Friday, 6 September 2013

The Abusive Church - Part 2

Busy doing Nothing
Before you knew it, and regardless to your day-job, every spare minute was being taken up with evening church activities. Mondays were ordained as a free day, Tuesdays was choir practice for those who wanted to be tormented by the Pastor's rude, authoritarian son. Wednesdays was bible study where you were constantly bombarded with information and any poignant questions would be danced around until the lesson had finished. Thursdays was Cell Group where the church folk met in each other's homes on a rota basis. Fridays was youth meeting, followed by cleaning the church and then all-night prayers until 3am. Saturdays was street evangelism and Sundays was church from 8.30am to 10pm. 

Non-attendance of these meetings was frowned upon. People were exhausted and tired. You were discouraged from attending private family functions or events not related to church or having associations with unsaved friends. 'God' had to be put first. Any complaint would result in you being labeled as a weak and lukewarm Christian.

Warning 3
The key tactic here is to keep people constantly occupied and distracted. You don't have any time to think, decipher information or do any research for yourself. If your ability to think is taken away, you are more likely to accept information given to you. 

Money money money
We gave money constantly. At every meeting, at every church service, sometimes 2 or 3 times in one day. We tithed 10% of our gross income and there were additional times when we were told to give a 'sacrificial' offering, even if we didn't have it, so that you could be 'blessed by God'. I saw that offering basket more times than I saw my own family. We were told that if we did not give our money it was as if you were robbing God. Now, the bible has a lot to say about giving to the poor but I never heard the leader breathe a word about that. What was actually going on with hindsight, was that he was accepting money from a load of people with far less than him. The opposite of what the bible says. 

That church was freezing in the winter and the roof was always leaking. But I guess that's what happens when bad money mismanagement comes into play. Or was it?

Warning 4
People should be free to give. The minute there is an element of pressure, guilt, blackmail or even bribery ie: 'give so that God will bless you', alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear in your head. God doesn't work that way.

Behind the Mask
This pastor was one hell of a force to be reckoned with. He was extremely charismatic and well known within the community. He was liked by many people who were not part of that church and he played the Jekyll and Hyde game very well. One of his tricks was to suddenly and openly tell the congregation on a Sunday morning that God has spoken to him, and some unlucky bastard was to be ordained as a leader ie: missionary, evangelist, elder, teacher, deacon etc. In reality he was falsely giving you a formal position within the church by name only. You actually had no authority, influence or power at all. Obviously you were not allowed to refuse that position because it came from God. I was unfortunate enough to be given a title which meant more meetings and more of an insight into the politics going on behind the scenes. 


Shunning  
I remember the case of a very well respected and extremely popular leader who got on very well with the Pastor and his family. 

At a certain point they wanted to step down from one aspect of their duties after a few years. The Pastor tried to persuade them not to and refused to give his blessing. When this leader politely stuck to their guns the Pastor ominously said 'OK... we'll deal with this on Sunday'. He actually waited several days to publicly denounce this person in front of the whole church, as though they had done something seriously wrong! They were now silenced, gagged - in other words, not allowed to speak as a leader.

This well-liked leader was immediately ignored by most people after the service ended. People simply turned their heads and walked away. People were too afraid to ring them at home or make contact. This leader was shunned for weeks until the Pastor reinstated their position. 

Warning 5
The power that social isolation can have on people who have cut off their family/friends, not to mention the outside world and made their whole social life revolve around a church like this can have devastating psychological and emotional effects. Yes, you can leave at anytime but where would you go? Who would you turn to? And remember what I said in:
The Abusive Church - Part 1
it was drummed into you that God had put you in that church. 

