Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part IX

On 11 July, 2018 Ann Voskamp wrote a post on her blog entitled, “When You’re Tired of Pretending Everything’s Okay”..

In the post, Ms. Voskamp plagiarized material written by author Eugene Peterson, best known for the contemporary Bible paraphrase, The Message..

Note:  Mrs. Voskamp buried an apology for her plagiarism of Cynthia Occelli in a post entitled “Only the Good Stuff: Multivitamins for Your Weekend” dated 07/14/2018.  It reads:

“In writing my books, The Broken Way, and Be The Gift, I wrote of how my father, a seventh-generation farmer, spoke of seeds and how the process of growth looks like devastation:  ‘For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.’  What I attributed to my father appears to have originated with author Cynthia Occelli, was used without correct attribution or permission, and I humbly apologize for any confusion, and am profoundly grateful to make the correct attribution to Cynthia Occelli.”

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part VII

The quote by author Cynthia Occelli was seen in the October 18, 2016, video lesson entitled The Broken Way, Small Group Bible Study by Ann Voskamp – Session One, on the official Zondervan YouTube channel. Beginning at approximately the 2:10 minute mark.

The quote is also found in the first chapter of Mrs. Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, on page 26.  In both cases Voskamp attributes the quote to her father. See below.

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Links

All images used in accordance with the US FAIR USE Act.

Links to information on alleged plagiarism by Ann Voskamp.

Use of Images/Logos, also used by author Cynthia Occelli, 2011 – 2013

Plagiarizing author Cynthia Occelli, October 18, 2016.

Plagiarizing blogger Kevin Sheehan and Dr. Tim Keller, November 1, 2016

The First Allegations, discussions following the IF: Gathering Conference- February 3-4, 2017

Plagiarizing Professor Wade Mullen January 15, 2018

A Mosaic of Grace – An apology from Ann Voskamp, January 20, 2018

A Tangled Web of Grace – January 24, 2018

Plagiarism in The Broken Way

Cynthia Occelli’s original post.

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – The First Allegations

I have hesitated to document this incident, simply because I don’t have a list of links to prove what took place. Rather, I’ll be pointing to something which isn’t there, and that’s much more ambiguous than I like.

Having said that, some of the first allegations of plagiarism by Ann Voskamp surfaced during the IF: Gathering Conference in early February of 2017. The conference, held in Austin, TX featured speakers Jennie Allen, founder of IF, Lysa Terkeurst, Jennie Yang, Jeanne Stevens and Mrs. Voskamp.  The conference was also live-streamed, via video, to a multitude of churches in the US and Canada. The conference videos remained available online, but were removed shortly after the allegations surfaced.

Following is a transcript of a portion of Mrs. Voskamp’s talk at the IF: Gathering Conference with time stamp references. Note she opens with the question, What do you want?”

0:00 – 2:23 What do you want? Do you want safety, security, guarantees? Do you want to stand with the comfort of the majority? Climb ladders of prosperity? Make affirmation or validation your priority? Or be about self-improvement primarily—about stability and popularity and familiarity? What do you want? Because here’s the thing. You have to know what you want because this is kind of everything—you are what you want. You are what your heart beats for, seeks, for reaches for. You are what your heart loves, desire, admires, acquires. You are what your heart wants. Because what you want is your god. What you want is your gravity your identity your security. Is God your gravity? Is the word your weighted mooring in a world that is storming? Because if you’re not weighted down by the word, your heart is waiting to be a cyclone ripped apart. What do you have an appetite most for when you are hurting the most? Because that is what you want the most. What do you want and do you want what he wants? Jesus isn’t about just forming your mind, he’s about forming your heart into what he wants, to love what he loves, to form your broken heart in to a self-giving self-sacrificing love like his love. What we love most is our most basic orientation, our baseline inclination, our default orientation that generates how we move forward. And the only way to live is to move forward. And we’re all moving forward toward something. And what is that something—that someone—that you really want? You are what you want and you are what you love.
4:58 – Now is the time to get in formation, get in formation, get in formation and disciple a generation to live cruciformation.
16:51 – Esther generation, live upside down kingdom get into formation get into formation get into formation to transform the nations by our self-giving cruciformation.

