More from That KCOP-TV Profile of Dr. R.L. Hymers in 1988

by Little Miss Attila on June 2, 2010

This is the second installment of a three-part special report on R.L. Hymers, Jr. from the late 1980s. This one aired on Channel 13 in Los Angeles on Tuesday, August 16th, 1988 at 10:00 p.m.

The last several lines regarding the feedback that the station was getting from viewers who had had contact with Hymers’ church-cult say a lot.

Newscaster: In the broadcast last night, we began a series on the Reverend R. L. Hymers, the flamboyant minister who launched a personal campaign against that very controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Former members of Hymers’ church claim he physically and emotionally abused them — a charge that Reverend Hymers denies. Tonight, News Thirteen’s Pat Anson looks into allegations that Hymers is actually running a religious cult.

Anson: “Tim, most of us when we think of the word cult, think of animal sacrifice or satanic worship, some bizarre form of religion. But cults can take many shapes and forms. All you need is a group of people who are devoted to a cause, a god, or even a man. The question tonight is whether R. L. Hymers could be such a man.”

“Ten years ago it was known as the Open Door Communinity Church. Then it became The Fundamentalist Army. Today it’s called The Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle. Three different churches with three different names. All headed by the Reverend R. L. Hymers. But former members say the churches were all the same.”

["Frank"]: “It is an autocratically run … cult, that tolerates no dissent, that is physically, emotionally, and financially abusive of the people therein. That fundamental character has never changed.”

["Mary"]: “It’s definitely a cult.”

Anson: “‘Mary,’ like other former members, says Hymers likes to recruit new followers who are young or emotionally vulnerable. She joined his church after a divorce.”

["Mary"]: “And they made me believe that there was something wrong with my life. That I didn’t know how to raise my children spiritually, that I wasn’t close to God, I was lost. And I was going to take my children down that path. And you know your’re so lost, you’re vulnerable.”

["Linda"]: “I believe I was manipulated from the beginning . . . because I came in at a very young age and the first thing you’re taught once you’re in there is to disregard unbelieving parents. And, in essence, the church becomes your family. And Hymers even said one time that ‘I’m the father you never had.’”

["Anna"]: “Well, I remember one of the girls that came into the church and she was pregnant, and Dr. Hymers made her have . . . made her give up her baby for adoption, ’cause he said she wasn’t able to take care of her baby.”

Anson: “Hymers’ attempts to control his congregation even reached a point where he demanded they sign a covenant with God; a practice he no longer uses. Some of the more unusual things he asked people to swear to were ‘not to eat junk food,’ to ‘watch as little TV as possible,’ and ‘to take vitamins every day.’ But the main emphasis was on controlling contact with people outside the church. Marriage or dating non-Church members was strictly forbidden. And sexual activity restricted.”

["Frank"]: “Anyone who committed an infraction of a more serious nature—such as, for instance, having sex outside of marriage, being unmarried, would be brought into his office and would be grilled for all of the gruesome details. I’m talking about the really private details of what went on.”

Hymers: “Every pastor has somebody that’s upset with him. Every pastor in this city does.”

Anson: “Hymers admits he discourages marriages outside the Church but says the cult allegations are sour grapes.”

Hymers: “You have this little, small group of people that call us a cult.No credible person has ever done that. Not a single credible person has ever done that.”

Priscilla Coats: “I guess I would have to say it sounds to me like a destructive cult.”

Anson: “Priscilla Coats heads the local chapter of the Cult Awareness Network.”

Coats: “A destructive cult is a group which has an authoritarian leader who exerts total control over his followers. A group which recruits deceptively and gains its members through coercive techniques such as mind-control and manipulation.”

["Frank"]: “Once a person gets that sort of cultic control—gets the taste of it—it’s almost impossible for them to give it up. It’s almost a drug.”

Hymers: “I thank God from the bottom of my heart for this church. I thank God for you. That you have the courage and the conviction to back the pastor when he stands up for Jesus and preaches against sin. God . . . bless . . . you! . . . Forever.”

Anson: “Ten years ago Hymers had well over a thousand people in his congregation. But there have been many defections since then. And now the church has about 400 members. Tomorrow, we’ll look at how Hymers has been able to use the media to stir up a massive amount of publicity and gain new converts.”

Other Newscaster: “Those defectors are pretty powerfull there in the way they speak about their experiences. If the church is that bad, then why are there any members in it right now?”

Anson: “Well, the former members say it’s for the classic reasons that most people stay in cults—because they have very little social contact with people outside the group. Their friends are in the group, in many cases their family is as well, and so they can’t just quit and walk away. It’s a very traumatic experience, sometimes more traumatic than staying in the cult.”

[Other Newcaster]: “Phones have been ringing upstairs from people who have had a lot of contact with him. Good and bad, right?”

Anson: “Right, you know I expected a lot of angry phone calls from the story yesterday—angry phone calls from his current members. And there have been a couple of those, but the overwhelming response has been from other former members. Other members than you’ve seen in these two stories, and they confirm everything that the others talk about.”

[Other Newscaster]: “You’re on to something here Pat, thanks.”

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Robert Leslie Hymers III: Sniveling Wanker [Updated Below] « The Camp Of The Saints
June 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

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They Say / We Say June 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm

All ways ask to see the Church’s Charter! If one cannot be available for immediate reading-leave that Church, and if one is shown and there is not a resounding forbidding of secret societies-Run, RUN-RUUNNN from that Church!

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