Ex-Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Kicks Off His Media Apology Tour

Former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz opens up about his cheating scandal in the new FX documentary series, The Secrets of Hillsong. The four-part series, premiering Friday, delves into the scandals surrounding the megachurch and features interviews with Carl and Laura Lentz, who were ousted from Hillsong Church in 2020 due to Carl’s “moral failures.”

In the series, an emotional Carl Lentz admitted to carrying “major lies and secrets” for years and acknowledged the power dynamics involved in his transgressions. “If you are led by somebody, you have to trust them. One of the biggest [mistakes] of my life was that breach of trust for thousands of people, especially my wife, my children,” he said.

In October 2020, incriminating text messages between Lentz and a woman named Ranin Karim surfaced, leading to his dismissal from the church. Recalling this period in the second episode, Carl stated: “The hardest part of this was just trying not to look my wife in the eye, ever.”

Laura Lentz recalled her shock upon learning about her husband’s infidelity. Describing her reaction during their conversation about it, she said: “He basically said, ‘I’ve been unfaithful to you.'” To which Carl added, “She wasn’t mad; she was just so broken.”

The couple later faced questions from church founder Brian Houston regarding their relationship with their nanny and church member Leona Kimes. Laura admitted to suspecting something was amiss but said they never discussed it again after an initial confrontation.

In November 2020, Carl was fired from Hillsong Church. Six months later, Kimes accused him of sexual and emotional abuse. Addressing these allegations in the second episode of the documentary series, Carl took responsibility for allowing an inappropriate relationship with Kimes to develop but denied any allegations of abuse: “I am responsible for allowing an inappropriate relationship to develop in my house with someone that worked for us,” he said, adding, “any notion of abuse is categorically false.”

Carl Lentz also revealed that he had contemplated suicide amid the fallout from the scandal and shared that he had been sexually abused as a child by a family friend. “I’m tired of this damage, I’m tired of this wreckage, I’m tired of putting people I love through pain,” he said. “I did those things, those are on me, I take responsibility for those. The rest of my life I’ll be making amends where I can.”

The first two episodes of The Secrets of Hillsong will premiere on FX on Friday and be available for streaming on Hulu the following day. Episodes three and four are set to premiere on May 26th.


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