Now note the opening sentence of You Are What You Love, by Dr. James K. A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, holding the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview.

Lastly, note the Twitter exchange between Alex Nolette and Dr. James K. A. Smith himself in which Dr. Smith tweets:  “I’m sure there’s a footnote in her heart.”

Others on Twitter noted a recognizable similarity to the chorus of a rap song by Beyoncé titled, Formation.

Beyoncé:  Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, I slay
Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation

Ann Voskamp:  4:58 – Now is the time to get in formation, get in formation, get in formation and disciple a generation

It’s not possible to state that this is a clearcut example of plagiarism, but the social media conversation began here.


Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part VI

After some digging I’ve located what I believe is the original stock art image of the tree used by both Cynthia Occelli and Ann Voskamp.

It was designed by an artist named Tolchik who is listed as an Illustrator / Vector Artist. Her portfolio with Shutterstock is found here.

The image is available for purchase, with an extended license, via Shutterstock, CanStock, 123RF and several other stock photo companies.

It is certainly possible that Mrs. Voskamp and Ms. Occelli coincidentially chose to use the same image.

See also:

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part II

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part III

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part IV

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part V

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part V

I want to begin by stating, for the record, that I take no pleasure in writing these posts. This process leaves me discouraged and weary, but biblical integrity demands that this information be made known. Plagiarism is a serious charge.  Exodus 20:15.

On April 4, 2018 author Cynthia Occelli shared this tweet with an image of the cover page of her 2013 ebook entitled Inspired Living/The Inspiration Reboot.  It features a whimsical, black and white drawing of what appears to be the “tree of life”.  The image includes the logo from Ann Voskamp’s website inserted for comparison. It appears to be the same “tree of life” image in reverse.

Mrs. Occelli has confirmed that the image was used in her ebook, with permission, from the company Trading Phrases. See below for images of the ebook cover and copyright page.

The original art is a “giant wall decal” product. The product page can be found here. and is seen below.

Mrs. Voskamp’s “tree of life” image (seen below) is nearly identical, with a few minor alterations, such as the roots being removed.

Did Mrs. Voskamp also obtain permission to use the image from Trading Phrases?


See also, Ann Voskamp and PlagiarismAnn Voskamp and Plagiarism – IIAnn Voskamp and Plagiarism – III,  Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – IV

Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part III

Sadly, another instance of plagiarism by Ann Voskamp has come to my attention.

In October, 2016, Zondervan published The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp. The book reached the New York Times Bestseller list and spawned a myriad of spin-off products including a small group Bible study with video lessons led by Mrs. Voskamp.

On October 18, 2016, a video lesson entitled The Broken Way, Small Group Bible Study by Ann Voskamp – Session One, was published on the official Zondervan YouTube channel. Beginning at approximately the 2:10 minute mark, Mrs. Voskamp states,

“My daddy told me this once. For a seed to come fully into it’s own it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, he’d said. Its insides must come out. And, everything, everything must change.  If you don’t understand what growth looks like you might mistake it for complete destruction.”

Compare Mrs. Voskamp’s statement to this quote from author Cynthia Occelli, dated 2014:

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

Ms. Occelli, author of Resurrecting Venus: Embrace Your Feminine Power, can be contacted via her website here.

See also, Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism and Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part II.


Ann Voskamp and Plagiarism – Part II

Andy Savage

On 15 January, 2018 Ann Voskamp wrote a post on her blog entitled, “The Church’s Weinstein Moment: Nailing Some Theses for Assault to the Door of the Church”, which addressed the allegations of sexual abuse against High Point Memphis Pastor Andy Savage. Click here to download a PDF of the original, cached post.

In the post, Ms. Voskamp plagiarized material written by Wade Mullen, Director of M.Div. program and professor at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, without citation.

Ms. Voskamp subsequently corrected the post, which has now also been removed.

On 20 January, 2018 she issued a retraction. See below or click here.