By Brian Karjala
In the past on this website I had written about my unfortunate encounters with some members of Ted Haggard's New Life Church (see the indented middle section of this page). I've wanted to forget all about these people but considering that they are still active in my community I've decided to expand my warnings to those persons who can benefit from the information contained herein.
This writing will focus primarily on some members of a real estate business known as The Melchisedeck Team (or the Mel Team). The late Dixie Melchisedeck started the business and later partnered with her husband Jerry Melchisedeck Sr. after he retired from the Air Force. It was my association with their son Jerry Jr. (who today owns the business) that I will write about in part to draw attention to the negative influence of the disgraced former New Life pastor Ted Haggard upon his life.
I first attended New Life in the fall of 1991 and later met Jerry Jr. in January 1994 at the New Life college group which at the time was held at the youth pastor's house. It was the second college meeting I had attended when I first got acquainted with Jerry (a big and tall kid) who was filling in as a guest college leader for the youth pastor Chris Hodges. Me and Jerry talked for a little while before the group started and we discovered that we both attended the same high school (he graduated four years before me). He seemed interested in getting to know me and the conversation was the normal kind of introductory questions and answers I had been through with others at the church.
But just before the meeting began Jerry's behavior became very strange. He started laughing uncontrollably and was making jokes about my quiet personality. He would make a joke and then turn his head to the side and squeal with laughter (a high pitched squeal). Then he would look back at me, make another joke about my personality and then turn his head again and squeal. As he was doing this he was bouncing up and down as he was taking his seat.
I was being mocked. But what was happening did not make any sense to me. One moment Jerry was calm and friendly with me and only a few minutes later he was hyperactive and seemed to be insulting me. I couldn't make sense of the contradiction. Jerry saw my puzzled look and then composed himself a bit and with a smirk on his face said something to the effect of, "You don't mind me saying these things, do you?" I had waited months for the college group to start up and wanted it to work out so in my easy-going nature I brushed off his remarks.
I couldn't understand what he found so funny about my quiet personality. Is he a lunatic? I suppose I must have stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the arrogant loud-mouth jerks who dominated that church. A short time later at that college group Jerry's mentor Chris Hodges in an opening speech to the group made some disparaging comments against those of us with quiet personalities. At the very first meeting Hodges remarked to the group, "Some of you still have the high school look to your faces," and then slowly glanced around the room with a serious look on his face. (I wouldn't tolerate any of that disrespect for even one second today. These people wear their prejudice on their sleeves and made it a regular practice to create and exploit awkward situations. In retrospect I can tell you that these evildoers actually hate what is genuine and different from themselves.) But thereafter almost each and every Friday night over the next year-and-a-half I would interact with Jerry. (By April 1994 the metrosexual Chris Hodges was transitioning out of the church and was replaced with ORU graduates John and Sarah Bolin. I attended John's group on a weekly basis for over a year. The little guy never had any interest in talking to me or even learning my name. At the time I was looking for social interaction with other college students and didn't know where else to find it... otherwise I wouldn't have tolerated him either.)
[Today Chris Hodges is pastor of the Church of the Highlands in Alabama. When Chris was a teenager living in Louisiana his youth pastor at that time was Ted Haggard. Chris was fond of bragging about his friendship with Ted until the news of Ted's scandals surfaced. In his deceptive nature Chris has since removed from his church website all biographical info relating to his many years of influence and guidance by Ted. Chris in his older age now dresses in a more rugged and conservative fashion than he did in the early 1990s when he would regularly appear dressed in a polo shirt neatly tucked into his girlish-style designer jeans.]
In the mid-1990s Jerry and myself were subscribers to the Prodigy internet service. Jerry read my Christian posts on a bulletin board and became belligerent toward me. In my postings I would occasionally quote from Scripture. Jerry said that by quoting Scripture I was being "unloving." I explained to him that the opposite was true. (I had once communicated to a non-Christian on Prodigy who was not aware that my beliefs were based on the Bible so I made it a practice to document my writings with Scripture.) But my Scriptural references made Jerry hostile toward me. One time me and Jerry were in a chat room together and I was discussing Scripture verses with some other individuals. Jerry became furious and told me to "shut up." This from a guy who would use the internet to intentionally confuse and toy with people for his own self amusement.
