Living Enrichment Center

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Living Enrichment Center

Living Enrichment Center entrance, Wilsonville
45°18′17″N 122°48′13″W / 45.3048°N 122.8037°W / 45.3048; -122.8037Coordinates: 45°18′17″N 122°48′13″W / 45.3048°N 122.8037°W / 45.3048; -122.8037
LocationScholls, Tigard, Wilsonville, and Beaverton, Oregon
CountryUnited States
DenominationNew Thought
History
Founded1970s
Founder(s)Mary Manin Morrissey
Architecture
Closed2004
 
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Living Enrichment Center

Living Enrichment Center entrance, Wilsonville
45°18′17″N 122°48′13″W / 45.3048°N 122.8037°W / 45.3048; -122.8037Coordinates: 45°18′17″N 122°48′13″W / 45.3048°N 122.8037°W / 45.3048; -122.8037
LocationScholls, Tigard, Wilsonville, and Beaverton, Oregon
CountryUnited States
DenominationNew Thought
History
Founded1970s
Founder(s)Mary Manin Morrissey
Architecture
Closed2004

Living Enrichment Center (LEC) was a New Thought megachurch and retreat center in the U.S. state of Oregon. Originally founded in the Scholls, Oregon farmhouse of senior minister Mary Manin Morrissey in the mid-1970s, the church moved to a 94,500 square foot (8,800 m²) building on a forested area of 95 acres (384,000 m²) in Wilsonville in 1992. Over the course of its existence, the congregation grew from less than a dozen to an estimated 4,000, making it the biggest New Thought church in the state.[1] Living Enrichment Center maintained an in-house bookstore, retreat center, cafe, kindergarten and elementary school, and an outreach television ministry.

Living Enrichment Center closed in 2004 as a result of a $10.7 million financial scandal. Edward Morrissey pleaded guilty to money laundering and using church money for the personal expenses of himself and his wife. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison. He was released in early 2007.[2][3] Living Enrichment Center transitioned into New Thought Center for Spiritual Living.[4]

Founding[edit]

Aerial view of Living Enrichment Center's facilities and grounds in Wilsonville

The origins of the Living Enrichment Center were in a church called The Truth Center that Mary Manin Morrissey and her first husband started in the living room of their small farm in rural Oregon in 1974.[5] The church was not successful, and in 1979 Morrissey and her husband took the family and their ministry on the road, offering workshops on building self-esteem in churches around the country.[5] After a year on the road, Morrissey founded a church in the Odd Fellows Hall in Beaverton, Oregon, after she felt she had received divine guidance to start a ministry.[5] A church management consultant advised Morrissey and her husband to name the church after what they aimed to do; as they aimed to enrich people's lives, they called themselves the Living Enrichment Center.[5]

In November 1992, Living Enrichment Center acquired the former Callahan Center, in Wilsonville, which consisted of a three-level 94,000-square-foot (8,700 m2) building on a 93-acre (380,000 m2) lot.[6] The lot also included 13 cabins, with over 70 rooms, which were used for spiritual retreats conducted via the church's sister organization, Namaste Retreat Center. By 1997 the church were engaged in a campaign via a Portland Sunday TV message, advertising, and outreach programs, to grow the local congregation by an extra 200 members..[7]

Facilities[edit]

Inside the Wilsonville campus.

Living Enrichment Center maintained an in-house bookstore, retreat center, cafe, kindergarten and elementary school, and an outreach television ministry.

The Namaste Retreat and Conference Center was started in 1994, and by 1996 the annual revenue was $1.5 million with an operating surplus.[8] The retreat center took its name from the sanskrit word namaste. In its literature, Namaste Retreat Center billed itself as "Oregon's leading spiritual retreat center."[9] Many personalities within the New Age and New Thought communities conducted retreats at Namaste Retreat Center. Retreat leaders included: Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Shakti Gawain, Stanislav Grof, and Arun Gandhi.[10]

Cristofori School was a kindergarten through third grade school that was headquartered at Living Enrichment Center during the mid-to-late 1990s.[11] Students were taught the usual age-appropriate lessons in math, reading, writing, etc. Students were also exposed to the ecumenical philosophy of New Thought, which was the governing philosophy of Cristofori's governing institution Living Enrichment Center.[citation needed]

Life Keys programs[edit]

Living Enrichment Center had many statues, including "The Welcoming Jesus" by world renowned sculptor Lorenzo Ghiglieri.

"In April of (1997), LEC began a 1/2 hour weekly taped television show on commercial TV in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay area, including Sacramento, Phoenix, Dallas, Forth [sic] Worth, and Seattle. LEC committed to spend $120,000 on this aspect of the ministry. It is anticipated that the broadening of this ministry will develop additional revenue from the sale of products and be an additional source of contribution revenue, taking the pressure off the local congregation and the retreat center to support the operation of the Center. Currently, 15% of the contributions LEC receives (approximately $300,000 a year) comes from outside the Portland metropolitan area."

Life Keys was a name brand created by Rev. Morrissey. Life Keys produced audio tapes, CDs, and video cassettes of Mary Morrissey's Sunday talks. The videos were broadcast on many Public-access television cable TV stations across the West Coast of the United States. The audio and video cassettes were also available for purchase in Living Enrichment Center's Living Bookends Bookstore. Often, audio cassettes of a Sunday service were available immediately after service. The audio tapes were also available via a mail subscription.[12] The audio cassette and CD recordings produced by Life Keys were sold to an audience from all over the world. Though most of the talks in the Life Keys series were delivered by Mary Manin Morrissey, some were recordings of talks given by visiting speakers such as Arun Gandhi, Marianne Williamson, and Wayne Dyer.

"Audio products fall into three categories: audio books, audio albums on a particular subject, and a weekly tape of Mary's Sunday talk. We have two audio publishers who have expressed interest in Mary's products. It is anticipated that we will self-publish the weekly message which, through subscription and the small group process, would become the basis for the national outreach. Currently the weekly message subscriptions are approximately $260/year. The weekly message will also be available soon by subscription on the Internet at a price of $3/week. This has the advantage of delivering the talk on audio with no additional cost for duplication, shipping and handling."

The Life Keys series discontinued in 2004 when Living Enrichment Center filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors. Mary Manin Morrissey's last talk distributed in the Life Keys series was entitled The Right Questions to Ask and was recorded on August 1, 2004. It was also Morrissey's last talk as Senior Minister of Living Enrichment Center. In this last talk, Morrissey says her life is in "disarray", saying that her husband is in a mental hospital for depression and that she herself needs to take a break. During part of the talk she seems to be on the verge of tears.

Financial scandal[edit]

In early 2004, Mary Morrissey was sued by members of her congregation for unpaid loans. It was reported that the loans were often made personally to Morrissey,[13] and that the personal finances of herself, her husband, Edward Morrissey, and Living Enrichment Center had not been treated separately. In an e-mail to Willamette Week, Steve Unger, Morrissey's attorney, wrote that the Morrisseys had committed commingling, and that "the finances of [the] LEC, New Thought Broadcasting, Mary Morrissey and Ed Morrissey were treated not separately, but as a kind of 'financial family.'"[14] By the summer of 2004, the sum total of the debt was reported by Willamette Week and The Oregonian as totaling more than $20 million. Throughout the month of June, Mary Morrissey and Harry Morgan Moses conducted a series of talks called "Standing Firm While Your World is Shaking", for a "love offering" of $15 per class or $100 for the series.[15] On July 14, 2004, Living Enrichment Center held "Calling Forth a Miracle: A Benefit for Living Enrichment Center with Very Special Guests" and declared 2004–2005 as "The Year of the Miracle".

On April 17, 2005, Jeff Manning of The Oregonian wrote, "Edward Morrissey, husband of embattled former church pastor Mary Manin Morrissey, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he defrauded members of his wife's church in soliciting $10.7 million in loans. He pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, a felony that could get him 36 months or more in federal prison.... Edward Morrissey's plea will probably not put to rest lingering questions over the deal that the Morrisseys cut with federal and state officials. Some former Living Enrichment parishioners were angered that Mary Morrissey eluded federal charges. Mary Morrissey leaned hard on parishioners to make the loans, some said, but she has claimed she had no knowledge of her husband's use of that money.... Mary Morrissey agreed to contribute 25 percent of her disposable income to retiring the debt until parishioners are fully repaid or for the next 20 years, whichever comes first."[16]

