The Cultic Nature of Christian Media Network

Prophecy for Sale by Craig Portwood

 

 

 

Although this is the third chapter which deals with the cultic nature of Christian Media, the subject is so central to the nature of the apostasy of the last day's, that it cannot be dealt with superficially. The gravity of would be Christian leaders manipulating the weak of mind and spirit as the day of the return of the true Son of God draws near, demands vigilance on the part of all of God's people. We have already examined some of the predatory tactics used by James Lloyd to capture the minds and imaginations of his victims. We will conclude this portion of the report by illustrating some common mind manipulation tactics which cults have used in the past to see how close Christian Media and James Lloyd follow that model.

 

The topic of mind control cults resurfaced in the press recently with the kidnapping of then 14 year old Elizabeth Smart by Brian D. Mitchell. Although the Smart kidnapping is more dramatic than the Christian Media case, there are as one would expect similarities between Mitchell and Lloyd. Vicki Cottrell, a disciple of Mitchell, described her former leader and his motives in the abduction in this manner: "he was someone with an obsession.", "they were doing what God asked them to do," and he believed that he had some sort of "divine revelation", and when questioned about his doctrine, which is obviously out of sync with biblical teaching, she explained that he considered himself to be "above it all." He was confident that his path was "dictated by God" Mr. Mitchell calls himself a "prophet" and a "ministering angel" sent to earth to restore the Mormon Church to its proper path.

 

James Lloyd has called himself a "prophet", who is called to lead God's "remnant" out of "Babylon".

 

The victim of his obsessions Elizabeth Smart, sought for a while to protect her captor Brian Mitchell, due to his successful efforts to brainwash her. Dr. Charles Smart, the girls paternal grandfather and a retired heart surgeon said that two of the police officers who found Elizabeth told him she had given her name as Augustine Marshall, despite being questioned as to whether she was Elizabeth Smart. "Seven times they asked her, and she denied it," Dr. Smart said. Finally, one of the officers held a poster bearing Elizabeth's photograph next to her face. Asked one more time whether she was Elizabeth, she replied, in the biblical language favored by Mr. Mitchell, "Thou sayest," as tears welled in her eyes. The words were Jesus' reply when asked by Pilate if he was king of the Jews.

 

This pattern of controlling people for personal gain using the scriptures is common among cults, as is the reflexive action of their victims in defending their assailants. The mechanics of such a seemingly odd reaction from the victims of such predatory behavior has been illustrated in a previous chapter. We will now focus on other classic danger signs of a cult.

 

1.

 

A cult possesses a personal antagonism toward outsiders. A cult is close-minded to the extent that it is uninterested in hearing what outsiders have to say or even unwilling to admit the possibility of being instructed by them.

 

In regard to whether or not this is practiced by James Lloyd, we answer a resounding yes.

 

Regularly James Lloyd has said that if you ignore his teaching "you are headed the wrong way", belittling those who present him with anomalies in his own doctrine with the phrase "I'm tired of those morons who come to me and say 'let me set you straight brother', you're not my brother", and the tired old standard "we believe we have been given the gift of prophecy" intimating that no one else could ever be used of God for such a purpose and that James Lloyd has the truth and so no one else could unless they agree completely with him.

 

James Lloyd likes to call what he does "prophecy with an attitude" (or lately "prophecy with an edge") That attitude is pride, and the edge is the personal antagonism he feels towards others who are not willing to be in submission to his doctrine. The "attitude" he and his close followers exhibit in their relationship with others could better be called "Predatory Cut Throat Christianity".

 

2.

 

A cult has a goal that is physical or earthly in nature, relating to things that are near, visible, and tangible.

 

The practice of covetousness betrays the goal of this cult of the material. You must have all the things they sell, all the merchandise of survival or you are in the power of the Devil. Of course there is a more obvious goal for James Lloyd himself. That goal is to sell as much merchandise to the unwary as possible. One is instructed to buy stored food, water filters, Christian Media books and tapes, health adjuncts and all manner of goods which he just so happens to supply. This has given him a fantastic income (tax free) and has denuded many of his hapless disciples, of a good deal of their income. This "making merchandise" of God's people is perhaps the most disgusting characteristic of the James Lloyd Cult.

 

Here is a list of 24 questions which if answered in the affirmative, indicate a cultic mindset. We will examine them to see how many apply to Christian Media.


1.) Is the group reluctant to reveal all its doctrines on request?
We will let a promotional flier James Lloyd has written answer that question.

 

According to his promotional flyer, "Because some have chosen to be enemies of the truth, we have not included our various websites on this newsletter so that they do not become targets of vindictive people that hate the Gospel (we find most enemies of the truth routinely claim to be Christians, but the truth is not in them)." (Click here to read the actual document) Although this is not doctrine that they are hiding per se, it shows a reluctance on James' part to be upfront with the information contained on the website. This is perhaps because some people might actually read what he has published, and reject him, before he has had a chance to sell them merchandise at his "prophecy event". The statement that they have not included the addresses of their websites to protect them from "vindictive people" is curious.

