After Wife Died, Pastor says Bible Instructed him to Marry a 20-Year-Old Virgin

November 21, 2008 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

star-scott-wife.jpgStar R. Scott isn’t the only minister who uses the Bible to accumulate wealth and power, but he’s one of the more brazen I’ve heard about in many years. “Church isn’t for everyone who wants to just show up,” Scott told Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein, who details the pastor’s spiritual and financial authority over 400-member Calvary Temple in her Nov. 16 story.

“It’s not a community club. We’re not looking to build moral, successful children. We’re looking to build Christians.”

Scott’s “Christians” have let him build quite a club. Among other findings, Boorstein’s investigative reporting showed:

  • That in 1996, Scott — Calvary’s “apostle” and presiding elder — named himself the sole trustee, putting him in charge of virtually all of the church’s operations, its theology and finances.
  • That in 2002, three weeks after the death of his wife, “Scott stood before the congregation and announced that the Bible instructed him as a high priest to take a virgin bride from the faithful.” A week later, he married a 20-year-old church member.
  • That Calvary members are required to donate 10 percent of their family’s income to the church and 15 or 20 percent of their earnings for special projects, including one five years ago to expand and remodel the sanctuary. Many of the projects never materialized, ex-members said.
  • That Scott lives off church-paid credit cards. According to 2005 card statements he provided to The Post, addressed to Calvary Temple and sent to Scott’s house, he spent $10,000 to $13,000 a month. Charges include $2,377 to a company that makes wheels for Harley Davidson motorcycles, $1,450 to a sports memorabilia firm and $544 to a winter sports rental center in Lake Tahoe.
  • That Scott said he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of church funds on Ferraris, dragsters, souped-up motorcycles and trucks — part of what the church’s¬†Web site¬†describes as an “an automotive outreach.” Until last year, Scott devoted many weekends touring the circuit for his “racing ministry.”
  • That Scott and his assistants urged some church members to divorce spouses and shun children who resisted the pastor’s teachings. Scott describes those who decide to leave the church as “depraved,” and Calvary’s practice is to cut them off.

“What started out as a Christian organization has turned into a cult where people are controlled,” Jonathan Ernst, a former Calvary pastor, told Boorstein.

Cult is a strong word, especially in a time when megachurches rake in millions, prosperity preachers equate material wealth with divine blessing, and many clergy determine who gets to share communion or join the church.

That Scott is using Biblical prophets for personal profit doesn’t surprise me. That 400 people are still following him does surprise me. Reading the story, I kept thinking about something Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves.” (Matthew 7:15-16)

“By their fruit you will recognize them.”

Surely, Scott has collected enough fruit by now to be recognized.


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