“Spiritual abuse is always a power issue. In order for abuse to happen, by definition,
it has to come from a place of higher power to a place of lesser power.
People in low-power positions can’t abuse people in high power.”
—Jeff VanVonderen, coauthor of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse
and When God’s People Let You Down
Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you;
but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
– Matt 20:25-26
I’ve been putting my Moriel notes together, along with transcribing videos since May, 2021. Perhaps as a retired lady, I have a lot of time on my hands. (wink, wink)
I have been a witness to an epic story that has played out online since 2018 involving a clash between many of Jacob’s closest associates. It started out as one bad choice on JJPs part that was doomed from the start. It’s what the Bible warns against: laying on hands too hastily. Then it took off from there, dragging many people into the fray along the way.
Mr. Prasch’s’ main target of hostilities in this saga is Deborah Menelaws, a professional video/film producer, and sister in the Lord. When JJP takes potshots at “Studio Scotland,” he’s aiming at her – something he has been doing non-stop in his obsession for the past three years — and counting.
[For background go to this link at Bethel Communications] https://www.bethelcommunications.tv/jacob-the-deceiver/
From the start, Jacob renamed his once good friend, “Jezebel,” — although, like me, she had for years done everything in her power to promote Moriel and Jacob’s teaching ministry, not asking anything in return, but apparently that meant nothing to JJP where his ego is concerned.
But from my viewpoint, all his badmouthing of Deborah and her husband Stewart came to a head in May. He devoted an entire hour-long Bible study on YouTube, and on his online network, “RTN Scotland,” as he likes to refer to it, doing the worst case of eisegesis (the opposite of exegesis) and Scripture-twisting I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen plenty as a one-time cult-buster.
Throughout the study of Elijah in 1 Kings, Jacob identified with Elijah fleeing from Jezebel. Stewart became Ahab and of course, his biggest nemesis Deborah was fully translated into Jezebel. It was one thing to call them by those names, quite another to do an actual Bible study with them as Elijah ’s antagonists and himself – the righteous prophet – as the protagonist. Nuts!!
That did it for me. I texted a close confidant of Jacob’s and asked, “Is Jacob trying to kill Deborah? Tell him if she dies, I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut.” Then I thought it best not to wait that long.
However, life has a way of getting in the way – many distractions. But I was jarred out of my complacency when on August 28, 2021, Jacob took to YouTube and went full-monty on me in what he labeled “The Lord Says Avoid Them”. What was my infraction? Asking a friend a question about something fishy in Moriel, and word got back to him. All of a sudden, my simple question turned into the narrative – déjà vu – that question became a matter of fact and he accused me of spreading it all over the Internet.
He made sure I knew I was the widow he was addressing, as he redirected all his animus from Deborah to me. Here’s a little sample:
“They’re all women. They neglect what’s really important in order to officiously concern themselves with the affairs of others, at the expense of what they should be doing themselves. Watchmen who are not watchmen is what I used to call them. Scripture calls them what we translate busy buddies.(sic) … But they’re deceived into thinking they have a ministry. They’re misled. Paul says it can even be satanic. It can even reach the point of being something satanic. By all means, stand up for truth. By all means, emulate the example of Dave Hunt or Walter Martin, by all means, please do so. It’s a mistake, a serious mistake not to. But it’s the worst mistake to be a busy buddy. To be a gossip, to be a meddler, to grab a dog by the ears. That’s an even bigger mistake.”
Interesting, he just referred to himself as a dog. Here’s a Scripture that should scare all dogs –
“But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and
idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” – Revelation 22:15
Jacob looked right into the camera and sniped that I should have snagged a husband when I had a chance, before I got too old and my looks faded. Wisely, his editors took that out along with a threat after the livestream that next time I did anything he didn’t like he would name me by name. I’d had enough.
Now I’m a woman on a mission.
There are many sides to this story – I only have mine. If you put them all together, you will get a fuller picture. I can only testify to what I’ve seen and experienced. That doesn’t make me a meddler. That makes me a good friend to many victims of a minister who doesn’t minister.
An Unforgettable Trip to the Motherland
In the Fall of 2014, I had a wonderful opportunity to go to the UK. Deborah Menelaws invited me to join her on a speaking tour of England, Wales, and Scotland. In between events I would stay as a guest in her home in Scotland. I didn’t think I could raise the funds to travel abroad, but the Lord provided in a way that I knew had to be Him. And Deborah took care of my expenses there. It was an unforgettable five weeks. It was just like the Lord to bless me with this lovely five weeks after the Beth Hebron trauma and another dreaded upcoming move across the country.