Headless Chicken
There came a point where myself and my partner no longer believed in the Pastor's version of scriptural interpretation. We presented him with a small document of our findings and handed it out within one of the hierarchy meetings just like we were supposed to do. The Pastor agreed in front of all the ministers and their wives to discuss our concerns at another meeting. 2 weeks later he obviously changed his mind. We received a damning letter which I can only say sounded like it came from a demented man. He stated the following which I have put in quotes:

"I take it to be an act of gross misconduct to me and anyone of intelligence in the meeting" furthermore "without submitting it to me for approval or disapproval", "I think you should have asked for them back and re-presented them in the proper manner if approved". This Pastor continued by stating 'I do not take it lightly, anyone trying to embarrass me in front of the people that God gave me to lead', "was it a try to pull a fast one" 'I do hope that this was a genuine mistake" and 'you are setting up trouble for yourself in your local church and may the Lord help you". 
We of course responded in a godly way to all letters BUT this Pastor wanted blood.  He sent a second letter commenting "disrespect is and will always be discouraged" and "there is a way of doing things which shows respect for leadership and in turn will promote those in "followship" and "I have already informed those present at that meeting this would not be discussed on any level, therefore no need for you to trouble yourself further". 

Now, I have not written 1/5 of what this Pastor said but wanted to give you a gist of his mindset when someone disagrees with him. In the Pastor's third letter he stated "You owe me an apology, not just to me but to all who were present in that meeting", and "you have offended me, you did not cause division because I stopped it in time" AND "you having to leave on issues as these do hurt me in the guts". It was also confirmed and made very clear that he had stopped people contacting us.

All those wicked words spoken ONLY because we had a different point of view over scriptural interpretation.  

My Experience of Pentecostalism
I've seen marriage forced upon couples who were not ready for it, they only wanted to date to see if they were compatible, but are now divorced or separated especially when re-marriage was deemed as sin. I've seen many people suffer with mental illness due to the emotional abuse they suffered. Many have cast God aside and dare not venture into any type of religion. One particular woman died because she refused to take her medication on the premise that God would heal her.  I've seen many false prophets claim God told them to do this or that, but it's ironic how nobody never claimed to do a miracle or raise the dead, simply because they couldn't produce the evidence. I've seen fearless men from the rough and tough streets of London turned into whimpering fools. I am disgusted to my stomach to have been in a private meeting when it was announced due to rumours, that another Pastor from another congregation had made a woman pregnant, and this was being hushed up by the hierarchy.  Nobody was to say anything. I'll never forget it as long as I live. And I will never have anything to do with that church or Pastor again. Shame on every Pastor, for every evil they have done. GOD IS NOT MOCKED. 

Warning 6
Places like this and people like this Pastor can only exist because people like YOU or ME fund it with our tithes, money, offerings and most importantly, our time. Do you think autocratic or authoritarian leaders would exist if none of us ever showed up? You can't manipulate, control or abuse nothing, so to speak.  
Vote with your feet. Hit the floor running. Trust your gut instinct. And don't be afraid to challenge things that you feel is not right. 
I hope I was able to help someone. 

If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here:
The Abusive Church - Part 1 

It would be great to hear your views, comments and opinions on anything regarding this topic. And feel free to express your views. 

65 comments:

  1. I believe you for all the facts, but this is man made works not from God. I mean what the pastor did or doing. It is good that you inform. There is no perfect church or people. Only God. We should look for him and his doings. We do things for the church because of our love for God and because we love what we are doing. If we feel that the leadership is not acting in love, then it is not from God. But there are plenty of churches and man of God who really are serving the poor and helping the needy. Not judging, but loving and forgiving. We have to pray for each other because the enemy is there to divide the church so that one loose his faith in God.

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    1. I really felt that this was the time for me to be honest in what really went on in that church. Sometimes we do ourselves and others an injustice because we had the facts and allow others to fall into the trap. Anyone who is experiencing anything like this in a so-called 'church' needs to get out because in the long run it will destroy them.
      As I said in this post, it's people like me that kept Pastors like that in position. Thanks Joy, and believe me, I will pray.

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  2. No one should be guilted, shamed or made to feel less then who they are... Least of all people should not be judged. I feel sorry for people who afraid to not stand up for themselves... :(

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    1. And that's exactly who they prey on Launna. Those that are vulnerable and weak. I mean, most people go to a church to find something that is lacking in life, therefore many are vulnerable from the offset. Thanks for reading and commenting Launna.

