Archive for the ‘CHILDREN AT RISK!’ Category
A Christian’s Mission: ‘Gotta Know, Gotta Learn, Gotta Discern, Gotta Go!’ into the Pokemon World with Truth
LTRP Note: The following article will be available in booklet form in the near future with an appendix by Berit Kjos.
By Lois Putnam
For Pokémon Go gamers, their “Gotta Mantra” is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”–Pokémon that is. However a Christian’s motto must be: “Gotta Know, Gotta Learn, Gotta Discern, Gotta Go!” And just what it is that we as born again believers gotta know, gotta learn, gotta discern, and gotta go will be the theme of this post.
Our world is just one month into the Pokémon Go Mania that’s taking the country, and a number of other countries by storm. It was on July 6, 2016, via one’s smartphone, that players could download a free app and get set up to head outdoors to begin to catch Pokémon Pocket Monsters. Soon befuddled folks were bumping into gamers congregating at designated PokeStops be it at a church, a parking lot, a body of water, a library, a museum, a park, or the mall to name a few.
TV hosts, You Tube video makers, newspaper reporters, and online authors alike were scrambling to describe exactly how these frenzied gamers were zipping Pokémon balls on their phones to catch Pokémon seemingly popping up all over the place. Meantime, all kinds of safety issues were cropping up–kids in the middle of streets, folks walking into objects, a pair walking off a cliff, and even unsavory characters luring kids into unsafe places. All of this madness was taking place over one hundred and fifty-one little characters of which some seemed to be cute and clever, while others really are violent, ugly, and frightening. So with this in mind, what is it that we gotta know?
At the outset we gotta know some basic Pokémon info– such as the game of Pokémon, designed by Satoshi Tajiri in 1990s, is managed by the Pokémon Company which, according to Wikipedia, is a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. Tajiri designed these Pokémon characters so gamers known as “Pokémon Trainers could catch, and train to battle each other for sport.”
Officially introduced in 1996 Pokémon now is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2016. So the new phenomena Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game currently using the original Generation I Pokémon beginning with Bulbasaur to Mew. However, it’s also important to know that now there are 722 Pokémon which means in the last twenty years 571 more have been designed influencing youth and adults via video games, trading card games, comic books, TV shows, movies, and toys. For more “gotta know” info read “Pokémon” from Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon
Pokémon site Pokémon.com is filled with info you gotta know in order to be able to interact with Pokémon Goers! It includes a Pokedex, TV Programs, Trading Card Games, Video Games, A Shop, Attend Events, Pokémon GO and more! It even has a Trading Card Game Tutorial where one can learn to play the card game. Two sections: “The Pokedex,” and “Pokémon GO” are explained further below. http://www.pokemon.com/us. Click here to continue reading.
Also by Lois Putnam:
LTRP Note: The following is posted for research and informational purposes and is not an endorsement of the news source writing this.
By Erik Eckholm and Alan Blinder
New York Times
A federal judge has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing new guidelines that were intended to expand restroom access for transgender students across the country.
Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas said in a 38-page ruling, which he said should apply nationwide, that the government had not complied with federal law when it issued “directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory text.”
Judge O’Connor, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the federal bench, said that not granting an injunction would put states “in the position of either maintaining their current policies in the face of the federal government’s view that they are violating the law, or changing them to comply with the guidelines and cede their authority over this issue.”
The judge’s order on Sunday, in a case brought by officials from more than a dozen states, was a victory for social conservatives in the continuing legal battles over the restroom guidelines, which the federal government issued this year. The culture war over the rights of transgender people, and especially their right to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, has emerged as an emotional cause among social conservatives. Click here to continue reading.
NEW BOOKLET: How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire
NEW BOOKLET: How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire by Chris Lawson is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is a portion of the content of the booklet. The full booklet has 101 questions. To order copies of How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire, click here.
By Chris Lawson
Do you know a loved one, a neighbor, or a co-worker who is in a cult or an abusive church or group? Or perhaps you yourself are in such a situation. The Spiritual-Abuse Questionnaire in this booklet will help shed light on this issue.
Spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, a church, or a belief system, whether well intentioned or not, dominates, manipulates, or castigates individuals and even entire families through fear tactics, mind control, or some other psychological or emotional abuse.
Sadly, the mask of spiritual abuse deception can be worn by anyone. The following two Scriptures are reflective of what happens when the position of authority is abused within a spiritual/church setting (e.g., self-exaltation, heavy-handed leadership, etc).
