Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Student Forced Out of Training Center after Confessing Sin
HOUSTON, Texas - Hugh Stephens,* a student in the Advanced Training Institute, spends most of his days sitting around at home and trying to think of how he could have done things differently.

Until just recently, Stephens, a sincere-looking 18 year old, worked in the kitchen of the Indianapolis Training Center, a juvenile delinquent center and satelite of IBLP.

Stephens' reversal of fortune came about after making a confession to his "team leader" at the center.  "I confessed that I once struggled with some of the pictures in K-Mart advertisements," he said, "and I asked my leader for prayer."

This moment of transparency led to a "huge uproar" as Stephens called it.  "My team leader freaked out.  He called the TC leadership and they counseled me for about 3 days.  I think they even called Mr. Gothard."

Stephens' counselors informed him that he should no longer work in the kitchen.  "They said they didn't want me serving food and polluting it with impure thoughts," he remembers.  Ironically, they relocated him to work in the laundry room.

"I was a little confused," says Stephens.  "I just asked for prayer.  Are you telling me none of these other people have ever struggled with lust?"  Stephens' worst moment of frustration was when one of the men told him that he needed to "turn your sexual energy into creative energy."   

"Pardon my French, but what the heck does that mean?!?" Stephens remembers replying.  Ultimately, the leadership determined that it was not appropriate for Hugh to be on staff, and they released him from his duties. 

These days, he regrets bringing the whole thing up.  "I'm sure they call me 'K-Mart orgy boy' when they joke about me."  Stephens feels that the situation could have been handled differently.

"What's a training center for if it isn't to encourage the staff?" asked Stephens rhetorically.

*name changed


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