“There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus, and by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done.” – Mark Driscoll, 2012
Pastor Mark Driscoll and his staff have engaged in a widespread campaign of literal surveillance and slander against former church members by engaging in a series of one-upping paranoid bullying tactics, according to a recent article by The Roys Report.” She quotes Chad Freese, the former Head of Security for the Trinity Church, who says these types of behavior were all too common within Disscoll’s new kingdom, and with one family, he has the receipts to prove it.
These recent allegations are nothing new for Driscoll, who had his Mars Hill Ministry implode in 2014 after his elders accused him of being arrogant, crude, bullying, harsh, and overbearing. Rather than stay and be disciplined, Mark took his ball and went home, starting a new church in Arizona that notably, as discovered by Warren Throckmorton, does not have elders that can reign him in and keep him in check. His lack of elders is not for lack of prospects, but rather is being done to avoid accountability and accumulate maximum control.
Freese shared that the entire church is set up with video and audio monitoring so that there is not an inch that is not being recorded. Further control methods include clauses that state that if anyone wants to volunteer in any capacity, they must sign a non-disclosure agreement promising to not share anything about the church.
Driscoll’s mouth hasn’t gotten any cleaner either, allegedly dropping the f-bomb and telling staffers that they lack “balls” or are acting like a bunch of “p*ssies” when they disagree with him or do not enact his edicts fast enough, according to Freese.
He recounts that with the Driscolls being treated like royalty, Driscoll set up a grading system known as the “Spectrum of Trust” where he ranks staff members and volunteers on a 1-10 scale based on their perceived loyalty to him. The higher your number, the more access you had to him. If you were caught talking to or being friendly to people Driscoll had deemed off limits your number was lowered, having “broken trust” and you would have to make it up to him.
Former security team member Ben Eneas recounts that he quit the church after he experienced a “downgrade” on the spectrum, resulting in him being continually being accused of being “disloyal.” His crime? Caught associating with a former worship pastor at Trinity who did not leave on good terms. Furthermore, the church maintains a BOLO list, whereby all the undesirables that are banned from church property are displayed.
That’s the context for what’s been happening recently at Trinity and why former member Angelo Manueles say Driscoll is acting like a cult leader after what they did to him and his family.
The Manueles started attending church in the summer of 2020 and their sons became involved with the worship team. Before long, their 15-year-old son Vincent and Driscoll’s 17-year-old daughter started spending more time together and developed feelings for each other. Mark found out about this and set up a meeting with father and son in his office, where he told the boy that the relationship must stay in the friendship stage and that they had better not kiss. Angelo told Mark if he had further issues with his son, to come to him first.
After the meeting, Driscoll’s assistant sent Angelo a text saying, “I know that wasn’t easy but neither is trying to marry one of PMDs kids. Remember that from here on you have a microscope on you, not just from PMD but from everyone, and I mean everyone. Be a man and land the plane.”
But the teens grew closer together and did kiss. Driscoll found out about it and began raging. Freese says Driscoll was “pissed.”
Shortly thereafter, Pastor Brad Anderson, one of the loyal sycophants who followed Driscoll after the Mars Hill carnage, allegedly took the boy upstairs to his office, locked the door, and began angrily interrogating him about all that he did with the daughter and how much they kissed, shouting at him and asking whether or not they had “made out.” According to David Bonner:
For the next five minutes he yelled and screamed at (Vincent.) Vincent was scared and lived in fear. Brandon screamed at him, “Did you do anything un-Biblical with (Driscoll’s Daughter)?” Vincent out of fear muttered no. Brandon then came back and said, “Well either Pastor Mark Driscoll is a liar or you are!” And the 38-year-old pastor screamed again at the 15-year-old. “Did you kiss (Mark Driscoll’s Daughter?)” Vincent said “yes”, and Brandon told him to get his stuff and he was done
Anderson ordered him to leave the church and to “get out,” ultimately telling both Vincent and Angelo that they were not welcome to attend the men’s meeting that night, that Mark was distraught and could not preach if he had to look at them. One member of security who had been given the order was confused about why it happened, sending Angelo this text:
The next morning Vincent sent a message to the daughter by email, which was intercepted by Mark. He responded from his 17-year-old daughter’s email account, telling him:
Following this, the shunning began, with members emailing and texting the Manueles that they can no longer be friends or be associated with them. People stopped talking to them and they were blacklisted without a hint of biblical church discipline.
One of the pastors texted Angelo’s friend and told him “I can’t tell you who to be friends with but if you want to stay in leadership you need to curtail communication [with Angelo].” Another sent this to his wife:
Angelo would go on to post comments on Facebook complaining about the treatment they received from Mark and Trinity Church on account of their son kissing his daughter, and this resulted in the Police calling them and letting them know that they were reported by the Church for sending threatening communications and would be investigated. The Manueles were added to the BOLO list.
Following this, Pastor Anderson texted Chad Freese about hiring a private investigator to do surveillance of the Manueles, noting in messages that they should not hire one that is unlicensed to avoid liability. They ultimately hired Celtic Cross security and the surveillance began, with people tracking their every move, surveying him 24/7.
A week later, Driscoll pulled the entire staff into a training meeting where he ranked everyone on the “Spectrum of Trust” from 1 to 10. Freese explained that while his security team attained a “level 9,” he and his wife were only personally at a “level 8” on account of them appearing in a picture on social media with a fired pastor, something that was very disloyal.
This was the final straw for Freese, who resigned the next week. In a statement made to the Roys Report, he lamented:
Their slandering of them is out of control. I’m telling you, across the entire church, everyone’s perception of the Manuele family now is that they’re a bunch of crazy conspiracy lunatics that went off the deep end because Pastor Mark asked them to take a break for the night. But that’s not what happened.
Thankfully, several people have reached out to the Manueles to share their own stories of being victimized and shunned by the church, and Angelo says he plans not only fighting the charge of “threatening communication,” but filed a charge of his own: “false imprisonment” against the church because of Brandon Anderson locking his son in the office and interrogating him nearly two months ago.
Editor’s Note: h/t to David Bonner at Wondering Eagle, Warren Throckmorton, Julie at The Roys Report, as well as a source who will remain nameless There are many more pictures, reports and primary documentation at those sites, and everyone should read it for a fuller picture.
Editor’s Note 2. We were contacted on Twitter by Roys who accused us of plagiarizing her article due to our lack of citation of her post early on, but rather at and near the end. This post has been updated to give her the first citation, as she requested
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