When Jerry would see me at the Friday night group he would smooth things over with me and make sure that we were alright with one another. In my kind and agreeable nature I would let him know that everything was fine (though I did not understand his rude behavior). It wasn't until some time later that I realized that Jerry's behavior was reflective of New Life's "evangelistic" outreach practices. New Life will use food and entertainment to attract people to the church. A shallow entertainment-driven church such as New Life does not build upon its membership by advertising doctrinal positions. Even though my conversations with others were always friendly I was viewed as "unloving" because I took a stand for truth at a church where members like Jerry are very compromising when it comes to speaking absolutes to sinners. In their fear of offending the world they demonstrated that they were one with the unsaved world.
New Life pastor Ted Haggard would downplay the problem of sin (see Ted Haggard's "Easy Christianity") though that hypocrite did make it a point to condemn homosexuality every chance he could while he was secretly practicing the sin. The hypocrisy and worldly atmosphere at New Life did not allow the Holy Spirit to convict individuals of their sins which is why there has been an abundance of sexual and financial misdeeds and crimes reported at that cesspool. In a 2005 Denver Post article Ted Haggard summed up the spiritual climate at his church when he said that some Colorado Springs residents "probably do march in the gay-pride parade and then come to New Life Church. Welcome to America."
From the very beginning I felt uncomfortable at New Life.
One of my first clues that something was wrong with Jerry surfaced the night I met him. His love of our high school was an immediate red flag. A genuine Christian does not excel within such an ungodly environment in the way that Jerry did (popularity wise). I hated that Air Academy high school (a public high school located on the grounds of the Air Force Academy). There were a number of hateful yelling and aggressive stand-offs that came against me throughout my two years there (I did absolutely nothing to provoke any of it).
In September 1991 (about a month after I moved to Colorado from Nevada) I had a gun pulled on me by three teenage guys who confronted me in a Rockrimmon neighborhood I was riding my bicycle through on a Friday evening. It was a power-play. At first the ringleader said he wouldn't use weapons (and threw a pocket knife on the ground for dramatics). But when I stood my ground and showed no fear that's when the gun came out and two of the punks started saying to the gun holder, "Shoot him!" (How quickly my confidence changed their bravado to cowardice.) After some conversation they decided they no longer wanted to fight (or kill me).
That encounter angered me so badly I couldn't even smile for about a week afterwards. The gleeful delinquent smirks on their faces made me furious (and they were wearing their Air Academy attire). Years later I would see that same kind of smirk on Jerry's face when I caught him laughing about the pain and misfortune of others. (Jerry would also use the word smirk to describe his crooked smile.)
I could sense the gloomy spirit at that high school. When I was a senior (1992-93) there were two other seniors that year who died violent deaths... which at the time was a very rare phenomenon in Colorado (I didn't know either one of them; neither of the students were in any of my classes). One young man, Jeremy King, committed suicide, and some months later a demented religious hypocrite named Carmine Tagliere III tried to kill someone on the freeway and ended up getting himself killed. That morning (of April '93) I tried to drive my mom's car onto the north Interstate 25 freeway entrance from the Woodmen onramp but couldn't because it was blocked by a police car. (Read the account of Carmine's shooter, Vern Smalley.) [There was some confusion in Vern Smalley's online testimony when he relayed that the NAACP demanded a tough punishment for himself which inadvertently gave people the wrong impression that Carmine was a black kid. Carmine Tagliere was in fact white/Caucasian. The NAACP wanted hard prison time for Smalley because previous black offenders in separate cases received long prison sentences. Vern Smalley is a white man.]
[Another issue of confusion is Smalley's reference to a "thirty-foot-deep rock-walled canyon" which he claimed Tagliere tried to force his car into. At the time there was a major construction project underneath the Interstate overpass where both Smalley and Tagliere would have driven under as they headed east on Woodmen Road before turning left onto the Interstate onramp to head north. That's the same direction I traveled to school each day. Back in 1993 there was only one left turn lane onto the Intersection (there are two left turn lanes today) and I remember the large ditch to the left of the turn lane. That construction zone had been worked on for months and was big enough to swallow up a whole car. I recall thinking about how large the hole was as I pondered the potential danger of a large hole that was blocked off only by plastic red cones with very little space between the cones and the cars in the left turn lane. After turning left onto the entrance of Interstate 25 (I-25) both the cars of Smalley and Tagliere pulled over onto a shoulder area near the top of the Interstate onramp where the shooting occurred. Today there is a large concrete wall where the right shoulder dirt pull-off area once existed.]
