UPDATE: Gwen Shaw died Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at the cult’s headquarters near Jasper, Arkansas.
|“What is love? Love is the theme of the universe, the symphony of heaven, the
inspiration of life, the power of creation, the life of all we see and know…” (Gwen Shaw, “Love, the Law of
the Angels”, pg. 2)
“And love is the theme song of the universe…It is the melody of heaven…Love is that melody that will vibrate
across the entire universe…Love is the divine symphony of eternity.” (New Age author Annalee Skarin , “Ye Are
Gods”, pgs. 177, 180.)
In the early 1970's Mrs. Gwen Shaw (then Gwen Schmidt) founded the End-Time Handmaidens.
("Servants" was added several years later after men expressed interest in joining.) Joel 2:28-29 is the
basis for this cult's name. At the time, she lived in Chicago. She married James v. D. Shaw, and around 1974 settled
her cult in the northwest corner of Arkansas, just south of the town of Jasper. (Address: PO Box 447, Jasper, AR
72641; Tel.: 870-446-2252) The estate is comprised of 340 acres of mostly wooded land in a valley that is labeled
"The Grand Canyon of the Ozarks.” The small amount of acreage that is cleared is occupied by 5 houses, 2 garages,
a large dormitory that also houses a chapel and dining room/ kitchen, a barn, and a pasture for livestock. (Circa
This area of Arkansas is home to other cults and aberrant groups. In the early
1980s on a bridge just outside of Jasper, two members of F.O.U. (Foundation of Ubiquity) killed themselves before
a crowd. They had stated that they would resurrect within three days. "The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm
of the Lord" is located near the Arkansas-Missouri border, and believers in the Book of Urantia are sprinkled
throughout the Jasper area.
This cult's appearance is
that of a Christian missionary organization, and calls itself "A Ministry to the Family, A Ministry to the
Nations." However, as the reader will learn, it is actually a New Age based cult of personality that revolves
around the teachings and demonic magnetism of Gwen Shaw.
On December 13, 1980, while living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I accepted Jesus Christ
as my Lord and Savior and began my life as a Christian. At this time, my mother was just beginning to attend meetings
of the End-Time Handmaidens in the Columbus, Ohio area. My first contact with this cult was Thanksgiving weekend
in 1981 in Brighton, Michigan. My mother traveled north for this series of meetings and I joined her for an afternoon
meeting. A small series of meetings were scheduled in Detroit in the spring of 1982 and my mother was in attendance.
I attended one of them. It was after this series of meetings that things began to change for my mother, my entire
family, and myself.
A few days after these meetings, my mother telephoned me. She said she was in
Iowa with Gwen and Jim. Mrs. Shaw had asked her to travel with them from Michigan to Iowa and Mom accepted this
invitation. Mom told me that one night before she went to sleep, she saw Mrs. Shaw's "angel" come over
to her (my mom) and kiss her on the forehead. Mom said that this "angel" looked like Mrs. Shaw and, after
telling Mrs. Shaw about it the next morning, was told that it was indeed her "guardian angel" and that
many times a person's "guardian angel" resembles the person they are a "guardian" for. I now
know that there is no Scriptural basis for any of Mrs. Shaw's statements concerning these alleged "angels"
and I am quite convinced that the "kiss" from this angel placed my mom in a position of influence to
demonic spirits. At other times in my association with this cult, I heard stories of "angels", and can
find no evidence from the Bible that would verify the fact that these appearances and teachings are doctrinally
correct. (On a related note, there were instances when a living person's spirit was allegedly seen with others
- in the absence of said person's body - and also reports that our spirits can go and minister to others, and be
seen by those that are being ministered to.)
"Angels" are a significant part of this cult. The End-Time Handmaidens
and Servants’ (E.T.H. & S.) logo is an angel with an hourglass. In addition, one of the key Scriptures for
this cult is Rev. 10:5,6 which speaks of an angel. The name of the property on which this cult has its headquarters
is Engeltal (German for "angel valley”). One of Mrs. Shaw's books is titled Our Ministering Angels
and contains references from the Apocrypha as well as many totally unscriptural teachings and ideas on angels.