"Friends of Mary" advertises in the lobby at LEC's final service

On April 6, 2005, Bend.com reported that a settlement deal between the Morrisseys and the Department of Consumer and Business Services had been reached: "As part of this settlement, neither of the Morrisseys may offer or sell securities. Further, Edward Morrissey agreed to plead guilty to a single federal count of money laundering. The plea agreement reached between Edward Morrissey and the U.S. Attorney's Office calls for the government to recommend a 36-month sentence, but that recommendation is not binding on the court."[17]

After a year in prison at Terminal Island, in August 2006, Edward Morrissey was transferred to a Seattle, Washington halfway house. Morrissey was released from the halfway house on February 2, 2007.[18] In the August 28, 2006 edition of Wilsonville Spokesman, editor Curt Kipp wrote that Mary Morrissey has repaid $24,000 of the debt.[19]

In a letter to Willamette Week in 2004, the lawyer for Mary Morrissey's then-husband, Edward Morrissey, admitted that the couple had committed commingling.[20] Mary Manin Morrissey's second ex-husband, Edward Morrissey, pleaded guilty to money laundering and using church money for the personal expenses of himself and his wife, and spent time in federal prison.[21][22] The Seattle Times reports that the Morrisseys committed "financial improprieties" and that some former members of Living Enrichment Center were upset with the deal the Morrisseys struck with federal prosecutors. Former congregant John Trudel of Newberg, Oregon is reported to have loaned the church $100,000 between 2000 and 2002. Trudel is quoted as saying that church money was being diverted.[23] Willamette Week wrote that Steve Unger, lawyer for the Morrisseys, admitted that the couple had committed commingling.[24][25] The Oregonian writes that Mary Morrissey signed a consent agreement with state securities regulators, agreeing to repay $10.7 million to her former congregation, but she is in default and that at the rate Mary Morrissey is making repayment it will take her 300 years to repay congregation debt in full.[26] KATU writes that the debt may never be repaid.[27] Wilsonville Spokesman has reported that the amount of money Mary Morrissey has repaid would amount to less than half a penny per dollar of debt.[28]

KATU reported that Edward Morrissey agreed to plead guilty to money laundering on the condition that Mary Manin Morrissey not be charged with a crime.[27] The Oregonian wrote in 2009 that Mary Morrissey signed a consent agreement agreeing to repay the debt, but that she is in default of the consent agreement.[29]

Closure[edit]

Audience for the church's final service, August 24, 2004, Valley Theatre in Beaverton

Living Enrichment Center abandoned the Wilsonville facilities in June 2004. The church moved to Valley Theatre, a movie theater in Beaverton. The first service at Valley Theatre was held on July 4, 2004. On August 5, 2004, in an e-mail to her congregation, Morrissey announced her resignation as Senior Minister, President, and Board Member of Living Enrichment Center.[30] The final service was held on August 29, 2004, at Valley Theatre.[31]

Three separate ministries grew out of the demise of Living Enrichment Center. Friends of Mary,[32] an organization established by Mary Morrissey, eventually evolved into Life Soulutions.[33] Several other former LEC ministers established New Thought Ministries of Oregon. Barry Dennis, a former LEC musician, established "Celebration Church".[34]

In 2006, Curt Kipp of the Wilsonville Spokeman wrote that the abandoned Living Enrichment Center site at Wilsonville was reported to have been sold to a developer, with speculation that it would be demolished for redevelopment.[35] In 2013, Josh Kulla of the Wilsonville Spokesman wrote that the building that stood on the Living Enrichment Center site had been demolished and the plot of land was slated to be developed as part of the future expansion of the Villebois housing development. [36] [37]

Former Living Enrichment Center plot of land after the main building had been demolished.

The Morrisseys[edit]

Edward Morrissey and Mary Manin Morrissey during their tenure at Living Enrichment Center

Mary Manin Boggs Morrissey Dickey was the founder (along with her then-husband Haven Boggs) and senior minister of Living Enrichment Center. Edward Morrissey married Mary Manin Boggs (thereafter known as Mary Manin Morrissey) in the mid-1990s, and shortly after the marriage Edward Morrissey became the CFO of the church. In the October 16, 2006, Oregonian article "Forgiveness, for minister, starts with self", staff writer S. Renee Mitchell indicated that Mary Morrissey and Ed Morrissey have divorced. Mitchell wrote, "When the smoke cleared, Morrissey — who had once cozied up to the Dalai Lama and other world spiritual leaders — was divorced, houseless and in debt for more than $10 million."[38]