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [by their own authority]; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:31)
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (3 John 9-10)
It is my hope that this booklet will help people who have been through or are experiencing things similar (or worse) to what my family and I personally experienced years ago.
If you have been spiritually abused, take heart; the true Jesus desires to help and heal you as He has helped countless others.
Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed to help the reader think through a number of areas he or she may have never seriously considered before. As you read each question, circle either YES or NO. When you reach the end, go back through the list and prayerfully consider the questions you have answered YES to.
Answering YES to any of the following questions may be an indication of an unhealthy problem in your group or with your leaders. Answering YES to more than just a few questions is a definite cause for concern.
If this is the case, it is recommended that you take a much closer look into your group or organization’s history, purpose, and goals. Observe closely the methods, activities, and lives of the leaders. Are they using abusive and manipulative tactics on people?
The basic Yes or No questions of this questionnaire enable the reader to think critically on his or her own—something generally not allowed in abusive systems.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note also that while this booklet can be a useful tool in helping to bring clarity to difficulties in a church or ministry, the questions offered here should also be tempered with careful thought and godly counsel. Answering yes to just a few questions does not automatically mean you are in a cult or abusive situation. One thing for certain is that every church or group is composed of fallible people who are not always as loving as they should be. Nor should we expect to be in a place where there is no authority over us. Be reflective, therefore, to your answers to the following questions with the goal of being fair to both your church or group and to yourself.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CHURCH OR GROUP’S LEADERS
- Are you in any way fearful of your leader(s)? YES / NO
- Does your church or group revolve around one main charismatic personality who is the final arbiter of “truth”? YES / NO
- Do your leaders make claims of being “Anointed,” having “Elijah’s Mantle,” having “Apostolic Authority,” etc.? YES / NO
- Does the main leader or the leaders in your church or group always insist that they are right? YES / NO
- Does your group, church, or movement employ a corrupted modern-day version of the Moses/Aaron style of leadership where the pastor/leaders allegedly—by themselves—hear directly from God, like Moses? (This form of leadership is unlike the balanced plurality of elders found in the New Testament.) YES / NO
- Does the pastor/leader of your group, church, or movement surround himself with “people-pleasers” rather than with qualified men whose personal and public lives maintain the biblical leadership characteristics as found in I, II Timothy and Titus? YES / NO
- Is you group, church, or movement set up like a pyramid, with a hierarchy—with one single man at the top? YES / NO
- Are you discouraged or prohibited from freely asking questions about the background of your leader(s) and your group? YES / NO
- If so, are you looked down upon and considered to be divisive? YES / NO
- Would you be rebuked or chastised/punished by your leader(s) if you researched the background and history of the group and its leader(s)? For instance, would doing a background check on your leader be considered “disloyal” or “sinful”? YES / NO
- Are you discouraged or prohibited from freely discussing teachings, “prophecies,” or so-called new revelations that your group leader(s) has/have stated in the past or present? YES / NO
- Are you allowed to ask your leader(s) questions regarding their background in ministry, education, teaching, policies, etc.? If not, why? YES / NO
- Do you view those who are assisting your group or church pastor/leader as ones who simply “do what they are told” rather than people who can rationally think for themselves and if need be would not be afraid to confront the main leader(s) if questionable practices/teachings arise? YES / NO
- Are the leaders of your group, church, or organization above reproach (without blame) in morals, ethics, teaching, and the handling of your groups finances? How do you know? YES / NO
- Do any of your leaders have a criminal record? YES / NO
- Would your leader(s) allow you to freely ask questions or research their background in order to find out if they have a criminal record? If not, why? YES / NO
- Has anyone in your group ever tried to persuade you to NOT research the personal background of the leaders? YES / NO
- When issues are brought up about abusive situations, do your leaders say, “You just need to have more faith!” or, “You are being disloyal to leadership!”? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP AND ITS TEACHINGS
- Do you feel your group twists or takes Scripture out of its historical context and consistently or often misapplies Bible verses? YES / NO
- Does your group or church “allegorize” and “spiritualize” Scripture instead of utilizing a literal, grammatical, historical approach to interpreting documents, like you would in any legitimate Bible college or court of law? YES / NO
- Are you told what you will believe; and is questioning authority and doing further research on your own, aside from the group, discouraged or frowned upon? YES / NO
