Story by Michael Whiteacre
Today on Facebook, Shelley Lubben attacked one of her former employees, a whistle-blower named April Garris. Garris is a Christian anti-porn advocate who fled Lubben’s cult-like Pink Cross Foundation and dared contradict and criticize the crazed “Rebel Prophet.”
She has written distorted lies about me and Pink Cross and we have been very kind not to retaliate or expose her. I knew her and loved her for many years and have over 300 emails and facebook messages that tell a much different story. I would ask her to show us some of these messages to prove her claims.
Well, ask and ye shall receive, Mrs. Lubben.
After returning to the US following her disastrous appearance at the Cambridge Union porn debate of February 17, 2011, Shelley Lubben dispatched an email to her Pink Cross “team,” including Garris. It is reproduced below in its entirety.
Sent: Feb. 21, 2011
It’s 1:23 am in the morning and Garrett and I have been up all night battling hundreds of demons. But the Victory is Christ’s. Garrett and I have committed to obeying Christ perfectly and so we will NO LONGER listen to words of doubt, selfishness or anything at all that comes to us from the pit of hell.
My health and my family and my anointing and my marriage has been battered by those around me and I NO LONGER will allow it. Period.
Tonight, I threw out all of my medications and came against every vile evil spirit from hell that has been tormenting my family for seven years, since we first began this ministry. And we are SO DONE with being tormented day and night.
So, you my dear loved ones have a choice to make. Either you are with us or against us. Either you are with Christ or against Him. Either you deny yourself and bear up your Cross and place your utter trust in Jesus Christ Who gave Himself for you to live and to live victoriously, or you give up and miss what the Lord Jesus has for you.
But as for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.
Anyone, who hurts me or my family or who becomes a burden to us will be released from Pink Cross.
I love you. I have labored in prayer for you. I have mentored you. I have given ALL of you my life, the Word of God, Wisdom, Encouragement, Love and more and so now I will no longer hold you up but you will hold my family up.
If you are unhappy with how things are going with Pink Cross, then you probably don’t belong here. Garrett and I have mentored you all so much and by now if you aren’t sure you belong, then you probably don’t belong. NO MORE DOUBTING!!. This ministry WILL trust in the Lord God Almighty Yahweh and the sacrifice of His Precious Son and we will fight the good fight and we WILL endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ! And anyone involved in this ministry will do the same. You have no excuse. You have been mentored. You have the Word of God. You have the sacrifice of the Precious Blood of Jesus. You have good Christian brothers and sisters. You have the INTERNET where you can listen to powerful sermons by powerful people of God OR you can waste your time facebooking and complaining to others on the internet about how hard your day was.
But make your choice. Choose this day whom you will serve. Will you serve yourself and continue in your infancy or will you RISE UP and be the Champion the Lord has called you to be. Then, once you have made that choice, we will hold you accountable for it.
Please send me back and email if you choose or don’t choose. We love you. We labored all night and are still laboring in prayer for you. We have prayed for years for all of you. But now you must rise up into your high callings and CHOOSE this day if you will run the race to win or allow satan to steal your destiny from you.
I am preaching to myself as I write this. But I am taking action and showing God I am DEAD SERIOUS that I trust Him UTTERLY and I threw out my medication that I have been on for five years. The devil has attacked my health long enough. The number one way satan has attacked my health is through faithless complaining negative people.
But no more. So, as I recover and walk in restoration, I will need my team more than ever to hold themselves up and to hold my family up.
THAT IS WHY YOU MOVED HERE AND JOINED PINK CROSS. TO HOLD THE LUBBENS UP. We are not to hold you up. That is not our call.
But that’s what we have been doing and we can do it no longer.
I don’t want to hear ONE MORE WORD about finances or any complaints. Either you trust in the Lord and obey Him or you don’t. He is MORE THAN ABLE to sustain your family and to provide for you. You only need to examine yourselves whether you are in faith and obedience to the Lord.