After a year in prison at Terminal Island, in August, 2006, Edward Morrissey was transferred to a Portland, Oregon halfway house. He was released from the Portland halfway house on February 2, 2007.[18] Both Mary Manin Morrissey and Edward Morrissey have injunctions against them, prohibiting them from heading or being agents in nonprofit organizations. Both are also prohibited from selling securities.[39]

Mary Morrissey is the author of Building Your Dreams[40] which chronicles Morrissey's realization of her dream to create a ministry, and No Less Than Greatness, The Seven Spiritual Principles that Make Love Possible[41] Mary Manin Morrissey also appears in The Moses Code.[42] Mary Morrissey has also authored several audio programs, including the popular co-produced audio, The Eleven Forgotten Laws with Bob Proctor.[43] Morrissey appeared in the movie The Inner Weigh, written and directed by Dave Smiley. The movie is about tapping into the power of one's subconscious mind to create the body and the life that one wants.[44]

Mary Manin Morrissey also operated two companies, "Life Soulutions" and "Evolving Life Ministries". The Oregonian reported in 2007, that the organization of Life Soulutions has prompted questions from the state of Oregon because Morrissey's partner, Karen Hanzlik, in the venture receives as much as 40% of revenue, meaning that this portion is not required to be diverted to the restitution fund. "State officials have asked Morrissey for documents detailing the corporate structure of LifeSoulutions," writes The Oregonian. "Morrissey told them that on the advice of an attorney, there are no such documents. Nothing was put in writing. 'We're researching the law and considering our legal options,' Whang said. 'But it is a very unusual situation.'"[45] KATU, Portland's ABC affiliate, reports that because Mary Morrissey was permanently prohibited from holding the position of Officer, Financial Manager or Financial Fiduciary for any charitable or religious non-profit entity, her current companies, Life Soulutions, Evolving Life Ministries, and her church in Lake Oswego, Oregon, are operated as for-profit entities.[46] KATU also reports that in an interview Morrissey was evasive about her finances, but the news team tracked online donations to Morrissey's business, discovering they make their way to a Portland mail box controlled by Morrissey. Investigators from the state of Oregon want to make sure that Morrissey is not diverting money from her income, as a stipulation of her plea bargain with the state was that a portion of her income must be used to repay her debt to her former congregation. KATU reported in 2007, that Morrissey has repaid only $74,000 since her plea bargain was struck in 2005.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robbin, Janine. Willamette Week. "The Profit Margin"
  2. ^ Accused Church Head Faces Congregation
  3. ^ Ex-church leader falls far behind schedule in repaying $10.7 million
  4. ^ http://www.newthoughtcsl.org/ministers
  5. ^ a b c d Morrissey, Mary Manin (1997). A Miracle in Motion: The Green Balloon Story. Random House. pp. 13–17. ISBN 1-886491-00-3. 
  6. ^ Living Enrichment Center: The 21st Century Church. LEC staff. Intro. Retrieved April 27, 2007.
  7. ^ Living Enrichment Center: The 21st Century Church. COMMUNICATION VEHICLES: 1. Local Congregation. 1997. Page 5.
  8. ^ LEC staff. Living Enrichment Center: The 21st Century Church. Internal document. Page 5. 1997. Retrieved April 2, 2007.
  9. ^ "1998 Retreat Events." Namaste Retreat and Conference Center. Living Enrichment Ministries. 1998. Page 2.
  10. ^ "Oregon Conference Attracts Hundreds on Spiritual Journey" Retrieved March 21, 2007
  11. ^ Interview with Mary Manin Morrissey that references Cristofori School Retrieved October 4, 2006
  12. ^ Tucson Life Keys listing Retrieved October 4, 2006
  13. ^ KATU: Mary Morrissey: Prophet of Profit. Investigation. 2007.
  14. ^ Robbin, Janine. "The Prophet Margin." Willamette Week. 2004.
  15. ^ Willamette Week. http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-3505-the_enriching_quiz.html
  16. ^ Jeff Manning (Apr 14, 2005). "Edward Morrissey pleads guilty in taking millions from church". The Oregonian. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Bend.com, DCBS announces settlement in securities case, Apr. 6, 2005 [1] Retrieved February 4, 2006
  18. ^ a b Ed Morrissey inmate listing
  19. ^ LEC campus sold to developer Retrieved August 28, 2006
