Faith gone sick — a promo for MSNBC’s documentary on Teen Mania this Sunday

CORRECTION: The program airs at 10 p.m. Eastern, not 8 p.m. My mistake!
Watch this promo for “Mind Over Mania,” which airs at 10 p.m. Eastern this Sunday on MSNBC. The promo video is also available here.


11 responses to “Faith gone sick — a promo for MSNBC’s documentary on Teen Mania this Sunday

  1. I think that before being led by what the media tells you, you should go try out the Honor Academy for yourself. I have 5 friends that are currently attending and my youth pastor went as well 6 years ago. None of them have any complaints about the HA and neither do their friends. As a matter of fact the HA completely changed their lives and they became more hungry for the Lord and disciplined in their daily lives. They all changed for the better. They interviewed overly sensitive girls that are controlled by emotions. You can choose to go to ESOL they don’t make you. Before you go into it, you’re warned that its tough. Yes we have to have total dependence on God this is very true, but as humans we never push ourselves to do strenuous activities we always take life easy and we become conformed. I honestly think that the media is messed up by corrupted people and this is just one of the works of the enemy its his job to focus on destroying what God has built, but at the end of the day God is always victorious. 3 more of my friends are going to the Honor Academy next year so obviously this ministry is doing something good! You should interview one of my intern friends so that they can speak truth over this matter.


    • Anyone who compares strenuous activity with not being conformed to the world is ignorant of the New Testament. Did you watch the documentary yourself?


      • As a matter of fact I did watch the documentary. That’s why I gave my opinion. Did you watch the documentary? I never compared strenuous activity to not being conformed to the world. I guess I didn’t make myself clear. Let me re-word my statement so that you can understand me. We never challenge ourselves to do hard things or to do things that break our daily routines. ESOL challenges you to the fullest and no its not torture. Like I said before they have the choice of whether or not they go it’s not somethings that’s forced upon the interns. Keep in mind you don’t get tortured by choice. I love how you completely disregarded my whole argument and decided to attack two little sentences. I guess you have nothing to say about the rest of the things I wrote because deep down inside you know its the truth.


      • Yes, I watched the documentary, and yes, I’ll be glad to reply to the rest of what you said. I would also like to note that I am making the decision to allow your comments on my blog. I have the right and administrative ability to delete anything that anyone posts on my blog, and I am allowing you to speak your mind.

        You said, “I think that before being led by what the media tells you, you should go try out the Honor Academdy yourself.”

        My response: (A) You need to make clear exactly what was inaccurate in the footage of the ESOL, and you need to make clear exactly what Ron Luce said in the interviews that was inaccurate. I say this because the documentary producers were given access to ESOL and they simply showed exactly what happens there, like using social pressure to make kids eat bugs until they cry, which has absolutely no value whatsoever. (B) I cannot afford the $8,000 it costs to go to ESOL. As a 42-year-old survivor of nonsense, bullshit-based evangelicalism and fundamentalism, I need to use that $8,000 NOT on crawling through mud and eating bugs, but on feeding my three daughters, and training them to understand the New Testament in such a way that they’ll never be duped by Teen Mania or anything like it.

        You said: “I have 5 friends that are currently attending and my youth pastor went as well 6 years ago. None of them have any complaints about the HA and neither do their friends.”

        My response: I don’t know your friends, but as someone who spent his entire life is churches and Christian schools, I know that evangelicals and fundamentalists have ZERO credibility with me. I also know that members of dozens of cults and aberrant religious groups have had no complaints about their organizations. Until I can meet and get to know you and your friends and your youth pastor, this part of your argument has no credibility with me.

        You said: “As a matter of fact the HA completey changed their lives and they became more hungry for the Lord and disciplined in their daily lives. They all changed for the better.”

        My response: I don’t know how you define “better” and “hungry for the Lord,” but if eating bugs and crawling through mud spurred it, I’m skeptical.

        You said: “They [presumably MSNBC, not your friends] interviewed overly sensitive girls that are controlled by emotions.”

        My response: (A) Belittling someone’s personality is called an ad hominem argument — you belittle the person instead of paying attention to the content of what he/she is saying. (B) In Matthew 12:20, Jesus cites Isaiah 42:3, saying, “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not extingusih.” In other words, even if they WERE overly sensitive girls complaining about HA and ESOL, Jesus would care for them and treat them according to Galations 5:22-23, the fruits of the spirit — you know, the fruits of the spirit which were NOT demonstrated ANYWHERE in the ESOL and Honor Academy footage, but were demonstrated by the Duncans, the therapists who were talking to these overly sensitive girls.

        Well, as it happens, I must get busy with my job so I can put each $8,000 increment to good use. Stay tuned. Feel free to reply. Your second comment actually had more complete sentences and fewer fused sentences. I appreciated that.


