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Evangelical Trolls, Stalkers, and Zealots

christian troll

I’ve been blogging for fifteen years. I was still a Christian — barely — when I started my first blog in 2007. Over the years, I would start, stop, start, stop, start, stop writing — deleting my site, domain, and email address, and starting over. I did this because I was unable to handle Evangelical trolls, stalkers, and zealots. Their incessant attacks on me personally greatly wounded me. Why are Christians so cruel? My goal then as it is now was to tell my story, yet doing this evidently induces vicious rage from some bought-by-the-blood, filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost Fundamentalist Christians. Why the outrage?

In early 2014, my therapist at the time decided he would try to help me overcome the trauma caused by these people. He knew that writing was essential to my well-being. He also appreciated my work, especially my critiques of Evangelical Christianity. He recognized I had a unique story. Most preachers who leave Evangelicalism do so when they are younger. Here I was, a man who spent fifty years in Evangelicalism and pastored Evangelical churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan for twenty-five years. Such people typically don’t abandon their faith. Sunk costs keep them from acting on what they know to be true. So, as those in the Clergy Project can attest, they “fake it until they make it.” I was never very good at subterfuge, so faking it was not an option for me. So when I concluded that the central claims of Christianity weren’t true, I was unwilling to “pretend” that they were. And let me be clear, I don’t judge people who choose a different path. There are too many variables in the deconversion process for me to judge others.

By December 2014, I was ready to resurrect my writing career. Believing I finally had the tools necessary for me to successfully handle Evangelical trolls, stalkers, and zealots, I started blogging again. This December, it will be eight years since I started telling my story again and critiquing Christianity. Over the years, I’ve made several additions to this site: Black Collar Crime Series, Songs of Sacrilege, and Sounds of Fundamentalism. These broadened the scope of my exposure of the ugly underbelly of Evangelical Christianity (and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement).

Kluver lives in California, not Dubai. I reported his profile, but Facebook rarely does anything. His claims are absurd, his passive-aggressive way of causing me problems.

I continue to have a problem with trolls, stalkers, and zealots. Daniel Kluver, blocked and banned from contacting me, now contacts friends of mine and family members. A few days ago, he contacted an ex-daughter-in-law of mine. Revival Fires continues to create sock accounts and harass me. Just today, using the name Charles Kelly, he sent me a YouTube video about the judgment of God. And then there’s Fake Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen. Thiessen fled the United States years ago, escaping a warrant for his arrest. Thiessen left behind a trail of heartache, abandonment, fraud, and violence. His past reveals a sordid life, all while he was an Evangelical Christian. He reinvented himself, first in South Korea, and now in the Philippines. Remarried, Thiessen passes himself off as a Bible teacher and an author. Go to his blog, TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory of God, and you will find dozens and dozens and dozens of posts about me personally and to a lesser degree, my friend across the pond, Ben Berwick. Thiessen routinely lies about us, distorting our beliefs. His methodology is always the same: the Bible is right, we are wrong; Evangelicalism is right, atheism is wrong; he’s an authority on Christianity, we are not. He makes no attempt to engage those he disagrees with. Instead, at least in my case, he attacks my character, along with assaulting the good names of my wife and children.

These three piss ants are just the latest in a long line of Evangelicals who believe it is their mission to attack, discredit, and marginalize me. Whether they do so because they think God is commanding them to do so or out of a perverse sense of glee they get from harassing people, I do not know. I tend to think that Christian Fundamentalism rots the mind. Kluver, Revival Fires, and Thiessen are all men in their late 50s and 60s. Their minds have been floating in the pickling juice of Evangelicalism most of their lives. I see no possible way of trying to help these men. I have quoted to them Bible verses that clearly show their behavior is counter to the teachings of Christ and could be a sign that they are not Christian. This approach has zero effect on them. In their minds, atheists don’t know anything about the Bible. Evidently, the moment I deconverted, all my knowledge about the Bible and Christianity magically disappeared. Of course, this is fanciful thinking on their part. The Bible is clear: their abhorrent behavior reveals that none of them is a Christian. Is it any wonder that all three of them believe in what Deitrich Bonhoeffer called cheap grace; that salvation is little more than mentally assenting to a list of theological propositions and praying the sinner’s prayer? They believe that no sin can separate them from the love of Christ. How else do we explain Thiessen’s defense and support of rapists, child molesters, and other criminals?

