    Multiple times throughout his conference call he made the statement "I am not aware that this happened" or similar.

    Unfortunately, while ignorance is bliss, it doesn't excuse the ignorance. As the Executive Director of the HA it is DH's responsibility to know these things. The HA is under his direction and if leaders, who are under his umbrella, are not acting right, HE is responsible for it. The proverbial "crap" flows uphill.

    Ignorance CANNOT be used as a defense!

  42. Anon & Nunquam – You bring up good points. I will change this to sexual harassment instead of abuse. I wrote this around the time when I learned of an actual rape that PDs covered up, so that was probably on my mind and why I chose those words.

  43. i'd like to add my 2 cents into the conversation debating if ron knows what's going on. i know for a matter of fact he does NOT know everything going on. during my GI year, he invited all the GI's in my particularly group into his home for dinner and a "chat." he asked us pointed questions, specifically wanting to know all of the "bad" or "negative" things we had complaints about. we were not shy! we were open and honest and told him of our concerns. once we started talking, he was very shocked and wanted to know more details. we let it out about things we'd been frustrated with. he listened very intently and promised to take action. and he did! action that came back to haunt us. this same group had an immediate meeting with dave hasz. dave hasz began chastising us, and confronting us on our meeting with ron. he basically told us we were wrong to tell ron anything we didn't like about our program and the ha in general. he was very stern. not the usual nice dave i was used to. it was my first experience with dave in which i felt something was very, very wrong. he continued to reprimand us very sternly and told us never again to tell ron that anything was wrong. if we had any complaints or things that bothered us, we were to go to him directly, and NEVER to ron. it was obvious that ron had directly gone to dave with our complaints, and apparently dave was not happy with the talking to he had received. i remember feeling everything dave was saying was wrong. i went to my desk and wrote dave a very long but respectful email telling him he was wrong to reprimand us and condemn us for doing something like answering ron's direct questions. how were we supposed to know that if ron asked us a direct question, we weren't supposed to answer him? i told dave that ron is the leader of TM, and if ron asks me a pointed question, i am not going to say "oh, sorry ron, i can't answer that."
    it made me realize dave wants to run things the way he wants to run them, and mostly wants to keep ron out of it. very sad.

  44. RA, where is the rape story? is it posted here somewhere?

  45. p.s. i worked in GE, i can tell you i saw first hand hundreds of hundreds of parent complaints from GE trips of horrible things that were done. those complaints were kept in a big file. AND NEVER ADDRESSED. there was a staff member who joined GE and tried to start tackling the stack. but the complaints were years old at that point. no one had ever contacted the parents or families or in any way tried to address the situations. sad sad sad. i'm glad this staff member at least TRIED to make reconciliation, but it was a little too late at that point. there are a lot of really bad stories from ge trips that were never addressed, let alone made public.

  46. This particular story is not a rape (although there has been that on at least 1 GE trip). Its sexual harassment. Just click the link.

    I'm beyond sorry to hear that there are so many problems with GE trips and that they aren't addressed – but not at all surprised.

  47. In response to Anon 11:08

    I haven't posted before, but I feel the need to respond to your story. Before I go on, I would like to be very clear that I had a good experience at the HA. I do not wish to contribute to the overall criticism of the HA/TMM, but I would like to respectfully offer my viewpoint.

    I was at Ron's house and in that meeting with Dave, too. I worked with both Ron and Dave during my two years there; my experience with them gave me an idea of how to listen to them and understand where they were coming from (I later, fittingly, graduated with my degree in psychology). 🙂

    Ron invited us over for an 'ice cream social' and when we got there, he asked us quite a lot of questions about how the LPs were doing. I think he did it with the CAs and one other group, too. Anyway, he initiated the conversation because he seemed to genuinely want feedback on the program. I remember all of us talking about the things that were 'everyday' sorts of challenges for us and how interested he was in asking follow-up questions. There wasn't much discussion on the things we liked, which was too bad. I think it would have balanced the conversation out and would have reflected the reality of our experiences a little more accurately.

    When Dave talked to us, he was uncharacteristically displeased. That was obvious. BUT–knowing Dave and based on what I know of Ron, I think there was a miscommunication between them. Dave spoke to us like we had gone to Ron on purpose and had complained (in which case, a correction would have been appropriate, I think). As I said, Ron actually initiated the whole process. I don't think Dave realized that. I believe he thought we had just began complaining to Ron.