Concerning Engeltal - and in light of my experiences there - I do not doubt that it is a valley full of angels
- FALLEN ANGELS!
Lastly, Mrs. Shaw's most significant book, which all cult members are expected
to read, is The Law of Angels (currently titled Love: The Law of Angels). I will write more about
this book later. When I think of how others and myself were treated while in this cult, I can only feel outrage
that this cult dares to make a mockery of the word "love". It makes about as much sense as a prostitute
writing a book on marital fidelity or a cannibal writing a book on cooking!
In the summer of 1982 I attended my first E.T.H.& S. World Convention, held
annually over the July 4th holiday in St Louis, MO. These conventions used to last about 5 days and maintain a
very busy schedule. Meetings started at 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., sometimes lasting
until 11:00 p.m. or later. It is an exhausting schedule (many meetings run past the starting time of the next meeting)
and Mrs. Shaw repeatedly reminds those in attendance that feeling tired is an indication of spiritual weakness.
Maintaining physically exhausting schedules and a resulting lack of sleep is a major trait of this cult both at
meetings and especially at cult headquarters.
Bible teaching by Mrs. Shaw and others, and messages by speakers not formally
a part of E.T.H.& S., make up most of the messages delivered at these conventions. From 1982-2004 the following
have spoken at this cult’s World Convention: Jim Goll, Dick Reuben, Fuchsia Pickett, Juan Carlos Escobar (V.P.
of Assembly of God, Spain), Kelley Varner, Dutch Sheets, Peter Marshall and David Manuel (authors of “The Light
and the Glory” series), Benny and Suzanne Hinn (Shaw has appeared several times on Hinn’s “This Is Your Day” program.
Suzanne Hinn is herself a member of this cult. Her over 100 pound weight loss in the past few years may be attributed
to her change in diet and the fact that one has to fast 21 days on liquids to join this cult.), Ray Harthern (Suzanne
Hinn’s father), Steve Brock, Cindy Jacobs, Wes and Stacy Campbell, Tommy Tenney, George Otis Jr., Chuck Pierce,
C. Peter Wagner, Michael Utterback (International Director of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem),
Mona Johnian, John Hinkle, Ruth Heflin, Bob Shattles, Randy Clark, John Arnott, Michael Brown, Derek Kuhn, and
Derek Prince. Mrs. Shaw is especially fond of having people speak who claim they have been to either heaven or
hell, and also anybody who can talk of anything to do with the supernatural - as long as it is Scripturally valid
(in Mrs. Shaw's opinion). These have included Roberts Liardon, Betty Malz, Howard Pittman, Aline Baxley, Richard
Eby, and Percy Collett.
The highlight of the World Conventions is the taking of E.T.H.& S. vows. Anyone
over the age of 18 who has fasted on liquids for 21 days is permitted to take these vows and become an End-Time
Handmaiden or Servant. Anyone under 18 years old fasts 3 days on liquids. Some would consider this child abuse.
Those involved in this cult fast frequently and when coupled with the fact that the pace of these meetings is exhausting
(the work load at cult headquarters being even more so) it is only a matter of time before one's physically weakened
state places one in a very vulnerable spiritual condition. Deception occurs much easier.
|Benny Hinn and Gwen Shaw on stage at an End Time Handmaidens and
Servants World Convention.
During the vows ceremony, Mrs. Shaw personally prays for and lays hands on each
person. The vows taken promise total yieldedness to God; however, Mrs. Shaw uses these vows to her advantage by
subtly coercing people into doing her will.
