Monday, February 09, 2004

Amusing 1988 Steve Johnson Quote: "I don’t want to own anything. I want all of my real estate to be invested in heaven."
Dave Anderson from RightCyber Up dug this up and posted this on the ICC DF.

In light of the pictures of Steve Johnson's home now posted on this Forum, I thought many of you would find this Steve Johnson quote quite interesting:

"If you walked by faith instead of financial security, that would be utterly shocking. It says we’re justified by our faith. See, I walk by faith in that area – I’m really blessed, I’ll just be candid with you guys – the church takes care of Lisa and me. We’re paid enough to live on, and we don’t go hungry. And so for us we’re constantly looking for ways to sacrifice so we can feel a little bit of pain. But the church is very, very kind. But I don’t know what it’s like to live by faith and not financial security. We don’t have a savings account. We don’t have CDs – either kind. I don’t think that’s wrong, to have a CD, but – I mean, all I’m saying is, I want the day I die not to own any property. I don’t want to own anything. I want all of my real estate to be invested in heaven. Now, I’m not saying it’s a sin if you own something – don’t get me wrong. But, what kind of safety nets are you holding out there? ‘If this doesn’t work, I’ve been smart. I didn’t give it all. Didn’t sell the ranch.’

"See, somebody falls away, ‘Boy, he bought the farm. You know, but shoot, he gave it all away. He fell – if he hadn’t given it all to the church, when he fell away, he’d have something now – boy, I’d won’t make that mistake.’ You say, ‘Well, I’d never say anything like that.’ I think a lot of you – you might not be planning your falling away retirement fund. But you’ve got it. I think it’d be shocking if you walked by faith, in your financial security."

Steve Johnson, Jesus Was Not a Nice Guy, New York City, audiotape, 1988.

A Yacht Party
Some interesting info from Gracie on ICC DF. Larry Salberg was a former Orthodox Jew who started doubting Jesus as an ICOC minister.

Just as a bit of interesting info: on the deal; the 'investors' had a party celebrating their earnings on a yacht with Steve Johnson.

I saw the pictures; the only ones there were those who had invested. Larry and Jennifer Salberg were among them.


Boring, whiny Kip Article
My God Kip, shut up already.

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Saturday, February 07, 2004

An Insider's Open Letter to Steve Johnson - Ken Carlstedt
Read on. From ICC DF. Ken Carlstedt and his wife Jeri assisted the Johnsons for many years in the NYC church, and have seen more of the Johnsons' lifestyle than most people. Thus his words hold much weight not just in terms of its moral indignation but his personal knowledge of SJ's life.

Also referenced are SJ's deceitful comments about himself as a "poor preacher," not only to the church but also to a City Beat reporter. Full text article is included.

After two decades of amassing a fortune while leading the New York Church of Christ, Steve Johnson is technically now a millionaire-- since the equity on his house alone is just shy of a million.

With the on-line heat coming down hard on Steve, he's about to hurriedly skip town with his loot to lead and direct the finances of an unsuspecting church in Savannah, Georgia.

In this atmosphere, insider Ken Carlstedt posted a powerful letter on one of the many threads discussing Steve's shady dealings and luxurious lifestyle.

The thread is called

Steve Johnson: 'My house is kinda junky.'

Ken Carlstedt was responding to an old newspaper article I dug out and posted. In this article, Steve Johnson slickly and deceptively claimed to be living a modest lifestyle, with no misappropriation of funds, etc.

Ken's letter was/is so powerful and credible in the way it calls Steve on his b.s.---i.e. the letter's damaging truth comes from a high-up insider/confidante of Steve Johnson's, not an oustide observer like myself.

As such, Ken's letter deserves a thread of its own. Here goes:

-------------------AN OPEN LETTER FROM KEN CARLSTEDT----------------
---------------------------TO STEVE JOHNSON-----------------------

Dear Steve J.,

This message is directly to you, not really a response to the poster.

Steve, do you understand the deception you practiced? If so, you have never confessed openly, so I will help you see it, again.

Let's keep it simple. 'When the impression you work hard to give is intended to cover up reality, that is called deception.'

Steve, you remember that you intentionally planted too many trees and shrubs in front of your house, and let things get overgrown, even with Buzz around who is an excellent gardener and had indeed done miraculous gardening at his house.

You did this specifically to make it look like a normal little house, or even a bit quirky and less than normal, that certainly wouldn't look like anything 'special' or 'lavish' from the front. You worked hard to create that impression.

You will remember that one of the things that pleased you about that particular house, back when we all moved to Rockland together in the early and mid-1990's, was that it had an appearance from the front as a modest little house. You and Lisa were glad to find a house that 'looked small from the street' because you believed this would help shield you and your family from the questions that were coming up about the apartment on 98th street, the lavish decorations provided for you mostly free of charge from you know who, the 'intricate' but probably fully legal (since minor shadings of the truth are rarely prosecutable) ways that you and he financed it, etc.

'You dreaded those questions then as you are dreading the questions in the past year. Don't you see the pattern here? What does it mean when someone gets defensive? Remind yourself of your own teachings, and heal thyself.

Steve, you do remember that in close proximity to the time you were on the phone giving the interview referenced in this thread, there were stoneworkers, construction people, cement pourers, fireplace experts, and other kinds of work being done, on the back of the house, out of site from the street. Or, at least, you were well into the planning stages of how to put your investment gains into your house.