    What Dave said in that meeting was this' (paraphrasing from almost exact words) if there are problems, at least 'come to me first and please–give me the chance to fix them'. He was stern, but that was his message.

    His problem with us interns was that he thought we had gone over his head to Ron, without giving him a chance to deal with whatever issues we were having.

    I truly believe that in this case, there was a misunderstanding. Dave came across upset that day, but he never told us to 'deal with it' or to 'keep our mouths shut'. He told us he wanted first dibbs on trying to fix whatever was wrong.

    Thank you for letting me share my experience, even though my opinions are the opposite of the community.

  48. I had to fight weeks of peer pressure to not go through with ESOAL. If I was woken up after 1 hour sleep and then had some idiot screaming in my face… I would have seriously injured them. And then got kicked out of the internship… Which ended up happening to me anyway for something I wasn't… So I should have taken the extravagant way out and had a better story to tell.

    And then I went to "Tribal Weekend" and it ended up turning into a mini ESOAL anyway… I guess they didn't get their jollies off enough the first time… In which case I was a split second away from injuring, torturing, and tying up the idiot staff member who verbally abused me for 4 hours while making me do constant exercises and then feebly tried to tie me up and leave me there for 5 minutes…

    Good thing I had training the H.A. didn't know about (which is why they should be careful when pushing interns to the edge of self control while knowing nothing about them)… I was out of my ropes in a flash and was contemplating violence, escape, or sticking around to rub it in. I chose the third option, which ended up earning me another 30 min of exercise.

  49. Thank you for your website. Our 22 yr old daughter graduated from HA and then traveled with ATF ministry team. Needless to say, it has been a difficult journey for her to get back on track with the Lord. My heart goes out to all parents that have to deal with this and see their kids suffer.

  50. Anon – Glad to be of service. I hope you and your daughter feel very welcome here as you sort through the aftermath of her time at TM.

  51. I think is so sad! There are many good things Teen Mania does and yes, if this ministry was sued by every person injured they would be out of business quickly. I think both parties should be able to deal with compassion on the matter. I think the best way to deal with all these issues is really knowing God's will for each of us. I find many people working on the wrong path and out of God's will. The first thing I ask myself when I find myself on awkward situations at any ministry, is this "Am I really in God's will or should I reconsider what I'm doing here?" Adversity will come in any calling we have from God, but knowing I'm on God's will, will help me in any situation because I'm trusting God alone as my source for every need I have and not necessarily the ministry I'm working at. Most ministries depend on donations and donations are not always there to meet all the needs. Early church people was willing to volunteer and work for their own needs as we see in Paul's example. He was willing to work on tents and still work in his ministry. He did not depend on the church to supply his needs even though some began to help him later, he was able to say. I'm content in abundance or lacking. I have met many ministers working hard in the beginning for their love for the ministry and mainly God and doing both working and volunteer their time at church until the church is more establish and members can afford to pay for his needs. Any ministry should be able to tight their budgets accordingly and do all with compassion. I know is not that way always but this is where I believe we must walk into any ministry knowing it is where God want us to be. We will face adversity but knowing we are there in God's will, will make the difference!

  52. Anon – So are you saying that as long as its God's will for me to be in a ministry, its okay for the leadership to abuse me?

  53. I like brownies | September 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply

    To Anon at 10:59am,

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but what is happening with the work situation at TM cannot be compared to Paul and his job as a tent maker. As far as I know (which might not be a lot since I was an intern 10 years ago), TM does NOT let interns hold jobs outside of the internship. Interns are forced to rely on other people to meet their financial needs. I've had several conversations with my parents about how financially strapped they were while I was at TM, and having to send me money and pay for medical bills did not help their situation in the least.

    You said, "He did not depend on the church to supply his needs even though some began to help him later…" This is true. And the ENTIRE time I was at TM, interns were forced to practically BEG family, friends and strangers for money. Even though they were working FULL TIME for TM, they still had to beg for support.