The largest percentage of people involved in this cult are women who are either
divorced, married to unsaved husbands, are in rebellion to their Christian husbands, "church-hoppers",
domineering towards their husbands, or are bitter toward men. Their loyalty and admiration for Shaw can be extreme
to the point of idolatrous. In a posting under the “Tributes to Sister Gwen” section (no longer available) of the
cult’s own site, Alyson Leslie on 12/05/00 wrote “All the space on all the Internet isn’t enough to record all
the impact your life has had for furtherance (sic) of the Gospel and the extension of the Kingdom of God.” (Copy
Mrs. Shaw's preaching encourages women (and men) to do what they feel God wants
them to do, regardless of what marital or familial obligations exist. As a result, divorce and division within
families and churches are prevalent. Since leaving this cult, God, through His Word, has helped me to see in exactly
what areas this cult strays from the Bible. In regards to the attitude Mrs. Shaw conveys to women and their relationship
to their husbands, I would have to say that the complete, exact antithesis of 1 Peter 3:1,2 and Titus 2:3-5 best
describes her doctrine. These two passages are totally contrary to her teaching and life-style.
When I was a member, the average attendance at this convention was between 1500
and 2000 people, with the total number of people receiving this cult's twice yearly news bulletin in excess of
37,000 (circa 1988.)
In the spring of 1983, while Mrs. Shaw was speaking in the Central Ohio area,
I attended another of her meetings. She asked me when I was going to do a 21 day fast to join E.T.H.& S., and
I agreed to start then. I learned a few moments later that someone else was fasting and praying that I would start
this fast. I completed the fast.
On June 18, 1983 I moved to Niagara Falls, New York to help remodel a house to
be used by E.T.H.& S. It was during my seven month stay there that I learned of the true nature of Mrs. Shaw's
writings and teachings. While visiting the home of an acquaintance of Mrs. Shaw in Ontario, Canada, I came across
the writings of Annalee Skarin. My first reaction to them was they could not possibly be Scriptural since they
contained quotes from the book of Mormon. However, I respected the opinions of those who I was with, and reasoned
that I would eventually come to the understanding that they were okay. I was told Mrs. Shaw had read all Skarin’s
writings and that her book Love: The Law of the Angels was based on them. Less than a year later, Mrs. Shaw
affirmed to me that this was true. She also stated that when she first started incorporating them into her teaching
in the early 1970's that many people (who had heard Annalee Skarin speak) said that Mrs. Shaw sounded a lot like
The writings of Annalee Skarin (available through DeVorss Publishing Co., "Metaphysical
Capital of the World," Marina Del Rey, California) are theosophical and also incorporate verses from Mormon
writings, the Hindu Vedas, and the Bible. Mrs. Skarin wrote 9 books, one of which was written under the pen name
of Christine Mercie. After her first book, Ye Are Gods, was written in 1952, it is claimed that she (and
later her husband, Reason) received her glorified body and since then she has been able to travel unhindered by
"mortal boundaries" and limitations. Her literary agent, George Morris of Salt Lake City, Utah told me
in 1988 that Mrs. Skarin never officially left the Mormon Church (Skarin also died in 1988.)
Mrs. Shaw told me that she had sold Mrs. Skarin's books to a small number of people.
She said she was very careful about whom she introduced these books to since, in her words, "not all people
can handle the deeper truths." On her tape, "Share My Burden," Mrs. Shaw mentions a book she was
reading in bed. She claims that God told her as she read that He "did not intend for anybody to go through
this life alone." She told me personally that the book she was reading was one by Mrs. Skarin. I realize now
the unlikelihood that it was really God that spoke to her as she read. Mrs. Shaw also told me that The Law of
the Angels is based on the writings of Mrs. Skarin, particularly the book "Ye Are Gods." The title
itself is also the name of a chapter from Mrs. Skarin's book Man Triumphant." (Gary Peattie of DeVorss,
on May 20, 2001, verified that Shaw had indeed plagerized from Skarin.)
Two other books by Mrs. Shaw in which the titles of Mrs. Skarin's books appear
are: Pour Out Your Heart, in which the phrase "beyond
mortal boundaries" occurs, and Daily Preparations for Perfection
in which the phrase "secrets of eternity" occurs. I have never read all of Mrs. Shaw's books, but I am sure that there are many
other phrases from Mrs. Skarin's books incorporated into her books. Ex-Mormons who are now Christians have said
that Mrs. Shaw's writings contain Mormon doctrine. No doubt many people who are currently Mormons would agree as
some of Mrs. Shaw's books are sold in Salt Lake City. (Note: This cult's publishing name is Engeltal Press and
they are represented each year at the Christian Bookseller Association's Annual Convention. One book of note that
they publish which is not by Mrs. Shaw is the abridged version of Paradise the Holy City, and the Glory of the
Throne. The unabridged manuscript states that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah.)