- Are you guided through the Bible by your leaders but at the same time not allowed to study the Scriptures on your own, apart from the group or organization’s own published materials? YES / NO
- Do your leaders claim to receive “new revelations,” a special “anointing,” and so-called “words” or messages from God? YES / NO
- Do your leaders withhold or avoid providing you and your group with a written “Statement of Beliefs” or “Statement of Faith”? YES / NO
- If you attend a group that is a recognized charity organization, have the leaders illegally withheld from you the organizations written bylaws when you have asked for a copy? YES / NO
- Is it difficult to get a straight answer from the group leader(s) on the group’s teachings? YES / NO
- Is your group secretive about any of its teachings, practices or meetings? YES / NO
- Does your group take “oaths” or have you commit to unrealistic expectations? YES / NO
- Are your leaders ever “harsh” in tone with you, or do you ever feel like an animal that is “driven hard”? YES / NO
- Have you been taught, told, or commanded not to share any of the teachings, doctrines, or practices that your group is involved in? YES / NO
- At any time of involvement with your group, have you ever been instructed to cut all ties with the past, with relatives (spouse, children, in-laws, etc.), or with friends? YES / NO
- Do your leaders favorably quote and endorse known false teachers and false teachings in their own sermons/teachings, messages, and materials? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP OR CHURCH’S POLICIES
- Does your group have any written or unwritten policies that allows leaders to use threats, pressures to conform, bribes, intimidation, verbal abuse, out-loud shaming, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse, etc.? YES / NO
- Is foul language (cussing) or public humiliation used in any way as part of the public or private teaching within your group? YES / NO
- Would you say that your church or group has an extreme policy or guidelines for “disciplinary actions”? YES / NO
- Is, or could, your group’s policy on “discipline” be dangerous, illegal, or abusive in any way? YES / NO
- Do you think law enforcement officials would have a problem with the disciplinary guidelines and/or practices of your church, group, or organization? YES / NO
- Does your group restrict you from “visiting” other churches? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP’S LITERATURE AND MULTIMEDIA
- Do you rely completely, without question, upon the literature and information that your church/group gives you—for your own spiritual growth? YES / NO
- Will you be disciplined if you ever, at any time, listen to, read, or view literature and multi-media materials that are not from your group, church, or organization? Materials could include such things as books, journals, tracts, magazines, newsletters, CDs, DVDs, audio cassettes, videos, websites, etc. YES / NO
- Are you only allowed to use study aids, books, etc. that are from your group or organization? YES / NO
- Have your leaders ever told you that all Bible study materials outside of your group are considered worldly, bad, apostate, “of the devil,” or evil? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT MORALS AND ETHICS, HEALTH, AND CONSCIENCE
- Are you emotionally dependent on or require the “approval” of your leaders for what you do—what you eat, what you wear, where you go, what you say, who you spend time with, who you marry, the music you listen to, etc.? YES / NO
- Do you feel as though your life (or ministry) is being “micromanaged” by others? YES / NO
- Are your leaders cruel, vindictive, intimidating, or overbearing? YES / NO
- Do any of your leaders justify sexual immorality by telling you or anyone else things like “God told me it is okay for us to do this,” or “The Lord revealed this to me,” or “No one will ever know”? YES / NO
- Have you ever been instructed, led, forced, or coerced into any type of sexual activity with any of your group’s leaders—or anyone else in the church, group, or organization? YES / NO
- Are you or have you ever been commanded, forced, coerced, extorted, or manipulated into financial giving, tithing, “sowing your seed-faith offering,” etc.? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT MAKING PERSONAL CHOICES
- Do you feel you are manipulated when making personal choices about diet, clothing, time commitments, church/group service, tithing, friendships, dating, spouses, purchases, etc.? YES / NO
- Are choices ever made by any of your leaders that go against your own conscience? YES / NO
- Do authority figures within your group ever demand answers from you or use threats to get their way? YES / NO
- Do your leaders or the group-dynamics implemented in your group make you feel as though you cannot come and go as you please; meaning, you feel as though you’re expected to be at all or most of the meetings, and if you are not, you are in trouble? YES / NO
- If you are experiencing abuse in any way, very likely you are fearful or nervous about leaving your group, church, or organization. Are you fearful in any way that if you left, you would be hounded and harassed? YES / NO
- Do your leaders, or the group itself by consensus, make choices to involve you in things that you don’t like or would prefer not to be a part of? YES / NO
- Are you pressured, manipulated, or coerced into making decisions—any decisions at all—regarding anything with the group and its leaders, members, and activities? YES / NO
- Do you feel guilty or “dirty” after making decisions because . . . “that is just what our group does”? Or, is the proverbial “red flag of conscience” waving inside of your heart and mind saying, “This is just not right at all,” or, “This is weird” or, “We should not be doing or allowing this!”? YES / NO
- Is pressure put upon you in any way to avoid “outside information” about your group—like online reviews, assessments, and critical essays that contain quotes from your leaders and/or your organization’s published resources? YES / NO
- Are you fearful that if you make an accidental “wrong choice” your leaders will punish you or purposefully humiliate you in front of your peers, family, or the group/church congregation? YES / NO
- Have you ever been punished or abused in any of the following ways: Physically abused, out-loud verbal shaming in front of others, given the non-verbal “silent treatment,” given coded non-verbal abuse such as “the look,” financially mistreated or extorted and as a result suffered financial repercussions, sexually abused in any way, emotionally manipulated, purposefully betrayed, been the victim of sexual innuendos, spousal divisiveness, etc.? YES / NO
- Are spoken or unspoken must-obey “dress code rules” implemented in your group, and, if broken, will this lead to “disciplinary action”? (This is beyond simple personal modesty in dress in social, cultural, and cross-cultural settings.) YES / NO
- If you are a woman, are you taught or commanded that you absolutely must wear long skirts, have long hair, avoid all make-up, and wear a head covering in order to please God? Will you be chastised or considered “carnal” if you do not comply with these rules? YES / NO
- If you are a woman, do your group leaders tell you that you are to submit to your husband no matter what he does to you or tells you to do even if it is illegal or physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive to you or your children? YES / NO
- If you are a husband and father, are your church leaders overly involved in telling you what to do with your wife and children (beyond the normal parameters of biblical counseling and advice)?
This has been a portion of this booklet. In the full booklet, there are 101 questions. You may purchase a copy of the booklet in its entirety by clicking here. The cost for one booklet is $1.95 (quantity discounts for 6 or more copies)
LTRP Note: We find it sad when we think back to how many readers have told us that they still donate to World Vision. Not only is the news story below shocking, but World Vision has been going in the emergent direction for years as we have reported on different occasions. It seems that people want to give to big organizations (just like they want to attend big churches) because it makes them feel safer if they are associated with the masses. What deception! And by the way, if you think World Vision likes Israel, think again (and read some of the articles – see links below) we have posted over the years. If you want to support needy families and children around the world, find a legitimate organization, such as Understand the Times’ Bryce Homes program, that doesn’t despise Israel, doesn’t allow donations to be used for terrorist groups, and actually believes in the biblical Gospel.
By F. Brinley Bruton and Lawahez Jabari
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel has accused a manager working for U.S.-headquartered Christian charity World Vision of funneling millions of dollars to Islamist militant group Hamas.
was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into Gaza, World Vision said in a statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities on Thursday.
He had run the organization’s Gaza operations since 2010.
According to Israel’s Shin Bet security service, El Halabi diverted around $7.2 million of World Vision money to Hamas each year. That is the equivalent of 60 percent of the charity’s total annual funding for Gaza.
Some 40 percent of the funds aimed at civilian projects — some $1.5 million a year — were “given in cash” to Hamas combat units, according to a statement issued by the Shin Bet.
Some of the money raised to support injured children in the enclave had been diverted to Hamas families by “fraudulently listing their children as wounded,” according to the agency. Click here to continue reading.
American College of Pediatricians: ‘No Scientific Basis’ That Children With Gender Dysphoria Born in Wrong Body
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has released a report stating that it is wrong to encourage children to believe that they were born in the wrong body as there is no scientific basis for such an assertion.
The report, “Gender Dysphoria in Children,” was written by Dr. Michelle Cretella and explains that the condition is more psychological than biological.
“[A]lthough many men with GD express the belief that they are a ‘feminine essence’ trapped in a male body, this belief has no scientific basis,” it states.
Cretella outlines that children are not born with the brains of the opposite sex. . . . The organization is therefore calling for an end to hormonal treatments and sex change operations, as well as educational curriculum that teaches children that some persons are trapped in the wrong body. To read this entire article, click here.
How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children (and a Warning About Pokemon Go)
LTRP Note: With the recent Pokemon Go craze, we thought this article from 1999 by Berit Kjos about Pokemon was very timely and needed. For those who aren’t sure if Pokemon Go is OK or not, do a search on the Internet to read some of the scary stories happening to people. We linked to one of them below Berit’s article.