You need to be in touch with reality enough to remember that these home improvements cost you in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do we need to name names, and quote prices paid, to help you remember?

Steve, why are you willing to give the impression of running and hiding out? Could it be that you ARE running and hiding out again, without admitting this even to yourself?

Steve, please come forward openly and publicly, as you committed personally to me that you would do, about one year ago almost to this day, in my basement, about everything.

At the very least, if you can't bring yourself to come clean about everything, then come clean about these specific issues. Open up publicly about the improvements you made to your home and the money you used to make them. Give all the details, don't hold anything back. You see, when you are a public leader accepting public money as pay (church members are the public in this case), then the public does indeed have a right to know your finances, especially given the clear impression of impropriety.

Do you understand there is a clear impression of impropriety here? You need to, if you don't. It doesn't matter that some of your best friends are telling you to not worry about it. You need to ignore them and do the right thing.

More than that: 'When the impression you are working hard to give is intended to cover up reality, that is called deception.'

You will likely loose your soul if you continue refusing to come clean. Whatever you do or don't do, I will pray that God will be merciful to you, but my hope for you is not strong if you persist. You know the right thing to do and have refused to do it, wreaking havoc around you, exactly and precisely as we discussed a year ago.

Steve, I am not persecuting you. You are simply in need of coming clean. You and I both know it, and so many others who know you well know it. Telling you that truth is the best thing I can do for you.

Summarize it for yourself, it may be easier to see that way. Say it to yourself: 'I was a minister in a rapidly growing, dynamic, financially-surging organization. Lots and lots of perks came my way because of my position in the organization and because of the way I was discipled, and chose to follow, to handle people around me in that position.'

Steve, just come clean about all this, it's so simple. Perhaps most people could still forgive you, although I can speak for no one but myself.

Lots of love,



Here's a link to Ken's letter in the context of the thread:

Here's a link to the initial post Ken was responding to:

Finally, here's a transcript of that initial post:


STEVE JOHNSON: My house is kind of junky.

... or so he put it to a reporter in 2000 while defending his ownership of the house currently being discussed on the forum———the fireplace in-the-bathroom digs now featured in photos being viewed on the forum.

It's from an article I dug out of the TOLC files.

In the same article, Steve Johnson also plays the role of the poor preacher with other comments:

1) Regarding his unimpressive cars———one that he's forced to share with his father-in-law; regarding other car, Steve sheepishly describes it this way:

It will go fast... when it's running.

2) Regarding the home itself: he bought it for only $123,000, and that was with help from my father-in-law;

3) Regarding his salary, he refuses to discuss it. Instead he ducks the question with the glib comeback, If I ever get rich, it won't be because of the church. It'll be because I won the lottery.

4) Regarding the uncomfortable questions being put to him over the phone, Steve jokingly compares himself to Jesus and the reporter to one of Jesus' crucifiers. Steve tell the reporter to hold on to the phone\ while he gets the reporter some more nails to crucify me with.


It's a classic

Here's the link:

Here's an excerpt:

CITY BEAT Reporter: (Steve Johnson) will get serious when talk turns to faith, or to allegations that he and other leaders in the church——— where weekly tithing is required———lead lavish lifestyles.

For several years, Johnson lived in a three-bedroom, 2,200-square foot condo on W. 98th St. that today would probably fetch more than $1 million. But Johnson said he never owned the apartment and moved out several years ago after the owner, a friend, 'went belly up in the real estate market and had to sell.'

Johnson bought a four-bedroom house in West Nyack, Rockland County, for a reported $123,000 with help from his father-in-law, he said. 'It's kind of junky,' said Johnson, an assertion not disproved by photographs. (Those are photos OF THE OUTSIDE, during the FALL OF 2000... DUDE)

Last week, workers could be seen repairing water damage to the two-story home. Outside were parked the three cars registered to Johnson: 1997 Ford Expedition, a 1975 pickup truck that Johnson said he shares with his father-in-law, and a 1989 Ford Mustang that Johnson said 'will go fast, when it's running.'

When asked, Johnson refused to detail his salary. But he did give this assurance: 'If I ever get rich, it won't be because of the church. It'll be because I won the lottery.'

Leadership Lifestyles

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Famous Fireplace in Steve Johnson's Bathroom
Paid for by us who were suckers in the NYCOC. Paid for by the BENEVOLENCE funds. Click "more pictures" to see YOUR fireplace in the NYC lead evangelist's bathroom. It's selling for almost One Million, by the way... I'd like to get my damn tithe back!!

Steve Johnson's home

Steve Johnson's fireplace in the bathroom

Remember how people packed themselves into nasty small apartments with 10 roommates? So we could pay tithe? THIS is what we paid for. Remember single moms? This is where the money went that they DIDN'T receive.

It is truly Disgusting.

Nothing angers me more than this kind of greed and hypocrisy. EVERYONE should see these pictures.

Apparently SJ put a bunch of money from some shady thing at (one of the Boston ICOC Board of Directors was a VP) to pay for renovations for the place. Check out the NYCOC and ICC DF threads on the issue and the SJ House:

NYCOC: Steve Johnson's home on sale for $1M!

NYCOC: Steve Johnson House -- photos

ICC DF: Is this REALLY Steve Johnson's house?


Interesting ICOC Stats site
I added a new link for a web site called It's written by a "faithful" ICC member, and interestingly enough leaves out the 2003 stats. Does anyone have numbers for any church in 2003?

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