This post looks at an issue that keeps popping up from time to time. The Wondering Eagle would like to know if there was a business relationship between Harvest Bible Chapel and Covenant Eyes? Did James MacDonald use Covenant Eyes in a totalitarian method to control and abuse his workforce and try to prevent leaks to The Elephant’s Debt from October 2012 forward? This post which is dedicated to the Headless Unicorn Guy wants to remind the staff at Harvest the following. War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.
“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.”
George Orwell in 1984
“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”
George Orwell in 1984
“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face.”
Is George Orwell describing Harvest Bible Chapel?
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
Again George Orwell
“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
Again George Orwell, was this the mission of James MacDonald for years at Harvest Bible Chapel?
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1-3 ESV
Before I get into the substance of this post I need to explain and briefly discuss George Orwell’s 1984. Then I would like to discuss an internet accountability software program called Covenant Eyes. I will tie up this post at the end and ask a lot of questions about if and then how was Covenant Eyes used at Harvest Bible Chapel. But let’s start out with exploring a literary classic from a mastermind.
What is George Orwell’s 1984 About?
George Orwell published a book in 1949 that would later be regarded as one of the finest novels of the Twentieth Century. In the classic known as 1984 you have a story about learning to love “Big Brother.” In the classic work a new set of terms was invented that have gone done in the pages of literary history. New phrases such as big brother, double-think, 2 + 2 = 5, thought-crime, Newspeak, and memory-hole. You may not be familiar with the book and may ask, what is it about? I am going to give you a condensed version of 1984.
It is 1984, and civilization has been damaged by war, civil conflict, and revolution. Great Britain has become Airstrip One – a province of Oceania. Oceania is one of the totalitarian super-states that rules the world. Oceania is ruled by the “Party” under the ideology of “Ingsoc” and the mysterious leader known as “Big Brother.” Big Brother is a cult of personality. The Party works to kill all dissent and uses the Thought Police to deal with those who do not conform. Constant surveillance through devices such as two-way televisions, “Telescreens” are used.
Winston Smith is a member of the middle class Outer Party. He is employed at the Ministry of Truth where he spends his time rewriting historical records to conform with the state’s ever changing version of history. Those who fall out of favor with the Party become “unpersons.” They then disappear, its like they never existed. All traces of them are erased. While the Party destroys all original evidence and documents in a fire, Winston realizes that he opposes the Party. He disagrees with their rule and longs for rebellion. Winston knows that he is a thought criminal and will most likely be caught one day.
While in a neighborhood Winston meets Mr. Charrington who owns an antique shop. He buys a diary and writes about crossing the Party and Big Brother. He also reveals his sexual frustration over Julia a young women maintaining the novel-writing machines in the ministry. Winston suspects that Julia is an informant. He also suspects that his supervisor O’Brien is a secret agent for an underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is formed by Emmanuel Goldstein. He hides this journal in his home. The next day Julia secretly hands a note confessing that she loves Winston. Winston and Julie begin a torrid affair. Its an act of rebellion as the Party says that sex is for reproduction only. Winston realizes that Julia loathes the Party as well. They meet in different locations before meeting in a rented room above Mr. Charrington’s Antique store. During the affair Winston interacts with a colleague Syme who is working on a new dictionary of the English language called Newspeak. When Syma admits that Newspeak is about reducing the human capability for thought shortly afterward she disappears and no trace of her is found.
Weeks later Winston is approached by O’Brien who offers Winston a chance to join the Brotherhood. Julia and Winston swear allegiance to the Brotherhood in O’ Brien’s flat. O’ Brien shares Emmanuel Goldstein’s “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.” Julia and Winston learn about how the party maintains power, the true meanings of the slogans they hear and the concept of perpetual war. Then Mr Charrington is revealed to be an agent of the Thought Police. They are captured and taken and imprisoned in the Ministry of Love. Then O’Brien reveals that he is loyal to the Party and is involved in sting operations to capture “thought criminals.” Over many months Winston is tortured and taught to cure himself to change his thoughts on “The Party.” This must be done even if it requires him to think that 2 + 2 = 5. When Winston is brainwashed to be loyal then he will be released into the population. This will be brief as he will be shot. Then O’Brien wants to get Winston to betray his love for Julia.
O’Brien then takes Winston to Room 101 for the final stage of re-education. The room contains each other’s prisoner worst fear. A wire cage holding hungry rats is tied to his face and he screams , “Do it to Julia!” Julia is then betrayed. After being released Julia meets Winston in a park. They both betrayed each other. Winston realizes that he no longer has feelings for Julia. The Party successfully took away their love. The book ends with Winston sitting alone in a cafe. Oceania celebrates a supposed victory over Eurasian armies in Africa. Winston has been brainwashed and he realizes that he loves “Big Brother.”
What is Covenant Eyes Software?
