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The Epistle of Hank Houghton to Les Uptain

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  • kenhaining777
    This is the letter that Hank Houghton sent to Les Uptain at the same time he sent a letter to the South Valley church council. It is very direct and to the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 27, 2012
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      This is the letter that Hank Houghton sent to Les Uptain at the same time he sent a letter to the South Valley church council.  It is very direct and to the point. 


      December 2, 1991

      Dear Les,

         This is to confirm our phone conversation of Friday, November 29, wherein I stated to you that, due to your continued refusal to accept any direction or correction from headship, and your continued pastoral violations of people in relationship and from the pulpit, I could no longer recommend you or continue to license you as someone that represents our churches. 

          When, as the planting church pastor and overseer of the south valley church, I invited you and Sally into the position of its pastors, you at that time apparently considered that action to be my right and responsibility, as you responded.  Now however, when in my considered judgment it has become necessary to request that you return to your original church in Santa Rosa, I have no such authority or responsibility.  All other factors aside, this constitutes rebellion on your part. 

          Please consider this letter the formal revocation of your license with us.  Also, you will find a letter enclosed from Pastor Mitchell to the same effect, who, while not responsible for my decision in this matter does concur. 

          I must confess, I never expected to be writing a letter like this to any of the people with whom I've had relationship with over the years, but that it should be you and Sally is especially grievous.


      Pastor Henry C. Houghton


      First, I want to say that I resisted making grammatical corrections to these letters.  I did a couple of minor ones that were causing me irritation, but for the most part, this is exactly how they are written.  I realize there are commas where there shouldn't be, and missing commas were there should be, etc. 

      Note also that Les was being offered his previous church back, which he pioneered.  The problem was that it was much smaller than the South Valley Albuquerque Potters House.  By the time Les did resign, the offer to go back to that church wasn't on the table any more. 

      I am 90% sure that I have Wayman's letter that was sent with this one to Les tucked away somewhere, but these are the 3 that I located for now.  Wayman's letter is pretty much the same as Houghton's, a bit more curt, as I recall.

      While Wayman was the original source of the move to get Les out of the South Valley church, as time went on, and Houghton became more aware of the abuses being committed, he was of the mind to get Les out of there.  This went on for a number of months, and that caused Houghton to get more and more annoyed with Les. 

      Les had some options.  He could have called Praise Chapel and joined them.  He could have gone independent.  My observation of him during those months was that he thought if he resisted long enough that Wayman and Houghton would back off.  They didn't, of course, and Wayman was on the rampage to crush any rebellious pastors after the Ron Jones and Jack Harris exodus of less than 2 years before.  Dale Reece, although mentioned, seems to have stayed out of it, at least in terms of writing letters. 

      My account of Les being removed from the South Valley church was accurate, and there was no basis for calling me a liar, as I was called in that email that was sent to me.  I was very aware of the situation as I was in close contact with Houghton the entire time.  And, as I have said, I had no reason to lie when someone asked about what happened.  These letters show what was really going on.

      Having said that, I must state the obvious.  The whole fellowship is bogus.  It is built on abuse, and Les just takes it up a notch, or perhaps a few notches, and has a severe lack of finesse.  The fellowship is brutal, but it hides its brutal nature with a religious smoke screen.  When I knew Les, there was no smoke screen.  If he did send that email I posted, then he hasn't changed. 

      So there you have it.  These letters were sent out to pastors, and we in New Mexico were encouraged to "share" them.  So, over 20 years later, I have obeyed "headship," and shared them again. 


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