T. Johnson's United Pentecostal Church Experience
I just wanted to share my experience with you, concerning the UPC. It happened back in the early 90's. I was a young mother with 2 children. I came to know the church through my then husband's aunt & uncle. I had never before had any experience with Pentecostals & when I began to hunger for God they took me under their wings. (aunt & uncle)
The first night I attended a service with them I got filled with the Holy Ghost with tongues. A week later I was baptized in Jesus name as this was the only way to make the rapture I was told.
I felt so good about being in my new church. The people were wonderful.....for a while. After awhile I became "convicted" of wearing pants, jewelry, make-up & of course cutting my hair. Eventually I became unhappy & lost my interest to go. It was then that I was bombarded with people telling me that I would lose my salvation if I did not attend services and live life according to the UPC.
Well it just happened that the annual women's conference was approaching and I was invited to go. I went and renewed in the Holy Ghost. Life was good again and I came back to church completely on fire for God. I began to get involved in Sunday School and choir. I was a praise singer, a door knocker and the editor of the church newspaper. I also started a prayer group with ladies of the church which consisted of meeting at each others houses and praying for revival and souls.
Now the women that were in this group were good honest God fearing women. Definite prayer warriors who never asked for recognition. I never considered myself a prayer warrior bit I hungered to do more for God. Things were really starting to happen and all of us felt it and knew it. The funny thing is, is that it seemed to be out of sync with the church services. Things just didn't seem to match up.
I began to really feel things in the Spirit; being from a Baptist background I was confused. I tried to go to the preacher on several occasions but he blew me off each time. This was all happening at a time that I began to get closer to the pastor's daughter-in-law. Through knowing her, light began to shed on the situation.
Basically it came down to $$$$. I was so young and naive I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. Seems that the pastor was more concerned with the wealthy of the congregation. All of the wealthy had spiritual gifts, like tongues and interpretation. Some also claimed to be able to touch someone's hands and know if they had a "devil". These people and the pastor were like an inner circle and if you didn't have money, it didn't matter to him what God was dealing with you about.
There came a time that my family was really in dire straits and needed money, but more importantly diapers and food. There was a time that we made one pot of beans last a whole week. Again I tried to get help through the church but nothing ever came of it. I finally had to go to Catholic services and welfare, something our preacher preached against. Even though I was poor, I still tithed on whatever money I had.
It seemed like every week the plate was being passed to collect for the pastor's birthday or their anniversary. They even passed the plate to send the pastor & his wife on a cruise. Finally the last I can recall being when the plate was passed to buy them a house warming gift as they had a house built in a luxury gated community where you had to have a special permit sticker to enter. This home also had a swimming pool, cable; you name it.
Now back to my spiritual dilemma. Because the preacher kept blowing me off I thought that I must be going out of God's will and frustration set in hard. I became severely depressed. I continued to go to church. At altar call I would throw myself on the altar and beg God to help me. I would cry so hard my voice would be hoarse. I know now what I needed was medical help. I was on a downward spiral. I felt like I wanted to die.
Weeks went by and I finally confided in a friend about the way I was feeling. She said she had been feeling the same way and that the pastor had arranged a meeting with her and brother "John" who had a "deliverance ministry". Bro. John was new to our church. He was not a new convert and I didn't hear of him coming from another church. He just seemed to come out of the blue. Though I felt if my pastor trusted him I could too.
I called the pastor to make an appointment. What a mistake. Here I was in the pastor's office with Bro John and the church secretary and the pastor. I basically had to tell all my sins & fears so that I could be delivered of the devils that were causing them. I did so & we began to pray in the Spirit. Bro. John was seated in front of me and holding my hands; the pastor and secretary were behind him. Bro John started praying very loud; at this point he had his forehead up to mine. I was getting scared and I began to cry hard and back up into my chair.
He started yelling for the devils to come out. In my mind I knew there were no devils, I was just scared!!!! I kept saying I was scared but he wouldn't let me go. He would yell things like "look me in the eye, you devil" when I would try to get him out of my personal space. I felt so invaded. After about two hours it was over. Bro. John put his hands on my face and kissed my cheek and called me "his girl". The pastor asked if I felt better. I said yes just so I could get out of there.
Weeks went by and a few other ladies went to the pastor, who in turn set up meetings with he and Bro. John to deliver these women from demonic oppression.
I confided to a girlfriend, that had also been "delivered", that I didn't feel any different and how confused I was about the whole experience. That is when she broke down and told me what she had experienced with Bro. John. She had started her sessions with him before I had gone to see him.
Things were going ok she said until one day he came to her house when her husband was not home. As you know, for a man & woman to be alone together was frowned upon. But she trusted him as the pastor held him in such high regard. Well to make a long story short he pinned her up against the kitchen counter and kissed her. Luckily he stopped there and she was able to make him leave. She said from that day on he had "coincidentally" been showing up everywhere she went.
It was then I realized myself it was no accident that I too had been running in to him "coincidentally" all over town. I felt so sick to my stomach. She also told me she had spoken to the pastor about this and that she wasn't the only one, yet the pastor still allowed him to "minister" to the women of the church. ( I don't recall him "delivering" any men.)
My pastor never spoke with me about this incident. I felt raped spiritually. I had told this man my life and fears and he was a fake!!!! All I could think about was "what if he tells someone"" or "what if he continues to follow me". I was angry with my pastor for letting a stranger do this to me. Besides we were holiness Pentecostals; surely my pastor of all people would have recognized him as a fake.
By now I had taken all I could handle. I had given my heart, my time and my money to this church and this "religion" - in return it gave me heartache and shame. I was never "holy" enough, I could never do enough for the church (cleaning, nursery attendant, nursing home ministry) & most of all I could never give enough money to the church. That was it. I left the church & moved back to my home town about 45 miles away.
I later found out through my then aunt-in-law that Bro. John had to be removed from the church by the police as he kept stalking several of the women (and sexually harassing them). He also proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ.
I can look back now and see things much clearer but it still hurts. I don't attend any particular church right now but I know that I'm saved and that God will never turn his back on me. One day I would like to belong to a church again, but right now I'm afraid to put myself back in that situation. I still have the fear that this could happen again.
Thank you for reading my story.
Posted August 31, 2002
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August 23, 1997
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