My home received a very unsettling phone call tonight. This is not the first time these people have contacted us. They called the house last night and place a flyer on my door a few days ago. All bearing the heretical message insisting we are all doomed to eternal damnation without the enlightenment of his particular church.
This “church” belongs to “The Right Way to Follow Christ Church and Political Party” (but I have nicknamed it “Hellfire Church”) and it has taken root in my small hometown of Rosamond, California. These alleged cultists have insulted enough of the people in my community that it prompted this news article.
After vigorous study on Hellfire Church, all I was able to uncover was a YouTube video reciting a very dull introduction, the news article, and a picture of the same flyer left at my door. There is in fact a website and Facebook page, but they are completely inaccessible to nonmembers.
For the sake of my research, I was tempted to sign up. However, I didn’t want to compromise my own ministry by associating my good name with this awful message.
Not only is it a complete contradiction of how a real church should minister, but it is also a massive red flag indicating that this is nothing more than a scam.
In fact, there are several indicators that Hellfire Church is more of a scam than a church:
No official phone number or address.
There is no contact information on either their website or their Facebook page. In fact, there is no information available anywhere online. According to their flyer, they don’t have a building. They hold their sermons in Rosamond Park.
I am not even an official member of the church I’ve been attending for the past four years. Personally, I don’t believe in church memberships.
While it is true that, churches offer membership to their attendees, churches still FREELY provide many resources and opportunities to non-member attendees. The fact that Hellfire Church blocks any access to even view their website unless they sign up for “free membership” is so far from Christian, I don’t even know where to begin.
It is the mere fact that they need to mention “free” that is especially scammy. It means they intend to charge people for something else. However, I can’t imagine how anyone would want anything they have to offer.
Automated Phone Calls.
We’ve all received unwanted phone calls from people making unwanted sales pitches. Sometimes, they don’t even have the decency to give us the ability to request not to be bothered again. Instead, we are stuck listening through an entire recording before we can press 2. It’s an insulting waste of time.
The phone call my husband received was no better. It was a cowardly recording of this pastor basically saying, “You’re going to Hell. Visit this website find out more.”
No ability to ask questions. No ability to press 2. No ability to say “Your hate message is not welcome in my home.” Of course, I wouldn’t want to personally face anyone after spewing such a hostile message either.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a complete contradiction of the message given by a loving God? We should be able to proudly shout it from the rooftops. Be available to answer questions and offer support. Earn trust with the community. Develop meaningful, lasting relationships.
Not Hellfire Church:
A blocked website.
Flyers on our doors.
Threats on our phones.
The only promise of human interaction is in a small park once a week.
The only goal of a scammer is to get money by any means necessary. Harassment, intimidation, even threats. They are shameless, and they leave more people angry than they do intimidated.
I can’t think of anything more shameless than the message of Hellfire Church. It is also insulting to the intelligence of my community. Most of all, it is desperate, so desperate it’s sad. It has made a lot of people angry and eager to avoid that little park like the plague.
This entire experience has been odd and insulting. However, I am not angry. What I feel is great concern that people will fall for this heresy. That this is the impression unsaved souls will associate with the Christian name. This is not the kind of behavior that comes from a true house of God and true followers of Christ.
True followers of Christ are able to own their messages. True followers understand that God is Love. True followers are able to embody that love.
Residents of Rosamond, I urge you not to be fooled by this wolf in sheep’s clothing. I am ashamed to associate myself with Hellfire Church, its leaders, and any followers it may attract.
I also pray for them. I pray their message crumbles. I pray that not a single person falls for their heresy. I pray that they one day see the light and the error of their ways. I pray they experience God’s true message of love and openness.
God is Love.
Any person who contradicts that message is His enemy.
The Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second time, will air live on ABC on March 4.
“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
Best Documentary Feature:
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Best Live Action Short Film:
Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen
Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis,
Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah
Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,”
Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Makeup and Hair:
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro
Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten
and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle
“Blade Runner 2049,” John
Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlon
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist