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quiversR4hunting

Shermanites: Church at Carson City, MI

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quiversR4hunting

A cult has been exposed by a Michigan NBC & Fox station. The cult is a known "secret" by the locals. Rumors of the church have been in that area for a really long time. Also that area has a lot of Mennonites, Catholics and a lot of the ancestry goes back to Germany or Ireland. 

The church is officially called: Church at Carson City. (Carson City, MI- about 45 miles Northwest of Lansing/Dewitt) The locals call them Shermanites based on the founder Lee Sherman (deceased). He founded it more than 40 years ago. Some of their rules: No tv, no pictures, women can't cut their hair, women wear skirts/dresses, and women "Our women need to be shame-faced and humble." quote from Cheryl Ackley former member and in the article below. Some of the rules seem Amish and/ or old order Mennonite but there isn't any affiliation. And of course the church now has their own school (founded about 20 years ago). Church and school website: http://churchatcarsoncity.org/ And of course it wouldn't be a cult without shunning those that leave! 

TRIGGER WARNINGS! Anything under a spoiler might be a trigger. 

NBC station article:  https://www.woodtv.com/news/target-8/ex-members-carson-city-cult-hid-sex-crimes/1611715946         It appears the original founder either took advice from the Pearls or the Pearls took advice from the Shermanites. 

Spoiler
Quote

Former Shermanites say church leaders encouraged parents to beat their kids, even showing them how through videos.

"We were taught to spank our kids with like a plumb line," Ackley said.

She and others described it as a hard plastic rod from a toilet.

"That's the way we were taught, you know," Ackley said. "We thought we were training them to be good little Shermanites, you know."

"It wasn't spankings," said Cummings. "It was beatings. I mean, I would have welts on the back of my legs, up to my back and it was accepted. They do take it literally in the scripture, ‘spare the rod, spoil the child,’ and beating is just a part of life there."

 

Fox article: https://fox17online.com/2018/11/21/more-sexual-abuse-claims-surface-against-montcalm-co-church-following-vandalism/

Spoiler
Quote

Moser says allegations of sexual abuse run rampant in the church, starting with the church’s founder: Lee Sherman.

"My first memory of him was my mother telling me, 'Be careful when you hug Lee Sherman, he has a problem with young girls',” said Moser.

 

MaybeNow! post: http://www.maybenow.com/Shermanites-q4788329 

There is a facebook page that says it is about the cult but it isn't. A local, closed facebook page (and I think the article comments on the news f/b pages but I can't find them right now) -says many of the members own businesses around the area including the local quilt shop that many women run and now do a lot of long arm quilting, etc. 

I can't find much else on them but hopefully past members will start speaking up and they can help put a stop to the cult. One review on maybenow! said there are genetic defects with the kids so they are trying to recruit others. 

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quiversR4hunting

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quiversR4hunting

Found WoodTV f/b link to their article and it has a video of the reporter confronting a couple elders. the comments are interesting: 

I really hope the ex-members take this cult to court. 

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Briefly

Wow, this sounds like a really bad group.  Especially the question of the Pearls and who influenced who.

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quiversR4hunting
12 hours ago, Briefly said:

Wow, this sounds like a really bad group.  Especially the question of the Pearls and who influenced who.

That question is just mine because I have no idea when the Pearls or the Shermanites started advocating the plumbing line. I don't know who is the chicken and who is the egg.

I said in my original post that I knew the group owned the quilt shop in Carson city. A person on facebook (public post but I masked her name and profile picture) listed all the businesses known to be owned by members of the church. Give some idea of the populations of the towns she mentions (info from 2017 Wikipedia) - Carson City, MI is small- 1112 (largest employer is a state prison), Fowler 1218, Ionia 11,118 (largest employer is a state prison), Edmore 1196, St. Louis (MI), 7298 & Stanton 1400. I didn't do the population of Crystal because it is a town but not counted as one so the population on Wikipedia is the township which includes 3 zip codes (Sheridan, Carson City & Crystal).

I really hope this group is not doing prison outreach but I am afraid they are considering one of the interviewees (Fox17?) said he was a former convict. I found this public post on the area share page (which they aren't discussing it but told people to go the authorities, which I think is great advice) but one of the people involved said they are discussing it on other sites. I haven't found them yet (I also haven't looked hard).