As Carolyn my editor can attest, I receive a lot of emails from Evangelical trolls, stalkers, and zealots. I receive fewer now than I received years ago, but enough email to lead me to conclude that I am dealing with more than a few bad apples. Check out the Evangelical Email and Comments Tag to get a better look at how many Evangelicals behave when interacting with me.

Competent secular counseling has helped me learn how to deal with trolls, stalkers, and zealots. I’ve developed ways to limit the harm they cause, not only to me, but to the readers of this blog.

First, I have a warning for Evangelicals on my Contact Page. The fact that their email and name could be shared with thousands of people stops some Evangelicals from being the asses they could be. Of course, some people don’t care that I will make their email/name public. They want, need, and crave the attention.

Second, I turn some of their emails and comments into blog posts, giving them what regular readers call the “Bruce Gerencser Treatment.” Typically, when I do this, I never hear a peep from them again. I have had IFB pastors and two Evangelical counselors email me or leave comments using fake names and, sometimes, bogus email addresses. Their words were designed to cause me physiological harm. Instead of letting them have their way with me, I tracked down who they were and linked their names and or businesses to their hateful email/comments. This got their attention quickly. When people search for their names, what do people find? A link to this site is often, thanks to the size of this site, ahead of their church, business, or blog listing. I must admit that I smile when I see this — a bit of poetic justice. On occasion, these so-called men of God will beg me to delete my post. I always decline, reminding them that they should have considered what might happen as a result of their attacks. IFB preachers, in particular, tend to be authoritarians. Bullying people into silence is part of their MO. In me, however, they ran into someone who pushes back when bullied.

derrick thomas thiessen
This site is number one and number two when people search for Derrick Thomas Thiessen

Third, I have compartmentalized the work I do for this blog. I treat writing as my job. It’s what I do X number of hours every day. The rest of my time is spent with family, watching TV, reading, listening to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio, going out on the town with my beautiful wife, going to doctor’s appointments, attending my grandchildren’s ballgames and concerts, working in the yard or around the house, and watching the raccoons, possums, squirrels, birds, and feral cats from the living room window. Outside of approving comments, I don’t bother with my blog after I’m done writing for the day. I typically write from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, four to five days a week. By the time I have sent my last post to my second wife (inside joke 🙂 ), I am exhausted, ready to fade into the late-night hours.

Fourth, I have had to learn to not give a shit. People such as Kluver, Revival Fires, Thiessen, and others are mere gnats flying around my head on a warm summer day; annoying to be sure, but nothing a quick swat of the hand can’t fix. Simply said, such people do not matter. They thrive on causing harm to other people. I just so happen to be their latest target. In time, these bloodsuckers, unable to inflict further harm on me, will move on to other targets.

Fifth, I have tools that help me limit their access to me. I ban and block them from accessing this site, and on social media, I do the same. Unfortunately, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if they are hell-bent on harassing and attacking me, they will do so. Revival Fires just reinvents himself every few weeks. Kluver turns to other people associated with me, knowing that this will upset me. In the case of Thiessen, he uses his blog to harm me. There’s nothing I can do about this unless he violates WordPress’ terms of service. People in this day and hour are free to be assholes. I’ve been tempted to start a new blog titled “The Life and Times of David Tee,” but doing so would distract from my work here. And if I did this for every Derrick Thiessen I come in contact with, I’d own lots and lots of websites.

