Ex-Gay Watch reported on Matthew C. Manning’s troubling criminal record in June, 2009. Manning claims to have been “delivered from homosexuality in 1989 and miraculously healed from HIV/AIDS in 1994.” He has claimed that this enabled him to help people wishing to be “delivered from homosexuality.” Readers unfamiliar with Manning are invited to read our previous post for background.
What’s happened since last June
The day after last year’s post, Manning filed to expunge the conviction from 2005 per California penal code 1203.4. It appears to have been granted on August 10, 2009. This is something we contemplated in the original article — California law provides for this in some cases if the defendant follows all court imposed conditions. These are listed in our post from that time. A reading of the statute indicates that the expungement has limits, especially if one is found guilty of another crime in the future.
It also seems he either tried to, or did sell his house in Santa Rosa. We don’t currently have the records to know under what circumstances this was done. His new ministry address is a UPS private mail box in San Francisco.
All references we could find indicate that his house was his main ministry location. Aside from a period during which a local church allowed him to use a room at off hours for meetings, his home is the only thing we could find. Copies of the ministry 990s bear this out with no payments to any property or office outside the home. There are expenses claimed for a “ministry house” which we assume to be a reference to his home (or former home) in Santa Rosa.
There is also no mention of a board of directors, in spite of the fact that posts appear on Manning’s blog claiming to be from them, discussing Manning’s activities, claiming to give their blessings to this or that move, etc. These posts follow Manning’s grammar and writing style closely. It is our considered opinion that Manning is the sole “director” of Light House World Evangelism, Inc. He is listed as president on the 990s, with his wife as secretary.
Late last week a post appeared on the LHWE blog titled “Final Online Words, From the President Of LightHouse World Evangelism, Inc.” In it, Manning claims to have had a revelation from God during the Winter Olympics, one that would have him close his ministry.
During the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, the torch was extinguished, and the flame was symbolically given to the next host country. At the very moment the flame was extinguished in Canada, God said to me, “The “Flame” the “Anointing” the “Presence and Power of My Holy Spirit,” will no longer reside over LightHouse World Evangelism, Inc., rather it is being transferred to a new ministry that I am calling you and your family to.”
There is no indication in the post as to what this new ministry might be. Contrary to Manning’s claims in earlier posts, the 990s don’t indicate a growing, thriving ministry. Most years, up to the last record currently available, show an irregular pattern of total intake ranging from $25K to $39K but with no clear trend. After expenses, this figure is reduced to anywhere from approx $5K to $12K for the last three years on record. And the expenses are rather mundane for the most part, with very little to indicate much ministry activity in the traditional sense.
Referencing our earlier post for the first time, Manning protests:
What has been so amazing and somewhat comical, is that these organizations wanted to make such a big deal of one arrest that occurred 12 years ago and was dismissed. A second arrest that occurred 10 years ago where I was found not guilty within 20 minutes of deliberation by a Jury who listened to all the facts and carefully made their decision. And finally, the posting of trial transcripts and arrest documents of the most recent case that occurred 5 years ago.
What we find most striking here is that Manning seems to imply that it is nothing out of the ordinary about a minister being arrested three times over 12 years, all with the same type of charges each incrementally more serious than the previous. If the reader hasn’t already done so, please review the details of these charges in our original post.
In their reporting on this case, they did not come first to us for any statements, but rather assumed their “sources” were right, and made it sound like I actually was found guilty of doing some horrible act.
The statement that we did not come to Manning before posting is simply false. An email was sent to his ministry contact address in the very early stages of our investigation. Then another email was sent and voice mail left a couple of days before posting. In that email some specifics were given and again, we asked to speak with him about the details of the story. One last email was sent after the story was posted. Manning has never replied to a contact from XGW, nor has anyone else from LHWE. However his application to have his record expunged barely a day after our post seems to indicate that he probably did get our messages.
Our sources were carefully and painstakingly checked, and ultimately everything in our original post was sourced through official public and court documents (which we provided along with the post). We checked newspaper archives, contacted San Quentin State Prison, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (to understand how an HIV/AIDS service member would have been dealt with pre-DADT), performed Lexus/Nexus searches, State and Federal case searches, located and contacted the victim in the 2005 incident, and we spoke to various people who have at one time or another had contact with Manning. The information in our previous post was extremely well sourced and triple-checked. Manning’s accusations here are a non-starter.
The fact is, all of you, partners, were provided a court document by me and our organization, that showed that the previous ruling regarding this arrest was set aside, a plea of not guilty was entered by me, and the case was then dismissed and expunged from my official record.
First we suggest readers take Manning’s comments to “ministry partners” with a grain of salt. So much of his blog posts consist of grandiose posturing that we have to consider that he may be playing a bit of a game to appear more involved, more responsible or more successful than he really is.
That said, his reference here is to the expungement of his record that we mentioned earlier. However, he implies that this was something we should have found in our records search, when in fact it did not happen until after we posted the information. It would have been impossible for us to get those records had they already been expunged — that’s the point. Statements like this hardly indicate a man who has submitted himself to any accountability as he claims.
Reflections and future reporting
While we have observed Manning’s blog over the past nine months or so, he seemed often to be speaking directly to someone, not a general group. There never was any discussion there, just one long monologue with bouts of cryptic, personal rhetoric. This writer has come to believe that the intended recipient of those oddly personal, emotionally charged posts might well be a mother who appeared on the web with her own blog around the time of our first post. We encourage you to read her heart wrenching story, one which could very well be the other shoe dropping in all of this.
In the end there is no way to know for sure if all this might simply be part of a change of identity. Our post from last year was picked up by a lot of media and anyone should easily be able to find the facts concerning Manning with a basic Google search. His full name is Matthew Courtney Manning, so might we see a Courtney Manning in the future?
There is always the possibility that, with a couple of degrees from The Kings College, a church somewhere may hire Manning — time will tell. We only suggest, and strongly so, that if anyone has dealings with this man, make certain you know ahead of time exactly who you are dealing with.