 

How could going to James Lloyd's websites make one a victim of anyone except James Lloyd himself? The whole concept is absurd on it's face. Another indication of this reluctance to reveal all it's doctrines comes from Lloyd's "CMN Folks" Forum. All comments must be approved before posting. They cannot even post as every other forum I have ever visited does. All who wish to post comments must EMAIL their comments to the censor who posts approved communication. The following was taken from their "Fellowship site".

 

"Post message: cmnfolks@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: cmnfolks-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe: cmnfolks-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
List owner: cmnfolks-owner@yahoogroups.com"

 

 

Notice that the people on the "list" are "owned" by the "List Owner".

 

Their "Gospel" is SECRET, and you must be a MEMBER and log in to even read the posts. The character of this "group" is further revealed in it's rules, again taken from their site:

 

"Group Settings
· Listed in directory
· Restricted membership
· All messages require approval
· All members may post
· Archives for members only
· Email attachments are not permitted"

 

 

This suggests that those associated with this "group", are Christians with either something to hide, or with something which they are so ashamed of, that it must remain hidden.
The answer to question #1 is an unqualified YES.

 

2.)Is it closed to inside and/or outside criticism? We have already enumerated many examples of how James Lloyd deals with dissent. He has stated on the air and privately to others that unless he has received money, either in the form of direct donations or sales, he refuses to listen to them because "they are not with us".

 

He told me likewise that Greg and Debbie Jones were not reliable because they "never gave us a dime or bought anything from us." That was a lie as Greg has bought not only sprouting seeds, but an expensive water filter from Christian Media as well. It is apparent that the answer to this question is also YES.


3.)Does it try to promote itself as Christian when major doctrines and practices are not Biblically supported? The answer to this question is answered throughout this report. See the last chapter for just a few reasons why we must answer question # 4 YES.

 

4.)Have its teachings been publicly questioned or opposed by recognized Bible Scholars? This question is a sticky one as I have difficulty recognizing "bible scholars" as experts, perhaps a residual reaction to coming out of the Christian Media cult, although I do not believe this to be the case.

 

I believe that the lack of soundness of so called "Bible Scholars" has allowed not only the rampant apostasy found in the church today, but has also resulted in the fertile ground which James Lloyd and other spiritual predators have exploited for their own selfish personal gain. As to question # 4 I believe it is fair to answer no.


5.)Has it been called a cult? (If so, why?) This has been done in this report. The reasons are found in this chapter and chapters 12, 13, and 14. The answer then to question # 5 is YES.

 

6.)Have mistakes by past and present leaders been covered up instead of repented of? The true faithful recognize that we are all imperfect, and that none of us is above the law of God. To illustrate and example of cultic indication #6 as it relates to James Lloyd there is of course the false prophecy of 1998.(See chapter 2) which he has neither dealt with nor repented of, as well as the mistake of prideful justification of an assault by one of his "trusted" advisors and network hosts (See "Another Gospel in chapter 14). These are two that come to mind. We must answer question #6 in the affirmative.

 

7.)Do leaders live a lifestyle inconsistent with the Bible or their own message to members? We have already examined the drunkenness of two of his closest "ministry associates" (one being his wife Susan Lenox, (See chapter 7), and the drug abuse of his printer who's narcotic habit is supported by tithes and offerings of his followers (See chapter 3) not to mention the hypocrisy of the man which is illustrated throughout this report. To this question we must also answer YES.


8.)Have its doctrines changed significantly over the years (and if so, why)? James has changed his doctrine as to how to recognize a false prophet after the audio files of his 1998 false prophecies were published in this report.

 

He used to maintain that making a false prediction made any individual a "false prophet". In stating his "new" position, he now states that "we no longer believe that". He has not yet made it clear if that new "revelation" he has had as relates to false prophecy extends to individuals such as Cecil Duceile, or if the new understanding" he has is restricted to James Lloyd himself. The answer to # 8 then is YES.


9.)Are members prevented or discouraged from reading other religious literature? Prevented no, discouraged yes. When speaking of the writings of others, James Lloyd. has often said "throw that other stuff away, it's crap, it's garbage." Any written material which opposes the teachings of James Lloyd is reviled and disparaged (unless it is sold by Christian Media), and the listeners are told in the strongest terms to avoid them. The authors are demonized and vilified to negate any influence contrary to his own teachings. Question # 9 rates a YES answer.