But if Jacob Prasch had his way, it never would have materialized. I didn’t find out until I was doing the speaking tour that Jacob had tried to talk the Menelaws into disinviting me. He told them since Jackie wasn’t married and had no pastor, she therefore had no spiritual covering. Can you imagine accusing me of not having a pastor after what just happened to that Moriel ‘church’? What audacity! Thank God they didn’t pay attention to his nonsense. They let me know there was more to what he said, but they chose not to share that.
That just added insult to injury. I was still devastated over moving 3,000 miles to be a part of this church – children, grandchild, pets – all dragged along with me. Now I was trying to sell the house, which wasn’t easy. It was on the market for exactly what I paid for it for six months. But in January 2015, my daughter, the mother of a toddler, had gone ahead of us to attend college in Utah waiting for us to join her. None of us thought it would take that long. And Noel stayed with me wanting her mommy. It was grievous for all of us – the hardest on our sweet baby girl.
The notion that because I was between churches and widowed I was no longer qualified to talk about Jesus in a public setting is only heard of in churches that are known for shepherding. It was popular in the late 20th century among so-called Christian cults, such as the one Jacob had been discipled in as a new believer, Church of Bible Understanding (COBU). I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole, digressing into Jacob’s past, but my late husband always said that when he heard Jacob teach, he was reminded of COBU’s cult leader, Stewart Traill. Before I met Bill, he infiltrated that group in Philadelphia – in their commune called the Lamb’s House – and wrote a cover story about the group for the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sunday magazine. He almost got beat up – or worse – when his cover was blown – but again, that’s another story.
I recall one time when editing Grounded in the Word that Jacob spoke highly of Derek Prince, a man who in the 70s was part of the cabal that came up with shepherding. (I of course edited out his name before airing.) They were known as the “Florida-5” – their ideas of submission to elders – not making any decisions in life without getting the approval of your “covering” wreaked havoc among those saved in the Jesus Movement. It was much bigger in the eastern US than in the West – other than in little cult groups.
“The matter of the Discipleship/Shepherding controversy and “movement” is virtually unknown to many believers who have come to the Lord since the controversy erupted in the mid-1970s. … The “Fab Five” (aka, “The Fort Lauderdale Five”) alliance consisted of Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter… Together these individuals formed the organization that would be “the center of one of the most violent controversies (i.e., the Discipleship/Shepherding controversy) in charismatic history, …There are some who have defected from the Charismatic cults which espouse these doctrines and employ these practices… Many of these poor souls, because of the indoctrination they have received, are literally petrified at the thought of departure from the group of which they are a part and the “covering” of its leaders, for fear that they would forfeit right standing with God, incur His wrath and bring curses upon themselves, and be eternally damned.” – (Source: https://www.spiritlifemag.com/the-discipleshipshepherding-movement/ )
If anyone tells you they are your covering spiritually – that you can only be in right standing with God by being in right standing with them – again they are out of line no matter who they are. You are free in Christ to refuse to give your liberty over to them. It is for freedom, that Christ has set you free.
Jacob is fond of saying, “every Esther needs a Mordecai.” In other words, the Bible teaches the man’s headship in the home, as he loves his wife as his own flesh. But the shepherding idea makes women second class citizens in the church. No Christian woman – to JJP – has a legal right to function without a man’s ‘covering.’ It sounds like something you’d only see in Islam, but it was one of the most abusive characteristics of the Discipleship movement that its leaders ended up apologizing to the church over. Jacob didn’t get the memo.
Jacob’s friend and editor, the late Danny Isom, emailed me with his insights:
“Jacob establishes the priority of a husband’s authority in the character of Christ’s over His Bride the Church, but then uses two examples of married women who he says are “covered” by men who are NOT their husbands. Scripture not only specifies to whom Esther and Deborah were married, but even Jael who is the actual woman who received the glory in Barak’s place. It is a textual contradiction to cite the priority of a husband’s authority and then connect it to two examples where this simply does not and cannot apply.”
“I was thinking of doing a doctrinal dissertation on a study of megalomaniacs who think everything they say and do is right, and everything their opponents say and do is not just wrong, but a lie and evil. At this point I’m just bugged by the damage they’re inflicting on those they purport to “minister” to. I’m thinking that this whole thing should be captured in some kind of picture in the dictionary next to “hypocrite”. — Dan’l”
2018 – The Time of Jacob’s Troubles
In a nutshell, for those who follow JJP, I’ll sum up the Elijah vs. Ahab & Jezebel non-Bible story you’ve heard him shout about over the past three years. For the bigger picture, check the link up top to Bethel Communications, aka Studio Scotland. Then come back and read this.
