Its important to remember that the point of this website and the point of so many people speaking up about what happened to them is not to convince people that Teen Mania is a cult. I wrote this blog for nearly 2 years before I felt comfortable using that term – so thats never been my agenda and I certainly understand any hesitancy with ascribing that label.
The main idea that all of us in the recovering alumni community want people to understand is that some very damaging things have happened at the Honor Academy, and continue to happen. You can read the ‘true stories’ section of this website or read a quick synopsis of some of the major issues here.
The bottom line is that the Honor Academy fosters an unsafe environment physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. The excessively authoritarian structure of the Honor Academy and the lack of outside accountability are huge red flags that all is not well at the Garden Valley campus. Any organization that demands that you never “portray them in a negative light” is raising another enormous red flag. In fact, all Honor Academy interns are REQUIRED to pledge:
I will never speak ill of an Honor Academy participant or staff member — past, present, or future.
It is this oath of silence that has kept so many from speaking up until now. Afraid of God’s wrath for ever speaking honestly about the truth of our Teen Mania experience – and feeling the wrath of our Teen Mania loving friends and leaders when we do – many of us have been intimidated into silence for far too long.
Legalism, condemnation, the use of shame and fear to control interns, unsafe working conditions, routine neglect of health and safety issues – all of these and more are major cause for concern for anyone who would ever consider sending their child to the Honor Academy.
And for the body of Christ at large, this kind of behavior is a black eye on American Christianity. If we tolerate it and excuse it, we are enabling it.