Monday, June 28, 2010

Live Updates from the Teen Mania Ministries Conference Call

Tonight Teen Mania Ministries is hosting a conference call to publicly address the abuse allegations detailed on the Recovering Alumni website. Teen Mania Watch, of course, will be listening in on the call, and will be providing live updates on this blog throughout the evening as the call progresses. Check back here for updates starting at approximately 8:45PM Eastern Time (7:45PM Central Time). You may need to hit the "refresh" button on your browser periodically to make sure you are reading the latest postings. So, if you can't be on the call for whatever reason, or just want to read some intelligent commentary on what's being said by Teen Mania leaders on the call, check back here for the latest real-time updates.

(Note: All times listed are Eastern Time)

8:52 PM - Just dialed in. 28 callers already on the line. I received a message that said "Line Muted" as soon as I joined the conference call....I'm assuming all participants except for TMM leaders will be muted for most, if not all of the call.

9:01 PM - Dave Hasz opens the call, introducing himself and offering a brief prayer for the conference call.

9:03 PM - Dave Hasz says that over 80 participants are currently on the call. Says TMM has "technology in place" to allow people to ask questions....hoping that it works out. Says uncertainty about technology is what prompted the request to e-mail questions ahead of time.

9:07 PM - Dave Hasz offers brief background of why they are having a conference calls. Talks about how he became aware of the website, and the board of directors investigation. Then Dave reads the letter he's already posted on Teen Mania's response website.

9:11 PM - Dave finishes reading letter....says the goal of the call is to bring real changes to the Honor Academy...says "if you are here for something other than that, you're probably going to be frustrated.

9:12 PM - Dave starts talking about how changes have already been made at the Honor Academy....talks about changes in ATF/LTE driving policy. Also talking about how HA leadership is now seeking more feedback from interns via weekly meetings and other regular evaluations. Mentions existence of "whistleblower" number available for current interns to anonymously report problems at the Honor Academy.

9:15 PM - Dave is talking about how discipline policy at the Honor Academy has changed over the years....says the discipline policy has gone from a "zero-tolerance" policy of immediate dismissal to a more lenient system that involves probation before dismissal.

9:17 PM - Dave Hasz is still speaking. Talking about how the Pike's Peek LTE has participants have to do a qualifying test before actually participating in the event. Also saying that ESOAL has changed "dramatically"....only changes mentioned right now seem to be smaller, tighter platoon leadership structure.

9:19 PM - Dave Hasz is now talking about maximum number of work hours for interns....says there will now be a system of "over/under weeks" based on the department that the intern works in. Says work hours will be limited to "a reasonable number of hours," but doesn't mention what that number is. Also, says that interns will have no more than 4 weeks per year where they have to work an "over" week with required overtime.

9:22 PM - Dave starts addressing e-mailed questions. Starts off with a question about whether or not the Honor Ring system is biblical. Dave doesn't seem to have any problems with it....compares it to a wedding ring....rings "remind you of the commitment you've made to live an honorable lifestlye." Says that a person's value isn't determined by an Honor Ring.

9:24 PM - Dave Hasz reports that the conference call is limited to 100 people...says the "technology company did not inform Teen Mania of the limitation."

9:25 PM - Dave Hasz starts addressing some of Teen Mania Watch's questions. Says that the practice of opening shower curtains is not specifically condoned by TMM leadership (seems afraid to say the word "masturbating" on the call, replacing it with "involved in sexual activity"). Addresses vegetarian question...says that vegetarian interns have plenty of accommodations available to them. Vegetarians/vegans may be forced to eat meat on mission trips.

9:27 PM - Dave Hasz now answeing questions in rapid-fire succession. Says that he doesn't see why ESOAL isn't scriptural.

9:32 PM - Dave Hasz addressing the "yes, man" atmosphere at Teen Mania. Saying the issues have been addressed, interns can now provide feedback.

9:33 PM - Dave announces that an overflow number is available for people who couldn't get on the call. If you're still trying to call in, try this new number: (218)936-6581 and use PIN: 14601.

9:35 PM - Dave says that medics are available 24/7 during ESOAL. Says, "interestingly, this year, there were no interns that needed ambulatory care." Seems like it shouldn't be "interesting" that no one needed an ambulance. Says that mental health professionals are NOT available during ESOAL....but "life coaches" are.

9:40 PM - Someone asked about what third parties have oversight over the Honor Academy? Dave claims not to know what the participant was asking...says that TMM is accountable to the ECFA, the IRS, and the Board of Directors. Dave says he personally is accountable to parents and intern. Says there is "no legal third-party oversight of the Teen Mania Honor Academy."

