Hope Christian Church ASU has regularly, and in a variety of different ways, violated Arizona State University's code of conduct with their practices. These violations are cataloged below.
NOTE: It is important to note that none of the behaviors epitomized by Hope Christian Church ASU here are considered “normal” for Christian ministries or faith-based groups to engage in. Any ideas such as “that is just how Church-groups operate” would be egregiously in error.
Dozens of experience reports were collected from former members which demonstrate these violations by Hope Christian Church ASU
"...They pressed him into admitting that his past showed that he had issues with 'rebellion' and with 'submitting to authority'. It was thereby agreed upon that the number one focus during his time at Hope would be getting him to submit to Hope Church’s authority more."
"The pastor was stressing that she was broken and the only way she would ever be fixed was if she continued going to Hope"
From the ASU Code of Conduct policy 5-308, the following are described as “prohibited behaviors”:
1: “Unauthorized presence in or unauthorized use of university property, resources, or facilities.”
Summary: Hope Christian Church ASU regularly violates this policy in a number of ways. These include campus ministers “tailgating” near dormitory complexes to gain entrance without using Student ID cards, entering the dormitories and knocking on students’ doors, or entering students’ rooms to rouse them for Church events, sometimes without authorization, using prior authorization from students to rouse them for Church events to engage in the same behavior with their roommates or suitemates (without authorization), and soliciting students within residential complexes. The page on "Front Groups and Campus Concerns" also details the deceptive use of “front groups” (campus clubs) by Hope Christian Church ASU to secure the use of University property, which could also easily be logged as a violation of this code of conduct policy.
-Several of the contributors to the report have either witnessed or engaged in this behavior in the past, including incidents where a Hope minister entered students rooms while they are asleep and roused them (without consent) for Church events.
-One contributor both had a Hope minister enter his own room to physically rouse him for Church (without consent) and did the same thing to another student himself.
-This behavior of soliciting in the dorms, the door-knocking, entrance into rooms, etc, has previously been brought up as a concern by residential staff at ASU. Some of our contributors also recall altercations ensuing between students and Hope members about these events.
- One contributor noted that every Sunday, Hope members and faculty would let themselves into the dorm complex to have breakfast in one of our lobbies, to create a meeting space for students to come before church service. Although Hope staff was well aware that they needed student escorts at all times, this was very often not the case. Often times, Hope staff members will use this time as an opportunity to go knocking on resident’s doors whom they know to invite them to church.
-One contributor recalled many instances where Hope ministers would loiter in dorm lobbies, or just outside the building, waiting for specific students to show up so they could stop them and engage in conversation about church things
-One contributor, while they lived on campus, would be contacted multiple times weekly and was asked to let Hope staff into the residence hall. After they told them that they were not home, they would then tell them that they would just wait for someone to walk in/out and slip through the entrance that way.
-One contributor recalls there would be weekly (usually more than one) bible study meetings in the courtyard dining area (of her dorm) at night, a place where you need a key card to get in, and the Hope leaders did not have a key card. There were multiple times where nobody (except the contributor) had a key card and everyone in the group would have to sneak in. They asked multiple times for her to let them in and even when pressured she always refused because the thought of doing so was uncomfortable and against the rules.
-One contributor recalls engaging in willingly allowing Hope leadership to access the dorms of manzanita hall. They would often guilt the contributor into such actions and several times used their faith as a weapon to do such, saying they "weren't helping to save the other girls and guys in my dorm if they did not allow access for leadership."
- The same contributor also acted upon physically rousing not only their suitemate but another student they had never met. One of the Hope ministers had led the contributor to believe that the student had wanted to be awoken. Through the exchanges had between the contributor and their suitemate, the contributor began to unintentionally allow the harassment of their other suitemate by the same Hope minister. Eventually, she refused to assist Hope leaders in this any further, and was chastized for it.