Here is the list of church owned companies:

shermenites.jpg.d667094d2623d5ed32cedfc6ba845cc9.jpg

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AnnaSofia

Thank you for posting this @quiversR4hunting

I caught one of the stories when it was on Wood TV8 (I'm a bit south of GR) and the child beating aspect immediately made me think of the Pearls.

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pmichelsen

The leaders were interviewed last night with Rebecca from Fox 17. If interested, she will be airing that segment tonight at 6 pm. My sisters and I are ex-members and are the ones who have spoken out against this place. If you have questions you are free to reach out to us - [email protected] / [email protected]

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quiversR4hunting
2 hours ago, pmichelsen said:

The leaders were interviewed last night with Rebecca from Fox 17. If interested, she will be airing that segment tonight at 6 pm. My sisters and I are ex-members and are the ones who have spoken out against this place. If you have questions you are free to reach out to us - [email protected] / [email protected]

Thanks for stopping by! I will be watching for that interview tonight. I have family in that greater area so I have heard of the group for many, many years.

I hope you and your sisters are doing well outside the cult.

I have 2 questions - Do you think the church is growing? FJ talks about a lot of different cults and some are not growing like they once did but they have so many members that it will still take a generation or 2 or 4 before it fizzles out. I am hoping with the small area it is not growing and hopefully is starting it's downfall (especially now with you and other ex-members speaking out). Do you think any criminal charges will make the true believers start to question their church beliefs?

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pmichelsen
12 minutes ago, quiversR4hunting said:

Thanks for stopping by! I will be watching for that interview tonight. I have family in that greater area so I have heard of the group for many, many years.

I hope you and your sisters are doing well outside the cult.

I have 2 questions - Do you think the church is growing? FJ talks about a lot of different cults and some are not growing like they once did but they have so many members that it will still take a generation or 2 or 4 before it fizzles out. I am hoping with the small area it is not growing and hopefully is starting it's downfall (especially now with you and other ex-members speaking out). Do you think any criminal charges will make the true believers start to question their church beliefs?

The cult isn't growing as in new people joining, It has mostly grown from within itself. Once in a while a family will join. They have about 250 members. I fully believe if the members did see some legal action taken toward the leaders, it might open their eyes to see just how dangerous it is there. Those leaders are responsible for reporting the known sexual abuse but they don't. Only two times did they reported the abuse but only when they were threatened by an outsider. There are a lot of good people there but it is the leaders that have ruined so many lives by the mental, spiritual and sexual abuse.  

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quiversR4hunting

Here is the interview that @pmichelsen mentioned above. Fox17 said they will be releasing more of the interview later this weekend/week. 

https://fox17online.com/2018/11/30/carson-city-church-leader-admits-knowledge-of-abuse-by-former-pastor-denies-other-allegations/

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quiversR4hunting

This quote from the interview. 🤯

Quote

"Of course, I was furious. It ruined my life, kind of, for a moment." 

Ruined his life?!?! WTF, it isn't about you. You aren't the victim and then going on to say the accusations are killing your wife, again not about you and your wife! In the 1 minute interview Rebecca posted, it is clear this "leader" wants to be judge and jury for the people accused. He seems to have no intention to report anything to the police. 

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pmichelsen
2 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

This quote from the interview. 🤯

Ruined his life?!?! WTF, it isn't about you. You aren't the victim and then going on to say the accusations are killing your wife, again not about you and your wife! In the 1 minute interview Rebecca posted, it is clear this "leader" wants to be judge and jury for the people accused. He seems to have no intention to report anything to the police. 

He also complimented Lee Sherman "he really knew his bible" as if that is a good thing. What he failed to share was the girl who was molested left the cult until Lee Sherman died because Bill wouldn't kick him out. She later rejoined. 
Bill Hubler Sr.  won't report anything to the police because he is trying to protect his daughter from going to jail. She is one of the more recent predators there. He knows about it but won't do anything and will run anyone over if they try to. If the whole interview gets exposed some people will face trial. He also knows of an incident that happened with a 5 year old about 7 years ago. Her half-brother confirmed the story. 

Also ex-members cannot speak to their parents unless the church lawyer is there. My sisters and I called our mom and she told us that then hung up. Only cults function like this. Is this a Jim Jones situation starting? 

Edited by pmichelsen
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pmichelsen

This letter was given to the Dentist at Dockham Dental by his ex wife. Also the pastor Bill Hubler has knowledge of this letter. I’ve removed kids names from it but I feel it’s important to get out there. 

127F5EB0-F217-4589-96BE-79BC78787F33.jpeg

4E2050A3-0BAC-4D63-B819-DDB91326079D.jpeg

DA1BF344-D651-4D2F-8F9F-B0AC48AEDD34.jpeg

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Palimpsest

@pmichelsen, thanks for updating us on the information.  There are some really serious allegations going on here, and my first question is - where is law enforcement in all of this? 

It is not just  Hubler  and other church officials failing to report and hushing things up - it looks like a total failure of the system.  

I understand that the sheriff closed one case citing insufficient evidence, but are they involved at the moment, have they been at all involved with more recent allegations, has CPS been contacted and investigated?  If not, why not?  They need to be seriously pressured and embarrassed too.  If the local sheriff is in Hubler's pocket complaints need to be taken further up.  Talking to the press is a start, but I'd be sitting on the DA's doorstep too.

 What we are talking about are very serious crimes against children and women and the SoL is ticking.  

6 hours ago, pmichelsen said:

Also ex-members cannot speak to their parents unless the church lawyer is there. My sisters and I called our mom and she told us that then hung up. Only cults function like this. Is this a Jim Jones situation starting? 

Yep.  This sounds like a cult.  And then some.  I am a cult watcher and not a cult expert in any way but it raises the hairs on the back of my neck.  In some ways this cult is unusual because it seems to have survived the founder (the molester Jefferson) but the Hublers have taken it over.  Also the pattern of taking over the town and (possibly) getting control of law enforcement is very much cult behavior.

Is it a Jim Jones situation - I really don't know.  But it is bad enough.  What the church is teaching about outside persecution and how members should react to it is very important in assessing that.  

I'm not sure how much research you have done into cults and cult behavior but I would be giving myself a crash course in it right now if I had family members involved in this "church."

Interacting with cult members has to be done very carefully so as not to alienate them completely.  Rick Allen Ross of the Cult Education Institute has great information here:  https://www.culteducation.com/help.html

Good luck.  This is such a sad situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Palimpsest

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pmichelsen

@Palimpsest I would like to know where the law enforcement is also. They are fully aware of these allegations. The one investigation was closed but I'm not sure how there wasn't enough information. I believe that if the child was questioned alone that she would share what happened to her. But the closed case seems fishy. 

My partner was with me for a lot of these news interviews and after he heard of all the child abuse stories he contacted Michigan CPS. We received a letter last week notifying us of that report and that "there is not enough evidence at this time for an investigation". Either Michigan doesn't give a damn about child molesting or there's something else happening here. 

We need someone with real connections to help us put a stop to this. Had there been a stop to Lee Sherman 40 years ago then we wouldn't be talking about all these other sexual abuse situations. And sex abuse isn't the only thing, the mental abuse is horrific there but there aren't any laws against that. 

 

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Palimpsest
3 minutes ago, pmichelsen said:

My partner was with me for a lot of these news interviews and after he heard of all the child abuse stories he contacted Michigan CPS. We received a letter last week notifying us of that report and that "there is not enough evidence at this time for an investigation". Either Michigan doesn't give a damn about child molesting or there's something else happening here. 

WTF!  Off to check on Michigan's CPS laws.  They are supposed to contact and investigate every report in my neck of the woods.   Is it perhaps because these are old allegations and there are no current suspicions involving minors?  Also know that you don't have to be a mandated reporter to report abuse - any community member can report.  Also if you get any new information - report again!

Re. cults infiltrating and influencing law enforcement - the charges against NXIVM were eventually filed from the NY City jurisdiction, because the Albany one was completely corrupted.  Allegedly, of course.  NYC charged them through RICO and sex trafficking through the ports of entry.

Sadly, the child sexual abuse is probably the best way of getting any action.  Unfortunately consenting adults are allowed to join cults and get brainwashed and spiritually and mentally abused.

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quiversR4hunting
3 hours ago, Palimpsest said:

Also the pattern of taking over the town and (possibly) getting control of law enforcement is very much cult behavior.