9:42 PM - Dave addresses our question about sleep. Says there is no minimum number of hours interns are guaranteed for sleep. Says that often sleep deprivation is the result of interns signing up for "extra-curricular activities" like Potter's Desire, and because "who wants to sleep when stuff is going on".

9:45 PM - Dave addresses questions of pay cuts. Says that leadership did take pay cuts, won't specifically say how much.

9:46 PM - Dave addresses question of stray animals on campus. Says that Teen Mania does indeed shoot and kill stray animals on campus. Says that a "trained marksmen" is responsible for this. Just sent a few follow-up questions on this...will see if he responds.

9:48 PM - Dave talks about "aura of a statesman" issue. Says that the standards only apply "sometimes"....seems to be saying interns have taken his teachings out of context.

9:50 PM - Question of reparations is raised by a former intern. Dave apologizes extensively for the hurt that Teen Mania caused...admits that people have been hurt by Teen Mania...but makes no mention of paying for anyone's counseling or any other reparations by hurt interns.

9:54 PM - Dave addresses the relationship between Teen Mania and his rental property. Says there is an "extensive process" that Teen Mania goes through to avoid conflict of interest. Says he is responsible financially for major repairs on his rental properties. Categorically states that no interns, paid or unpaid, were involved in building his house.

9:58 PM - A participant asked a question about why donations can't be returned if interns decide to leave. Dave Hasz claims that they have tried to work with the IRS to be able to return donations, but there is "just no way." Teen Mania Watch will be researching this claim further this week.

10:03 PM - Dave answers real estate questions...seems irritated that people were looking into his land records. Very condescending...admits to being "flippant" because there was "absolutely nothing improper" going on. Says no TMM money was used to pay off his properties.

10:04 PM - Dave Hasz clearly states that the Honor Academy is NOT for everyone...despite the fact that HA callers are encouraged to tell pretty much everyone they speak with that "God is calling them" to the Honor Academy.

10:07 PM - Dave Hasz briefly touches on ATF driving again...again states that policies have been changed and there are no problems anymore.

10:10 PM - Dave claims he doesn't make anywhere near $80k in rental income from Teen Mania...even though IRS records clearly indicate he collects over $78k in rental income each year. Teen Mania Watch will be posting further documentation of this in the near future.

10:14 PM - Dave claims that medical and psychological professionals have observed and approved of ESOAL, but he "isn't going to make those names public." He also says "There comes a point in time where you either trust the Honor Academy, or you don't." Sorry Dave...we don't. :(

10:16 PM - Dave seems to be mocking the question of "Has a medical professional looked at corporate exercise and determined the expectations are reasonable and safe?" Says that no, he has not...and again, you just need to "trust the Honor Academy." Dave seems to be getting snippier and more defensive as the call goes on.

10:18 PM - Dave denies that interns who are sick or injured are made to feel like "lesser questions." Says that he doesn't know where the allegations that people are treated like lesser Christians because they are sick are coming from.

10:20 PM - Dave says he had said "beat your body and make it your slave" just once over the past year. Says he makes it clear that physical fitness does NOT equal spiritual fitness. Says he doesn't know where these allegations come from.

10:22 PM - Dave says he has never counseled an intern to not go to a doctor or not take medication. Says that the allegations are false. Also says that prayer is encouraged in addition to seeking medical attention.

10:23 PM - Dave is talking about how a clinic shuttle runs Monday-Friday for interns to seek medical care.

10:24 PM - "Why do you tell interns that you can sleep when you're dead?" Says that he has on occasion said that, but basically says "that's not what I really meant," and he also claims he now encourages interns to sleep.

10:26 PM - "Who exactly is the Honor Academy for?" It's for people who want to be challenged or pushed, not for people who are already "psychologically broken" or for people who "need rehabilitation." Dave says "we are not equipped to help those people."

10:29 PM - Dave talking about how the Honor Council is biblical....says it is "merciful." :-/

10:31 PM - Dave specifically says that Teen Mania doesn't tell teens that it is "God's will" for them to be in the Honor Academy. Will post specific proof of the falsehood of these claims soon.

10:34 PM - Dave answering questions about "orange block."

10:36 PM - Dave finishes answering e-mailed questions, announces one minute Q&A to follow.

Unfortunately, the call is still going and it looks like it will be for quite some time. This blogger has family obligations and has to discontinue live-blogging at this point....but not to worry. In the next 24 hours, we'll be posting a recording of the call, along with a complete "fact check" and analysis of what Dave Hasz has said. If you haven't already, subscribe to Teen Mania Watch's RSS feed for the latest updates and information.


  1. I have started an online chat at for those that would like to participate during the conference call.

  2. thanks for starting the chat, shannon!

  3. Download the Conference Call audio recording here: