Several former members of Grace Cathedral Church, headed by Ohio-based televangelist Ernest Angley in Cuyahoga Falls, accused him of running a cult that encourages male members to undergo vasectomies and female members to undergo abortions because Angley is of the opinion that children are a waste of money and they only waste the church’s funds. The complainants also alleged that Angley is gay and has often been seen unnecessarily investigating private body parts of the congregation’s male members before as well as after surgery. The church, however, dismissed the allegations as “a bunch of lies” earlier this month.
On October 12, local media highlighted the allegations made by 21 former members, who stood by their claim that Angley’s ministry is a dangerous cult.
“He said if anybody called just tell them, he's not interested in responding to the article. It's a bunch lies. It's not hindering us. We're being blessed in every service with crowds and he just doesn't want to respond,” said a lady who refused to divulge her name but identified herself as the church secretary.
The 93-year-old televangelist heads Grace Cathedral, which is a megachurch that can accommodate up to 3,000 people. It has local broadcasts in Akron and Cleveland as well as international broadcasts via Direct TV and Sky Angel.
The allegations surfaced this year after an associate pastor resigned from his post all of a sudden, only to tell family and friends that he had been touched inappropriately several times for seven years by Angley.
In response to those allegations, Angley said, “I'm not a homosexual. God wouldn't use a homosexual like he uses me. He calls me his prophet, and indeed I am. … They called Jesus a homosexual, did you know that? And still do. Because he was with men. Oh, Mary Magdalene and a few women. But you can't stop the people's lies.”
While clarifying allegations of him inspecting the genitals of male members before and after surgery, Angley said he did not touch them and only looked at them during follow-up inspection sessions.
“I've helped so many of the boys down through the years. They had their misgivings. Sure, I'd have them uncover themselves, but I did not handle them at all. … I would tell them how that would work. And they'd have to watch it. I'd have some of them come back to me that I felt needed to. And I would tell them, I would look at them, their privates — I, so I could tell how they were swelling,” he said.
According to the complainants, members of Angley’s church are threatened into abiding by his orders, some of which include life-altering decisions and have sometimes led to the breaking up of families. Angley, who strongly believes that it is wrong to bring children into the world in today’s day and age, allegedly controls his entire congregation’s personal life and recreational interests.
“This man is a monster,” said Pam Cable of Akron, who left the church in 1988. “He's a monster. And I can't understand why all these years have gone by and nobody's ever really been able to do anything about him. The people in Akron, Ohio, have a Jim Jones sitting in their backyard. … These people in his congregation would drink the Kool-Aid if he told them to. They would.”
Angelia Oborne, who served at the church’s cafeteria, Cathedral Buffet, for more than two decades before she decided to leave in 2012, said she has no children because of Angley.
“My husband and I can't have children because my husband had a vasectomy,” Oborne, who lives in Akron. “We were looking at getting it reversed, but I'm 35 years old and ... may not be able to have children anymore. And that breaks my heart, because that choice was made for me, because of the brainwashing, the mind control. We weren't allowed to have children. If you turned up pregnant, it's almost as if you had sinned.”
32-year-old Becky Roadman had a similar complaint.
“None of us have kids because he makes all the men get fixed,” said Roadman, who left the church last year and now lives in Georgia.
During an interview, Angley said he did not encourage abortions though he did insist that men must undergo vasectomies. He also mentioned that such advises were often sought by his congregation’s members and he never spoke on such issues unless asked about them.
According to Greg Mulkey, resident of Barberton, who served as a choir member at the cathedral, Angley discourages his church members from having children so they are not distracted from their roles designated within the ministry.
“He doesn't want people to have kids because it would take their time and money away from [the church],” he said. “He really forced people into abortions through scare tactics, as if he were a medical doctor. It turns my stomach.”
Photo Credits: MiracleNet TV