  54. I just want to say that we signed up for this thing… I knew going into this that Teen Mania wasn't going to be easy. I didn't know anyone who had ever been there… I could just tell. The year I had a TM was the best and hardest of my life…There were somethings there that were a little over the top…but your going to have that.. God gave us a brain to use… we know humans are not without error.. so we just go back to the Bible when it comes to the intense stuff. People I know were hurt during their time there… things happened that were not right… but also think about how young everybody is.. I mean.. didn't you make some mistakes in ministry when you were younger? We were told over and over again not to just take anything that was told to us at face value…we were told to research things in the Bible for ourselves. I found out I have ADD about 5 years after I was out of TM… The meds would have made my time sooo much easier…! I was always having kitchen duty due to forgeting things… I love Teen Mania as a whole and I love the missions trips they do and ATF… and I just want people to see that it isn't all bad… I went places and learned things that have helped me deal with my life for the last 11 years. Looking back I can see now is that the Leaders were so young… probably just a couple of years into ministry themselves… One thing my pastor learned when he was younger is you have to be careful to only shear the sheep, but not skin them… I just think that some of us were skinned.. and I really believe that they had the best of intentions.

  55. Anon, we signed up for a year of spiritual growth, not a year of being used and abused. Signing up for something under coercion doesn't mean that what they did was okay.

  56. "I just think that some of us were skinned.. and I really believe that they had the best of intentions."

    And skinned. And skinned. And skinned. Year after year, people leave Garden Valley with scars (psychological, spiritual, physical) and TM refuses to make appropriate changes to keep this from happening. They. Dont. Care. There are no 'good intentions' when a ministry can clearly see that they have hurt and hurt and hurt and outright refuse to change.

  57. I'm a little late to the conversation, but…When a man lays his entire, full body across a woman and is forcefully holding her down, even when requested multiple times to let her up, it is not just harassment! Harassment is intimidation, bullying and coercion. Not full physical contact! And I was not simply "thrown" down! I was attacked by three grown (christian!) guys. After the chief came to us, he watched them duct tape my hands and legs and hold a shovel across my ankles. This was a full on assault in any Police Officers book! Given the location of his body in relation to mine, an Officer would be required by law to add that to a report and ask if I wanted to press charges for sexual assault, and the other two as accomplices! Nor were the 3 males who did the attacking or the 2 males who stood and watched it, disciplined! If that is what DH said to you, it is a blatant lie and he clearly did not even bother reading the story to get his facts straight! All the CA's knew about it and they tried to put me on a growth plan for "trying to get the boys dismissed." (To my deep embarrassment, My CA apparently read my paper aloud in one of the CA meetings) My father personally called DH and still nothing was done. My parents almost removed me from HA over this, but I was so stuck on it being God's Will, I made them let me stay, even though I had to see these men most days around campus! So you can file that under neglect, injury, shame, lies and humiliation, in addition to the current title! I can hardly believe he would tell you that!

  58. Several years back i went to Global ex…to vounteer. after reading all these comments I see WHERE is GOD in this.I know that it carries good fundamental skills. I am know worried about sending my daughter in the Future.

  59. the word of God says that if a brother has sinned against you go to him in private and if doesnt repent then take 2 or 3 others with you then if he still doesnt repent go before the church. In reading all these post i do not see what good there is in this site Jesus prayed Father make them one as we are one.Venting your hate and dislike for a brother or sister in the Lord is not bring uninty but rather tearing a part of the body of Christ apart.I hope and pray that none of this is true but if it is pray God will bring it to light so the church can deal with it.

  60. "then if he still doesnt repent go before the church"


  61. This blog is upsetting. Yes, the content is upsetting but what is more so is that you state you are "sharing your journey of healing" as well as help other interns heal. If you honestly want to focus on healing than the spot light should be on Jesus not on how "bad" TM is. Based on the first impressions this site gives you are not interested in glorifying Jesus and healing but dishonoring Ron and Dave. This all stirs up bitterness, not healing. I am sorry for the pain you, and others, have endured. Dry seasons, times of wilderness, are a part of the Christian walk…the pain you are sharing is valid but I don't think that in any way gives you a license to slander TM. Love covers, mercy reigns.

  62. For it to be slander, it has to be false.

  63. – Teen Mania encourages individuals with depression, bi-polar disorder and other mental illnesses to quit taking their medication. Then, when their symptoms worsen, they are punished.