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  3. What you've described is not how a church should function at all. There are groups of believers who do not act like this at all. This sounds more like religion, not true Christianity. I'm so sorry you had to endure this~

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    1. Shelly, I can't believe that I allowed myself to be fooled like this for so long. At points I knew something was seriously not right, I even called it a cult, but I still came back the next day. Man, have I learned something now. Always listen to that gut feeling and check everything out. Don't just follow the blind into a pit. I learned the hard way, and I'm hoping someone will read this and walk away. I don't believe that every church is like this. I'm still looking. Thanks Shelly.

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  4. I'm also sorry that you were subjected to this intense cruelty. The thought of that woman dying, because she wouldn't take her medication "on the premise that God would heal her" is absolutely unconscionable. I'm so glad that you and your partner made it out of there safely. Though the Pastor took your time, and your money he couldn't take your spirit. I applaud you for sharing your story that will undoubtedly help others.

    Julie

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the lady that died had an extremely high amount of faith but suffered an unpleasant death. If only she had realised that God has also given man wisdom to learn the wonders of creation and become scientists and doctors, she would very probably still be with us today.

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  5. I know someone who had a huge conversation the other day with me about the fear that the local church putting so much fear into the youth that they spend all their time at church.... Its truly a sad and scary thing.

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    1. Yes it is very scary because despite church we still do live in the real world and we need to know how to interact or deal with it. Jesus and his followers were people who rolled up their sleeves, so to speak and got involved in everyday life, without losing touch with their spirituality. The way some churches go on, it's as though they want to be some kind of monastery to close the doors and ignore the world outside. But this is not found in the bible, so far as I can see. Thanks Dan :)

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  6. Although I realize this church's modus operandi isn't the norm, the very idea of submitting to any ideology rubs me the wrong way. I'm glad that you took a stand and got yourself out of that congregation. People often get sucked into systems of belief before they know what's hitting them, especially when they're being manipulated in the name of God.

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    1. That's the thing Helena. You're conditioned so quickly in a subtle way and they don't give you any time to actually digest the information so you can make an informed decision on your own. And when you add God to the mix you feel like you don't want to let him down, so to speak. I mean, who wants to go to hell (if that's what you believe?). By then, they've got you by the lower regions mate. Thanks Helena.

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  7. I have absolutely no problem with anyone believing what they like, but attempting to ram their beliefs down the throats of others or setting themselves up as dictatorial leaders of a "church" which is just a massive ego trip or brainwashing operation is the cause of my huge antipathy towards organised religion, (irrespective of my atheism) in much the same way as politicians perverting legitimate ideals to their own ends leads to distrust of party politics in the youth of today.
    I hope that your excellent posts are of use to those who have faith but have been sucked into one of these manipulative cults of personality.


    Ps - Not really apposite, and flippant I know, but one of my favourite quotes concerning religion has always been "If 'cleanliness' is next to 'Godliness' then you need a new dictionary"

    As the great Dave Allen used to say "Goodnight and may your God go with you"

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    1. Dale, the funny thing is, when you have to force, coerce, drag, abuse, swindle etc. people into following you, then something is more than seriously wrong. I mean, you have to provide people with false information and then go out of your way to make them believe it, is not only a skill but also deliberate disingenuity (or however it's spelt). Thanks Dale and if one person walks away tonight and finds a positive and healthy place to worship then I've done my job.

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    2. Just found this, posted by a fellow blogger friend on Facebook, thought you'd like it.
      This is the type of religious man I respect.

      http://ireporterstv.co/church-members-mistreat-homeless-man-in-church-unaware-it-is-their-pastor-in-disguise/

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    3. Thanks Dale, I definitely going to have a look at this.

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  8. I'm glad you dare to expose these issues.
    I respect all religions but I'm not so sure that all religious people respect the fact that I am a free thinker.
    I don't accept anything imposed as dogma.
    There are many things that religions cannot explain.

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    1. In my experience of church, it wasn't a good idea to be a free thinker, so I can just imagine the amount of trouble you would have got yourself into.
      Yes, there are many things that can't be explained but it's knowing where to 'stop'. Thanks Julia

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  9. Religion is seriously big business. I run a niche IT company specializing in the media and broadcast industry and religious groups spend more than all our other clients on technology and specialist equipment.
    I'm not religious at all and intend to stay that way.

