Former Grace Cathedral member says of Ernest Angley: 'He divides and conquers families'

Akron Beacon Journal/October 15, 2014

By Bob Dyer

Televangelist Ernest Angley has torn apart families by advising his parishioners to turn their backs on those who have departed, according to a number of former members.

Becky Roadman, who quit the Cuyahoga Falls church last year after 13 years as a member, said Angley routinely blasts people who have soured on his church.

“When they leave there, they shun you and say you’re devil-possessed,” Roadman says. “[Members] have shunned even their own wives, husbands and children.

“What kind of pastor does that?”

Angelia Oborne, who left not long ago after 20 years, said of Angley, “He divides and conquers families.”

Mimi Camp of Munroe Falls said her desire to leave the church, pitted against her husband’s desire to stay, led directly to their divorce.

Kenny Montgomery, who said he divorced his first wife because he wanted to leave the church and she didn’t, said his parents wanted nothing to do with his second marriage.

“I invited my mom and dad to the wedding and they refused to come because it wasn’t ‘of God’ and it wasn’t ordained by Ernest, and they couldn’t be a part of it,” he said.

“I got mad and severed communication with them for seven years.”

Pam Cable also blames Angley for her divorce.

Cable attended the church for nearly three decades before she ran out of patience with Angley’s psychological dominance and told her husband she wanted to quit the church. He didn’t. End of marriage.

“[Angley] ruled my life, day in and day out,” said the 60-year-old Akron resident. “He took my husband from me. He took my youth from me. To have any kind of a pastor rule over you like that is wrong. It’s just wrong.

“God is the creator of the family, not the destroyer of the family. I’ve seen too many families destroyed sitting in that man’s ministry.”

Wed as a teen to another young member of the congregation, Cable said Angley’s lust for complete control led directly to her divorce after 17 years of marriage.

She said the light bulb went on during a mission trip she took with her husband to Hawaii. The trip coincided with their 10th wedding anniversary. But she said, she was not allowed to stay in the same hotel as her husband.

“I began to question why and was told I was demon-possessed and I shouldn’t be asking questions, that I should do as I’m told.

“It took me six years after that to finally just say, ‘I’ve had enough. I just can’t do this anymore.’

“Basically, I had ahold of one arm of my husband and Ernest had ahold of the other, and Ernest won.

“It’s one thing to fight against alcoholism or drug addiction or even another woman. But I was fighting against the concept of God. And there’s no winning in that situation.”

Public scorn

Cable is among those who say Angley actively tries to put distance between his flock and those who depart. “What he does to people when they leave his church, it’s horrendous. [He] stands up there and slings this mud about people, and names them from the platform.”

She said that after she left he told the entire congregation she was “a dark angel.”

During an interview in his office last month, Angley was asked why he is so adamant that people who stay behind not have any dealings with the people who left.

“Well,” he replied, “they don’t need to hear all that stuff [negativity about the church]. I’ve got to protect them. I’m their little shepherd under the Lord.”

Among the members whose departures caused deep family divisions is Kim McCabe, who now lives in Florida with her husband, Shane, whom she met and married at Grace Cathedral.

When she was inappropriately touched and propositioned by a member of the church, she told her mother, who then told Angley. After the meeting, “he pulled my whole family into his office and told them I was telling lies about the church and they should refrain from talking to me any longer. Each family member was pulled into a group meeting and then into an individual meeting.”

McCabe said Angley convinced her family that “I was dangerous. My sister hasn’t spoken to me in, like, five years. My mom still does, but it’s very strained.”

One of the primary reasons the McCabes left was because they were appalled by some of the things their young, adopted children were being told at Sunday school.

Horror stories

One day, Kim McCabe recalled, “the teacher said, ‘If you’re 7 or older, raise your hand!’ My son had just turned 7 that weekend and was waving his hand. So I stuck around to listen, and she went on to tell them that she did not see them going down to the altar and praying, and, ‘If you don’t do that, you’re going to miss the Rapture. You’re going to be left, and what if you wake up one day and your parents are gone and you’re still here?

“ ‘How will you take care of yourself? How are you going to feed yourself? You are going to starve to death — blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ At 7 years old!”

In a separate interview, her husband remembered the same scene — “My kid is freaking out. He can’t even tie his shoes.” — and said the scare tactics started even earlier with a younger child.

“My 3-year-old was coming home asking me, ‘Why is God going to destroy the world?’ ”

Although the McCabes left, Kim’s mother has remained an adamant believer in Angley, which has caused a major rift, Kim says.

Afraid to leave

Tale after tale has emerged of families torn apart by disagreements over Angley. The stories are so commonplace, said Pam Cable, that they prevent some unhappy members from leaving.

“I think there are a lot of people within that church [who] would like to leave but can’t because their families are tied into it and, if they leave that church, he will separate them from their families.

“And that’s been proven over and over and over again. You are definitely shunned if you leave that church.”

A member of one large family said differing opinions about the circumstances of the departure of an associate pastor have “destroyed our family.”

“I still have family members there, and they refuse to have anything to do with us.”

A woman who doesn’t want to be identified because she teaches in a local public school said her father was in Angley’s inner circle for 17 years, and she frequently witnessed the impact Angley’s shunning can have on a teenager.

When someone leaves, she said, those who are left behind “are told, ‘You don’t even look at them.’ And all your friends — you have closer relationships with them than you do your family — and all of a sudden they do not talk to you. They see you in a parking lot and they turn the other way.

“They’re told not to even look at you because if they look at you, the demons that are in you, because you left, can jump onto them. And they believe it!”

Demons abound

A woman who now lives in Iowa (she does not want to be identified because she fears for her safety) said that when she went to Angley to tell him her stepdad was severely beating her mother, she was told her mother was at fault.

“He said there was a huge demon hovering over my mom and penetrated its claws into her brain,” said the 29-year-old. “So I grew up in fear of my mom for a long time.

“I was told that if I went near my mom, the demon would jump off her and attach to me.”

Camp, the woman who said Angley caused her divorce, reported that she, too, was warned about demons, as well as leeches.

“He told you if you had any thoughts about questioning his teachings, there were leeches in your mind and spirits that were changing your thought pattern.

“He told us not to watch TV because people on the news are devil-possessed and that the demons in them would come through the TV and possess our soul.”

Some say those who stay behind do so mainly because they have been brainwashed into believing Angley is on par with God.

A woman who was raised in the church but left just before her 22nd birthday said, “Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Ernest Angley. They don’t worship a trinity. It’s a quartet. And nobody questions anything.”

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