162 comments on “Church Discussion

  1. Dave AA,

    Thanks for that info.

    In case anyone is wondering—Gene Edwards and Frank Viola have been involved together for a long time. They are both considered to be “founders” of the “organic church movement” which is actually nothing new. Home fellowships have been around for hundreds of years.

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  2. Allegation #5—While he was employed as a teacher—the police allegedly caught Frank Viola in a motel room with one of his teenage students.

    When people found out—Frank was allegedly fired from his public school teaching job and kicked out of his church leadership position.

    This was a public statement published and circulated among the house churches as a letter back when Frank Viola’s church was investigating what happened:

    “On July 25, 2002, six brothers wrote an extensive letter of admonishment to Gene (Edwards) and Frank (Viola). Later, I wrote an essay, “Why March 10, 2002?,” in which I documented some crucial events in Brandon, FL, all of which were verified by the independent testimony of plural witnesses.

    “The truth is that in May of 2000 Frank’s wife received a phone call from a policewoman informing her that Frank was in a motel room with a young lady. This 19-year old girl was a former student of Frank’s in the high school where he taught, and a part of the Brandon assembly.

    He had been fooling around with her in the last quarter of 1999. He wrote a book called “Forbidden Affection” in early 2000, and had the gall to dedicate this book —which was in fact describing the struggle connected to his own sexual attraction to this girl—both to the young lady he was having illicit contact with and to his wife.

    Instead of dealing properly with this sinful behavior in 2000, Gene opted that it be covered up. Frank’s wife was to remain silent about what had happened, and the young lady was whisked off to another of Gene’s assembly, with lies constructed to explain her sudden exit. Frank’s wife was silent until March of 2002.

    Frank’s relationship with the young lady was not a one-time event. He had cultivated a relationship with her, and she helped him edit the book about their affair together! You don’t rent a motel room just to kiss. It would appear that adultery was the goal of the tryst, and was only interrupted because the police were summoned and Frank’s wife was notified of her husband’s activities.

    On May 17, 2002, I called Gene. Gene did all the talking, and insisted that Frank had not committed any immorality.

    However, our letter of July, 2002, and my essay, “Why March 10, 2002?,” are not founded on rumors, but on facts confirmed by witnesses.

    We know for sure that some immorality occurred, and it has yet to be dealt with in a Christ-honoring way. As long as Gene keeps fabricating his own conception of reality, the problems Gene and Frank have created will never be resolved. Many lives have been negatively impacted by Gene’s and Frank’s utter failure to deal with the truth regarding Frank’s misbehavior.

    Gene says he is “struggling to end a rumor that has no validity.” The reality is he is apparently trying very hard to keep people from knowing the truth.

    There is no reason for us to recant or apologize because we have stated basic uncontested realities, and we plead with Gene and Frank to quit covering up and to deal with some serious problems.”

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  3. Notice that according to the letter—Frank’s wife was allegedly pressured, “To remain silent about what had happened……(she) was silent until March of 2002.”

    According to public records—in March of 2002—divorce proceedings were initiated towards a Frank Viola in Hillsborough County, Florida. That’s the county where Brandon Florida is located.

    That would put the—May 17, 2002—phone call with Gene occurring about two months after the divorce process was started.

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  4. Of course, Frank Viola denies that any of this ever happened. So then the question becomes:

    If Frank Viola didn’t go after this teen girl—then why hasn’t he ever gone back to some type of middle or high school teaching job? Is there something in his background that he knows would disqualify him?

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  5. Question—In the divorce, did Frank Viola demand that his wife pay him alimony because he supposedly couldn’t work a job after everyone had found out what he had done with the teen girl?

    From Frank Viola—It’s Time to Come Clean

    “According to folks involved with his former church at the time, Frank Viola wrote Forbidden Affection in the context of his attraction and involvement with one particular teenager over many months. The police finally found him alone with her in a motel room on May 26, 2000.”

    “Although she had been his student at the Brandon High School where he was then a teacher, and was in the church over which Mr. Viola was claiming to be the apostolic “worker”, she was 19 when the police finally found them together in the motel.”

    “Because of her age at that time, no charges were filed – although his wife learned of it.”

    “Frank ended up leaving his teaching position shortly after that event became public knowledge in 2002 – and actually demanded alimony from his ex-wife because he said he was no longer employable in that community as talk of his “adultery” spread.
    Folks from back then also claim that Frank Viola initially tried to explain away his trysts with that teenager, which went on for many months, by saying she was only helping him write that book and they would go to private places where there were no distractions. However, that could not have been true at the time of the motel incident, because the book was published in January 2000 (five months earlier).”

    “As far as I know, Frank is still using that lie in private with folks – who don’t know better because Frank avoids saying anything in public where others who do know can rebut any deception.”