  2. It amazes me at how you can watch something and proclaim it as truth. If you have never been to Teen Mania’s Honor Academy, you have no way of knowing the truth! You have been letting the blind lead the blind. Ignorance is sometimes a doorway for Satan. I just think you need all the facts before you proclaim anything! The story you heard is lead by hurting people who usually only see one side of their story. If a man stands before you on trial and the “victim” states that they were wrongly hurt and the man on trial is not allowed a defence… What would you believe? The story may not even be accurate. You are sending that man to jail on an accusation when he was never allowed to defend himself… A man who may be innocent! Only when all the facts come to light can a judge and a jury make a correct sentencing! Get all the facts… You may see things in a different light!


    • Amanda, first tell me which parts of the documentary were not factually accurate. The documentary producers filmed things that happened at the Honor Academy and they interviewed Ron Luce. Second, BEFORE the documentary aired, my friend Wendy Duncan and her husband, both of whom are licensed counselors with masters degrees, interviewed leaders at Teen Mania and several students who had positive views of Teen Mania. In other words, they didn’t just talk to the people who had a complaint. They arrived at their conclusions based on equal input from “both sides,” if there are indeed only two sides to this story. Consider this, Amanda: An old Chinese proverb says, “If you want to know what water is, don’t ask the fish.” That means people inside an organization cannot always see it for what it is.


  3. to be clear, “ESOL” means English for Students of Other Languages.

    I believe Teen Mania (btw, i’m not a supporter) calls their event “ESOAL.”

    Teen Mania workers go there and “volunteer” by doing various types of clerical and physical labor which no company on earth could get people to “volunteer” to do. I’ve seen similar programs where the workers are un-thanked, slave labor where the leader basically takes credit for everything that goes well and blames the workers for everything that goes wrong.

    There isn’t a single one of their “leadership” that I have met which I would hire based on skills they have learned from the position. Most of the footage I’ve seen and experiences I’ve had in similar scenarios are congruent power-tripping leaders who abuse those they lead.

    I would not recommend anyone go into these scenarios… and, anyone who DOES go into them should do so with the clear choice to “not” participate in any of the overt hazing processes used to humiliate or break down their teams.

    I believe these internship type programs should be rated PG at best… i.e. strongly recommending Parental Guidance that is birthed from a good, strong relationship with their parents.

    but, hey… that’s my 2 cents.

    I can guarantee one thing: my children will never get my blessing to engage such activities… even to the point where they will actually lose all claim upon their inheritance if they join such idiocy.



    • Thank you, Pete. I appreciate your conviction and input, very much. All the best to you and yours — Colin


      • Up until this point I have not disrespected you and you did by cussing in your response to me. You’re a 42 year old (old) man so with all due respect I think you should get a life. If you don’t agree with the HA then that’s your problem, but don’t poison other people with your ridiculous ideals. For a man who knows the bible you sure don’t have any conviction whatsoever. Rebellious people memorize the verses that defend them, but not the verses that save them. This is oh so very true. If you have ever attended Honor Academy, an Acquire the Fire event or your child has, repost this to spread the truth.


      • Flores, NOW who is avoiding the argument? I am getting a life — one of the most live-giving things I can do is to share my experiences with a Bible-based cult so others can find the truth. Oh, and when Paul writes, “I consider all loss,” according to my friend who went to Reformed Theological Seminary, that translation is for people like you who wilt around PG-rated words. But guess what? According to the seminary professor, the most literal translation of the Greek word there is not “loss” but instead “shit.” So “shit” is a biblical word, silly. Keep straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel, Flores. You’ll fit in quite well with evangelical America. And what are 42-year-old men supposed to do? They are supposed to protect children from Scripture-twisting cultists.


  4. More for Flores — Well, I’m off work now, so I can continue my reply to your argument. To continue where I left off, the Recovering Alumni site says it has 67 different alumni of Teen Mania who have been hurt and spiritually misled by the Honor Academy. Now, I entirely didn’t take their word for it. This past weekend, I scrolled back from the most recent post to February 2010, and I counted 48 different alumni who had stories to tell. I didn’t count all of the stories; I only had time to go back to February 2010. So I’m assuming 67 must be accurate. Either way, guess what? Sixty-seven is a much bigger number than the (so-called overly sensitive) four or five girls on the documentary. Where did those 67 stories come from? Why are they there? Because 67 people were oversensitive? No, because the Honor Academy is a hazing regime for some warped view of Christianity. If two or three people get sick from a new medicine, the FDA makes it illegal.

    Like I was telling Amanda earlier, an old Chinese proverb says, “If you want to know what water is, don’t ask the fish.” That means a person in an organization cannot always see it for what it is.

    I think I have now answered most of your argument, between this reply and the reply I left earlier. If I missed a specific point that needs a response, please let me know.