But my family WILL trust in the Lord and RELY on Him to provide. We will not rely on the Lubben Family to provide. The Lord can and WILL provide for all of us through Pink Cross and if you are having a money problem, GO TO THE LORD. We will keep our monetary commitments to you that we have all agreed on.
But no more than that. We can’t do it anymore. You all must rely on the Lord like THOUSANDS of other missionaries who literally have gotten on boats with seventy five cents and went to Hong Kong. Read missionary books to see MANY who have sacrificed even more than you have.
You are not alone.
So, things are going to change now. I will be stepping away from people as be consecrating myself unto the Lord for His service so I can continue in the work He has called me to do. You, also, separate yourself and BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY SAYS THE LORD.
It’s time to walk in maturity in Christ and realize your high calling and that you are called to be a LEADER in an international movement, in a world movement, in an Earth movement. Stop complaining. Stop grumbling. Stop doubting. There is no place for that here anymore.
Overall, this remarkable passive-aggressive screed speaks for itself, but one thing is particularly striking: Lubben admits that the foundation of her story, and the premise of her ministry, is a lie.
Lubben’s long-standing claim, as found on the website from which she solicits donations, has been (and remains): “The Lord has completely restored me. I am totally free from drugs, alcohol addiction, bad memories, mental illness, sexual addiction, sexual trauma, and everything from the old life… I am totally healed!”
That story of healing and redemption supposedly establishes her standing, and the validity of her personal mission. Yet here she is admitting that she has been on medication for five years – and not just any medication, medication that she felt she had to throw away rather than simply set aside.
Her entire myth — and now her livelihood — relies on donors believing that she is indeed who and what she says she is. But, the sad reality is that Shelley Lubben is a fraud and a train wreck of epic proportions.
The historical context of this email is also important.
Immediately following the Cambridge Union debate, the internet was abuzz with talk of Lubben seeming under the influence of something at the event. Then, Lubben reportedly had what could only be described as a complete breakdown following her flop at Cambridge, to the point that those accompanying her, including Garris, had doubts as to whether they’d even be able to get her on a plane back to the U.S.
Upon her return, it was abundantly clear that people believed she was on something, and it would make sense that she would want to get clean.
The other thing worth noting is that, at the time of this email, Pink Cross team members were having severe financial problems largely because of pay cuts that Lubben had recently placed on them.
As April recalls at her personal blog, The Healing Diaries :
In October of 2010, Shelley Lubben contacted me via e-mail and told me that Pink Cross wanted to hire me. This was no surprise. For several months beforehand, Shelley had tried to convince me several times to quit my job and move to Bakersfield to help Pink Cross. I had the desire to, but I had concerns about my financial situation and my daughter…. So, I continuously declined Shelley’s offer – but when she contacted me in October, offering me a salary of $25,000/yr., and a position as her “executive assistant,” I figured that this was God opening a door for ministry. Shelley promised me the world. She told me that I was training to take over for her as president of Pink Cross, and that I would eventually be making more money as Pink Cross became more established.
Shelley painted a rosy picture, but my main concern was reaching out to hurting women, and this is why I decided to accept her offer. I wanted to make a difference. I told Shelley yes, quit my job, and packed up and moved to Bakersfield. By this time, I had been ordained as a chaplain, by Shelley, and I thought I saw God’s hand in this situation. Although Shelley said and did many things that I did not agree with … I went along because I truly believed in the mission of Pink Cross, even though she often told me that a person should never question a person in leadership.
So, against my better judgment, I packed up my life and moved to Bakersfield. Things began to turn sour almost from the very beginning.
According to April, before the new year, Shelley Lubben reneged on her obligation to her.
