I have received another email from a former member of FBIM — one who was involved with both the Beloit church and Pastor Jerry Pruitt’s follow-up church in Phoenix.
As I’ve said before, this isn’t even about Danny Gokey. Hey, I hope the guy severs any ties he has to this place. But since they’re pimping out their association with a guy on Idol to anyone who will listen, then FBIM is open to criticism. And since it doesn’t seem as if many people have questioned a lot of their actions, or at least gotten very far with it, hey, I’m game. Maybe it’s time for them to be exposed since they’re drawing a tiny amount of national attention. (And I’m hoping people continue to come forward with their stories.) Perhaps Idol will figure out it’s probably a stupid idea to quasi-promote a “church” with such a dubious reputation, especially because they should know by now airing that sort of thing means rabid fans will flock from all over to attend services.
I, and others, have contacted the local Beloit papers several times to try and get an investigation going on them. It seems to start and then stall out for some reason. We have been praying for someone to investigate the church and the family to show what they are really all about. The Pruitts practice banning and basically destroy the credibility of anyone who leaves so people have been reluctant to say anything in the past. People that were our friends for literally YEARS stopped talking to us when we left because we “abandoned the man of God” and were now enemies. All this was instigated by the Pruitts. I sat in Bishop Jerry Pruitts office in Arizona and he said to my face : “You will never be welcomed in our church again. If you move back to Wisconsin I will make SURE you are not welcome in my son’s churches either. You are an enemy of this ministry”. They accused us of stealing (A common tactic employed by the Pruitts to discredit people who leave. They had two former music ministers who left that they accused of stealing as well as several families that served in leadership who left that they accused of stealing.), they said we were “never really behind the man of God and his vision from God for the ministry (This even though we moved from Wisconsin to Arizona and left our jobs, our home and our family to help build the new church!) and they said we never supported the ministry with our finances even though: 1. I was promised to be put on staff and once I got out there there was no money to pay me 2. We put ministry supplies on our own personal credit card to the tune of $3000 and were only reimbursed for $300 because they “just didn’t have any more money to pay us with so you should just take it off your taxes”. 3. We put the renovation of one of the ministry rooms on another credit card with the agreement to be reimbursed to the tune of $5500 and never saw one DIME in reimbursement. This is all common to the Pruitts. They have to keep the illusion of control. If people start to think logically and ask questions they would leave alot sooner. Subsequently when people leave the Pruitts practice “shunning” or “banning” to keep contact with former church members to a minimum. They discredit good people that helped their ministry and served them for years so that people won’t think there could be anything wrong with the Pruitts or their messages. No, the problem must ALWAYS be with the people who left. The Pruitts go so far as to say that “If you talk to those people who left you will bring a curse into your life”. They teach if you say anything bad about the pastor you are “touching God’s anointed and could bring a curse or even death into your life”. Despite the fact that the Bible says each believer is anointed, the Pruitts believe they have a SPECIAL anointing that you must submit to in order for God to bless your life.
Crap. I totally forgot that bible passage regarding saline implants and hair plugs. What book was that in? Is there a Book of Candi?
Many people hold Jerry in high regard. It is usually for a couple reasons. Either they were not close enough to him to know the real Jerry or they stayed in FBIM after Jerry left and there is that “Awww, it was so much better in the old days” nostalgic thing happening. The truth is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jeff is a product of his father and mother. Publicly the Pruitts said Jeff’s move to start a church in Madison was a direct order from God. Privately to those of us in leadership Jerry would say “He should never have left. That isn’t God. He doesn’t know what he is doing”. Both Jerry and Jeff have both had work done to correct their male pattern baldness. Their daughter Barbie has had a breast job and had work done on her face, the daughter in law Robyn had a nose/chin job and the mother Gloria has had a breast job as well. I don’t know if they are publicly admitting to these procedures now but when we attended they were refsuing to admit to the congregation the work they had done.
Ah…health & wealth gospel. Sounds a lot like prosperity gospel to me. Well, at least they’re good at writing catchy rhymes. Catchy rhymes to be broadcast over that brand-new sound system.
The Pruitts teach a health and wealth Gospel. ”You give to get from God. If you have a need, you must plant a seed. Don’t pay your light bill, pay your tithe first”. These are all direct quotes from Jeff and Jerry. When we were working for them in Arizona, we had to buy everything because there was no money for anything according to Jerry. Then they had a well known TELEVANGELIST by the name of Jesse DuPlantis come to speak and they wrote him a check for $100,000!!!!! No money to help with supplies for the kids but a HUGE check to a guy who is a multimillionaire? The Beloit church held bbq’s and doughnut sales ( at least five times) to raise money for choir robes which were never bought(at least at that time). When I asked where the funds went I was told by Jeff “We have the right to direct funds to any area of ministry we see fit. We needed new sound equipment so we used the money for that”.
(And could I start up a collection on this blog where my faithful readers could PayPal me some cash for a plane ticket? I am sooooo in need of a vacation.)
Judging from the photo above, does the choir now wear jeans because they never got those robes? That just popped in my head for some reason…
Now how can you preach a health & wealth gospel and sell people donuts? Donuts aren’t very healthy now, are they? Tsk tsk tsk. You don’t want to kill people by feeding them bad foods now do you?
There was a run of a bunch of deaths in the church. One man who died was a big giver to the church and a faithful servant. When he died Jeff said, after years of this man’s faithful service and battle with cancer, “Well, that’s what happens when you don’t have enough faith to be healed”. After a bunch of deaths Jerry told the Arizona congregation that his son needed a vacation and he was going to make sure those people in Beloit gave him one. He then went back to Beloit and took up special pledges to pay to “Bless their man of God with a time of rest and refreshing”. And you may ask where this all expense paid trip for the pastor was to? Well, HAWAII of course.
Hmmm, so let’s back up here. If that was true about one person, about them not having “enough faith to be healed”, then wow, say, Sophia Gokey must not have had any faith. I always thought when people died too soon you could kind of pull out that trusty excuse about the Lord needing them in Heaven in an effort to justify a senseless tragedy. But you’re telling me people drop dead these days because of a lack of faith? Than that would mean everyone who died just didn’t have enough faith, wouldn’t it? Or is it just those you pick and choose?
But if I drive a Cadillac, that must mean I’m totally cool about this faith stuff, right? (Come on. You know you love how it always comes back to the Escalade.)
I also read in one of the comments defending Jeff that he “put his keys (of the Cadillac Escalade he drives) on the altar and was willing to give it up”. Well, here is the truth behind that little fable. The CHURCH pays for the car! When Jeff did that he drove it right home and put it in his garage where it sat for weeks to keep the illusion up of him giving it up. The guy from the church who does Jeff’s lawn reported that the car sat there and never moved. One phone call to his dad and he was on a plane and that resulted in him telling us he was going to “SHAME” the Beloit congregation into paying for the car. It was never being paid for by Jeff anyway! Jerry and Jeff also get gas cards and a clothing allowance paid for by the church.