-One contributor, both as a freshman and (later) as a Resident Hall employee, had some cases where they were needed to access some students’ hallways so that ministers could knock on doors or enter rooms. They made it clear that they felt uncomfortable with this, and it still proceeded to occur because the students said they were open to go to church. After a few of these instances, the contributor made it clear they would not do this anymore, because they felt it was intrusive.
-One contributor, on countless occasions, went with a Hope minister to enter rooms and/or solicit students, regardless if they personally knew the person inside the room or not. They remember once being instructed by ministers to knock on every female's door on their floor to invite them (with a campus minister), to the Sun Devils Wear Prada fashion show (with the eventual purpose of bringing them into the Church, of course). They were told that by getting girls to go to this event, they helping spread God’s love to them by showing them how beautiful they were. They were given a quota of how many girls they were to invite and how many girls they required to have show up at the event, which was around 15-20.
-Another contributor had a similar experience with the same Sun Devils Wear Prada fashion show. Hope staff requested that they let them into the dorms and then accompanied them while they knocked on the doors of every single female in McClintock Hall, inviting them to the fashion event to gain their friendship, with the end goal of bringing them into the Church.
-Yet another contributor had a similar experience with that same sun devils wear prada show in 2014, in which they were what was called a “feature model”. They were told that they needed to bring people from their campus (Downtown Phoenix campus) to the show, and though they didn’t have an official quota, they were scolded when Hope ministers found out that they hadn’t been convincing more than just their close friends to come. For this event two female campus ministers printed up flyers and brought them to the contributors dorm (Taylor Place tower 1 as well as 2) and walked around unaccompanied, slipping papers under doors and talking with residents within the dormitory (without an escort or requisite ID card).
-One contributor was asked to go with a Hope leader and another member to knock on doors to invite people to church. They ended up knocking on the doors of people in their building including my floor. This created an interesting situation for the contributor on their floor freshman year because the other residents knew they were involved with Hope, and thus why a random person from Hope was knocking on their door at 10:00 a.m., which created a very uncomfortable situation for the contributor as a resident in their dorm.
-One contributor recalls multiple times when ministers would be on the DTPHX campus and they would come and knock on the contributor's door, and if it was unlocked they would attempt to enter. This was against the contributor's and their roommate's consent, neither of them ever told Hope leaders that they were aloud to take these actions.
-The same contributor also participated in this behavior; they would knock on doors of everyone on the floor to try to wake them with enough time to catch the inter-campus shuttle (This took place in Taylor Place tower 1 in DTPHX). They would often knock twice, the first time about 10 minutes before they had to leave and the second right when they were leaving to catch the shuttle. Both times they would knock and call to residents to get up and come to church.
-A contributor recalls seeing Hope ministers conduct unapproved soliciting within (fenced) residential complexes many times.
-One contributor worked in Center Complex, and says Hope are fully aware that they are not allowed to conduct surveys within Center's gates, but still sometimes do, and other times hang around right outside the gates to get around the rule. It fuels a lot of negative energy and makes residents uncomfortable to walk in and out, because they know they are going to be stopped. It makes people especially uncomfortable if they have had run ins with Hope individuals before and had a negative experience. The contributor's biggest problem with this is that it violates the environment the dorms are supposed to provide for students.
-Another contributor observed and participated in this behavior. Although they did not notice that it had a very negative effect on the students who lived there. They later heard from some that it bothered them very much.
-Another contributor witnessed unapproved solicitation within fenced complexes many times. They also did solicit students within the courtyards of the Hassayampa dormitories, just yards from where students enter or exit the buildings.
2: "Engaging in, supporting, promoting, or sponsoring hazing or violating the Board or university rules governing hazing"
Summary: Hope Christian church ASU violates this policy with all of their official members, as students are hazed by way of official “membership appointments”, where they are required, in order to gain official membership with the church, to provide intimate accounts of their past and present personal lives to campus ministers, as well as being subject to psychological “beat-downs” as campus ministers, and pastors (often whom the student has never officially met) seek to expose their personal character flaws, seemingly in order to drive them toward greater submission to the Church’s authority. These membership appointments are sometimes held on campus, and official membership with Hope Christian Church ASU is crucial for students’ gaining greater access to their affiliated campus clubs/”front groups”. (See the page on "Front Groups and Campus Concerns" for more info)
-All former members who contributed to the report affirm that, in order to become an official member of Hope Christian Church, one must have one official, and sometimes multiple non-official meetings with members of Hope’s pastoral team (“Membership appointments”). During these meetings, the to-be member is required to share a detailed account of their past, including all wrongdoings and/or traumatic events expressing a sentiment like “I’m not comfortable sharing that” is not really permitted during these meetings because they are so important (being that they pertain to achieving official membership status). During these meetings, Hope ministers also attempt to diagnose what “spiritual strongholds” (read: character flaws) are affecting the student’s life. If a student is hesitant to agree on these points, persistence is employed until they finally agree. In other words, in order to receive official membership in Hope, and thus have access to a more engaged role in their affiliated campus clubs/front groups (See Part I, Section B, item 1), students must engage in potentially emotionally harmful sessions, which include self-deprecation and implicating themselves for past wrongdoings (even perhaps criminal activity). Not attending these “membership appointments” or not complying properly with their procedures result in a student’s inability to obtain Hope membership, and severely limits their access both to Hope and its affiliated campus clubs/front groups.
-One contributor, during their membership appointment, was pressed very hard into revealing detailed accounts of their past including previous illegal activities which they were not particularly comfortable with speaking about. Furthermore, they pressed him into admitting that his past showed that he had issues with “rebellion” and with “submitting to authority”. It was thereby agreed upon that the number one focus during their time at Hope would be getting the contributor to submit to Hope Church’s authority more. Interestingly, the contributor has spoken with a handful (at least three which they can clearly recall) of other men who became Hope members, and all recount almost exactly the same experience. There is almost no diversity (at least amongst men) of which “issues” Hope wishes to target and “root out” in its members. It always revolves around “pride” and “rebellion” which require more “submission to Church authority” to cure.
-One contributor had substantial difficulties with these membership meetings. The first of two were thrown upon them right after a class and there were two Ministers leading it, one of which they had never met previously. They asked me to reveal very private and personal information that they did not want to reveal. They were hesitant to share especially with the unknown minister, were pressured, being told that "This is what Christians do, they share with their family in Christ."
-One contributor's official membership meeting was around 10:00 PM outside of COOR hall with one of the campus ministers and the executive pastor. It was a weird meeting due to the location and time. They remember feeling really anxious about sharing intimate details of my life with the executive pastor (who they had not met before), because this meeting determined if they were going to be allowed to be a member of Hope or not.
-As previously mentioned, it is not uncommon for these meetings to be held on campus. It is likely about a 50/50 split between on and off-campus facilitation of Hope’s membership meetings. Following the logical flow of the last handful of stories, this means that Hope quite often engages in the hazing of students while on University grounds.
-Before one contributors membership appointments, but especially during, she was highly encouraged to share private information about her personal life. During her membership meeting (with one of the male pastors whom they had never met before) they began to ask the contributor about her family and her relationship with her father and brothers. The majority of the meeting was the pastor telling the contributor that she was damaged and insecure because of the relationship, or lack-thereof, with her father and she needed to find comfort and fill in that hole with the Lord, but specifically through Hope. The pastor was stressing that she was broken and the only way she would ever be fixed was if she continued going to Hope. That was a reoccurring theme of almost every single conversation the contributor had with a Hope staff member after that day.
3. “Stalking or engaging in repeated or significant behavior toward another individual, whether in person, in writing, or through electronic means, after having been asked to stop, or doing so to such a degree that a reasonable person, subject to such contact, would regard the contact as unwanted.”