    First off, I'm not a RA. I support TM, and that is why I wanted to share my experience with this. Obviously Hannah's was different. I don't believe that saying this is TM policy from one or two stories would make it TM practice or policy, so that is why I wanted to share this.

    I read Hannah's story. The HA caller had no business telling her to quit her medication. Only a doctor can advise that. I was never a TM caller, and I do not know how they are trained to handle sensitive issues in regards to medications prescribed by doctors. I would hope TM advises them on this information as it can be life or death for some people (think diabetics). Can God heal someone so they don't need medicine? Yes. However, if you believe you have received your healing, verify it with your doctor. It's not a lack of faith. Prove what God did for the rest of the medical world to see it. It really boggles their mind. Now that being said…

    I did however want to share an experience where TM's leadership made sure an intern was taking her medication. As you know, most interns are legally adults when they arrive at TM (not always the case back in the day, we had a few 16 year olds). Basically TM trusts that we are able to take our prescribed medication as a doctor tells us to. We are adults and don't usually need a babysitter in that matter. Similar to a college dorm. The RAs trust you to take care of yourself.

    In the fall of 2002, I was an intern. I was trained in CPR/First Aid and treating stroke/seizure victims from classes I had taken back home. Each core at the time had someone trained in at least CPR/First Aid (my core had several). I had mine from high school.

    One night a CA came running into my room and asked for help, that someone was having a seizure and she knew I had training. I rushed with her to assist. 911 was called and I assisted the girl who was indeed having a seizure. There were a few other issues going on too. The EMTs came and the girl was taken to the hospital.

    Later that week I learned from her CA and one of the women's leaders who met with me over the situation that the girl was not regularly taking her medication. I cannot speak to why she wasn't, but the girl did tell me she was taking it every few days instead of every day and that sometimes she forgot to take it. Apparently this was anti-seizure medication and she had to be on it.

    TM did step in when her parents and doctor asked them to make sure she took her medicine every day. The girl had to take her medicine in front of a CA on our floor, and then the CA had and the individual had to initial a daily log. This was then given to her doctor and parents to monitor her progress.

    This was my first hand experience of TM making sure that interns were safe and taking their prescribed medication. There was also a brief mention by Mr. Hasz after this incident (apparently it had happened twice with this individual – a seizure in the call center and then in the dorm) that if interns were taking prescribed medicines, they should continue to follow their doctors advice. If they had questions about their condition or medication, they should speak to their doctor before going off their prescriptions. It was a short two-minute tout.

    Thanks for letting me share this.

  64. Kelly, I get that you are trying to show that this does happen but keep in mind that psych. meds are considered in many cases in a different category to many if not most people. Even the professionals treating these disorders differ on the best course of treatment for some mental disorders. Being on the professional side of this issue your story while good to hear about a fully physical condition and how that happened *After* she put herself in harms way, it really doesn't speak to if they would do the same thing if instead of seizures the illness was say major depression or bipolar. So many professionals in Psychology/Psychiatry disagree about the helpfulness of medications on such issue that Teen Mania not giving the same creed they clearly gave to a physical condition is not at all surprising to me.

  65. @readheaded one:

    Yes, the experience I had was with a physical condition. A very serious, life threatening one. In fact, I learned a few years ago, that this girl died from her condition. My heart is still saddened by it.

    I did share though, that Mr. Hasz did express to everyone before class that they were to continue any medications prescribed to them by their doctors. That if they had a question about their medication or treatment, they were to call and speak to their doctor.

    I have worked for doctors in their front office. I wasn't even allowed to suggest taking headache medicine because of all the HIPPA regulations and ramifications.

    I would be curious if TM has a stated policy on this? Has any of the RA requested it from TM or the HA? I would assume that all medical conditions for participants in a ministry (I have worked with a few ministries since TM and we have written policy on this) would be intact and available.

    Personally, I have a good friend who is bi-polar. It is imperative that she take her medication. Do I believe God can heal her, yes. However, I would advise anyone who believes they have been healed to confirm it with their medical doctor or therapist before going off any medication or prescribed treatments.

  66. Yeah try being forced to go into the jungle and work like a slave and verbally abused if you dare get tired. 1989 Teen Mania trip sucked.

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