Klenk, Loren and Alissa

February 28, 2024

Dear friends and loved ones,

You should be aware of the rampant child sexual abuse (CSA), sexual abuse (SA), and power abuse in our fellowship across the world which subsequently has been swept under the rug by the ministry and friends. 

At this point, there are over 700 perpetrators, and the reports of abuse have not stopped flowing in since March of 2023 after the revelation of Dean Bruer’s crimes, including rape and sexual assault of children, throughout decades of his ministry. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the typical child sex offender has 117 victims on average.

There is no telling how many more victim-survivors are out there, in fact, you’re probably meeting with victim-survivors and don’t even realize it. Perhaps some of you are victims of sexual assault, and we are so sorry.

On February 20th, 2024, the FBI released a Press Release announcing their investigation into crimes within the fellowship, which include CSA, SA, power abuse, financial crimes, and potentially more. In order to officially announce the investigation, considerable time and effort have been put into a preliminary investigation, and the Omaha division of the FBI had to receive approval from Washington, DC to secure funding—this is extremely rare, especially for it to happen so quickly.

The FBI’s involvement further proves that these crimes are real, have occurred on a massive scale, and warrant federal charges. The problem is on track to be worse, per capita, than it is in the Catholic Church. This is a very big deal, and if you have questions, we are willing to talk about it so you are fully informed—as the ministry has failed to share the scope of the crisis.

The Failure of the Ministry

These revelations were a huge betrayal. We’ve had an alleged CSA perpetrator staying in our home, holding our daughter on his lap, and playing with her. The reports of abuse are primarily perpetrators within the ministry, those whom we have trusted and welcomed into our homes as family. 

Does this mean that all workers are bad? No. But our trust in the spirit, heart, and thoughts leading our ministry at this time, is utterly shattered and will require divine intervention to be corrected. Here’s why we believe this to be true:

  1. There is more and more evidence that ALL overseers have either knowingly moved perpetrators across state lines and countries when they learned of abuse or participated in the cover-up of the abuse. This movement, with the intent to conceal sexual abuse, is considered sex trafficking and violates federal law.
  2. In fact, our own overseers have consulted with professional sexual abuse experts (professing) who have spent their careers dealing with perpetrators and have chosen to ignore their expert recommendations, putting more children and friends at risk.
  3. Throughout the world, the ministry has actively minimalized the abuse and therefore caused even further immense trauma for victim-survivors. There is zero accountability or true repentance, which would be shown by resigning from leadership positions. 
  4. We were severely disappointed to attend Malcom convention this past year to not hear anything denouncing the abuse nor any apologies on behalf of the ministry. In fact, we heard several speak about how much they were suffering because some of the friends were angered about the deception and were pushing back. Let’s keep the focus on the countless victim-survivors whose lives have been ruined forever and who suffer from PTSD and continual trauma.
  5. With the exception of Marla Freeseman, no workers in MN/IA have openly spoken up against the abuse and put effort into advocating for victim-survivors. In January, Alissa emailed the sister workers urging them to use their voices on behalf of victim-survivors, and the majority of the responses were incredibly disappointing and eye-opening to what this ministry has become.
  6. Alissa has reached out to the ministry several times, offering her professional help in communication so the friends could be better informed, but they never accepted. She volunteered to be on the Policy Review Team and submitted multiple pages of feedback on the proposed guidelines back in December, and no one on this team has heard anything from them since. While we understand these things take time, they don’t take this long. All communication from the ministry has been placating, and any efforts to create policy have been held close to an exclusive group of people heavily influenced by the workers.
  7. No real action has been taken or enforced without pressure from the advocate community—including removing a convicted child sex offender from a meeting in Iowa with children. This shows a lack of moral character and integrity.
  8. Convicted sex offenders attended conventions in both Iowa (Boyden) and Minnesota this year. This was in spite of the ministry’s claims to have a zero-tolerance policy—AND was done with their knowledge and support. 
  9. There is an elder who is a convicted sex offender with a meeting in his home in Minnesota, and the ministry is well aware of this situation, choosing to do nothing about it.
  10. As late as December, Titus was against having a policy or guidelines, stating that we should follow Matthew 18. This is an absurd request being that we’ve had Matthew 18 for the entire history of this fellowship and it has done absolutely nothing to prevent this abuse. These are criminal acts and should be treated as such. A victim-survivor should NEVER have to confront their abuser or forgive their abuser. Forgiveness is left to God. Criminals need to be handled by legal authorities.
  11. We have been lied to about the origins of our fellowship, made to believe this is direct from Jesus. It is well documented that this man-made religion was started by William Irvine in Ireland approximately 130 years ago.
  12. While giving the appearance of a penniless ministry, there are millions of dollars in worker bank accounts in virtually every state. Imagine the friends who are struggling financially giving money to the ministry—when in fact there are copious amounts of money in accounts. Not all workers have access to these funds, but the funds are definitely there with heavy control by overseers. Creating the appearance of being penniless is deceptive.

We could give countless more reasons why we have lost trust in the ministry and the system, including the organization’s lack of moral integrity. Jeff Thayer had an affair while in the work, all while able to preach and live a double life and then lie about it when confronted. Just this month, the overseer in MT/WY admitted to having a porn addiction. 

There are serious issues in our ministry, not only sexual in nature but also emotional abuse and otherwise unhealthy situations that no one deserves to be in, and we don’t believe God ever intended for. To us, fruits such as these are signs that something is very wrong and are what caused us to begin searching the scriptures for what the bible actually says—not what we have been taught it says.