I think you are saying typical cult behavior is to try and take over a town and/or law enforcement but not saying that this has happened in Carson City so far. In case someone reads this to say that the cult is taking over the town &/or law enforcement I would like to try and slow speculation before it gets too far.

Yes, the members have many businesses in that county and the neighboring county. But as mentioned by the former member (above) there are about 250 members in the church. I assume that includes kids. That isn't a lot of adults to take over the town and/or law enforcement.  Per http://www.carsoncitymi.com/Businesses.aspx there are 100 companies in Carson City, Michigan (I did a quick manual count). According to the list up thread the church people only own 4 companies in Carson City. Also there are 1100 people in Carson City. Now their businesses are around the county in other similar sized towns to a large town near by. Also this cult doesn't allow higher education for women and per one of the interviews wanted a male member to quit being a nurse so I assume they aren't keen on higher education for men either. 

Also their is no indication that the Sheriff, Undersheriff are being used by the church. Also the county prosecutor is a female so the likelihood that she is part of the church is low considering they don't like women educated. In this news article you can see the elected officials of the county getting sworn in: https://thedailynews.cc/articles/montcalm-county-officials-sworn-into-office/ the women all have shorter hair and it appears all the women are wearing pants. So the women elected officials are most likely not with the church. 

As for the town of Carson City, the administrator is a female, she is a local born and raised. https://thedailynews.cc/articles/jean-southward-selected-as-next-carson-city-administrator/ The police chief is not originally from the area but he went to a Adventist school for HS. https://thedailynews.cc/articles/lansing-detective-sergeant-is-new-carson-city-police-chief/ and he lived all over the state. 

On to CPS - CPS can only investigate current minor abuse issues (as @Palimpsest already said). So if the victims are now adults, CPS can't do anything. If the victims are children and CPS goes out to investigate, they can't investigate if the victim doesn't cooperate and there isn't any visible abuse. For example, my husband and I had custody of a teenager many years ago. CPS was called many times but they couldn't substantiate the claims. (abuse examples under spoiler)

Spoiler

The mom and oldest sibling (the abusers) didn't leave marks on the kids, or at least tell tale abuse marks. The mom and oldest sibling were master manipulators and withheld food, made the kids eat on the grass (sans plates), cold showers, locked the fridge, and all sorts of other types of mental abuse to keep the younger siblings in line.

So if the minors have told adults in the church and then told the outside world is evil and that the church will take care of it or they turn a blind eye, the minors won't trust a stranger. And we have to remember, like the FLDS, these kids are church schooled. If they were born into the church then they don't have many (if any) outside friends or family. Once they start working for a business that would be their opportunity to meet people outside the church. But if they work for a church company, then they will be watched closely at work with their interactions. 

My point to my rambling, this isn't like Short Creek or Bountiful, BC. It is more like the Branch Davidians to Waco, Texas or House of David to Benton Harbor, MI. 

Edited by quiversR4hunting
edit to clarify Palimpsest already said something- and abuse examples under spoiler

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Palimpsest
13 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

I think you are saying typical cult behavior is to try and take over a town and/or law enforcement but not saying that this has happened in Carson City so far. In case someone reads this to say that the cult is taking over the town &/or law enforcement I would like to try and slow speculation before it gets too far.

Thanks for the additional info and clarification.  I wrote that badly.  What I should have said was that it is a common tactic for cults to try to dominate a town and infiltrate law enforcement.  A few examples being:

  • Co$ buying up property and dominating Clearwater.  And embedding themselves in and influencing LE in LA.  Allegedly. 
  • NIXVM embedding themselves in posh suburbs of Albany NY and finding ways to blackmail LE.  Allegedly.  The trial is set for March 2019 and I think we all need to hold onto out hats. 
  • A small but growing cult (IMO) quite local to me.  Feeneyites (Tridentine Rite Catholics out of communion with the Vatican) who infiltrated a small NH town, bought up acres of property, dominate the town management and police dept., and are making life really miserable for residents who are not members of their church. 

From what you say, this isn't the case here.  OTOH, with the serious allegations in the dentist's wife's letter I'm surprised LE wasn't actively involved back in 2013.  Surely dentist's wife had a lawyer in the custody case who could have shaken things up.  

