He focused on the falsehoods that have been spread about both himself, former board member Bernt Aksel Larsen, and BCC, and addressed those who knowingly and deliberately spread these lies.
The topic of the broadcast on Saturday evening was actually something completely different, namely volunteering and the new donation model. Kåre J. Smith, and others with him, have been a driving force and role models in this area for many decades. Using their own time, their own resources, and their own money, they have added great value to the church both spiritually and materially. Not least, Kåre Smith has been a driving force for the vision behind the development of Brunstad being made a reality, which many thousands of Christians benefit from today.
Responds to spreading of lies
Despite this selfless effort for the good of the church over many decades, certain circles have fabricated and spread claims to the contrary, including on social media. False insinuations and allegations have also been circulated in the Norwegian and Dutch media, namely that Kåre J. Smith and Bernt Aksel Larsen had flagrantly defrauded the church and its members.
“BCC has the same financial controls with division of roles, auditing, and internal checks as Norwegian banks, listed companies, and other organisations. It has been thoroughly documented that no irregularities have been uncovered in our financial management, so the claims are both absurd and grossly incorrect,” says internal auditor Finn Å. Ødegård.
Smith also ridiculed the false claims, relating how he and Bernt Aksel Larsen have worked to contribute to the church financially, even though the newspapers write the opposite – before following up with a question to Larsen in a humorous tone, with cameras rolling: “And how much money have you stolen from the church, Bernt Aksel?”
Previously, on his blog, Larsen has referred to these media sources as a factory of lies, and doesn’t care for people who use their freedom of speech to lie about others.
Smith avails himself of his freedom of speech, bangs the big drum and emphatically proclaims that he will no longer accept “scumbags” carrying on in this manner. He couldn’t care less if this is politically correct or not.
Had a liberating effect
There was an audience of approx. 5,000 men in the hall during the annual brothers’ convention. What was said had a liberating effect among the audience, that the injustice we have witnessed over several years was clearly pointed out.
“Kåre J. Smith has always been an outspoken person with some colourful expressions, but that he tackled these falsehoods head-on is very timely,” says Trond Eivind Johnsen from the BCC Federation’s Secretariat.
“We are not talking about a confrontation with healthy criticism of religion, nor the role of the press in conducting investigative journalism, but a showdown with how several media sources have allowed themselves to be used by sources with a strong financial and personal self-interest in slandering him, Bernt Aksel and BCC.”
He points out that these sources and their associates have shown themselves willing to go to extreme lengths to spread lies about the church. “We have experienced being on the receiving end of influence campaigns, threats, and blackmail, while at the same time we have found our freedom of expression effectively stifled, so I’m glad Kåre J. Smith chooses not to hold his fire,” says Johnsen.
Light in a confused world
Later in the broadcast, the discussion turned to the task the church has in being a light in a world that has gone astray, where selfish desires are often placed higher than God. People who come to us at BCC, should know that what we work for is to do what God wants done on earth.
BCC has refuted these false claims for several years, but is aware that they still live on in some quarters. Communications manager at BCC, Berit Hustad Nilsen, makes it clear that letting such things pass is out of the question:
“It is alarming how such undocumented claims are allowed to live on by being repeated in various channels year after year. But we are not going to stop up until the truth, which should be well known by now, is believed and overcomes the lies.”
Reactions from members
After the broadcast, we received some reactions from members in the hall:
“All these allegations that have been so rife were just intended to destroy, create uncertainty and tear down. By putting your foot down about such stuff, you make it easier for the young people and the children who are growing up – it’s about fighting for our values and everything that is important to us in this life. I fully support this.”
“I am tired of hearing these weird lies that the ones who actually give the most are stealing from the church coffers. It’s unbelievable that anyone still carries on like this, or even can believe it. I hope this ends soon. People should know what these men are doing.”.
“It is liberating that someone stands up for what we love and believe in. I think it’s appropriate.”
“We know what Kåre and Bernt Aksel stand for and what they do. They are both role models in giving, and we have seen how they have given their whole lives to convey the message to the youth. The young people are happy, and they grow up and are doing well in every way. So, what we read in the newspapers certainly does not agree with what we experience from them.”
“I think it’s good that Kåre stands up for the truth. We notice in everyday life that the falsehoods which are spread have real consequences for what others think and believe about us. It’s just absurd to read what they write about them, about everything they are suspected of, when we come to Brunstad maybe several times a month and experience the physical impact of what these friends contribute out of love for those around them, as well as their time, effort and money.”
We recommend reading some of the articles written on our website in recent years: