It’s been a while since we heard from right-wing pastor Perry Stone. For several months, the preacher was mocked all over the internet for checking his phone while speaking in tongues, for claiming to speak four languages at once (also in tongues), and for delivering a sermon to a bunch of puppets.
And then he just sorta disappeared. His ministry said he was on “sabbatical” beginning in April.
Now we know what really happened, thanks to Wyatt Massey of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
A recording obtained by the newspaper reveals what Stone told his own congregation a few weeks ago regarding his absence:
… in an audio message played for a small, in-person group of church members several weeks ago — and obtained by the Times Free Press — Stone said he acted inappropriately with female employees.
“I confess at times I’ve been inappropriate in all this weariness of just non-stop ministry,” Stone said in the message. “I let my guard down and I’ve asked, of course, God to forgive me for that. I sat down with my family, with my beautiful, precious wife Pam, the love of my life. I asked her to forgive me. And I very humbly and very sincerely ask those who have been hurt or offended by my actions to, please, also forgive me for those things.”
Stone, 61, did not say specifically what occurred but said he “acted inappropriately with them, and with words and sometimes actions.”
The Voice of Evangelism’s Board of Directors said in a statement that, whatever Stone did, it was unethical but not criminal.
[VOE media relations spokesperson John] Rodriguez said Stone “has sincerely repented for any words or actions said or done that made anyone feel uncomfortable or brought them hurt in any manner.”
We aren’t told what Stone did, what boundaries were crossed, how many employees were involved, how the board knows his repentance is sincere, what sort of counseling he received during his months off, or why the ministry thinks things should go back to normal.
It doesn’t help that Stone’s own comments suggest a different story:
[On Tuesday night,] Stone told the crowd, and those watching the livestream, he had been away because he was taking family time and working on a project about a “great treasure” that will soon be discovered. He said he had a “physical collapse” from the stress of running a $14-to-$15-million ministry and that God told him to partner with The Ramp to continue his work.
There was no mention that his stepping away was due in part to his treatment of female employees.
Nor does it help that this is how the ministry responded to Massey’s inquiries:
The Times Free Press sent a series of questions to Stone and VOE regarding Stone’s conduct around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Around 9 p.m. Wednesday night, Stone posted a video on Facebook saying he recently had a dream of being hunted by a giant snake that sucked people into its belly. He said in his dream he evaded the snake by climbing onto a filing cabinet of negative information. Stone has regularly posted videos on Facebook detailing the Biblical meaning of his dreams.
So much for repentance. It’s like Stone was bracing his followers for a slew of bad press, suggesting it was Satanic in nature and that they should ignore it.
As I’ve said many times before, his personal life is no one’s business. But when that life involves inappropriate behavior at the same church where he’s preaching conservative Christian “values” and promoting Donald Trump like he’s a gift from God, the hypocrisy shouldn’t be ignored.
Now I have even more questions about what he was doing on his phone while speaking in tongues.
(via Right Wing Watch)