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    1. Yes, it is big business for sure. I wonder if those same religious organizations spend just as much time and money feeding the poor, helping the homeless, looking after the elderly
      and putting money back into the communities where it's sometimes needed? I mean, what's the point in looking a million dollars on TV when everyone around you is starving?
      Thanks Lanthie.

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  10. I my naive mind
    the Church should be something complementary and supportive in a person's life
    Not self serving and.manipulatively powerful

    It's so sad that you have experienced what you have
    So sad for you
    And so sad for the good church people

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    1. It is very very sad John. The only way to dis-empower people like that is to vote with your feet and refuse to fund their so called 'mission'. They can't rule over 'nothing'. Thanks for the comment John.

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  11. Have you ever stopped to think why there are Abusive (here put the noun naming any organisation, place, person, whatever you know)?

    The reason, from my viewpoint of course, is that we have days and nights, and if real sable-tooth tigers can devour us during the day, that is not the worse thing that can happen to us.

    Our methods of safety are based mostly in our way to "see" the world around us. So just let night spread its cloak over our sky and we are defenseless.

    My granddad uses to say: Witches do not exist, but let the night surprise you in the middle of a rain forest, and they are a vivid presence.

    Sometimes the noises inside us are so strong that, even if we are not in the middle of a rain forest, we "need" a shelter to keep us strong to follow the trail to our graves.

    Then we need those havens promised by people, not different from us, but with enough understanding of reality to give us the image of a strength derived from a greater, and sound source: mainly the Deity, but it can be anything credible enough.

    Being what they are, these people start conning people into giving them the power, money, prestige, everything, and ultimately they start to believe in that themselves, so much so, that they feel threatened by anything that pointed to their lies.

    Hence the reaction.

    As in Math, all these equations, are just a simplification to start solving the monomials, a simple way to "explain" our behaviour; things are mightily complicated when you start looking at them, and demand many soft steps as the one mentioned solving each individual sad situation.

    Yes, the logic solutions is 'walking away', but that action requests a strong mind and a reckless heart. We are not made like that. Always there is the night that brings whispers, and noises unknown that defeat us before starting the battle. You said it: «I've seen fearless men from the rough and tough streets of London turned into whimpering fools.» That is a logical denouement. We are feeble. We need to fill that deep, infinite hollow in our soul, no matter the cost. Up to now, the only one thing that I found capable of instilling enough force to face Abusive (here put the noun naming any organisation, place, person, whatever you know), is RAGE.

    If you can raise enough RAGE in your guts as to reverse the FEAR night pour in us, then you may win.

    That is my experience, and it seems to be yours, too!

    Gesundheit!!

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    1. Oh Od, you just have such a wonderful way of writing and made some brilliant points - apart from the word 'monomials'. I looked it up... saw it was linked to 'polynomials'... looked them up... and am still none the wiser!

      Fear has so much to do with it. The fear of speaking out, fear of being rebuked, fear of being ostracized, fear of leaving and the list is endless, not to mention the fear of being rejected by God. Once you remove fear out of the way, all your senses come back into play.

      The ironic thing is, these people claim to offer the refuge from fear whilst actually making people more and more fearful to increase their dependence. Always good to hear from you Od Liam.

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  12. How truly awful.
    I am so saddened that so many horrible things have been done through the centuries in the name of God. I am so saddened that you, my friend, have been scarred by such outrageous and decidedly un-Christian behaviour.
    I know that God Himself would shudder to have His nature so twisted and warped and downright misrepresented by someone calling himself a follower of God.
    There will ALWAYS be individuals who learn to use their God-given personalities to bend others to do what they want for their own gratification. May we all walk in wisdom and teach our children to have discerning hearts and minds, so that they will 'shun' such leaders in favour of those who are humbly seeking to serve their people, not damage them because of their own passion for power.
    I appreciate the sensitivity and honesty in bringing this to our attention - what a difficult topic to discuss. *sigh*

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    1. Thanks Melody. It's funny that you mention 'wisdom', and 'discerning hearts and minds' because these are features that I very much associate with you.