Cast of characters: Elijah : played by James Jacob Prasch; Jezebel played by Deborah Menelaws; Ahab played by Stewart Menelaws; bit-part player David Nathan as himself.
- Jacob Prasch, aka Elijah , meets a South African pastor named David Nathan. One cursory look at the man’s website would reveal he was into hyper-charismania. But by Nathan’s own testimony the only thing JJP knew about him when he brought him on board as a Moriel speaker was that he was against the Pretrib rapture.
- Moriel receives complaints over D. Nathan’s strange interpretation of Scripture – making a public fool out of JJP for his lack of discernment.
- Elijah goes ballistic and rather than trying to correct his protégé, he kicks him to the curb and in self-righteous zeal, trashes the man’s reputation publicly.
- Elijah ’s mutual friend, Ahab, feels sorry for Nathan, without any full understanding of the preacher’s side of the story, but gives him a chance to respond in an interview posted on their GV-247 website.
- Elijah blames it all on Jezebel and says publicly that Ahab wears the skirts in the family; although by his actions directed against Jezebel who had nothing to do with it, JJP puts the pants onto Ahab’s wife.
- Elijah declares war on Jezebel, paints her as an apostate and a “whore for Jesus” in a series of ugly YouTube tirades. (Elijah could have been played by Alex Jones, but he was unavailable.)
- Elijah demands payment for a co-starring role he played years before in the film produced by the Menelaws called, The Daniel Project.
- Jezebel (aka: Jesse Belle which is how my online audio translator heard it) stands firm and does not allow Elijah to break the contract in which he agreed for the sake of the Gospel to work without compensation.
- Elijah goes berserk and begins what he says is a game – he would play on the Offense; Ahab and Jezebel on the Defense. He goes after them with all his might from 2018 to the present.
- Ahab and Jezebel over the years investigates Elijah ’s past and shares online various exposés from a variety of sources showing Elijah to be unqualified to be in ministry, possibly a cult leader, and an bad exegete of Scripture regardless of the language.
As part of Jacob’s view of himself goes, it’s like a punch in the gut to him if anyone has a different opinion on the internet of things he’s been involved in. What sent him wild was Deborah’s audacity to respond to questions people addressed to her on facebook. JJP’s spies would report back to him and stir him up.
If anyone involved in Moriel Ministries contradicts his teachings, he’ll do a foaming of the mouth YouTube video in retaliation. Disloyalty to Prasch is the same as coming against the Lord.
JJP’s former friend and book editor, the late Danny Isom, put it this way:
“But it occurred to me… that these things are checking off my list of typical cult behaviors. We have a megalomaniac leader who thinks he is the oracle of truth and whose followers blindly embrace anything he says, we have the abuse he inevitably heaps on his own members, and then there’s the persecution of those attempting to exit his grasp and making every effort to discredit former members who subsequently speak out against him. Too much fun — Dan’l” (Private email, April 9, 2010, permission unattainable)
People ask me what took me so long to share this? It may sound cliché, but I didn’t move until I felt directed by the Lord. But, speaking for myself, I did not want to see this slugfest continue. If I jumped in after myself and Danny Isom published our position, (see posted below) I saw that as only something that would keep this public war going. When I said at the end of my paper to “stop it” I was not about to jump right into the middle of it.
Secondly, I did not want to associate with the various David Nathan defenders and others with whom I had no desire to be ecumenical, all of whom appeared to have formed a coalition – real or imagined.
How Jacob responds to my testimony, should he do so – and I can’t imagine him not doing so – see how he does it. Will it follow his M.O. of personal insults and slander? Will he respond to what I’ve shared, or just brush it aside? The Lord is watching.
I’m not sharing this part of my memoirs now as a way to join any attack on the man. I don’t want to play Jacob’s game. I’m calling him out for his continued abuse of others and asking his loyalists to see the pattern and hold him accountable. The maverick is harming the cause of Christ at a time when Christianity is at its lowest point in popularity in the culture. In fact Christendom has surrendered to the culture. And loud mouths like James J Prasch are only helping the antichrist wipe us all out.
One other thing I can and do testify to is that I know Deborah and Stewart Menelaws. And they are dedicated to Jesus in their service to Him. They bear lasting good fruit in their life’s work. They host the saints in their lovely home overlooking the bay where they gather the local saints together every week. Their hospitality is tireless. They are what we in the Bible Belt calls “the salt of the Earth.”
Which leads me to my warning to Jacob:
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing,
but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
– Matthew 5:13
To my fellow handmaiden: Keep going with your work in ministry. Gear up for the closing chapter of this world. We need ministries like yours.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”
– Galatians 6:9
My Moriel Memories — Part IV
My Moriel Memories — Part V