There is another individual associated with the Mel Team who needs to be addressed. A past partner of the Melchisedecks is Coleman Jarrell. The one encounter I had with that smart-mouth little weasel of a man-boy still boils my blood in anger when I think about it. Coleman was for some time a staff member at New Life and had a large personal office at the church. The condescending hate and ridicule the little punk exhibited toward me (when he found out I was suffering from depression) came about near the end of my involvement with New Life. (These people are fortunate that I am disciplined to be slow to anger.) Less than a few weeks after meeting the man I attended the David Hogan service and that was the end of my suffering inside that church.
I do not want Coleman working in any capacity near kids or holding a position of authority inside of any church. I am effectively banishing Coleman Jarrell from any occupation related to ministry. The little "bitch" of a man has no say in the matter. If anyone reading this article has any knowledge of Coleman operating inside a church or within any counseling setting I ask that you report it to me using my contact e-mail located on the bottom of this page.
An important point. Coleman was on staff around the time a New Life pedophile pastor by the name of Steve Evans was convicted of sexual abuse. New Life staff hid the information of this crime from the public and I believe it is reasonable to assume that Coleman was a part of this cover-up. Likewise, it is also my belief that the New Life elder Jerry Melchisedeck Sr. would certainly have known about this cover-up (and by extension his son Jerry Jr. would also know). They sure as heck know about it now. I've made certain of it. So what are they going to do with this knowledge of abuse? Nothing. These self-centered individuals care only about themselves.
Here's the truth. Ted Haggard recruited fellow sexual deviants to "serve" at his church. The music director Ross Parsley was even more effeminate than Haggard. When I first saw Coleman I was puzzled as to why so many of the staff members resembled Haggard in physical stature and attitude. To be completely honest, Coleman's characteristics struck me as being similar to what I associate with militant homosexuals (wimpy physique, testy personality and an eagerness to work with Haggard).
When I first saw Haggard (in 1991) the word that flashed in my mind was homosexual. I thought I was being unfairly critical of the man and so I suppressed my instincts and discernment. ("Maybe he's just a sissy who wants to serve God. Is it possible for a man to display effeminate mannerisms and not be a homosexual? After all, he has a wife and five kids. Surely such a terrible secret, if true, could not be hidden from the public.") At the time I couldn't believe that a homosexual would want to pastor a church that condemned homosexuals. It didn't make any sense to me even though I sensed something was amiss. In my innocent nature it seemed implausible that the senior pastor at the church I attended would want to live such a horrible lie.
I under-estimated the power of evil. Today I have the understanding that perverts like Haggard get a thrill out of condemning the sins they love the most. Haggard also loved to work the word masturbate into his sermons (which prompted his impressionable and classless follower Jerry Jr. to sometimes work that same word into his conversations with me).
Long-time Ted Haggard disciple Jerry
Melchisedeck, Jr. displays a satanic hand sign
(signs of satan)
2016 Update: Online profile information lists Jerry now living in Washington state. It appears the Melchisedeck Team (as a real estate corporation) is now non-existent. The spoiled self-confessed "prep kid" inherited his parents' business and through years of incompetence and mismanagement ran it into the ground.
This was not Jerry's first business failure. For a short time in the mid-1990s he partnered with another person to operate a store (selling alternative "Christian" music) inside the Citadel mall here in Colorado Springs. I don't think the store lasted more than 3 months. I later overheard Jerry complain to someone about all of the costs involved (which he apparently did not factor into his pre-planning). I visited the store on one occasion. There was one other customer in the store along with what looked like a high school age kid at the cash register. It did not surprise me that I did not see Jerry inside the store. I viewed him as lazy and could not picture someone as undisciplined and impatient as Jerry working the cash register at a retail job (which would have helped him save money on his business payroll).
Expect Jerry to always work (or try to work) in a profession where he manages other people's finances and property. Expect him to trade and profit off the labor of other people.