      Surely, though, you must have been through some harsh trials yourself to be able to write with the insight that you have.

      I've thought about writing this for a very long time, and then all of a sudden it came to me 'why should I cover up abuse?'. It is a very difficult subject but I hope it helps others to make the right choices. Thanks Melody.

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  13. I'm sorry you had to go though such a terrible experience.
    I believe in God but I'm suspicious of organized religion.
    Maybe satisfying my spiritual longing for some kind of God is a personal experience, not a social gathering.
    I just don't know.

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    1. The funny thing is, John, that all the while I was in such a toxic situation, I did have some genuine (I think) and profound personal experiences. I ask myself why God would do so in such a corrupt context. Then I think, maybe he saw the state I was in and just felt sorry for me. I just don't know either :) But my longing is still alive, too. I hope this isn't the end of my story.
      Thanks for your comment mate.

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  14. I truly think so many people are just too judgmental in the church. I think they should leave the judging to God and just be loving.

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    1. Easier said than done Betty. Someone is always trying to be in charge of the crowd, so to speak. Thanks for commenting mate.

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  15. I'm glad you got out of this situation and that leader sounds like a real monster. It makes me curious though about having all your friends turn their backs on you like that.

    How did it feel at the time? I mean, from my point of view, for them to act that way they can't have been your true friends in the first place. But for them to have been your only social life for that whole time - how did it feel to lose them from one day to the next?

    Also, do you know if any of those other people wised up and got out as well, since you did? Have you thought of setting up a group to help other victims?

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    1. At first, I thought the phone would be ringing off the hook and what really surprised me was the fact that over a period of years, the amount of people that confessed how they loved us as brothers & sisters, how they would do anything for us and how they were watching over our souls.
      Now, if you truly believe that if I left God and the church I would burn forever and ever in hell fire , would you not even attempt to give me a phone call, an email, a letter, a personal one to one to find out what happened to me and why I left? That was a BIG wake up call.

      I would warn my worst enemy that he was in danger of hell fire. So why wouldn't a so called Christian warn me?

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  16. I read this on Saturday but I didn't have time to comment and so I came back. See, this is the very reason why I stay away from charismatic/pentecostal/large churches. I've been paying attention to all the church scandals currently going on, and it's heartbreaking to know that people actually fall for these manipulations of a church. If I attend a church and it doesn't agree with my spirit I move on to the next one. Quite frankly, I'm yet to find a mainstream church that agrees with my spirit. They're all about control, status and money. I stick with the traditional churches. They might sing boring hymns and not be into theatrics, but I always come out feeling a sense of freedom and peace. That's what church should feel like. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's sad, isn't it?

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    1. That's so insightful, Nicole! So many people are led astray by flamboyance, charisma, theatrics... perhaps that's what got me off the right track in the first place. The fact that you find God in the more humble, quiet and still, small voice of a traditional setting may simply mean that you're more in-tune with the nature of God's true worship.

      A lot of people can point to the scandals and the fakeness of the mega-churches, but not everyone can take it to the next step and find a place where they leave the service feeling free and peaceful. Thank you so much for commenting.

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  17. What a mess, rpd. I'm amazed you still remain a churchgoer after all that. You must have some very strong spiritual convictions. I'm a total iconoclast, and the thought of any kind of authority horrifies me. I enjoy being a maverick, an outsider, and believing in absolutely nothing.

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    1. Thanks NP. It's taken me many years to deal with this but I now know what to look for, and that's very important to me. It's good to be free at times.

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  18. Wow RPD! Part 1 only scratched the surface. I know the church is far from perfect, but the guy you had who called himself a pastor is worse than any I personally have heard of. He obviously didn't know the Lord. I'm glad that you lived to tell your story, and I am sure that some of your readers are being helped by what you share.

    People like that give the church a real bad name. I know the fact remains that each of us has to give account for ourselves in the end, but wolves in sheep clothing in our pulpits don't help matters at all. The sad truth is that I am preacher and former pastor, and based on what I have observed in the many churches I preach in and visit, I will be among the first to say that not a few but many of our local churches have lost their way. Thanks for sharing this no doubt painful experience.

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    1. That's the irony of the situation. The very people who claim to be working as a kind of 'bridge' to God, or act as his spokesmen are actually turning people away! It's so sad.

      It would be bad enough if it was just a case of people who weren't interested in finding faith pointing the finger but these people actually convert people away from God. By the time they get through that person is less likely to want to walk into a church than a person who has never set foot in one in the first place.
      Always good to hear from you Frank.

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  19. I am glad you were able to leave! It sounds like a nightmare.

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    1. So am I Alain, and what an experience it was. Thanks mate.

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  20. Because it's the unearthly hour of three in the morning, I'm going to leave a rather short reply. It seems that so many have echoed my thoughts about this.

    Your experience, harrowing. You got out before they had you totally within their evil, insidious clutches. As I mentioned before, I respect religious beliefs, but this is just another example of exploiting the vulnerable.

    My ex sister-on-law was exploited by the Scientology mind benders. My then wife and myself managed to get her out.

    Religion. At what cost?

    Gary

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    1. 3am Gary? And I thought it was just me lurking around the house at such an hour. Hope you managed to get back to bed ok.

      It's a good thing that your ex sister-in-law got out before it became too late. Many that do stay can also end up taking on the same type of traits as the leader. I've seen this happen quite easily when young men are appointed as Ministers. They begin to want to dominate everyone. Thanks for your comment Gary.

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  21. It is quite unbelievable! I suppose churches like this one are some extreme cases. I hope more churches in this country function in a much more open manner. I heard some churches seem doing much better.
    Agree that organizations like this cannot exist if people stop supporting them. However, conformity seems to be part of human nature, that persons like this pastor can always found their "lambs".
    Glad you finally left that church. Anyone with independent mind cannot sustain that type of abuse.

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    1. So true Yun Yi. You need one hell of a strong mind to be fiercely independent should you find yourself in a situation like that and you're right. These type of leaders always have a way of finding 'lambs'. Their charisma has a lot to do with it I think. Thanks for the comment Yun Yi.

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  22. Hey there!! I have been awol for a bit, and glad to be back. Great post...stressful because I could feel your angst. You exhibit great courage RPD and I'm glad to know you :) Talk soon, M

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    1. Good to see you back Nimsy, and I popped round the other day and noticed you were up and running so left you a comment there and hoping to read more from you. Keep in touch mate.

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  23. Well-written, my friend, and I guarantee that God loves us all whether we attend church or not, pay tithes or not, as long as we live the best we can. You are good people to me.

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    1. Thanks Donna. It's been a long struggle but I'm doing my best with what I have and I now know God in a very different way.

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  24. What a horrific story this has been. It truly sounds like a scary movie. The one thing that really does make me crazy is the amount of money churches are alway asking for. When my father was alive, our church constantly hounded him for money, and he gave them whatever they needed. At the time my husband and I were each working 2-3 jobs and still unable to make ends meet with 4 kids. We were afraid we were going to lose our house. My father gave us a little money but not nearly the help we really needed....yet he had no problem donating $100,000 to build the church school and columbarium. I stopped going to church after that.

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    1. Good grief mate, $100,000? Flaming heck. And you know what is so sad about this? I feel that charity begins at home and unless your family is making very bad financial decisions then expecting you to bail them out, then they should be the first on your list if you want to donate money to a good cause. I mean, how could you have a smile on your face if your brother is sleeping rough on the streets whilst you are helping out the church who really doesn't need that amount of money.

      I guess the church/leaders have a lot to answer for, and I have no doubt that that day will come. I'm not surprised you left after that. And it's experiences like this that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
      Thanks for sharing it with us Menopausal mama.

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  25. Rum! That was some experience brother! These are not people preaching God's words but they are preaching their own and gaining control over others. I could never understand why people give up their control so easily to another person because they believe he or she is ordained by God? That stuff has been happening in the Catholic Church for many years. They did not want people to think for themselves and said things like the world was flat and that the earth was the center of the solar system!

    I'm glad that you got the hell out of there when you did. That tyrant one day is going to get a taste of his medicine soon enough!

    Great Post!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Jose. I learned a tough lesson and never again will I so freely give up control to anyone in this way again.

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  26. It's so sad to know this is really happening.

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    1. Yes, and it still goes on today Balqis, not just in the church but also in other organisations. Thanks for stopping by.

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  27. Hi Rum Punch! Oh my gosh, this just sounds out and out abusive. I think it is good advice to say 'vote with your feet' because this is not God. This is some power-crazy person trying to take control. Yuk.

    I am hopeful that you help someone else too.
    Thank you for visiting me today!
    Ceil

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  28. Hi Rum Punch! Oh my gosh, this just sounds out and out abusive. I think it is good advice to say 'vote with your feet' because this is not God. This is some power-crazy person trying to take control. Yuk.

    I am hopeful that you help someone else too.
    Thank you for visiting me today!
    Ceil

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    1. I hope that this topic causes people to at least think about what is going on in their own church, work-place etc, and if possible, try to do something about it. It's not healthy Ceil. And welcome to my blog, hoping to hear from you again.

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  29. RPD... All I can truly think is: WOW!!!

    What a nightmare, and from a Church, no less. Kudos to you & your partner for exposing that which is not Just & Right. In the end, this Pastor will have to deal with his 'misgivings' on another level.

    RPD, I truly hope you/y'all have found Blessings, Love, Peace of Mind, & Truth since departing from this Church of Shame. And, most of all, I sincerely hope that this 'situation' did not discourage you from moving forward in Faith.

    All the best, Slu

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    1. It took me a very long time to get to where I am today. The church almost destroyed my spirit. I'm grateful that I know what signs to look for and I don't fear challenging anyone who claims to be ordained of God.
      I have no doubt whatsoever that this man will have to answer to God for the many lives he has destroyed. No doubt all all.

      Thanks for stopping by mate.

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  30. This is an amazing story. It would make a great book. It sounds like the church is the center of the community. I can see how something like that can happen. But only the people in the community can break the powerful hold the maniacal leader has on them. I can see how that can be difficult.

    It's amazing to read the techniques that are used to brainwash the congregation. Really, have you thought about writing a book? Does this pastor still control the community? Did you move?

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    1. Oh, I would love to write a book on it one day because there is so much I haven't said here due to time and space. All of this rubbish unfortunately is still going on and I've told people to leave but they are like revolving doors. Gone today and back tomorrow. It's as if they are hypnotized and can't stay out in the real world for too long. It's almost the same as a domestic violence situation. The person leaves the abusive setting for a while then returns only to be abused again.

      Oh yes, I moved. The day I left, I never returned. Thanks Lauren.

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  31. It's terrible that you had that experience. It's sad that there are self ordained pastors that will lead their congregation with a big stick. I definitely think that they should be confronted. All in all, they have to give account to God for the lives that they helped to destroy and the people they've lead astray. Our pastor will readily admit that he's a man and he's not perfect. He knows that souls are precious and should be nurtured and I wish that you've had that experience all along.
    Unfortunately churches like that rule by quilting people into submission on the man and not the Christ.

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    1. That's absolutely right Hope. They end up submitting to 'man' and not to God. If only they could see that themselves. Yes, I don't believe for one second that they will get away with it in the end. Thanks Hope.

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  32. Forgive me for taking so long to get here but its been a busy September and I must say Great article, but most of all I must commend you and your partner for doing what was right that takes guts to go against the grain like that (say hi to her for me).
    What you said about these Dictators is so true they are no more powerful than the power we give them and we give them allot. Aspects of this behavior is not only limited to the church I have seen it or aspects of it in the work place as well and in the wider society.
    Well written and motivational piece. Thanks for your inspiring words.

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    1. It's a pleasure to hear from you Ricardo. I agree that this does happen in the wider society too, and I appreciate that not everyone is able to vote with their feet, especially when they are in a work situation and have bills to pay. But, if the opportunity arises, I say run as fast as you can and get out of it. It takes a toll on your mental health which is not good. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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