A number of former members of televangelist Ernest Angley's Grace Cathedral church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, have accused him of being a homosexual and running a cult which encourages female members to get abortions and male members vasectomies. His church said Tuesday, however that, "it's a bunch of lies."
On Sunday, the Akron Beacon Journal highlighted the allegations of 21 former members interviewed by the paper in an article that painted Angley's ministry as a dangerous cult. Angley, who is 93, is also alleged to have personally inspected the genitals of male congregants before and after their surgeries.
A woman who refused to give her name but identified herself as a church secretary told The Christian Post when asked to comment Tuesday: "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."
Grace Cathedral is a 3,000-seat megachurch with local broadcasts in Cleveland and Akron, and internationally on Sky Angel and Direct TV.
The allegations came to light over the summer after a longtime associate pastor suddenly resigned and told friends and family that Angley had been touching him inappropriately for seven years.
The Journal noted that the allegations came to a head at a two and-a-half-hour church service on Sunday, July 13, when Angley and two other members of his ministry addressed the allegations. A recording of the service was shared with the Journal.
"I'm not a homosexual. God wouldn't use a homosexual like he uses me. He calls me his prophet, and indeed I am …," Angley reportedly said in the recording. "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," Angley said, according to the Journal.
Reacting to the inappropriate touching of the genitals of male members before and after vasectomies, Angley denied touching them but admitted to inspecting their "privates" and asking them to come in for 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," he said in the recording, as reported by the Journal.
"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 continued.
The former church members explained in the report that his members were routinely threatened and bullied into following his orders that included life-changing decisions which caused some families to break up. Angley reportedly argued strenuously that it was wrong to bring children into the world today.
They said he controlled what they read, watched on television, who they married and when. The also had to endure multiple church services weekly which lasted up to three hours.
"This man is a monster," Pam Cable of Akron told the Journal. She 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," she told the Journal.
Former Grace Cathedral usher, Kenny Montgomery whose mother took him to the church when he was just a 9-year-old also compared Angley to Jim Jones in the Journal article.
"That place is a textbook cult," said Montgomery. "I'm really scared for my friends and family that still go there."
"None of us have kids because he makes all the men get fixed," said Becky Roadman, 32, who left the church last year and now lives in Georgia according to the Journal.
"My husband and I can't have children because my husband had a vasectomy," said Akron resident Angelia Oborne.
Oborne worked in the church's restaurant, the Cathedral Buffet, for 20 years before she left a year and a half ago.
"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," Oborne explained.
In an interview with the Journal, Angley denied encouraging abortions, only vasectomies. He also noted that he only advised members on things he was asked about.
Usher Mike Kish, who was a part of the interview with Angley, said, "I would hate to even bring a child into the world at this point, being a parent, just having common sense. ... If you look at the condition of this world ... it just seems to be going downhill."
And Angley agreed.
"It really is. It really is. I wouldn't want to be brought into this world now," said Angley who felt the same even in the presence of strong faith.
"No, because the people of strong faith go down. And their children are in danger ... It wasn't like that when I was a kid. We could walk up and down the streets, we could play at night and we were not molested at all," said Angley.
Greg Mulkey of Barberton, who was a key Grace Cathedral choir member and singer told the Journal that he believes Angley doesn't want his members to have children because the children would detract their attention from his 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."