Keshia Baldwin's Apostolic Experience
I started attending an Apostolic church when I was 13 years old. My best friend and I started going with her Mom. None of my family is Apostolic. My family had a hard time coming to terms with the religion, but they let me go because I was happy. I loved church so much. Whatever my pastor said I did gladly, never questioning it. I thought if this is what it takes then I am willing!
I lived my life everyday feeling guilty thinking I could earn my salvation by shouting and obeying the Pastor. I was very self righteous; if someone believed different than us I said they were hell bound. I thought I was better than them.
I was very on fire I worshiped God with all my heart every service. I walked the walk; I talked the talk. Everything I could participate in I did.
When I was fifteen I started being molested by my step Dad. I came to church and pretended everything was fine. I had no one to turn to. I felt all alone. I was hurting, wishing someone would be there for me.
Not long after, a new family moved to our church. They had a son who was 18. We started talking and I told him what was happening at home. He told my pastor. My Pastor thought the best thing for me would be marriage.
The whole church was against it because of our age, but instead of them talking to me and seeing I was hurting, turning to marriage as a last resort to leave home, they talked among themselves, gossiped, told lies, and would have nothing to do with me. I felt like marriage was an escape.
All I wanted was out of the situation, but there could have been a better solution. I was just a kid trusting my pastor knew what was best. A week after my 17th birthday I got married. It all was fine at first and then it all went bad. By the time we had been married for a year I was being beat. He was not coming home 3 or 4 days.
I felt hopeless. I prayed for a way out. My health was bad. I was depressed. No one knew we were having problems except for his family and they wanted to cover it up. Everything he did it was my fault they said.
One day he hit me at church so my Pastor found out so we started counseling and things got worse. My Pastor said if I left I was hell bound; my life would never work out because I was disobedient. I felt so hurt my Pastor would preach at me all the time saying obey, obey, obey- if you don't you are going to hell.
Finally one night he hit me and I had had enough. I was justified to leave because he was cheating on me. I called my brother and told him what was going on and I left. When I left I felt confused.
I started attending another Pentecostal church, but my heart was searching. God was leading me. I quit going. I did not attend church at all. I felt so confused I did not understand how you could be saved and not do anything. I prayed for God to lead me and not let me be lost.
I met this Baptist preacher; him and I are friends. He started telling me all you have to do is believe and about God's mercy and grace. I would just cry because I thought you could be saved by a long skirt and long hair. I came to know God loved me and you cannot earn forgiveness- he gives it freely.
I am still struggling, but God is revealing himself to me. I now know a different God. I attend Harmony Baptist Church. It is still hard because all I know is Apostolic teaching.
I am now 19 years old going through a divorce. My ex Pastor says I have been sent a spirit of delusion. He says I have backslidden because I attend a Baptist church. They are so blinded by their religion. God's love is free salvation . It isn't earned, it is given.
I am so happy now and I thank God he allowed me a way out and took the blinders off of my eyes. He has revealed a lot to me and is still helping me to understand. I love him so much.
There are no scriptures that justifies their standards. It is all about control. Pray for God's leading and understanding and he'll lead you. Read your Bible and look beyond your religion and you too will see the scriptures they use for control are taken out of context.
This account has been disputed by Keshia's ex-husband, Kenny. To read his response, click here.
Posted August 31, 2002
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August 23, 1997
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