Serah Bellar's uncle promoted incest as church minister, rewrote Bible to 'better fit his teachings': Report
James "Jim" Bellar, whose nickname stands for “Jesus is Master (JiM),” is a self-proclaimed minister and apostle of Dove Outreach Church in Waverly, Ohio. Now, some members of his congregation are facing allegations of being part of a "cult" and engaging in physical and mental abuse of minors. James, however, has strongly denied having anything to do with it.
Court documents described the Dove Outreach Church as a "cult." James Bellar, who is referred to as an "apostle of Christ", told The Athens Messenger that it was mostly a ceremonial title but gave him a more personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. “I’m not one of the twelve (biblical apostles),” he said. “It’s my calling, I’m an apostle.”
James Bellar, who is the brother of Serah Bellar's indicted father Robert Bellar, is accused of rewriting entire sections of the Bible to "better fit his teachings" and also advocating for "incest" among Bellar family members, the Athens Messenger reported.
James Bellar maintained during an interview that he was "retranslating" the Bible to a "faithful" rendition of the gospels for English speakers. He said he has only finished rewriting the gospel of Matthew thus far. When asked on whose authority he was retranslating the Bible, James Bellar said: “God. The Holy Spirit. I don’t have to answer to any man. God. You have to answer to God yourself."
One of the members of the Dove Outreach congregation, Valerie Turner, said she was glad James Bellar was rewriting the holy book. “He’s doing translations as God gives them to him, to be more perfected by the Lord — praise the Lord — but that’s a good thing,” Trainer told the Athens Messenger. “He’s an apostle, yes. Praise the Lord.”
According to the report, James Bellar also runs JiM’s-IGA, or “Jesus is Master’s — Internet Gaming Association" -- which enables him and his church members to play games like fantasy baseball and football, Bible trivia, and World of Tanks. There are clear instructions on the “New Recruits” webpage of JiM’s-IGA on how to become initiated to the "band of gaming knights."
“We reside at and pledge allegiance to JiM’s-IGA. Though we are not currently Christians, we affirm to behave properly,” the website states. “We shall not cheat, cuss or use any foul words expressly or implied, will not be indecent or immodest, nor endorse any form of witchcraft. Though not a crowned Knight may still earn Patches below up to 3 stripes (sic) They are lords and ladies of the realm.”
Of course, all is not well in the realm of JiM’s-IGA. Multiple members of his congregation were arrested last week -- namely Robert, who is a brother to James, and Deborah Bellar, as well as their sons, Josiah and Johnathan, both adults.
The Bellars have been accused by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office of engaging in a litany of sexual and physical abuse crimes. The prosecution is also arguing in the indictments that the crimes may have stemmed from “cult”-like beliefs that were being taught at Dove Outreach Church.
Serah Bellar also described the church as a cult in an interview. "All the kids would have to go, whether they wanted to or not — even if you were sick, you had to go, it didn’t matter," Serah Bellar told The Athens Messenger. "Anytime he’d say anything, I’d just kind of repeat it in my head, like, how messed up it kind of sounded. He’d always talk about the end of the world and how you’d reproduce with your siblings."
Court documents echoed Serah Bellar's allegation that James Bellar would encourage members to procreate with siblings in light of an imminent apocalypse. Having said that, James Bellar has vehemently denied all the allegations against his church. “The plain truth is that they’re all lies — unbelievable lies,” James Bellar said, claiming he was not aware of any abuse. “We are not a cult, I don’t run people’s lives,” Bellar added. “I preach the truth. And certainly, if I saw anything illegal, it would have been dealt with.” An investigation is currently underway.