On July 5, 2020 Gary Peterson the pastor of The Rock Church in Grandville, Michigan showed the congregation a Q Anon conspiracy theory video. Q Anon is a discredited conspiracy theory that states that COVID-19 is an attempt to derail President Trump and that Democrats killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. In digging deeper this blog found some disturbing information about Gary Peterson allegedly engaging in embezzlement at Wellspring Church also in the area. Furthermore there are additional allegations of Peterson having a sexual affair with a male intern at Wellspring. If there are more stories about Gary Peterson this blog is willing to tell them and provide a platform.
“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”
Edgar Allen Poe
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isiah 41:10 NIV
This afternoon I planned on working on another EFCA post, as this blog writes about the Evangelical Free movement. Then I saw something on The Friendly Atheist that made my jaw hit the ground. And in researching it discovered more facts to the story. Honestly this blog never imagined that I would be writing about evangelicals and Q Anon. Anyone who thinks the Q Anon conspiracy theory is legitimate needs to make an appointment with a psychiatrist and start their medicine. But let’s get started.
The Latest with Q Anon
Q Anon is a disturbing conspiracy theory that picks up where Pizza Gate left off. This blog wrote about it previously in the context of evangelicals in the following post. “The Conspiracy That Some Evangelicals are Embracing: Q Anon and a Solid Read in The Atlantic Magazine About this Dangerous Belief System.” Q Anon has been labeled by the FBI as a threat and has the potential to incite domestic terrorism. You can read more about that here and here. The other day the Los Angeles Times had a story about how Q Anon is influencing the Republican Party with a number of candidates embracing the theory. You can read that article in, “Satanism and sex rings: How the QAnon conspiracy theory has taken political root.” Q Anon believers still believe that Hillary Clinton is involved in pedophilia, which is a feature of these kind of conspiracy theories. And on Twitter the disgraced and discredited former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn administered an oath to Q Anon. That was how Flynn spent his July 4th.
Q Anon Video Shown in Gary Peterson’s Rock Urban Church in Grandville, Michigan
On July 5, 2020 Gary Peterson who is the senior pastor of Rock Church in Grandville, Michigan showed a twelve minute long video about Q Anon. It was actually recorded by someone in the congregation and you can see it below.
The video that Gary Peterson showed claimed that Democrats had killed George Floyd and that they created COVID-19 as a myth to derail Donald Trump’s presidency. The video which was taken done from YouTube for misinformation also claimed that Democrats are staging an insurgency to try and stop Donald Trump. The video was recorded by someone who attended the Rock Urban Church. It was uploaded to Twitter. Meanwhile the Rock Urban Church took down the sermon from their YouTube page. The video got a large amount of attention on social media. It also generated articles at The Friendly Atheist and Relevant Magazine. You can see both in, “Christian Megachurch Plays QAnon Conspiracy Video to Open Sunday Service” and “This Megachurch Used Its Sunday Service to Spread QAnon Conspiracy Theories.” From what this blog learned the situation was reported to the Michigan Attorney General’s office.
Pastor Gary Peterson Fled Another Church For Embezzlement Issues and Did Peterson Have an Affair with a Male Intern at Wellspring?
Gary Peterson from my research founded the Rock Urban Church in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan and the largest in the western part of the state. Rock Urban Church is a large church. The website doesn’t have a biography of Gary Peterson. However, this blog learned that Gary Peterson does have a blog. Instead it discusses people like Zach Rasmusson of the worship ministry or Nick Schippers of the drama and dance ministry.
Gary Peterson is not new to controversy. Gary founded Wellspring Church in Hudsonville, Michigan which he fled at one point also. In researching Wellspring I found some very interesting information including some people saying that it was a cult. Peterson was asked to leave the church and what triggered the claim is that he allegedly had a sexual affair with a male intern. Now I don’t care if people are gay or not, and honestly I can care less but to be in a position of leadership and allegedly abuse it for other reasons is what spiritual abuse is all about. Look at how the founding of The Rock Urban Church is described.
“The Rock Church” is a newly formed church and currently meeting at Celebration Cinemas Rivertown Mall in Grandville, MI. Its senior pastor is Gary Petersen whom recently came from Wellspring Church in Hudsonville, MI. He was asked to resign by the board for a sexual affair that he had with a male intern staff member. This coupled with a pastoral personality cult (narcissism) and misappropriation of funds sent him packing. Pastor Gary (PG) has a known history of homosexuality and it dates back to a prior church in Florida. Each time he was asked to leave and each time he started a new church on his own. This time he took all of his staff members to start his own church. They follow him very closely and have covered up the affair. Many of these staff members upon hearing the news took over one hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment and furniture. A criminal investigation is currently under way by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s department and warrants have been issued. This moral failure on PG’s part cannot go unnoticed and without the help of the community will continue to occur with other bodies of believers. PG admitted openly to the failure when first approached by the board and there is still no repentance for his behavior.
Court documents show how Petersen allegedly stole about $3,000 with a credit card that church leaders didn’t know about. The documents allege Petersen opened an American Express card connected to a Wellspring Church bank account in 2006.
Investigators say Petersen charged about $1,400 on the credit card for a cruise with his wife in Rome, Italy in 2010. Then, Petersen allegedly spent about $1,500 from the credit card to pay for a resort vacation in Avon, Colorado.
From what I heard his settlement was to repay $4,000 back to the church. If you want to read more about the embezzlement by Gary Peterson you can do so in the following news stories.
Dealing with Another Narcissist And Some Thoughts
In researching this story it went in a direction that I did not anticipate. At first I thought this was going to be another pure story about Christian nationalism and evangelicals being into conspiracy theories. Then as I probed deeper I discovered what happened at Wellspring, allegations of embezzlement and further allegations of having an affair with a male intern. Gary Peterson in this blog’s view is a conman. He is a fraud. He’s basically the Mark Driscoll of lower Michigan. What happened at Wellspring also supposedly happened at his prior church in Florida. It sounds like he runs into scandal and then picks up and moves to another part of the United States. If anyone has any additional information about Gary Peterson please contact this blog and I will be happy to give you a platform. The email address is email@example.com. I will ask this, since Gary Peterson is a conman is the reason why he pushed an over the top video about Q Anon is that he needs to fleece and pressure people to give to the church so he can live extravagantly? Remember Michigan like other states had shut downs, and the narcissists are going crazy. As for Q Anon it is a discredited and flawed conspiracy theory that has no credibility. The video that Gary Peterson showed has been rebuked point by point by the Associated Press. This video reveals the issues that Rock Urban Church deals with race. After all if you believe that Democrats killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, you have issues. The best thing people can do is walk away from Rock Church. And if you believe in Q Anon contact a licensed mental health counselor.