What was not disclosed to the congregation and what many people still don't know is that most of what was found on Pastor Stephen Foster's phone was homosexual pornography. This information can be found in the legal court affidavits (here: https://www.scribd.com/document/341527137/Crystal-Lake-Police-Department-search-warrants) detailing everything that was found, sworn testimony from several Verizon employees and from law enforcement.
The bulk of what is detailed in the linked documents above is the Verizon employees testifying to seeing homosexual pornography, websites, and text conversations on Stephen's phone. These accounts date back to April 2016. Below are excerpts; the full account is found on pages 4-6 of the linked documents.
Employee 2 said “many of the text messages on the phone were of homosexual pornography.” Employee 2 also said that, in one of the photo galleries “the first twenty images he saw were of nude males from teenaged to thirty years old.” Employee 2 also testified that they interacted with 2 different phones – one of the phones was consistent with what would be appropriate for a pastor or a priest. The other phone, the first phone, had nothing on it that a “religious guy” would have. An additional employee, Employee 3, said that they saw text messages that were of “homosexual stuff.” Employee 2 also said that when they opened the phone there were“between sixty and eighty browser tabs open, and from what Employee 2 saw, they were all open on homosexual pornography sites.”
It may be possible to open homosexual websites or download homosexual pornography on someone's phone, but what I find really problematic is the idea that someone faked homosexual text conversations, least of Stephen's personal assistant (referred to below as PA). This is really difficult to do. And again, not a word about the homosexual content was breathed to the congregation. I would not have even known about it had I not read the court documents, which Stephen/Ldshp publicly told everyone not to do. Unfortunately a lot of people listened, and this is where extreme control plays a role. Remember, we were actually told that Sunday that all of this was fake news and persecution; it was made clear that this horrific "attack of the enemy" was evidence that Stephen/MSC were clearly making an impact for the Kingdom, etc.
But I couldn't shake my red flags. I was freaked out and I felt sick. I didn’t want anything bad to be true, but I couldn’t ignore what was staring me in the face. I got home that night and read the documents, and that was the beginning of the end for me.
There is an extreme degree of spiritual control and abuse at MSC. This is intense and even scary language, I know that, but we have to call it what it is. It’s very confusing because at times the love there is very real. People love Jesus. Some truth is taught. The worship is real. Our friendships were/are real. God can and does move through sinful and broken people and places. But when you start peeling back the curtain on what’s going on, it gets very scary the level of control that Stephen has over everyone. The closer to the top, the more under his control you are. I tried to convince myself otherwise for years because the very last thing I actually wanted to do was leave. The friendships I had there were some of the dearest friendships of my life. None of this was anything I wanted and I went out of my way to try to convince myself that it couldn't be true. But I couldn't.
All of this information is consistent with all of my and others' red flags and experiences over the years. Countless members have been to his home and seen the pictures of half-naked, buff men all over his house. Ripped men, topless, in underwear or unzipped jeans. Those pictures were there every time I went over there for countless meetings and holidays in all the years I was there. More people in the church have seen them than have not seen them. What we were always told was that he was trying to get in better shape and wanted to "keep the vision before him". Honestly, I became desensitized to it. I just didn’t think about it after awhile.
I remember the first time I went over there I was given the “Pastor is keeping the vision before him” talk, and everyone else didn’t seem bothered, and I trusted those people, so I let it go. Now, I realize it's gotten so bad that Stephen can be brazen in front of everyone and remain unquestioned. No more. We have to face the elephant in the room. Taking the fact that Stephen is the pastor out of the scenario, looking at things objectively, if anyone else had exhibited these kinds of behaviors for years and years, and then law enforcement found homosexual images, websites and conversations on their phone, what conclusion would you come to?
End Note #1: It is an incredible double-standard that it is 100% okay for the pastor of a church to have sexually provocative images of men hanging all over his home while the youth and young adults are screamed at in the front room about purity time and again. This is not God.
End Note #2: Homosexual pornography is not illegal. This is why hardly a word was spoken about it by the newspapers, why it doesn't come up with law enforcement, etc. They do not care, and rightly so. Their concern is children. That said, this is a huge moral failing for a pastor such as Stephen, who has outwardly said one thing (or many things) on the subject and privately is following a different set of convictions. This is the definition of hypocrisy, and another check mark in the "not above reproach" column.