Summary: Hope Christian Church ASU regularly violates this policy by way of both face-to-face and electronic communication. Hope ministers will attempt to “set up” in wait for students in order to talk to them about Church-related topics, will make persistent unwanted face-to-face advances, sometimes including following and tailing students as they navigate campus, even running after them, and communicate excessively with students via phone call or text message about Church events, sometimes even after students have expressed a lack of interest, or indicated that such communication is unwanted.
-One contributor recalls two separate instances where they witnessed Hope staff members running after students (who they'd never met) so they could continue trying to talk to them about coming to church or joining a Bible study (while the students were trying to get away).
-Another contributor remembers seeing similar behavior from Hope ministers, in which students were pursued across a crosswalk (to the other side of the street) while on their way to class.
-One contributor recalls walking to their campus job from their dorm-- a campus minister was hanging around outside their dorm (They did not know why) and asked me to stop and talk in order to convince them to attend a bible study that night. The contributor told them that they didn’t have time to stop because they were going to be late for work and they didn’t want to talk and they weren't able to go to the bible study because of a prior engagement. The campus minister followed the contributor on their ten minute walk to work, the entire time trying to convince me that they needed to start coming to bible studies or they would no longer be accepted as a “Christ-like follower of Jesus”. This kind of berating continued until the contributor reached work.
-One contributor recalls receiving about half a dozen unanswered calls/voicemails, and perhaps 10 text messages after not coming to the “Outreach Team Meeting” before service one morning, ranging from “Are you okay?”, and “Where are you? What’s going on?”, to “Just calling because I care about you-- why didn’t you come to Outreach?”
-One contributor recalls, on multiple occasions, if church attendance numbers were especially lacking, staff members would pull out contact data collected under the guise of other quasi Hope organizations (Outlaw Comedy, Man Up, Sun Devil Survivor, etc.) and essentially cold call them about church. The contributor was encouraged to participate in this. It was the most uncomfortable thing they ever got used to. They did get used to it though, and learned to view angry responses as necessary suffering for the sake of God's will.
-Another contributor remembers doing the same thing. If church attendance is down, it’s common to resurrect old or forgotten lists of names and contacts collected by the front-groups and call through them hoping to raise church attendance for the coming week.
-One contributor, several times, even after expressing their discontent with calling people who did not want to be called, was forced to under the guise that if they worked hard enough they would be able to attain a higher position in the Church as what they called a catalyst. The contributor had called several disinterested people and if they did not pick up, they would have to leave a voicemail and call them a second time later on. If they did not pick up on the second call, they would leave yet again another voicemail and call them a third time later on. This was the cycle, and if on the third time they did not answer the contributor would be told to leave another voicemail and then text them.
-One contributor experienced this personally at the beginning of their freshman year (2014). They had given their number to a Hope staff member (working under the guise of a club) and for about a month, received overwhelming amounts of calls and texts.
-The same contributor also knows of other people who experienced the same thing to a larger extent. Some of the phone calls adding up to about three or four in an hour followed by five to six text messages.
-Another contributor, every time they would miss church, they would get multiple texts from multiple members after service was over, this was in addition to the wake up texts as well as the texts asking if they had made the inter-campus shuttle in time to make church. If the contributor did not attend Church, they were chastized for it.
-Multiple contributors remember having several experiences where they were "followed-up" about events, after previously indicated they were not interested.
4. “Commission of any offense prohibited by state or federal law or local ordinance”
Summary: The organization of “discipleship houses” at Hope Christian Church ASU, which house a great number of students, violate this policy by flying in the face of an ordinance issued by the City of Tempe, which is easily located and expressed in plain terminology on the City’s website. It is possible, though unproven, that deceptive measures are taken by Hope leadership to cover up these violations.
The Tempe ordinance reads as follows:
One of the most common concerns is how many people can live together in a home. In Tempe's single family districts, the maximum number of unrelated people that can live together is three (3), regardless of the size of the home or number of bedrooms in the home”
A single family district is a residential zone which contains a single household per parcel. In other words, individual houses as opposed to apartments or large multi-family dwellings.
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