Shaw's "The Tribes Of Israel" asserts that each Christian is a member
of 1 of 13 different "spiritual" tribes that correspond to the 13 "natural" tribes of Israel
in Old Testament times.
Below are a few examples of Mrs. Shaw's unbiblical teachings and statements that
are either on tapes or have been personally heard by others or myself at Engeltal and other places where no tape
was made: ·
- Her tape "Embrace the Sword in Your Life" repeats themes mentioned
in the first half of Mrs. Skarin's book Ye Are Gods.
- She stated that "the bride of Christ" will be perfected in Heaven during
a morning chapel service at Engeltal.
- Said that some people's good works are honored by God for salvation during another
- Personally told me that the spirit of a former E.T.H. visited her in her bedroom
for three days following that person's death, and that she held conversations with this person's spirit. Proof
of Shaw's necromancy practices were recently obtained in a bi-weekly "Prayer Letter" sent out by the
cult's headquarters. Scroll down to the "From Doreen" section to read of Shaw's "visitation" by her dead husband, James von Doornum
Shaw (born June 15, 1919, died March 5, 2007.)
- Sarah Wilson (not her real name) told me that Mrs. Shaw told her that she (Mrs.
Shaw) remembered being with God before she was born.
- Stated in a meeting in Niagara Falls in October 1983 that we are all "little
gods." (tape was not released to the public).
- "Prophesied" in the Spring of 1988 that Ronald Reagan would be the
last U.S. President.
- Said in her office that the last great move of God would be through women.
Below are quotes by Shaw from various books and publications:
“The next city in which the tent went up was Moradabad (India)…When I gave the
altar call, many, many came. They had seen the eye of God on the tent wall behind me when I gave the altar call.”
(Shaw’s autobiography “Unconditional Surrender”, pg. 184)
“God is not only “male”, He is “female”. One of His names is El-Shaddai, which
means “Mother-God”…He is both male and female…So when God created Adam, He made him like himself, creating in him
the male and female characteristics.” (“Love, the Law of the Angels”, pg.67)“
"If God created man male and female, it was because bisexuality somehow belongs
to His own nature.” (ibid, pg.165)
"Scientists lately have been making an extensive study about blood because
they saw there is something peculiar and supernatural about blood. They have come to this conclusion: that blood
is congealed light. It is light that has become solidified. In other words, in the body of man there are veins
and these veins are flowing with a red substance which is none other than light. Light that has mystically become
congealed.” (ibid, pg. 106)
“And when God saw this light He said, ‘ IT’S A NEW DAY!’…It was the origin of
all God’s creational works…You and I were there that day to see it, but we don’t remember. However, God tried to
remind Job when He said, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? …When the morning stars sang
together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy!’ (Job 38:4,7) Some day we will remember what we saw on that glorious
day of splendor and beauty…” (ibid, pg. 133)
“We were created to be ‘gods’ ruling over the universe as joint heirs with Christ…”
(ibid, pg. 107)“Do you know, it is strange that Paul never tells a woman to LOVE her husband?” (ibid, pg.73)
“Cry out to God to give you an appointment to fast. If Jesus had to fast to overcome
Satan in the wilderness so that He could begin His ministry, how much more do we need that anointing that comes
through fasting.” (The End-Time Handmaidens and Servants Magazine, March 2004, “The Anointing Breaks the Yoke”,
“Jesus learned to know the Father through His suffering while He was a man on
earth. It wasn’t in Heaven, where everything was peaceful and beautiful and without pain, but rather, it was while
He was on earth, when He suffered at the hands of man, that He learned to know Him in a way He had never known
Him in the eternity of the past. So it is with us – it is only through suffering that we are able to be drawn very
close to God.” (ibid, April, 1999, “Suffering Helps Us To Know the Father More Intimately”, pg. 4)
When I compare Mrs. Shaw's personal descriptions to me about how she wrote her
books with what I have read about the book God Calling, I am quite sure that she, too, practices automatic
handwriting. She had been told several times about the errancy of God Calling, but continued to endorse
and sell it as recently as 1988, and I now understand why.
I left Niagara Falls in January, 1984 and returned to my parent's home in Ohio.
My mother and I visited Engeltal in early April to attend a wedding. While there, I was asked by Mrs. Shaw if I
could stay and help out for a few weeks. She would be traveling to Ohio with her husband and others and they could
take me home. I agreed to stay and help. I learned later that she and others had been praying for me to work there.
During those two weeks, I observed the way the headquarters operated and I honestly
thought it was an active pure work for God. Mrs. Shaw asked if I could stay until the World Convention in July
and I agreed to this also. Shortly before the convention I asked her if I could stay on indefinitely and she agreed.
I worked at this cult's headquarters until August 16, 1988.
From reading books on cults in the past few years, I realize the similarities
E.T.H.& S. shares with them. While at Engeltal, Mrs. Shaw repeatedly stated that all who have spoken out against
her or opposed her, have met with "judgment from God." A favorite Bible verse of hers to back up her
statements is in 1 Chronicles 16:22: "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." As far as
I know, no one has ever tried to physically harm ("touch") her and I definitely know that she is no prophet.
She repeatedly stated that all who leave E.T.H.& S. are in danger of going into "spiritual darkness."
We (staff size was about 25) were told that we would be in great spiritual danger if we left Engeltal when it was
not the will of God for us to do so.
On two occasions she had "dreams from the Lord" that one of us would
die or be killed if we left. Both of these "dreams" occurred a day or two before people actually did
leave. (No deaths occurred.)
Work went on at least 6 days a week, sometimes 7, and often lasted until midnight
or later. We were told when we could and could not fast, and often were advised that we needed to go on a fast
by Mrs. Shaw. She liked to know as much about all aspects of a person's life and also their personal thoughts and
opinions as possible. She even probed into the sexual lives of married couples. We were required to let those in
authority know if we wished to leave the property, and also had our telephone conversations listened to on numerous
occasions by Mrs. Shaw. Secrecy permeated all aspects of operation at Engeltal, especially when Mrs. Shaw was sick.
For some reason, we were not supposed to let others know if she became ill. This policy and the secrecy that was
so prevalent in general was clearly in line with her tape "Keeping God's Secrets."
Sin was often dealt with from the daily chapel pulpit or at other times when the
entire staff was present. If one had a complaint about someone else's sin towards oneself, one was told to learn
to live with it. Nothing was done to correct the action. I have realized more and more since I left that almost
nothing was conducted in a Biblical manner while I was there.
Mrs. Shaw's relationship to the staff members kept us on an emotional yo-yo. Manipulation,
flattery, condemnation and guilt were all used by her to keep people under her control. To be psychoanalyzed publicly
by the leadership was infuriatingly common. Personal disagreement to this was considered rebellion. The worst thing
of all was her ability to somehow know how to find a weakness in one's beliefs and introduce her own opinion that
she felt would be good to accept. Related to this is Mrs. Shaw's relationship with a staff member named Cindy (name
changed), who still stays at Engeltal from time to time. This woman has a familiar spirit (as described in 1 Samuel
28 and Acts 16) and Mrs. Shaw uses her to find out information from people. Cindy was encouraged by Mrs. Shaw in
her (Cindy's) interest in me as a boyfriend. I was repulsed and outraged when I found out the following information:
since 1985 (at the very latest) Mrs. Shaw also knew that Cindy is a hermaphrodite! If Mrs. Shaw's knowledge of
this, along with her encouragement to Cindy with regard to me doesn't say anything about Mrs. Shaw's perverted
nature, then nothing does.
I left Engeltal on August 16, 1988. Several other people left the next week. We
were all viciously lied about by Mrs. Shaw and it was told to the remaining staff by Mrs. Shaw that we were all
demon possessed and, additionally, all the women who left were suffering from menopause! God has ministered to
me since then through His Word, prayer, the fellowship of a few caring Christian friends and relatives, and books
on cults. I no longer fear this woman, but I am amazed at her deceptive power and control over people, especially
considering the fact that she has very few underlings to assist her.