Doctrine Concerns

Our digging into the scripture, combined with this ministry’s immoral and corrupt behavior, has led us to many of the reasons we have chosen to leave the fellowship. The 2×2 basis for our ministry refers to one event when Jesus sent the apostles in pairs to alert Israel that the Kingdom of God was at hand. This was a temporary mission, going out in pairs with a witness, according to Jewish doctrine (Deut.17:1-13). They returned, and eventually, there was a mission to preach to the Gentiles, in which they went out in varied numbers—sometimes alone, sometimes in twos, threes, fives, and so on. Some were married, some were not. 

We feel that as a fellowship, we have begun to worship the traditions of man more than Jesus—this is idolatry and goes against God’s direction. We’ve put workers in the place where Jesus belongs, praised their willingness to give their lives, and put them on a pedestal. For honest ones in the work, it is remarkable. However, it does not compare to Jesus giving his life. Workers and friends should be treated as equals–none esteeming one over the other. “Worker worship” is subtle, but it’s ingrained in the fellowship culture and is highly problematic, given most of us trusted the workers to do no wrong and to offer sound guidance—never even imagining criminal activities as a possibility.

Fellowship in the homes remains an aspect that we love. However, the fellowship’s pride in meeting in homes and having a penniless and celibate 2×2 ministry has become a form and tradition that is idolized instead of keeping our focus on Christ, the Father, His plan, and His will. In fact, we often hear that other churches are teaching false doctrine with false preachers, how wrong other churches have things, and how they don’t know the truth of God as we do in this fellowship—claiming that only this fellowship has it correct. This way of thinking is called exclusivity, and it’s incredibly dangerous and a large part of what has created a culture where crime and abuse can run rampant and unchecked.

When we use words like “the world,” “God’s chosen people,” “the true and living way,” “lost out,” etc. we are saying that only people who go to meetings are right with God. The Bible clearly says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

There is NOTHING any of us can do to earn our salvation. Not going to meetings, conventions, wearing a bun and a skirt, listening to the workers, or anything else. Our salvation cannot be earned with works. It is purely through the grace of God that we are saved. And what a gift! A gift that we as a fellowship in “the truth” are not the sole recipients of—God extends this gift to the entire world, and it is our choice to accept it and experience that transformation that comes through deep love and thankfulness for this gift. Judgment is God’s alone.

We cannot explain the deep joy we know as we have begun to explore the plan and reality of God’s grace as represented in Christ’s life and sacrifice for us. He loves everyone else in the world just as much as he loves you and us. We’ve felt bondage lift from our shoulders and felt the liberty and love of God more than ever. It has been beautiful to get to know the heart of God on a deeper level than we ever knew there was.

Our Decision

It is with deep grief that we write this letter to share this with you, but we are stepping away from the fellowship. 

It’s a decision we do not take lightly, having given our hearts and lives to this fellowship. We made this decision after spending months praying about it and searching the scripture for answers, and rather than leave the reasons for our stepping away open to interpretation and gossip, we want to express our reasons—you deserve to know why.

Ultimately, we are stepping away from the fellowship as a step in faith closer to God. It’s not because we are “losing out” or “going after the flesh”, we are following God’s call, and it’s a very scary thing to do when this fellowship is all we have ever known. We are thankful that we can trust his leading. 

We hope that our time spent together throughout the decades, sharing our intimate prayers and thoughts in meetings, that you know our hearts. We will always treasure the precious moments gathered around the emblems, hearing the earnest prayers and testimonies of those faithfully making efforts to know and serve our Living God. We love and care for each and every one of you. Even as we make this decision that you may find hurtful, know that hurting others is not our intention but a desire to protect our spirit, service, and family. We know this may cause hurt, and we acknowledge that.

Our decision is a stand for righteousness, realizing that our values and what we know to be biblical truths no longer align with the current ministry and belief system. Truth and light will always prevail, and while we are deeply saddened by what we have discovered over the past year, we are grateful that God has used light to reveal the truth so we can know Him better. Our foundation in Christ is not shaken.

While we are more than willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, we are not willing to suffer for the sake of the pedophiles amongst us. We have the responsibility for our child’s safety and soul. We have reputations in our communities and workplaces. We must stand for what’s right. Our stand is one of faith and love for God, with the desire to bring the focus to Jesus only.

Alissa will continue to advocate for victim-survivors with Advocates for the Truth and other advocacy groups she has worked with over the past year. This is just the beginning of revelations, the tip of the iceberg of criminal activity, and there will be so much more to come that will be heartbreaking. This is an extremely difficult time, and we are here to chat with you at any time. Despite our leaving, we still love each of you and care deeply about every victim-survivor.

With much love,

Loren and Alissa
Iowa, USA

Resources and Links:

FBI Press Release: https://forms.fbi.gov/2×2?fbclid=IwAR220ZNTdTatfxD3c3G-RWCBMOB0eeVjuvVY9kIrypYWrjsidX7XN5qS1jw 

BBC Article About Robert Corfield Abuse Case: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66449988 

BBC Article About the FBI Investigation: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-68361054?fbclid=IwAR27_ffsovSxvuoCAKmmgnjeLrgz1WQNlU0_d95tQdOXz8yHQloFNxLrhF8 

Advocates for the Truth: https://www.advocatesforthetruth.com/ 

CSA Statistics: https://wingsfortruth.info/about-csa/statistics/ 

Book: Preserving the Truth: The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine by Cherie Kropp-Ehrig: https://cheriekroppehrig.com