    “It appears that Frank Viola has made sure there are no copies of that book available for purchase – even from used book dealers on the Internet. Interestingly, it is easy to find copies of his other earlier books, but not Forbidden Affection. I believe this is yet another case of him trying to re-invent himself as he covers up and seeks to obscure his history of seeking out and exploiting young women half his age – while married and also claiming to be a church leader.”

    “I have tried and tried to find a copy of that book, but there are none to be found.”

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  6. Mwcamp asked me if these allegations apply to the FV who wrote Pagan Christianity (PC)? Or do they apply to the other FV who’s a registered sex offender?

    That’s a great question. I agree with Mwcamp that we need to do our research to “Sort through what’s real and what’s not.”

    Let’s sort through this:

    According to public records—there’s a convicted sex offender—Anthony Frank Viola who was last known to be living in Massachusetts as of 2008.

    Conviction date:
    11/3/1992

    Approx geographic area of incident:
    Osceola, Florida (Note: Osceola is over 100 miles away from Brandon, FL)

    Age of victim:
    Under age 16

    I agree with Mwcamp that this doesn’t appear to be the same FV who wrote PC. However, the alleged victims also don’t appear to be the same either.

    From what we just examined regarding the FV who wrote PC:

    Date of alleged motel room incident:
    5/26/2000

    Approx geographic area of incident:
    Brandon, FL

    Alleged age of girl:
    19

    Conviction:
    None—If she was over age 18, then it wasn’t technically illegal. No charges could have been filed.

    Here’s the thing—the Frank Viola who wrote PC—claims that the existence of the other FV automatically disproves all the allegations about the police catching him at the motel with the teen girl.

    Now the question becomes—Is there a pattern of Frank Viola lying to cover his tracks and consistently blaming others for his own willful sin?

    Well, I was going to wait until the end to post all the links but this link can’t wait that long—Here’s the link to the other FV:

    http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/flyer.do?personId=4137&x=7888a205-6b11-4680-93e1-a29c85f5de05

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  7. Well, Avid Reader, this is some interesting material! And not at all irrelevant to a church discussion, since Mr Viola is or was a church and movement leader of some note.

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  8. Doing this research—Here’s the part that concerns me the most:

    Question—After the first alleged incident, did Frank Viola use his ministry to continue going after, grooming, and seducing very young gals?

    According to a retired lawyer who has worked extensively in helping victims of clergy sex abuse—The FV who wrote PC—allegedly has a pattern of repeatedly going after teen girls and young women.

    “One of Frank Viola’s multiple teenage victims turned to a Christian counselor to help her deal with the deep emotional harm she suffered because Frank Viola sexually abused her.”

    “When it became obvious to her that Frank Viola represented a continuing unrepentant danger to others, she offered to issue a written statement – and public warning – about how Frank Viola preyed upon and sexually abused her and other teenagers she knew.”

    “Frank Viola’s smear machine kicked into high gear to then silence her by playing on her emotional vulnerabilities through threats and intimidation…..”

    “That teenager victim, by the way, was not the one involved in the Brandon church’s warnings about Mr. Viola abusing a teenager in that congregation—but is a different victim. Thus, her account of Frank Viola’s abuse stood independent of the Brandon church’s earlier witness statements and warnings about Frank Viola’s history of abuse – although all of those independent accounts, involving abuse of different teenagers, are strikingly similar….”

    “The multiple additional witnesses and victims who have shared their stories with us, and confirmed that Frank Viola has sexually abused multiple teenagers know who the real Frank Viola is.”

    “Such a man is not fit to be a leader in the Body of Christ or to continue promoting himself as a “church planter” and “apostolic” worker who continues to seek invitations to visit yet more churches where there are yet more vulnerable, potential victims…..”

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  9. Remember this part:
    “Frank ended up leaving his teaching position shortly after that event became public knowledge in 2002 – and actually demanded alimony from his ex-wife because he said he was no longer employable in that community as talk of his “adultery” spread.”

    According to public records—there’s only one Frank Viola in Florida with a teaching credential. It was originally obtained in 1985. The credential has been expired for over ten years. It was last renewed in 2002.

    The full legal name on the teaching credential is Frank Anthony Viola.

    It gets even weirder because on FV’s blog—he admits that his middle name is Anthony—at the same time he’s emphasizing that he’s not the same Anthony Frank Viola who became a convicted sex offender in 1992.

    Question #1—Why did Frank Viola allow his teaching credential to expire? Is there a reason that he hasn’t wanted to pursue work as a middle/high school teacher in the last ten years?

    Question #2—After originally obtaining his teaching credential, since then how many times has Frank Viola been fingerprinted?

    Now it’s unclear as to whether FV was actually fired or maybe just suddenly left his teaching job when people found out about the motel allegations. Either way the fact that he allowed his credential to expire—makes you wonder if maybe FV hasn’t wanted to go back to teaching since about the timeframe that his own church was trying to confront him.

    Question #3—Does Frank Viola have a pattern of running from accountability when confronted with serious allegations?

