Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Ploughshare Institute In Deary, Idaho

Homestead Heritage In The American Redoubt

Homestead Heritage has a growing community based in Deary, Idaho, known as the Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture. They applied for a conditional use permit, that was first denied and then granted, to operate a school on the property. Their stated objective is "to open a center in Idaho that will teach crafts and sustainable living techniques." (Source

Since this time, a growing number of Homestead members have relocated to the surrounding areas. Members run the Pie Safe Bakery and Kitchen,  Brush Creek Creamery and Quality Contractors in Deary. One business sells crafts at Capital City Public Market in Boise. Another member runs an accounting firm in Boise. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

When Homestead Leaders Play Psychiatrist

The Story of Kelly Blake

[As you read this story, please say a prayer, if you are so inclined, for Johnny Fausto. He would be around 32 years old now. These tragic events must have left an indelible impact on his life. I've never even heard his name mentioned by Homestead Heritage, much less a prayer request.]

Kelly Blake was a member of Homestead Heritage's satellite church in Phoenix, Arizona. The Ambassador Church was under the tutelage of Homestead Heritage. Many Homestead elders and ministers visited frequently, and young people from the Phoenix church married members in Waco.  A few years after Kelly Blake experienced a tragic mental breakdown, the Ambassador Church minister and his family relocated to the Waco area. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Talismans In Textbooks

Homestead Heritage not only writes their own homeschool curriculum, they've also selected books and other materials that they deem somewhat appropriate for their members' use. These books and materials are then sold by Homestead, with caveats, to the members with school aged children. Edit sheets are provided with books for parents to alter pictures or text that Homestead finds objectionable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Controlling The Worship

Woe be unto the person who doesn't worship in the prescribed way in a Homestead Heritage Sunday meeting. Situations like this are the reason Sunday meetings are not open to visitors. On the rare occasion that a visitor was present, things like this didn't happen. At least not publicly. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

WFAA Investigates Homestead Heritage

WFAA has recently purged some material from their website. The original links to the stories on Homestead Heritage here and here now give a 404 error. Fortunately, I have the videos available on YouTube. I'll consolidate the videos and the text articles taken from another website here.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

On Intellectual Property Rights

Homestead's Intellectual Property Assignment

In 2007, Homestead Heritage distributed an Intellectual Property Assignment to its members. This ensures "the transfer of an owner’s property rights in copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, or other intangible creations." (Source) These assets would now become the sole property of Homestead Heritage. This applies to all members of the community, and not just those employed in some way by the community. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An Association

Jared Wayman and Hansen's Cafe

Kimbolton, New Zealand

Homestead Heritage has a small community in Kimbolton, New Zealand headed by a man named Jared Wayman. Jared submits to the leadership of Asahel Adams who is the son of Homestead Heritage founder, Blair Adams. Jared was heard saying he "accepts everything that comes down from Homestead Heritage without question." 

The group consists of about five families who moved to Kimbolton after they weren't very well received in the South. They have been "working together to takeover and upgrade Hansen's Cafe & Store." (Source)

Be aware that the same doctrines and practices at Homestead Heritage in Waco, TX will be practiced by this group in Kimbolton, New Zealand. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Milieu Control

Controlling the Communication

Milieu control is one of the eight criteria for thought reform outlined by Robert J. Lifton. Milieu control "includes other techniques to restrict members' contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information." (Source)  Cindy Kunsman states that "if any info is allowed to permeate the group, it has to come from a pre-approved source." (Source)
One of the ways that Homestead Heritage exerts milieu control is by restricting members' access to the internet. In 2010 they developed a pattern for "Cell Phones and Mobile Internet Use." 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Child Training

"Spank Until You Draw Blood"

WFAA did a good job bringing attention to the physical abuse of children in Homestead Heritage. The group actually had child training classes instructing parents on how to discipline their children. Following are some notes taken during these training classes:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Who Is Being Worshiped?

Most people will never attend a Sunday meeting at Homestead Heritage unless you join. The few times that visitors have attended Sunday meetings, messages were passed to the entire church to refrain from exuberant worship. The meetings with visitors were more scripted to impress the visitor.

The following audio clip is an example of a testimony given during a Sunday meeting sans visitors. It should become apparent why the church was told to behave differently when an "outsider" was among them. I'll transcribe below the section of the clip that I have concerns about. Who is being worshiped here?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Satanic Visitations

Frightening Others With Your Sleep Paralysis

I wonder how most church attenders would respond if, one Sunday, their pastor began to describe to them a purportedly demonic experience he'd had. What if he told them that he awoke in the middle of the night one night not able to move. Not only can he not move, but he's levitating above the bed. He is unable to speak. Over him stands an old woman. The pastor assures the congregation that the devil would like to prevent him from accomplishing some super special work that God has for him to complete.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

On Medical Care

"Medical Questions"

What Homestead wrote about hospital birth also applies to their position on medical care in general. 
The title of this post is actually the heading of a paper containing a list of questions and statements that Homestead Heritage handed out to members. The very wording of them is self explanatory, so I'll let them speak for themselves. Yes, Homestead can point to evidence of some members receiving medical treatment, but it is largely discouraged and treated with suspicion. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Home Birth At Homestead

"Conviction" Or Fear-Mongering?

