2/21/2012 | Share this article:By NeverAgain ~
I’ve stopped here many times…read a lot of stories that resonated with me. Now it’s time for me to add mine.
Bottom line, I know I was involved in a bible cult. It’s been almost 5 years since leaving & I’m doing a whole lot better. I was a mess for quite some time. I understand what happened & to some degree how & why. Now I’m at a point where I am very restless…I have spoken up on the internet about what happened to me & my family in a somewhat anonymous fashion. Here it goes…….
I was a member of a Primitive Baptist Cult with a demented Calvinist twist to it for almost 2 decades.
The abusive pastor preaches from the bible...& it looks good from the outside (to those who are “believers” that is). However, anyone who has been exposed to the teachings & manipulations & abuse for long enough, sees that the leader & the sacred dogma has done a lot of damage to people. He preaches grace on the one hand, then stifling rules on the other hand.
One man killed himself quite a while ago & another lady tried to commit suicide twice, after uprooting her life to move to Dxxxxxt to be a member of that pastor’s supposed “true church”. This woman was church disciplined after trying to kill herself, so instead of receiving love & compassion, she received judgment from the church & it’s pastor. The pastor had been “counseling” her & he is NOT a licensed counselor. (this all happened after we left & I found out because another lady had left & she told me this, even sent me copies of some emails that the pastor was sending out…it was absolutely demented. Because of that sad situation that lady realized she could no longer continue to stay & contacted me, as she knew my husband & I had left about a year and a half earlier. She wanted support & validation, which I was more than happy to accommodate her in that regards. She made the right decision in walking away from that abuse, as we had made the right decision to turn our back on that religious abuse)
On the surface, it seems really good..., but INSIDE it’s toxic. He NEVER has any of his excommunication or church discipline sermons available online for the public to hear & they aren’t available for purchase to non members. And I see he has purged his sermon list of many “controversial” sermons he has done, even sermons as recent as 2011. There are many gaps in the sermon list.
This guy is really under the radar, hell, they don’t even have their own church building. (not biblical according to the pastor) They rent an American Legion Hall for their church services. I really wonder if the pastor does all of this to keep himself under the radar. This guy has really hurt people. And because he believes that he’s got IT, namely the “true church” nobody but nobody ever, ever leaves on good terms. Every single person who has left that church has been bullied & bruised emotionally & spiritually. They are slandered from his pulpit & church disciplined/excommunicated. It is such a punitive system & believe me, those people who are still there are scared to death, scared to speak up, scared to speak anything negative about the pastor’s teachings or hypocrisy that is so plain for outsiders to see.
We were shunned as the pastor told the members not to befriend us if we tried to contact them for friendship. That was so difficult, because we uprooted our lives for the church/cult & we didn’t have much of a support system…that’s a story in & of itself. Let’s just say, he succeeded for a time to separate us from our “flesh” family.
The cult I left, does not allow members to celebrate Christmas, Easter or Halloween. They don’t allow for musical instruments in the service, yet at the church picnics the pastor lets people play instruments & lets his daughter have singing solo time. No Sunday school for kids, that’s not biblical, but a few years ago for a time, his daughter would use the church kids to perform musicals, directed by the pastor’s daughter....but, you know, there is not supposed to be all of those extra man made activities.
Yeah right… except when the pastor & his family benefit from it.
It’s KJV only. They are all into that Gail Riplinger KJV crap.
He considers HIS particular church The Kingdom of God on this earth, so if you are not a member of HIS church, you are NOT in the Kingdom.
He has NO checks & balances on his power what so ever..... he has no elders, no deacons, no assistant pastor, NOTHING to keep him in line.
I never once saw a financial statement of what is done with church funds. Over time, the pastor requested us to stop making checks out to the Dxxxxxt church & instead, make them out directly in his name. We did that for years. All of the $$ we gave him over the years makes me sick to think about now.
He has said in times past that “denominations” are not biblical & castigated others for being denominations such as Methodist, Lutherans, Catholics, yet he calls his church “baptistic”, huh??? On the cult website this hypocrite does call his church BAPTIST. So there is the usual double speak of saying one thing, but doing the opposite of what is being preached. (and nobody’s supposed to notice that, let alone say anything about it)
I have checked the cult sermon list webpage & MANY sermons are NOT on the website list. I think they have done some purging of those politically incorrect sermons. In 2011 he did some doosies that are NOT listed on his site, namely,
a sermon called “Relating to your pastor” is gone from the list. (we know how important that is...NOT!)
