This article will evolve over time as I have the opportunity to listen to more of the October 2022 meeting. Initially, I’ll go ahead and post it as a “stub” article so that there can be conversation around it if people would like. As I get time, I will add to the article, but this will be a long term effort, as I have other higher priorities than Stanton. It is important, and I want to help people open their eyes. But Stanton is not at the center of my life, thankfully (nor should it be yours).
Feel free to crowdsource highlights in the comments here. It will be helpful when you quote snippets, to reference (a) which audio file you are referring to, and (b) the timestamp of the snippet, like this: 01/1:26:27.
And for those reading, I would recommend listening to the context of any comments to make sure you’re not taking it wildly out of context, like Stanton does with the Bible. 😉
For easy reference, here is the list of audio files. You can download the entire meeting here.
01 – Opening Discussion about the Issues to be Discussed – October 2022
02 – Gary Preman – Compelled to Contend – Part 1
03 – Gary Preman – Compelled to Contend – Part 2
04 – Discussion – Women’s Role in Teaching in the Church – Part 1
05 – Discussion – Women’s Role in Teaching in the Church – Part 2
06 – Chris Saulsberry – Among Many Witnesses
07 – Discussion – Authority of Local Congregations – Part 1
08 – Discussion – Authority of Local Congregations – Part 2
09 – Mike Leeman – Fervent Love
10 – Stewart Russell – To him that Overcometh
11 – Discussion – Exercising Older Preacher to Develop Younger Preachers in Evangelizing
12 – Discussion – How to Aid Brethren in Mexico
13 – Discussion – Streaming Bible Classes
01/1:26:27 – “I’ve stayed away from Kevin Harper’s little chit chat room. Because I didn’t care. He even reached out to my children to try to meet with them. And they were ready. They would be glad…they thought it was a shameful thing, that Kevin was the way that he was in his mother’s old age, to be such a shame to her. And the things that he wrote, and I didn’t even ask them what they read. I just know that they were ready to meet with him, but it wasn’t going to be a friendly thing. And Kevin did not show up. He decided not to meet with them.” ~Paula
I can say that this is either a wild lie by Paula, or by whoever in her family related the story to her—or perhaps someone’s memory is just really, really bad.
Here are a few facts about my interaction with the Premans.
- I first attempted to contact Gary with sincere questions about the Bible maybe two decades ago. I probably have the email somewhere—it was addressed to b4man*@*.com, and mentioned a comment I saw that he had made on a public discussion board of Church of Christ topics. I never received a response. I even verified his email address with my mom. I tried reaching out again in 2016, and again, no response.
- Out of the blue, I was contacted by a member of the family back in 2019 who had read the blog. A few friendly conversations ensued. I am not at liberty to say more than that, because that’s their information to share. As you know, I’ve made a commitment to keep communications private unless I’m told otherwise.
- Shortly after that, I reached out to one of the Preman sons offering to talk, I believe through a roofing company website as I recall. I was kind, and just offered to talk about the history of the church if he ever wanted to. But I never got a response. That was the end of it.
As for trying to shame me for writing this blog because it would be upsetting to my mom, that doesn’t fly. Stanton’s preachers, teachers, and evangelists go out of their way to intentionally shame their own members, to wit:
01/1:23:40 – “When I exhort things like that, that’s what I do. I try to make them feel ashamed for thinking such a question. Right? Because it’s just so off the mark if that’s what you’re here to go to do. Don’t try to explain it to them. You can’t explain to these people…” ~Tom
This, of course, brings to mind Gary’s 2013 speech, which I’ve affectionately titled Not Ready To Give An Answer:
“Someone told me here just recently that, ‘Gary, do you realize what’s happening, under cover? People are coming out and expressing what it is that they feel, their disdain and contempt for what you believe. I’ve got to know how to respond.’
“And I know how I respond. That’s the basis of this lesson. I refuse. I refuse, to the uttermost of my being to dignify the absurdity of the questions and the challenges in which it is that people will present. What I mean by that is that I will not honor, they are not worthy of my consideration. …
“[M]y whole estimation was to not give it a nickel’s worth of consideration. But I want to give you what it is how I deal with things like this. How I respond. Because I don’t. I don’t.” ~Gary
At some point, all of us have to make the hard choice–do we keep our observations to ourselves and let the oppressive behaviors get handed down to yet another generation, or do we stand up, seek some transparency, take a few stones if necessary, and pray that others are willing to do the same? I believe that’s the only way to put a stop to Stanton’s multi-generational fear and intimidation tactics. For the love of God—and I mean that literally, for the love of God—just stop it already.
For the record, I love my mom, and have done everything possible to keep this exercise in truth-telling from hurting her (short of not saying what my conscience tells me I have to say). She trusts that my motivations are pure, and we’ve had to just agree to leave it at that.
I think a lot of people who bash me from within the sect know in their hearts that my motivations for this blog are pure. I’m sure that’s why they’ve tried to discourage people from reading it. Because once you do read it, you can’t miss the fact that I am only interested in speaking truth in love here. I’ve never set myself up as a Teacher, Preacher, Evangelist, or Older One. I’m just a guy with a blog, speaking truth a little more openly than they’re used to.