10.)Do they believe that there are other books or magazines necessary besides the Bible to learn the truth? Although not stated expressly, the idea that one cannot understand the truth of God's word is reinforced in all utterings of James Lloyd. To understand the bible, he maintains that you must read his book "Beyond Babylon" also mentioned in chapter 1. His other booklets such as "Waiting for Leviathan" and his numerous tape sets are also "required" to have a "true understanding" of the word of God, according to James. To question # 10 we then must also answer an unequivocal YES.

 

11.) Does it deny that complete truth can be obtained just by using the Bible? Again, although they would deny this statement is true as it applies to the teachings of James Lloyd, it is implied in his teaching that you need Beyond Babylon, Christian Media books and tapes to truly understand "the truth". We then must also answer question # 11 YES.

 

12.) Has the leadership claimed special direction from God not available to others in the organization? This doctrine is implicit in all that James Lloyd teaches. he has at various times called himself a "Prophet" a "Prophecy figure", or has described himself as a "Unique Phenomenon" See his "prophecy" flyer for evidence as to this assertion. "God has blessed us with the gift of prophecy" he says, and to all others who question his "divine revelation" or fruits he says "The truth is not in them".

 

The truth according to James Lloyd, can rest only in himself, and those who agree with him. The answer to question # 12 is YES.

 

13.) Do they believe that all other Christian groups are false? A cult conceives of itself as being the one true faith and the exclusive possessor of the truth. Absolutely. All others are demonized and referred to as liars, criminals and reprobate. This is a common theme which permeates every teaching which comes from James Lloyd. We must then answer question # 13, YES.

 

14.) Is all dissent seen as evidence of pride, sin or rebellion? Anyone who dares to question or disagree with the cult leader at Christian Media is branded a heretic. He uses scripture out of context to describe dissidents who at one time embraced the lies and false teaching of the cult by quoting scripture out of context. 

 

1st John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." and Exodus 16:2 " And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness" in combination with Numbers 14:29 "Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me".

 

To stifle dissent and to discourage the others from communicating with those who realize the mechanics of his scam. We answer question # 14 YES.

 

15.) Can the Bible be interpreted correctly only by members of this organization? Again, although this is not stated explicitly in the teachings of James Lloyd, this cultic doctrine is implied by nearly statement he makes. We answer question # 14 YES.

 

16.) Have they misrepresented the Christian churches and their major teachings? Here the line gets a little fuzzy. Through exaggerations and humorous characterizations of the intent of many churches and "professional Christian leaders" one might draw such a conclusion, but it cannot be said with absolute certainty that this is so. He does however misrepresent other ministries who offer the same "merchandise" he sells. On question # 16 we must answer in all fairness, no.


17.) Are members required to sever all ties with the past? Again, there are subtle suggestions to the followers that they should avoid those in their past that are not "like minded." Though they are not expressly forbidden to keep their family ties, such a "break" is encouraged. Operative word here is the word "required" which requires us to answer no to question # 17. 


18.) Does it have an authoritarian structure? The word "authority" is used often by James Lloyd, and he regularly claims to have the "authority" of God in his proclamations. This was never so apparent as when he published his 1998 false prophecy when he stated "God has told me to issue this proclamation that America will be destroyed on July 4th of 1998. Thus sayeth the Lord!"

 

He has often justified his proud railings as "preaching with authority." His followers are so often heard to repeat his teachings by saying "well James teaches" this and "James said that" that newcomers to the network often search the New Testament book of James in bewilderment. Question # 18 can only be honestly answered with a YES.

 

19.) Are people regimented by threats or bribes and disciplined to conform? This is dealt with briefly in chapter 12 in the section entitled Coercion. More examples will be offered in a subsequent chapter. The answer to question # 19 is YES.


20.) Are members obviously exploited financially? James Lloyd often pressures his followers to purchase cult goods and often claim their "products" are the result of "new discoveries" either in health and nutrition or biblical revelation, especially from the Scriptures. Much of this "revelation" might be to attract financial support, an action that is in itself another mark of a false religion. Frequently their leaders have a desire, often extreme, for personal gain. The answer to question # 20 is YES.

 

21.) Does it deny the unconditional acceptance of all Scripture? Though by implication one could make a case for an affirmative response to this question, it would have to be qualified. The scriptures are presented in such a light as to favor Lloyd's teachings. To be fair, we must answer no to question # 21.


22.) Does it deny the nature of Christ as fully God and fully man? Not that I can tell. The answer to this question would be no.

 

23.) Does it deny the Trinity? So far, no.


24.) Does it deny salvation through personal acceptance of Christ's death on the cross as payment for all our sins? Not that I know of, no.

 

If the answer is "yes" to ten or more questions, it is almost certainly a cult.

 

Our tally for Christian Media® to the above questionnaire is 17 Yes answers and only 7 no answers.

 

Failed

In our next chapter we will examine the hypocrisy of the man in greater detail.

 

 

 

Next>>

 

Dangerous Products: James Lloyd and the Black Salve Fraud

 

James Lloyd's Violent Sexual History