Since leaving I have found out that Mrs. Shaw recommended divorce to three of
the wives of couples that used to work in the headquarters. I have also learned that one of the people who left
heard Mrs. Shaw's voice clearly speak to them when Mrs. Shaw was not physically present - a common occurrence among
Wiccans - and also that another person had Mrs. Shaw appear repeatedly to them in dreams to give them instructions
about various situations. Both accounts are demonic in nature to be sure. I have also been told of: eyewitness
accounts of misappropriation of monetary donations, the existence of Swiss bank accounts, the fact that all of
the buildings and property are under Mr. Shaw's name and not, as stated publicly, the property of E.T.H.& S.
Mrs. Shaw often said that God told her He had given her Engeltal and that if she
ever used it for her own use He would take it from her. It may be debated if God ever said this to her, yet part
of Engeltal was taken from her in November, 1990. Fire totally destroyed a large building on the property. The
entire printing department, offices, warehouse, tape duplicating department, and shipping and receiving departments
were destroyed. A former worker was accused by Mrs. Shaw of starting this fire.
This cult is still active and has rebuilt its print shop. They also own a house
in Jerusalem, Israel, that they have named "House Of Peace". Until now, no one has ever been able to
discredit Mrs. Shaw and reveal the truth about this cult. This has largely been due to the fact that Mrs. Shaw
has been successful at ruining the reputations of those who confront her with truth. I hope and pray that as many
people as possible will read this report. I do not believe a mentally competent person in this cult could read
what I have written and choose to remain in bondage. May those of us who have been set free by the Son pray for
the deliverance of those who are caught in this snare of Satan.
There is much more that I could tell about Mrs. Shaw and this cult, but I feel
that what I have reported is sufficient. Whether or not Mrs. Shaw will ever repent of her sorceries is yet to be
seen. Until this ever happens we must pray against the demon spirits that control her and function through her,
and for the people that they have under their control. I would appreciate your prayers for my family and myself
“All in all, with its doctrinal ambiguity, theological aberrations, unscriptural
emphasis on the supernatural experiences and prophetical and mystical leanings, the End-Time Handmaidens is an
attraction for the spiritually naïve and undiscerning. The foundation of the group is far-removed from the
bedrock of Christian orthodoxy. ETH is just another “end time” delusion. It has a confusing message of salvation,
with people only committing to Gwen Shaw’s control and her plethora of false teachings and teachers.” (“End Time
Handmaidens – A Ministry for the Last Days or ‘End Time’ Delusion?”, by M. Kurt Goedelman with G. Richard Fisher,
The Quarterly Journal, vol.14, no.3, from the ministry of Personal Freedom Outreach, P.O. Box 26062, St. Louis,
MO, 63136, (314) 388-2648, http://www.pfo.org
You may also contact Jubilee Radio Network, 85 Founders Lane, St. Louis, MO 63105
(800) 737-0172. Ask for "Issues, Etc." tape #2-113.
Churches that Abuse, by Ronald M. Enroth (Zondervan Publishing House) greatly
helped me and I cannot recommend it too highly. (The entire book can be read online here).
As a former member of this cult, the reasons I have written this report are:
1.To let people know how others and myself were treated while working at this
2. Because I can no longer agree with or keep silent about Shaw’s unscriptural
teachings based on New Age writings.
3. Because of the pain that Shaw’s cult has caused in my life, the life of my
family, my parent’s marriage (now ended in divorce directly because of this cult) and in the lives of untold numbers
of people throughout the world.
4. So that those within this cult and ESPECIALLY those who are thinking of joining
this cult will know the TRUTH about this cult.
May God give all who read this report an insatiable love, hunger and reverence
for His Holy Word.
Author: Mark Scheiderer firstname.lastname@example.org
(This report was originally distributed in February, 1992 and has been updated
and reformatted in July, 2000; December, 2002; October, 2004; and October, 2009.)