Posted May 10th, 2011 at 07:47 PM by Kaye123
Updated May 11th, 2011 at 02:26 AM by Kaye123
I was raised in an alcoholic abusive home. "Not where it shows" was my Mom's favorite line. Fell into the big deal new church at 20 years old, one year married.
The church started as a home for the two original pastors who had just come back to the Lord and gotten clean from drink and drugs. Their own pastors didn't sanction what they were doing and asked them to go through their channels, which probably weren't any better. They opened it up to friends and had regular Bible studies led by them. Totally untrained but wonderful speakers.
Soon they bought a second house for girls, then a real church. Then a bigger church, then a historic theater we repaired and filled to the rafters every day of the week.
We were 'encouraged' to be at church if the doors were open. We had dress codes, though not as severe as most here. We had hundreds of people getting saved weekly and took them to our own retreat center on a lake up north for a weekend of learning. Then we sent them to neighborhood home cell group bible studies with (unschooled) shepherds that liked to be consulted on anything and everything. We were in secret sin if we caught a cold or, God forbid, anything worse. We were re-baptized because only we understood the truth, all other churches were 'dead'. Speaking in tongues was proof of salvation. We had an elderly pastor devoted to exorcisms which he performed upon request. The singles usually group dated until God told a man that they were supposed to marry you. Many people followed that lead, only two couples that I know of are still married and they were 'pastors'. Thankfully I was married before I came on board there.
We had a dozen pastors, two group homes, one for men and one for women, unmarried. In order to be in the Homes one had to be unemployed and no college classes to interrupt the real learning of the Lord. One also had to be free labor, rising at dawn to pray in the cold basement, work all day for or at the church, take classes at our own "Bible Institute" where we ordained our own pastors. The women were often "Handmaidens of the Lord" for the pastors wives and their kids. And then end the night with more bible studies that, if you were spiritual enough, ran till midnight, then get up and do it all over again.
I became involved more at the church and that's when the trouble really started. The pastor was "Mr. Way Too Friendly" towards me. Thinking I was saving him from sin and the demise of the church I took care of him and never let him sin. We became fast and furious friends for years much to the embitterment of many, which totally confused me for years.
One woman in particular hounded me for years. Turned out she was one of the many women having affairs with my friend, the pastor. The other pastor was not off drugs after all and was fired, and the youth pastor was sued by his teen assistant for rape. He was involved with many kids.
The church benched the pastor who was in sexual sin, he came back in a few months. He then got re-baptized so that he was now impervious to sin. hmm yeah right. He came back to the pulpit but never admitted what he had done and further lied about it. He labelled the people that knew and spoke about it "Bitter and Unforgiving". We had a serious no talk rule that has lasted for decades.
I left after I (finally) realized this man was a liar an the truth was not found in him. He tried to control my leaving, having his secretary call me until my husband thought it was best to go in and talk to him. We went, the pastor knew I knew it all and I knew the women involved, but said to my husband, "there are things you don't understand or know about." I lost it at that point and started to lit into him when my husband grabbed my hands and told me to calm down because "there are things we don't know."
When we left the church he turned to me and said "what just happened here?" ha ha ha, yes that pastor could tell you it was raining out when the sun was shining. I had dreams for years about going to church, then wake up to realize it was all a dream. I lost hundreds of friends because of the no talk rule. Those who stayed wouldn't talk to me and those who left wouldn't talk for fear of "touching the hem of the anointed."
So many people left and went to another new popular church, Open Door with Pastors Dave Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderan. They counseled so many of our congregation that they ended up writing the book "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse". :0 !
The church struggled for a few more years with a split congregation then folded. The pastor wandered and found employment thanks to a kind-hearted Christian mogul. The pastor then was in charge of hiring and continued to have affairs with his underlings.
After a couple decades he came back to the Lord and started another church with the same name!