Currently, three people are blocked from accessing this site:

ip blocks

The first person is Revival Fires. The second person is John, and the third person is Elliot. These men can’t take the hints that they are not welcome — ever. Of course, this approach only works as long as they have static IP addresses. That’s why with Revival Fires I have to block a range of IP addresses.

There are times when the psychological assaults get to me. I used to just quit blogging, but I have learned that it is okay to take a few days or weeks off to get away from the Revival Fires/Kluvers/Thiessens of the world. Such people will always frequent this site, so all I can do is develop coping mechanisms to deal with them. Eight years in, I think I finally have this blogging thing figured out.

The bigger question is why? Why do trolls, stalkers, and zealots behave this way? What do they hope to accomplish? Are they mentally ill? Has Evangelicalism certainty and dogma turned them into vicious, hateful people? Are they sociopaths or psychopaths who secretly love trying to harm other people? If preaching the gospel and evangelizing sinners is the goal, how in God’s name does their behavior advance this cause? Such people cause untold harm to Christianity. Do they not fear standing before their God and giving account for how they treated atheist Bruce Gerencser and the readers of this blog? Or do they think that God will just slap them on the hand and then say, “enter into the joy of the Lord”?

I don’t expect Evangelicals to be perfect. None of is perfect. However, at the very minimum, I expect them to be decent, thoughtful human beings. Surely, with the Holy Ghost living inside of them, they should be able to evidence the fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is [present tense] love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

Hopefully, this explains how I deal with trolls, stalkers, and zealots. Such people will always be with me, so I must continue developing ways to deal with them. Your help with this endeavor is always appreciated.

Saved by Reason,

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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23 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    I agree with Darcy, and must add that I admire your determination and courage in dealing with and confronting these ugly trolls. And also your (figurative) strong stomach, in that you actually read those vile postings on evangelical/fundamentalist websites in your quest for refuting them. Bravo, Bruce! Bravo! 👏 Standing ovation!

    • Avatar
      Matilda

      Yup, Bruce, KG has said it in a nutshell. I too admire how you can take down a troll, expose their absurd, rude and unpleasant threats and comments. You’re always spot on in exposing the fallacies of their arguments. No wonder most creep away defeated. How pathetic that IFB pastors demand you delete those posts cos they’ve got a hotline message from on high and are god’s-right-hand-man, never to be challenged.

  2. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Trolls beware. Bruce Almighty can and will make you famous. He recognizes your smell and names it for the interwebs. All of you bully boys using the Jesus Swerves and Saves techniques beware! Almighty is coming for you.

  3. Avatar
    amy b

    Think of how miserable those people must be, to spend so much time and energy attacking a blogger they don’t even know. Happy, productive people don’t behave like that. What pathetic lives they must lead. I love your blog and it’s evident that many others do as well.

    And hey, at least you didn’t have to flee the country to avoid arrest. Bruce 1, David Tee 0!

  4. Avatar
    Tessa Goodpaster

    At Three Rivers Baptist Church, located in Ft. Wayne, IN, we were taught in soul winning classes (gag) that the midwives that lied to Pharoah about the births of the Hebrews showed Christians its ok to lie to save God’s people.
    We lied all the time to get the number counts up on our soul winning charts (vomit). We were told that if we got them to pray a prayer and they really, really meant it, then any lies we told were not sinful.

    I think lying is a main tenet of the IFB and can’t be separated from any part of the churches. Jack Hyles lied about everything in his life. His daughters have been willing to share such painful memories of him to help others damaged by the church.