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  10. For Reference Purposes—Timeline of Frank Viola Allegations:

    1999—Eyewitness #1 (as referenced earlier) moves to Brandon, Florida to join Viola’s house church. There’s about 50 people in the church.

    1-1-2000: Viola self-publishes the book Forbidden Affection—allegedly dedicating it both to his wife and the teen girl he’s interested in.

    5-20-2000: The police allegedly find Viola alone in a motel room with that teen girl. No arrest is made. No charges are filed since she’s over eighteen.

    2000—Viola’s wife is notified by police. Gene Edwards allegedly pressures her to stay silent.

    3-27-2002—Viola’s wife files for divorce.

    2002: In the divorce, Frank Viola allegedly demands that his wife must pay him alimony since he can’t work after people found out about the motel incident.

    2002: That suggests that Viola had already left his high school teaching job by that point.

    6-19-2002—J. Blatt publishes Amazon review alleging manipulation and control in the house church movement. He is believed to be the same “John Blatt” who was involved in Viola’s “organic” group.

    7-25-2002—Viola’s own Brandon, Florida church allegedly tries to confront him. Viola won’t listen so Brandon church circulates their letter—warning others of the cover up.

    11-21-2002—“Final disposition” of Viola’s divorce.

    12-5-2002—Gene Edwards allegedly circulates letter blaming Viola’s wife for the divorce and claiming “Frank didn’t commit adultery.”

    Dec 2002—Viola self-publishes Pagan Christianity.

    The back cover claims, “Frank Viola is a high school Psychology and Philosophy teacher.”

    The book’s intro admits that Viola is living in “Brandon, Florida” in “Dec 2002.”

    2002—Viola’s own Brandon, Florida church allegedly publishes a website warning people about how Viola is allegedly using his ministry to go after young gals.

    2004—Eyewitness #1 (as referenced earlier) comes forward alleging spiritual abuse by Viola in his “organic church” and how FV allegedly shut down that church when people started asking questions.

    6-11-2005—John Blatt publishes timeline of how he joined Viola’s organic church and followed FV’s teachings. Then Blatt’s eyes were opened to see “the strange character and ways of Frank Viola and rejected the teachings of his latest books.”

    2009—Eyewitness #3 (as referenced earlier) joins Viola’s organic church.

    2013—Eyewitness #2 comes forward to allege spiritual abuse in Viola’s organic church.

    2013—For experiencing divorce—Eyewitness #3 is kicked out of the “organic church” by the “founders” of the organic church movement. He comes forward to allege spiritual abuse.

    2013—More allegations surface that Viola has been involved with multiple teen girls and very young women.

    2013—Another teen girl comes forward, trying to warn others that Viola has a pattern of using his ministry to go after very young women.

    2013—Viola allegedly continues trying to hide all of this—lest anyone find out what really happened.

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  11. References:

    Note: Doing this research—I read a lot more than just these links. I took the time to really study public records and read both sides of the story. After doing all that research—my opinion is that these links are telling the truth:

    Links:

    1) Sexual Predation by Christian Author and “Apostle” Frank Viola:
    https://nathansvoice.org/2013/04/22/frank-viola/

    2) Google Books info on book Forbidden Affection:
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Forbidden_Affection.html?id=FznAkgEACAAJ&hl=en&output=html_text

    3) Here’s the letter from FV’s own church trying to hold him accountable and the letter where Gene Edwards blames the wife for the divorce:
    http://housechurch.org/hc-talk/2004-February/000599.html

    4) Lies, Sex Abuse and Cover Up
    https://crossroadjunction.com/2013/05/26/a-response-to-bart-breen/

    5) Jon Zens and Frank Viola—A Public Response:
    https://crossroadjunction.com/2013/05/15/jon-zens-and-frank-viola/

    6) Link to the other FV who’s the registered sex offender:
    http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/flyer.do?personId=4137&x=7888a205-6b11-4680-93e1-a29c85f5de05

    7) Eyewitness #1 description from the lady who moved to Brandon, Florida to join Frank Viola’s church:
    http://housechurch.org/hc-talk/2004-February/000600.html

    8) Problems With Frank Viola (Referenced as Eyewitness #2):
    https://organicchurchproblems.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/problems-with-frank-viola-part-2/

    9) How I Had to Deal With Spiritual Abuse and Got Kicked out of a Cult by Derek Mooney (Eyewitness #3):
    http://derekmooney.com/blog/2013/04/15/moving-on-or-how-i-had-to-deal-with-spiritual-abuse-and-got-kicked-out-of-a-cult/

    10) A Pharisee of Pharisees by John Blatt (Eyewitness #4):
    http://testimonials.exchristian.net/2005/06/pharisee-of-pharisees.html

    11) More info from John Blatt:
    https://www.amazon.com/review/R1LCJP8MPW9H7S/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0940232758

    12) Frank Viola: It’s Time to Come Clean:
    https://crossroadjunction.com/2013/07/02/frank-viola-2/

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