Most of the women at Homestead Heritage have their babies at home with the assistance of church ladies who function as unlicensed midwives. Since these "midwives" are not licensed by the Texas Midwifery Board, they cannot charge for their service and cannot take any responsibility for a woman's pregnancy or birth. If something should go wrong-- and things have gone very wrong in some situations-- a couple can only transport to the hospital claiming that they were trying to have a baby by themselves without assistance. So much for honesty. When this information was told to a founding member of the North Texas Midwives Association, the Association of Texas Midwives, and the Midwives Alliance of North America she strongly disagreed with the approach as a midwifery standard of care. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Who's The "True Victim?"

Hint: It's Not The Sexually Abused Children

It's pretty appalling to have children sexually abused within a community. It's a mockery to have that community then consider themselves to be the "true victim." But that's exactly what Homestead Heritage said in a comment on The Wartburg Watch when the blog covered the story of multiple instances of sexual abuse of children, one of which went unreported for a year. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On Edudaction

"Wisdom's Children"

In Questions Visitors Ask, one the questions answered is, "Do you send your kids to college? Could they go if they wanted to?"
--(B.A.) If they chose to go to college, they could do so. Any of them could theoretically become any type of professional they chose. They would be more than qualified academically to do so, but by the time our children are this age we don't send them anywhere. Moreover, the whole notion, to us, is a little like saying, "What if an Ecuadorian banana seed wanted to become an Alaskan cabbage--would you let it??" Yes, we would let it. But, it's not in our power--it's not a given--to bring forth people who would fit the mold of such professions anymore than it's a natural given for a Brooklyn skyscraper architect to become an East Texas horse farmer. It may happen, but it's the exception, not the rule. This is true of people generally. We, like all others, have chosen a certain way of life that produces a certain type of fruit.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Connection

New Covenant Community Church

Schuylerville, NY

(This connection in no way implies that New Covenant Church is under the direction of Homestead Heritage, but that there has been an influence.)

In 2007, The Saratogian of Saratoga Springs, New York, ran an article about the New Covenant Community Church in Schuylerville, New York entitled "Breaking Their Ties," by Jim Kinney.
Shannon Ketchum was on Broad Street in Schuylerville a few weeks ago when she spotted a family from her former church, the New Covenant Community, walking toward her on the sidewalk.
The oncoming mother, clad in the distinctive long sleeves and long skirt required of women by New Covenant, whispered something in her children's ears. The whole family then crossed the village's main street to avoid Ketchum.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cult Apologists

"Experts" Who Are "Far More . . . Balanced?"

In their defense against Alex Hannaford's article "Heritage of Abuse" in the Texas Observer, Homestead took exception to the experts he consulted. They recommended a list of "experts Hannaford could have consulted" who are supposedly "far more respected and balanced than Hannaford's cherry-picked choice." (Ed. I can't help but contrast Homestead's disparagement of Hannaford with the Amish--whose tradition Homestead chooses to identify with-- who forgave a man who murdered their children.)

When I looked up the "far more . . .balanced" names on this list I was more than a little mystified that Homestead would suggest these people be consulted. I think it would have been rather humorous if Hannaford had let these people weigh in on the situation and then point out the associations of most of these "experts" whose views "are held in far greater regard in academic circles." As you'll see, they are held in "far greater regard" by a number of dubious groups.

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Vetting Church Contracts

Before You Sign On The Dotted Line . . .

I wonder how many members of Homestead Heritage who have signed the 136 page Confession for Baptism and Communion twice a year to be considered for communion have taken a closer look at the sources. I was surprised recently to learn where some of the material comes from. In the section titled "Playing Christianity" And The "Power Of The Gate" we find this:
The Holy Spirit has further convicted me (as a director for religious and civil liberties of the National Council of Churches, Dean Kelley, once warned) that many in today's world "do not find it congenial to contemplate strictness, let alone live under it . . . .The indispensability of strictness seems to some an ungracious and abrasive prescription, if not incomprehensible. Yet it is simply the necessary corollary and projection of seriousness in what one is doing."23 Neither do I confuse strictness with harshness, mislabeling as "harsh" every stand based on conviction, while mislabeling as "love" and "tolerance" every willingness to compromise all conviction and principle. (p. 89)