    I’m really sorry that asshats like that exist and that you’re a target for their vitriol. Your blog was a huge part of my deconverstion 5 years ago. I don’t know if I’ve ever thanked you for your writing but I need to. Thank you for helping so many of us trying to heal the devastation Christians have dealt.
    And let Polly know that she was hugely influential in that I found courage to leave after reading her story. We were the same person; meek, gentle, trying so hard to be who we thought we should be but realizing that wasn’t real.
    I hope you are able to continue writing.
    Tessa Goodpaster

  5. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Bruce (and other readers who swam in the Evangelical pool that I merely dipped my toes into), is there something about Evangelicalism that keeps its victims in a toddler mindset? I’m not throwing shade here, I honestly don’t understand. The few years that I attended Evangelical churches, most of my fellow members were ordinary people who tried to do their best by others. We all failed at some point, because we all have feet of clay, that’s part of being human, and that business of a Holy Spirit indwelling is a myth. But that was back in the early 1980s. Is it the ease of pestering someone at 2 AM, after your family is in bed, that motivates jerks to send messages that they know are unwelcome?

    The narcissist Thiessens of the world are who they are, insecure people who have to tear others down because they aren’t able to build themselves up. But what the heck motivates Joe or Jane True Christian to send a pestering, unwelcome email?

  6. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, you have courage and integrity: the two qualities your trolls entirely.

    I have run into too many people, in person and online, who seem to confuse being stupid and nasty with being hip and tough. There seems to be an equivalent to that in the Fundangelical world: folks who confuse their narrow-mindedness and viciousness with commitment to their faith and determination to “spreading the truth” or “winning souls.”

  7. Avatar
    W.W. Jacobs

    In a recent e-mail exchange with Derrick (I have no information that this is not his legal name, so will continue to use it) I informed him that I had been asked to obtain medical-history information from him for benefit of his child. (To clarify this point, I have no direct connection to his child; oversimplifying a bit, they are friends of friends of friends.) In exchange, I told him I would cease and desist further public comment about him.

    To his credit, he did respond to that request.

    He also demanded that I publicly apologize for comments I have made that are “rife with errors” but informed me that he would no longer speak to me privately and would block my e-mail.

    To reiterate, I am posting publicly at his insistence, so I am not reneging on the terms of my offer to him that I would, in effect, “shut up and go away.” I’m here right now because he asked me to be.

    In either event, he did not, and still has not, clarified exactly what among my public comments is “rife with errors.” Our private conversations did identify one or two disputed pieces of information relating to the aforementioned medical history. As Derrick does have a right to privacy on that point, and those items were never made available for public consumption, I will not elaborate further.

    While I expect Derrick is monitoring this comment section for the retraction/apology he expects from me, I cannot apologize, publicly or otherwise, for providing incorrect information if I do not know what was incorrect, particularly since I have supporting evidence for everything I’ve said publicly, and therefore have no reason to believe it is incorrect.

    Derrick, since you insist that I must address this publicly and you have blocked my e-mail address, there is no way to present this other than in a public forum, and I must therefore also insist that you respond in a public forum.

    If you will specifically identify what information I have posted publicly about your marital history, work history, criminal history, etc., that is incorrect, and you provide the correct information for everyone’s benefit, I will retract the erroneous comments.

    • Avatar
      Dr. David Tee

      I knew you would find an excuse to not keep your word and that you are not an honorable person. It is clear that you have nefarious purposes and are not as Christian as you claimed to be. I do not monitor comments and would not be here if you did not send a link to make sure I get here but lying about me seems to have become an athletic event.

      • Avatar
        Darcy

        You knew he would find an excuse… really? And we knew that you would NOT specifically, as Jacobs requested, “identify what information I have posted publicly… that is incorrect.” It is you, sir, who are not being honorable here.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser

          Thiessen seems to think there is no actual evidence for these claims. There is — lots of it, starting with a sworn affidavit in Thiessen’s own words. Further, the whole story has yet to be told. Does Theissen really want the whole story published for all to see? The only reason it isn’t is that there are other people involved; people who have a right to privacy. I appreciate them sharing what they did. Doing so gives us a better understanding of Thiessen’s writing.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            Well, he is a preacher. 🤣 Evangelical preachers are used to being authority figures who expect people to accept what they say just because they say so. Even worse, Derrick thinks he speaks for God/Jesus.

            One thing I learned post-Jesus is that claims have to be justified with evidence. Derrick says we three are liars, yet provides no evidence for his claim. No one on this site is going to believe him just because he says so.

