During an episode of Leah Remini’s TV series about Scientology, a chilling strategy from L. Ron Hubbard is displayed onscreen. “Dominance of others is a control system. We are not looking for pleasant control–we are looking for effective control.”
Sometimes, there is little difference between Scientology and churches that claim to be Christian. Pastors and televangelists have employed the same techniques, using legal threats to control victims. At the heart of this scandal is the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).
However, more victims and whistleblowers are fighting back by exposing the abusive practices on social media with the hashtag #NDAfree. A group of whistleblowers have created the NDAfree website featuring their stories.
Christian journalists are also highlighting the problem. Christianity Today news editor Daniel Silliman reviewed at least 15 confidentiality agreements and concluded on Twitter, “Many are so broad that someone who signs one could be in violation at any time.”
Televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Paula White effectively used NDAs to prevent congressional hearings into financial practices among televangelists.
In 2007, Senator Charles Grassley’s office sent faxes to six TV ministries demanding financial records. Copeland responded defiantly to Grassley, “You can go get a subpoena, and I won’t give it to you.”
Three years later the inquiry came to an end when Grassley decided not to issue subpoenas to the televangelists or former employees of their churches.
A Senate Finance Committee report on Copeland’s ministry stated, “Former employees were sincerely afraid to provide statements for fear of being sued since they signed confidentiality agreements.”