  20. ^ "The fact is, unfortunately, that neither Mary nor anyone else at this point can answer questions about the disposition of funds loaned to Mary and [the] LEC," lawyer Steve Ungar wrote in an April 19 email to WW. "Why? Because the finances of [the] LEC, New Thought Broadcasting, Mary Morrissey and Ed Morrissey were treated not separately, but as a kind of 'financial family.' The technical accounting term for this is commingling." The Prophet Margin
  21. ^ KOIN 6 News Retrieved June 7, 2007 [2]
  22. ^ Wilsonville Spokesman: Morrissey to meet with LEC 'refugees' Retrieved June 9, 2007
  23. ^ Seattle Times. Oregon pair may reach fraud plea deal. Thursday, April 7, 2005 http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20050407&slug=pastor07m
  24. ^ Robbin, Janine. The Prophet Margin. Willamette Week. ISSUE #30.29. [3] : "The fact is, unfortunately, that neither Mary nor anyone else at this point can answer questions about the disposition of funds loaned to Mary and [the] LEC," lawyer Steve Ungar wrote in an April 19 email to WW. "Why? Because the finances of [the] LEC, New Thought Broadcasting, Mary Morrissey and Ed Morrissey were treated not separately, but as a kind of 'financial family.' The technical accounting term for this is commingling."
  25. ^ Schellene Clendenin The question is: Where did all the money go?: "John Trudel just wants to know what happened to his money. A Newberg resident, Trudel’s name is one of a congregation of 4,100 people in the Portland area who loaned the Living Enrichment Center (LEC) in Wilsonville a total of $10.7 million to help pay off loans to purchase property. The LEC was affiliated with the New Thought Church.."
  26. ^ Ex-church leader falls far behind repayment schedule by The Oregonian
  27. ^ a b Prophet of Profit?
  28. ^ Wilsonville Spokesman Morrissey to meet with LEC ‘refugees’. Kipp, Curt. May 30, 2007. (NOTE: Wilsonville Spokesman doesn't provide direct hotlinks to archived articles. In order to read this article in its original context on their website one must log on to their website and utilize the search engine by entering article's title.)
  29. ^ Ex-church leader falls far behind repayment schedule by The Oregonian
  30. ^ Letter from Mary Morrissey to congregation Retrieved April 2, 2007
  31. ^ Lisa Grace Lednicer (Aug 28, 2004). "Church's last rites will end an era". religionnewsblog.com. Retrieved November 22, 2012. 
  32. ^ Willamette Week article referencing "Friends of Mary"
  33. ^ http://www.lifesoulutions
  34. ^ http://www.celebrationchurch-portland.com/
  35. ^ Curt Kipp. "LEC campus sold to developer." (http://www.wilsonvillenews.com/ArcStoryPage.asp?Database=Story&StoryID=3305) August 23, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  36. ^ [4]
  37. ^ [5]
  38. ^ Forgiveness, for minister, starts with self Oregonian article, retrieved October 16, 2006
  39. ^ Oregon State Corporate Securities Announcement Retrieved August 29, 2006
  40. ^ Building Your Dreams - Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-0-553-37814-6 (0-553-37814-7)
  41. ^ No Less Than Greatness, Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-0-553-37903-7 (0-553-37903-8)
  42. ^ The Moses Code Retrieved August 31, 2008
  43. ^ 11 Forgotten Laws By Bob Proctor and Mary Morrissey (free download) | Bob Proctor
  44. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Inner-Weigh-Dr-Dave-Smiley/dp/0615422853/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1326927213&sr=8-11
  45. ^ [6] Retrieved August 8, 2007 [7]
  46. ^ KATU News: Prophet of Profit (11/8/07): "In her 2005 bankruptcy case, Manin-Morrissey was permanently prohibited from holding the position of Officer, Financial Manager or Financial Fiduciary for any charitable or religious non-profit entity."
  47. ^ KATU News: Prophet of Profit (11/8/07): "Manin-Morrissey said she is following those rules. Her current church operates as a for-profit business, according to the state. She would not talk specifically about her finances, but we tracked down where the online contributions go. They are sent to a UPS store on Barbur Boulevard - to a post office box controlled by Manin-Morrissey. State investigators told KATU News they want to make sure Manin-Morrissey is not diverting income because a portion of her pay is supposed to go into an account for victims. So far, there is $74,000 in the account. She and her ex-husband owe $10.7 million."

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