            Years ago, a local Evangelical lied (repeatedly) about me in the newspaper. I could have just called him a liar, but instead I provided documentation for the fact that I was an ordained minister licensed to do weddings in the State of Ohio — and I still am. If Derrick has evidence of us lying about him, he needs to provide it. He won’t, of course, do so because no one is lying 🤥.

      • Avatar
        W.W. Jacobs

        Okay … let’s talk turkey.

        First, I said I would give you a picture if you wanted one. You gave no indication of actually wanting one until yesterday. Assuming you have not actually blocked my e-mail address, though, I will send you one.

        As to the rest, you would, ideally, like me to post something saying that everything I’ve posted to date is an utter fabrication, or at least completely exonerates you from any accusations of wrongdoing, and you want me to apologize for ever intimating that you have a questionable past.

        I’m not going to do that, because I have not fabricated anything. At the very least, I can’t help but note that you haven’t provided any evidence that I have fabricated anything. You’ve tried to shame me. You’ve questioned my salvation, or at least the veracity of my claim of being a Christian. You’ve questioned my character. But you’ve never actually disproven (or even offered to disprove) anything I’ve said.

        Perhaps you’ll accept something that at least makes your actions seem less malevolent?

        You believe anything short of laying a hand on your intimate partner in anger is not actually an act of domestic violence. I concede that I have been unable to find any verifiable evidence that you have ever physically assaulted an intimate partner in anger. The states of Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming have a more expansive definition of domestic violence than you do. While noting that your past actions satisfy their definition of domestic violence, I acknowledge that you dispute whether their definition is a reasonable one. I make no value judgment on that opinion, I merely acknowledge it.

        I acknowledge your belief that that, based on your understanding of it, you never violated U.S. immigration law. I also note that you have repeatedly blogged statements to the effect that “you cannot twist Scripture to whatever meaning you find convenient to justify your conduct.” (Since you clearly require me to specify this, no, you have never used that exact verbiage, but you have made statements expressing that overall sentiment.) As well, numerous subject matter experts (i.e. ICE/DHS officials) did not agree with your assessment of the literal and/or implicit provisions of immigration laws. I make no value judgment on the validity of either your assessment or their assessment, but I do note that their opinion prevailed.

        I acknowledge having no belief that you deliberately set out to defraud the woman whose Social Security Number you used. I even acknowledge (but do not validate) your claim that you didn’t actually “steal” it, rather, that she “gave” it to you. That said, you clearly understood the value of having a U.S. Social Security Number given that you repeatedly represented it (such representation being in the vein of “non-zero number of people”) as a Social Security Number issued to you by the United States government. Irrespective of your intent, presenting it as such does constitute willful and deliberate misrepresentation committed by you against every entity you gave it to in pursuit of your own enrichment – the literal textbook definition of fraud. But if you want me to say that you probably considered it a harmless “little white lie” when you did so, I will.

        As for the true holder of that Social Security number, I cannot deny that your use of their Social Security Number has created extensive difficulties for them. If you like, I’ll acknowledge you likely didn’t deliberately set out to cause any harm … but I cannot and will not say that this mitigates the harm you did cause.

        I acknowledge you questioned, perhaps still question, the paternity of the child we’ve been discussing. I cannot speak to why you did not ask for a paternity test or why you agreed to financially support a child you didn’t believe to be yours, but you didn’t demand a paternity test and you did agree to pay child support – an agreement codified in a court order – and then you failed to comply with that court order. I’m not sure what you want from me on this one.

        I acknowledge that you never actually attempted to exercise the voting rights you applied for, and that you believe it’s not illegal to provide false information on a voter-registration application.

        I am reminded of the 1955 bombing of United Airlines Flight 629. Prosecution of the perpetrator was stymied by the fact that, at the time, there wasn’t actually a law on the books that made it illegal to blow up an airplane, the upshot of which is that no one has ever been held to account for 43 of the 44 lives lost.

        You want me to concede that the Arizona voter-registration application doesn‘t actually say “you must provide truthful information”? Conceded, although it does specify that “you are not eligible to register to vote if you are not a U.S. citizen.” The possibility that you overlooked it does not mean you did not agree to be bound by that when signing the application, so you did submit a voter-registration application that you were not actually entitled to submit. But sure, I’ll concede that I cannot find any indication of anyone explicitly telling you “don’t lie to the county clerk when you fill out this form.”

        This is the most you’ll get from me. Take it or leave it.

  8. Avatar
    Barbara L. Jackson

    This is the reason I do not have facebook page. People can make you spend immense amounts of time with accusations like these. I would have to create a “fake” name just to prove which Barbara Jackson I am.

    • Avatar
      Dr. David Tee

      You know the Bible says to do unto others as you would want them to do to you. Yes, I question W.W. Jacobs claim he is a Christian as not one thing he is doing or has done is biblical.

      As one who knows the truth of what really happened I am not going to say anything nor am I going to publicly talk about these comments. I have grounds for libel and slander but I am not even going to sue. I will just turn the other cheek .

      Everyone else is proving who they really are by their words and actions and it is not pretty. I have nothing to gain by fighting off these comments nor by lying but it seems those people attacking me do.It is their decision and they have to give an account to God on how they have, are and will be treating me. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        And when you sue, the first documents entered into evidence will be YOUR sworn deposition and other relevant documents. You are behaving just like Donald Trump. Since I’m unwilling to post the actual documents, you are free to impugn my character. There may, however, come a day when these documents are made public. It will then be clear to everyone that the only person lying is you.

      • Avatar
        W.W. Jacobs

        Threats of libel and slander suits. Cute. Alex Jones tried the same scare tactic to silence his critics among the Sandy Hook families. Didn’t quite work out like he expected. It won’t work for you, either, though you’re certainly welcome to try.

        You won’t try it, of course, primarily because you have demonstrated a total lack of understanding of “libel” or “slander” as legal concepts by the manner in which you use them. But also because you would lose, as none has actually taken place. Discovery would be over within minutes of you being asked “can you, under penalty of perjury, show that the Social Security number listed next to your name on this government document is a Social Security number requested by and issued to Derrick Thomas Thiessen by the U.S. Social Security Administration, contrary to Mr. Jacobs’s assertions?”

        You see, as legal concepts, “libel” and “slander” are predicated on the malicious dissemination of information that is knowingly false. You know the information isn’t false, period, let alone being maliciously-disseminated falsehoods. The most malevolent thing I’ve done to you is send you a picture of your child wearing a Halloween mask because you failed to specify that you wanted a picture showing their face, done as a satirical commentary on your love of wordplay-driven lies of omission.

        I remind you of the caution given to you on Ben’s blog post of 27 July 2022. You bemoaned the fact that Ben’s commentary (and, implicitly, Bruce’s commentary) quote, “has no evidence backing it up. No proof that I am wrong except your personal opinion.”

        At that time, Derrick, I said the following in reply: “Make sure you’re not holding onto a monkey’s paw when you demand evidence be offered against you.” That comment, not coincidentally, marked my first use of the name “W.W. Jacobs.”

        A pity you didn’t bother to either understand the reference or heed the advisory.

      • Avatar
        Astreja

        Mr. Thiessen, one would think that a justice-oriented god would want to see someone punished for breaking the law. Continuing to behave badly, not correcting one’s errors and not making restitution is not something that one can sweep under the carpet with “God has forgiven me.”

        If you actually do sincerely believe and are not just a pious poseur, I strongly advise you to give this matter serious consideration lest you find yourself in the “Lord, lord!” camp, bleating like a goat instead of a sheep.

  9. Avatar
    Green Eagle

    Bruce,

    I have read your blog for years. As upsetting as these people are, you know that everything you get from them is a badge of honor.

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Bruce Gerencser