June Shafhid's Community Chapel Experience
I found your website and I am glad you have done so and offered encouragement and help to those that have been spiritually abused. I am a victim of spiritual abuse three times. Neither my husband or I attend a church now. We simply do not trust the 'system' anymore and fear the pain we might find again. We love Jesus with our entire being. Through our ordeal of spiritual abuse we now 'see' and thank God for the sight that He has given us and the wisdom His Spirit has revealed to us through His Word.
I was not involved in the church you came out of. In 1979 I got involved in a huge non-denominational charismatic church called "Community Chapel." I attended Bible college there for five years and had many friends and ministries. My whole life revolved around this church and I had no idea I was being 'brainwashed' into a cult.
We were told what to wear, what to eat, what to watch on tv, what bookstores to buy from, who to date, when to date, and of course our hair was to be long and not cut in some short style. The church preached on submission to the wives ( I was married), and the husbands were exhorted to take their 'spiritual headship' in the home.
My marriage, as was all the marriages in Community Chapel, were pressured to perform beyond what we were capable of doing. I had prayer meetings and ministries and college classes....every night of the week. We were threatened to be left out of church activities and publicly denounced if we did not tithe. Those that disagreed with the pastor about any subject were publicly denounced as 'rebellious sinners' and put out of the church.
I was one of those 'deceived and rebellious people' when seven years later the church fell into a horrendous spiritual holocaust that destroyed my marriage along with over 200 other marriages. I escaped but not without severe emotional and spiritual damage.
This church was into esoteric experiences and prioritized them over the Word of God. We were taught to walk by 'feelings' and not by 'faith.' Needless to say, satanic and occultic experiences began to be embraced as being 'moves of God' sent by the Holy Spirit. I can attest that they indeed were 'angels of light' and very deceptive. I believed the lie and found myself engrossed in a false doctrine that almost destroyed my life.
It was called, "spiritual connections." This doctrine was not formed by man. It was formed by Satan. A beguiling force of love began to move between church members during worship in the dance. The 'force' was like a beam of energy that moved from one person's eyes to another person's eyes. Once the spell ignited between the two dancers, they found themselves thrown into a supernatural sphere of glorious ecstasy, well beyond a normal earthly love.
That love-spell did not end with the dance. It actually seemed to bond the two people together in an ethereal high potent love--I cannot even describe it. But when it happened to me, I could not eat or sleep for weeks...I was simply love-sick for this other man that I did not know. I wanted him, to be with him, to kiss him, to hold him, to cherish him...and to have sex with him.
The love-hex worked between those of the same sex, but mostly between members of the opposite sex. Entire marriages were ripped apart as the pastor ordered us to 'jump into this new move of God or be eternally damned.' He told us to get delivered from insecurity and jealousy and release our mates to their 'spiritual connection.'
Now this church was huge-over 2000 people with satellite churches all over the US and some in Europe. This false doctrine spread to all the satellite churches as well (except the one in Greece. Praise God they stood against the deception and broke away). The 'love' turned sour soon enough and I began to seek the Lord about what was happening to my marriage.
My husband had 'connected' with a pretty woman and moved out of our house and in with her. The church counseled me that it was my fault because I was not 'releasing' him and letting God do the work in him through his new connection. I had a nervous breakdown and felt like I was in hell. This letter cannot explain all the details, but I did escape almost a year later and some friends that had left a year earlier rescued me. I had been in that church seven years.
It took five years to find my sense of Christian balance. I poured through scripture and decided to gain back my will and my sound mind. I would never again let a man or church run or rule my life. I turned back to Jesus and the true Gospel. I am an advocate for the truth. I do get so angry at the false revivals that are fooling God's people today. That same satanic 'spirit' is deceiving thousands of people with similar esoteric experiences and false prophecies.
It has been twelve years since I left that church. But, sad to say, the spiritual abuse did not end. I trusted two other churches since then, and had to leave both because of the legalism and control they tried to exert over my life.
I lost my first husband. He married his 'spiritual connection.' But I am happily remarried to the most wonderful man now and He adores the Lord. We both hope to someday start a ministry called "The Healing Inn" where those wounded saints can come and just 'be' and 'rest' without being pushed into a 'churchy' environment. We thought a BED and BREAKFAST type place would be nice. I sure wish I had found a place like that when I left. I was so bruised and messed up that I could not function like a normal person. As I am sure you know, when you first leave an abusive place your mind is troubled deeply.
Today, I still am scarred from the many abuses I have endured. I never feel like I fit in...I feel lost and outside, a misfit. Yet I know the truth now and I would go through it all again just to be able to 'see' as I see now. The Lord used the pain and experience of abuse to bring me out of deception and into truth. This I am ever thankful for. I will never be able to feel comfortable in a church and I might never go back...but I will always live my life for Jesus Christ and follow His Word. This is my safety and my foundation.
Thanks for being an ear. Have a great day and God bless you. My prayers are with your ministry.
Posted June 27, 1999
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August 23, 1997
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