By Berit Kjos
Who are the strange little creatures from Japan that have suddenly become global super-stars? Most kids know the answer well: They are called Pokemon (short for POCKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon), and they have stirred up some mixed reactions.
“We just sent a letter home today saying Pokemon cards are no longer allowed on campus,” said Paula Williams, a second-grade teacher in Danville, California. “The kids know they’re supposed to be put away when they come in from recess, but they’re often in the middle of a trade, so they don’t come in on time. In the more extreme cases, the older kids are getting little kids to trade away valuable cards . . . . It drives a teacher crazy.”1
It concerns parents even more. “Recently, my children were given a set of Pokemon cards,” said DiAnna Brannan, a Seattle mom. “They are very popular with the children at our church and elsewhere. I was instantly suspicious but couldn’t discern the problem. We have since been told that they are stepping stones to the ‘Magic cards’ that have been popular for the last few years, which we do not allow.”
She is right. For instance, children exploring some of the most popular Pokemon websites 2 will find links to a selection of occult games. At the site for the Wizards of the Coast (makers of the Pokemon and Magic cards), a click on an ad for “Magic the Gathering” brings Pokemon fans to promotions such as this:
“A global games phenomenon, Magic: The Gathering is to the 1990s what Dungeons and Dragons was to the 1980s, but with the added dimension of collectibility. Here is the official reference to the biggest new teen/young adult fantasy game of the decade, complete with full-color reproductions of every existing Magic card.”
THE POKEMON MESSAGE. The above websites gives us glimpse of the mysterious little creatures called Pokemon. Ponder the suggestions in this greeting:
“Welcome to the world of Pokemon, a special place where people just like you train to become the number-one Pokemon Master in the World!”
“But what is a Pokemon, you ask. ‘Pokemon are incredible creatures that share the world with humans,’ says Professor Oak, the leading authority on these monster. ‘There are currently 150 documented species of Pokemon. . . . Each Pokemon has its own special fighting abilities. . . . Some grow, or evolve, into even more powerful creatures.. . . Carry your pokemon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!'” 3
What if children try to follow this advice? What if they carry their favorite monsters like magical charms or fetishes in their pockets, trusting them to bring power in times of need?
Many do. It makes sense to those who watch the television show. In a recent episode, Ash, the boy hero, had just captured his fifth little Pokemon. But that wasn’t good enough, said his mentor. He must catch lots more if he wants to be a Pokemon master. And the more he catches and trains, the more power he will have for future battles.
So Ash sets out again in search for more of the reclusive, power-filled, little Pokemon. His first step is to find the “psychic Pokemon” called Kadabra and snatch it from its telepathic, pink-eyed trainer, Sabrina.
Or so it would seem to a first-time viewer not familiar with the contradictory themes. Actually, Ash doesn’t try to “catch” Kadabra, an evolved version of the Pokemon Abra. In spite of the prodding to increase his inventory of Pokemon warriors — and in spite of the constant reminders to “catch them all” — Ash was merely trying to win a standard battle. With the ghost Haunter on his side, it should have been a cinch!
But Ash underestimates the power of his opponent. When he and Sabrina meet for the fight, both hurl their chosen Pokemon into the air, but only Abra (who becomes Kadabra) evolves into a super-monster with a magic flash. Haunter hides. “Looks like your ghost Pokemon got spooked,” taunts Sabrina.4 Click here to continue reading.
Pokemon Go is Dangerous – Someone’s story
By Cedric Fisher
Recently, I was in a hospital waiting room and reluctantly picked up an issue of Guidepost Magazine. I very seldom read Guidepost because the long-time publisher, Norman Vincent Peale, promotes heresy and diabolical religions. He has also denied the virgin birth and the necessity of being born again.
As I perused the magazine, I landed on an article by Anna Gentile, a hospital chaplain. The article was about Guideposts and Gentile’s work with sick children. In the first paragraph she wrote:
“Put your hand on your chest,” I tell the young patients in the hospital where I work. “Can you feel your heartbeat?” They nod. “Now, with each beat, you can say, ‘I am, I am, I am.’” That prayer, addressed to the great “I Am,” is at the beginning of the journal in each Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kit I give out, and I can’t begin to tell you how much comfort it gives.” – Happy Birthday, Sparkle, Anna Gentile, Guideposts, July 2016. Click here to continue reading.