Reach Out Trust
and its Poisoned Chalice
Reach Out Trust reaches out, or so it proclaims, to those that like me are, they claim, 'trapped in the cults.' If I am 'trapped,' it is because I like it here in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and because Almighty God has told me by his Holy Spirit in no uncertain terms that this is where I belong.
I attended ReachOut Trust's annual Hate Conference – that’s not what they called it, but I was there, saw their agenda, and heard their defamations and weasel words for myself - some years ago, and met Doug Harris and then rising star, Ex-Mormon Mike Thomas. Did they reach out to me? They 'specially appointed' fledgling Anti-Mormon Peter Ould to be my room mate! I must say that while I found Harris and Ould to be less than forthcoming, Mike Thomas seemed to be an honest man and I like him, despite our lengthy disagreements about what does and what does not consitute Mormonism.
Ould had already started his Anti-Mormon campaign on a website that invited input. I sent him an essay defending Mormonism's interpretation of Ezekiel Chapter 37, that he initially published.
However, when he saw the effect my denunciation had on his supporters he quickly removed my essay and closed his site to readers' comments. A remarkable move that he fails to explain. "Too hot to handle," would explain it, but, we wait in vain. Anti-Mormons do not take kindly to being proven wrong. In fact, it is like pulling elephant teeth with one's bare hands to try to get them even to acknowledge that they have read robust rebuttals of their nonsenses.
Oulds is a young man - he will be heading towards middle age now - that wears an eccentrically oversized knitted jumper made to look like chain mail emblazoned with a Crusader's Cross in which garb he visits LDS Book Stores and hangs around where Mormons are likely to gather to engage them in his nonsense. or, at least, to bear some kind of mute witness to them. He is a likeable lad, but sadly misguided. He and I corresponded for some time about Mormon matters and his misunderstanding of the Holy Bible, but he, apparently finding himself out of his depth, shut off all avenues of communication. I sa whim in this costume in the LDS Bookstore in Chirley, Lancs, close to the Preston Temple, but he pretended not to notice me and I had no wish to embrrass him by pressing my attentions on to him.
So, not only did Ould stop reaching out to me, but, in time, Mike Thomas of ReachOut Trust did too. Apparently I am too demanding and too persistent a correspondent, especially when I am defending my sacred faith against the misrepresentations of Anti-Momrons.
In the case of ReachOut, I corresponded with Doug Harris, initially and later was passed over to Mike who, as a former Latter-day Saint, was considered the best person to deal with me. I respected Mike Thomas because it was evident that he was trying hard to tell me that ROT had made some serious blunders in printing the testimony of another former Latter-day Saint, Brian Rendell, with whom I also had protracted correspondence for research purposes toward my dissertation for a degree in Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University. Brian had eventually confessed to telling lies in his testimony, presumably to be well thought of by his new friends.
Mike eventually realised that he and the Trust had been bamboozled by someone whose word they took and whose version of certain acts he did as a member of the Church, and that his published testimony was, in the main, a tissue of lies. Mike, like Doug, was not one to be kept on a simple narrow course, but, as is the modus operandi of all professional Anti-Mormons he constantly threw in new questions before previous questions had been settled,
I learned that settling, or answering, questions was not ROT's strong point. Making points and scoring Brownie points is their normal habit. Reach Out (or Reachout) Trust [ROT] is a Parachurch formerly led for many years by the Charismatic cult leader Doug Harris, the man with the flamboyant waistcoat and dazzling ties.
Harris was overheard telling an attendee at one of his Anti-Everything Conferences where no one confers but Doug and his henchmen tell everyone what's what, that he wears the highly coloured vests because "they impress people and add another layer to my charisma!" The reporter asks that we do not use her name, and we respect her wishes. She is an active evangelical Christian, but was alarmed at much of what she was told about other Christians at one of Harris' 'hate-ins that masquerade as 'conferences.''
NB: A ‘henchman’ is a supporter of a powerful person, especially one who is willing to behave in an immoral or violent way.
It is with regret that we note the death of Dough Harris. We extend our sympathy and condolences to his widow. Unfortunately, Doug's death does not mean the end of ReachOut Trust. Like a spider's web whose creator has departed, the Reachout Web continues to tangle and trap the unfortunate.
In Reach Out's case, the trapped are the gullible that continue to hang on to Doug's words as if they were Biblical, read Reach Out's sad books, buy their misleading CDs and DVDs, and swallow the Gospel According to Reach Out as if it were true. It isn't!
Of course, Harris was free to wear, say, and do as he pleased, but it would have been more in keeping with his claim to be a Christian if he and his fawning acolytes actually acted and talked like Christians. How hard can that be? Apparently, it was so hard for the man at the helm of Reach Out Trust that it was impossible.
From ReachOut's own publications, we are told that ReachOut Trust is building bridges of understanding, now changed to 'Bridges of Reason,' between, we are asked to believe, 'Christians,' and 'those trapped in the cults.'
The use of the language of bondage is ReachOutese for any person whose religion, Christian or otherwise, does not conform to the minutiae that the 'Reverend' 'Professor' Harris determined was proper Christianity. Heretics of any hue are unwelcome, even if they are welcomed as Christian brothers and sisters in more enlightened Christian denominations! No Christian greeting for you if you do not fit Harris' Procrustean bed of Harrisorthodoxy.
About Reachout's 'Bridges of Understanding.' ~ For its foundation, ReachOut Cult builds on insinuation, exaggeration, and distortion. The piles of their 'Bridges of Understanding' are decontextualisation, barely veiled prevarications, and accusations that are the stock-in-trade of all hostile ministries although they have been roundly answered and shown for what they are - mere nonsenses - decades ago. The remainder of Reachout's 'Bridges of Understanding' are slabs of hostility so patently demeaning that it is a wonder the staff can sleep at night.
With Bridges of Understanding built of such materials it is little wonder that they make no impression on the faithful that adhere to the growing catalogue of religions and denominations they so roundly and Pharisaically denounces.
If anyone has any evidence that Reachout does actually REACH OUT in a friendly and reasonable spirit to those not of their number, but for whom they have genuine love and concern, then I would like to hear about it.
I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am deeply sorry to have to say this, but all I see in ROT’s hands when they claim they are ‘reaching out’ to Latter-day Saints is a Poisoned Chalice. Beware!