Shelley e-mailed me and told me that she could no longer afford to pay me what she had promised. In an e-mail, she said that donations were down, and she had “not really put enough thought into” what she agreed to pay me, and unfortunately had to cut my salary – not only mine, but that of another Pink Cross employee [Roger Niccum – ed.] – by a substantial amount. For Shelley, it was no big deal, but for me, it was huge. I was already struggling financially with what Pink Cross was paying me, but this pay cut made it almost impossible for me to support myself. Because I was on salary, I was expected to work the same amount of hours. Shelley suggested that I get a part-time job in order to supplement my income, but this was not realistic. As her “executive assistant,” I was expected to attend ministry events, and accompany her to speaking engagements, which necessitated my being out-of-town for days at a time.
Indeed, when I was employed with Pink Cross, great emphasis was put on money. It was ALWAYS about money and donations with Shelley, and it put enormous stress on me. In December of 2011, Shelley sent an “urgent message” to the Pink Cross team, telling us that donations were way down, and that if we did not step up to the plate, and work harder raising funds, she would have to stop paying us altogether. I took this as a threat. She explained to us that our position as Pink Cross employees were impingent upon our ability to raise funds. This took me by surprise, as fund-raising was NEVER brought up as a requirement for employment in her initial e-mail to me. Now, she was telling me that fund-raising was an essential duty as a Pink Cross employee.… This now became the central focus of my ministry.
I kept hoping that Shelley would see my financial situation and offer to help me, but that never happened. Shelley and Garrett lived in luxury, yet they could not afford to help me. We were told not even to approach her with our financial problems, but to trust God, as she was too busy battling Satan and “thousands of demons” to worry about our problems.
Shelley would continually boast about how the Lord had blessed her, and her family, because they were special to God and mighty warriors for Him. Meanwhile, I was contemplating going on food stamps. Eventually, I did.
In January of 2011, Jenni Case (one of the girls that Pink Cross reached out to and helped years earlier) re-located from Colorado to Bakersfield, California, [at her own expense – ed.] and moved into my 2-bedroom apartment with me….
In February, I accompanied Shelley on a speaking engagement to Cambridge. Shortly after we returned, I expressed to Shelley and Garrett my desire to go on a 2-week mission trip, reaching out to prostituted women in Israel. I almost didn’t ask, for fear of what Shelley’s reaction might be. Shelley was very controlling. I saw how Shelley went off on another Pink Cross employee, for over an hour, for wanting to go out of town for Christmas and New Year’s holiday, demoralizing him and telling him that he was abandoning her and Pink Cross. In spite of this, I asked anyhow. I figured that 10 months was adequate notice, and that the most they could say was “no.” So, I e-mailed Shelley and told her about the trip, and my desire to go. A few days later, Garrett e-mailed me telling me that they didn’t want to stand in the way of my “missions calling,” and decided to demote me from a full-time to a part-time employee, and paid an hourly wage “to be determined.”
It was at this time that they told me not to come to the office any more. Instead, they had Jenni come over there every day for training, which consisted of doing the duties that they previously had me doing. Without being told directly, I was basically being replaced by Jenni, who was now deemed the “Pink Cross Recovery Specialist.” I was told that I would no longer be reaching out to the women, as that was now Jenni’s job. This absolutely broke my heart, as this was my whole motive for moving to Bakersfield in the first place – to reach out to the women in the industry.
Once Jenni Case came on board as an employee, in March 2011, Case’s salary equaled about as much as had been cut from Garris’ pay.
Shortly after writing this email, Lubben was reportedly checked in to a psychiatric ward. It is now clear that her problems with booze and prescription medication continued until at least August 2011, when, according to Pink Cross refugee Michelle Avanti, Lubben quietly spent time in a deluxe rehab facility.
A final note about the financial situation of the good people of Bakersfield: while their employees were going on food stamps to make ends meet, Shelley and Garrett Lubben were preparing to purchase a second, larger, $480,000 home with all new furnishings. The plan was to retain their old house to use it as a “Recovery Home.”
More details of the questionable finances of Pink Cross Foundation and the Lubbens will be forthcoming shortly.