13 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

On to CPS - CPS can only investigate current minor abuse issues (as @Palimpsest already said). So if the victims are now adults, CPS can't do anything. If the victims are children and CPS goes out to investigate, they can't investigate if the victim doesn't cooperate and there isn't any visible abuse.

This.  They can try their hardest to gain the cooperation of the victim but in the absence of  physical evidence it is hard to substantiate abuse.  Also CPS is crisis intervention for current abuse and won't get involved in allegations that are 6 years old - unless there is a minor at risk today.  

If CPS uncovers criminal abuse (including sexual abuse) during an investigation they can provided services to ameliorate the abuse, but they turn cases over to law enforcement to prosecute.  Any number of cases never go to trial due to insufficient evidence. 

All this doesn't mean that former members with knowledge of abuse can't go to LE with evidence.  This "church" needs to understand that people are watching them and freedom of religion does not mean  they are above the law when it comes to child abuse.

13 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

My point to my rambling, this isn't like Short Creek or Bountiful, BC. It is more like the Branch Davidians to Waco, Texas or House of David to Benton Harbor, MI. 

And I think information about what they teach is pertinent.  Do they talk about suicide pacts, are they armed, what with, and so on.

Edited by Palimpsest

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quiversR4hunting
25 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

And I think information about what they teach is pertinent.  Do they talk about suicide pacts, are they armed, what with, and so on.

Good point and that I have zero information on their gun stance (if they have one), I just know the area, nothing about the inner workings of this church. I guess a good thing is that they don't live in a compound like the Davidians or the FLDS.

For the LEO and the PA, if they have evidence but not enough, I bet that is frustrating for them too. I hope members and former members continue to come forward and maybe enough evidence will pile up to prosecute the pastors for not reporting abuse. I think the news article said that clergy were mandatory reports in Michigan as of 2010 (?). It isn't a lot to go on but it would be something.

A new video was released on Fox17 last night: https://fox17online.com/2018/12/03/church-of-carson-city-pastor-and-assistant-deny-knowledge-of-alleged-sexual-abuse/ A younger pastor was also interviewed. I don't care for the reporters questioning style but she is on local news, they don't get these types of stories often.

25 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

NIXVM embedding themselves in posh suburbs of Albany NY and finding ways to blackmail LE.  Allegedly.  The trial is set for March 2019 and I think we all need to hold onto out hats. 

I need to watch for this one - I assume a thread will start as soon as info is released from the trial.

25 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

A small but growing cult (IMO) quite local to me.  Feeneyites (Tridentine Rite Catholics out of communion with the Vatican) who infiltrated a small NH town, bought up acres of property, dominate the town management and police dept., and are making life really miserable for residents who are not members of their church. 

Need to go look this one up! Cult rabbit holes is how I found FJ :)

Edited by quiversR4hunting
fixed link - I think

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pmichelsen

As of 2002 Clergy's were added to the list of mandated reporters. That is why Rebecca asked Bill Hubler Sr if he will be reporting all these incidences now that she has made him aware. To date they have not. But what about Dave Dockham, the dentist for the church and an elder there. Legally as a dentist he should have reported these incidences all along and that is what his ex-wife states in the letter to the court that I posted earlier. 

A lot of Rebeccas questions were from us ex-members. 

Interestingly though, they will not talk to Ken Kolker from Wood TV. They will only talk with Rebecca from Fox. 

Edited by pmichelsen

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Tired
Palimpsest
10 minutes ago, quiversR4hunting said:

A new video was released on Fox17 last night: https://fox17online.com/videos/ A younger pastor was also interviewed. I don't care for the reporters questioning style but she is on local news, they don't get these types of stories often.

That took me to a story about handcuffs.  This link may work better:  https://fox17online.com/videos/

ETA.  No it didn't.  Just scroll down the page for the interview with the younger pastor.

Edited by Palimpsest

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quiversR4hunting
2 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

That took me to a story about handcuffs.  This link may work better:  https://fox17online.com/videos/

so did yours. Their website is jacked!

Let's try this link: https://fox17online.com/2018/12/03/church-of-carson-city-pastor-and-assistant-deny-knowledge-of-alleged-sexual-abuse/

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