Covenant Eyes is a small company in Owosso, Michigan. They have two locations and the second one opened up in 2016. Established in 2000 the founder of the company is Ron DeHaas. Prior to the internet company Ron worked as a geologist for Chevron Oil from 1972 to 1972 and developed a career in the oil/geology industry for the next couple of decades. In August of 1992 George’s family was killed in a highway accident when they were hit by a tanker truck. You can read about the details here. In time he changed professions and started the first internet accountability company. You can read about the corporate history here plus there is his interview with Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition here.
Covenant Eyes is a player in the evangelical culture wars. In this case its focus is on pornography. How pornography can be defined is another issue, after all in Sovereign Grace Ministries pastor Jared Millinger in Pennsylvania compared blogs to pornography in 2011. At Covenant Eyes they focus on creating spiritual purity. Their programs are used on many different platforms to include IPhone, IPads, and Android. In 2016 they also introduced an Overcoming Porn app . They also have an active blog which you can read here. Covenant Eyes also has a close relationship with evangelical Christian churches, which use their software in house and make it available to their congregations in men’s and woman’s programs. You can read about their relationship with churches here.
Did Harvest Bible Chapel Use Covenant Eyes to Abuse and Control their Employees?
This post came about due to a number of tidbits of information that came forward from independent sources. This is an attempt to connect the dots and hopefully flush out another aspect to the abusive culture that exists at Harvest Bible Chapel. A few times on Twitter these past couple of months there was an occasional mention to how Harvest Bible Chapel used Covenant Eyes. When I visited Illinois and met with people who were once connected to Harvest Bible Chapel one individual made a comment about how Covenant Eyes was downloaded on a Harvest Bible Chapel pastor’s phone. James MacDonald as we know is controlling and abusive. He has his enablers who allowed him to continue unabated. But in Dean Butters statement it also discusses how James MacDonald weaponized information and collected it from people. This blog would like to pose a question. Was the purpose of using Covenant Eyes at Harvest Bible Chapel so that James MacDonald could control, intimidate and coerece his workforce? Did Covenant Eyes help make Harvest Bible Chapel become the “Oceania” of Elgin, and Palatine, Illinois?
First of all if Covenant Eyes is used to help keep people from pornography it obviously didn’t work if James MacDonald created an explicit sex tape. Nor did it work in that Rick Donald asked that it be played repeatedly. You can read about that in, “James MacDonald’s Explicit Video Tape That Rick Donald Enjoyed. Plus Reflecting on the Time When Elgin Elder Stephen Stewart Advertised His Daughter’s Virginity in Christianity Today.” But here is the other question. Did James MacDoald and the Harvest leadership use Covenant Eyes to collect information on its staff and bully them? When Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant launched The Elephant’s Debt in October of 2012 did James use Covenant Eyes to control his workforce? For example if he had Covenant Eyes installed on Harvest computers, phones and more were reports collected on what staff was reading and which websites they were visiting? Is it possible that in MacDonald’s paranoid state of mind that if someone in Human Resources or Finance visited The Elephant’s Debt MacDonald learned of it and dealt with that person. A pre-emptive way to try and keep people from reading the websites and prevent “leaks.” Stop and think of how frightening this could be on Iphones and Androids that staff had, and how they were being monitored even outside the work place? Remember the MacDonalds were monitoring The Elephant’s Debt to see who commented and try and figure out who commented. Dan Haskell’s situation with Luke MacDonald happened because his name was accidently posted on The Elephant’s Debt and Luke saw it. So this is all very possible.
Here is another question that needs to be asked. What exactly was the business relationship between Harvest Bible Chapel and Covenant Eyes? Covenant Eyes is part of the Evangelical Industrial Complex, and very much does what they do for money. Were there any memorandums of understanding between Covenant Eyes and Harvest Bible Chapel to develop new software that would allow James MacDonald and Harvest to collect information on his employees? What was the actual agreement with Covenant Eyes? What was the business arrangement between the two entities and how much money exchanged hands? Did Harvest suggest anything unethical to Covenant Eyes and did they go along to keep the business? These are all question that this blog would like to flush out and get resolved. If anyone knows or if any former Harvest employees have any stories about information being collected through Covenant Eyes and it being used in a tyrannical manner. One additional point, up above you have the cover to George Orwell’s 1984, then when you look at the corporate logo for Covenant Eyes you can find a disturbing resemblance.
Harvest Bible Chapel is Oceania Comrades!
Comrades!! I am here to report to you that Harvest Bible Chapel is Oceania. Your mission is to submit to the state and you do that well. By not reading The Elephant’s Debt or The Wondering Eagle you are not committing any “Thoughtcrimes.” The thought police exist as you have conformed yourself to the likes of
Harvest Bible Chapel, I mean Oceania. Doublethink is essential in order to thrive at Harvest. It works so well that many former employees struggle with how well they committed to the state. What James MacDonald taught for years still exists as its part of the culture. Remember that 2 + 2 = 5. Your loyalty is to the brand as well. The Party exists and its to be followed. Remember that you are loved and you too can gather at Harvest Bible Chapel events and declare that you also “love Big Brother!”