Another from 2011 “Knowing when to keep silence”… is not there. He emphasizes that a LOT, because I think he just doesn’t want people to talk & discuss issues, because then they actually might start to thinking & that could cause problems for him.
It’s the usual PR & using deception by not showing what they are REALLY about.
They hide those unpleasant sermons from the public. Hush hush so outsiders won’t find out how damned abusive it is.
I also remember the days when he would scream from the pulpit....”shut off the tape machine!!” then he’d lay into the flock harshly...
It would not surprise me if he has the guy who tapes the sermons edit out unpleasant rants....it’s just a hunch I have.
The thing that is sneaky is that this guy is really like the Westboro Baptist church,...but he tries to tone it down for outsiders to give the impression that he is not so harsh or judgmental, but that is all PR deception.
Also, the pastor prides himself on not being a mega church & some people are attracted to that. However, I personally think, since he is such a micro-manager, it’s just easier for him to keep a small congregation under his thumb. Since he’s got to be involved in everything, he does not like to delegate power to others...so he keeps it small for that reason. (he only delegates to those who are completely loyal to him, the inner circle) Of course, this is just my opinion, I’m sure those mesmerized by him & his “ministry” would not believe that to be the case. (and even though he brags that’s he’s just a humble preacher of a small church...he rubs it in how he is financially “well taken care of..” and has had a personal trainer, while others in the church are struggling financially)
How the fuck could I have been involved in something so abusive, so joyless…I’ve tried to figure that one out. It’s not as simple as it looks. It took time, love bombing, guilting & manipulation to suck me in. I have put some of my story up at this blog. There are several parts, but here is part 1 for anyone who is interested
So, where I’m at now is that as I mentioned, I have a restless feeling inside of me. I guess it’s a longing for justice. (though I know many people have been through WAY worse life situations, sickness, murder of loved ones, catastrophes such as hurricane Katrina..on & on & never seen justice. I understand that.) I often think, this world is fucked up..who am I to want "justice" when so many have never seen it? But who doesn't want "justice" for wrongs done to them? Deep down I want to publicly say the name of the pastor & his little fiefdom, er I mean “church”. It sickens me to know that others are getting sucked in to be abused by this guy. I see others who have named the churches they were abused in, X-Jehovah’s Witnesses, X-mormons, X-IFB’s… but the cult I was in is SO small, so under the radar. My guess is the most members he’s ever had in his little cult church has been around 80 or 90 church members. Over the years folks have been hurt. Yet I have not found anyone who has left over the years who has spoken out online about the group & his little sister cult churches. As I mentioned, people leave that group battered & bleeding, many believing that they did something wrong…nobody has spoken out publicly or on the internet that I am aware of.
I won’t deny…I want that leader to feel all of the pain he inflicted on us. All of the anguish of thinking god would kill us or our children because of our decision to leave his little cult church. I want him to feel the financial pain he put us through pressuring my husband to leave his job & for us to uproot from the only place we’d ever known as “home”. I want him to feel the pain to the core of his being how it hurts to be shunned, ignored & hated because we no longer wanted to be involved in his little abusive cult church. I want his relationships to suffer the way he made ours suffer because he put so many hoops in front of us to jump through & the exhaustion. Yeah….I want him to feel & know how he hurt us. Wishful thinking, I know.
I think part of the problem I don’t speak out is I know there will be backlash, though I think I am ready to handle it. I have enough to deal with & many problems caused by our involvement with the cult. We have relocated back to our home state in 2010 after uprooting our lives for the church in 1999. Moving is no small thing, especially when you have school aged kids….it’s been a lot of stress.
Truly, I’m so so glad to be out of that abusive group. I’m finding myself again, yet it’s been so difficult. I do not believe in bible god or the bible at all anymore. I think it’s an archaic book written by primitive men who made a god in their own perverse image. I’ve come a long long way, considering for a few years after leaving I still considered myself a christian. Those people heaped that abuse on us, said nothing as the pastor slandered us from his pulpit…all that time we were still believers, “brethren, fellow Christians”! How they treated us really opened my eyes to what it all was REALLY about.
I realized it was about a man & his little fiefdom. It was about membership in a group & placating the ego of the pastor. It was about mindless rules that meant nothing in the scheme of things in this complex world. Who the fuck cares what bible version I use, whether someone chooses to celebrate the holidays or not, whether musical instruments are used in church, all of those petty rules began to mean nothing in a world where there are REAL problems & struggles. While these religious zealots were arguing about bullshit trivialities there were real problems to be solved, but they are too busy in their little cult, insulated from reality. It was like I was a deer in the headlights…I began to see the religion for what it was & that was devastating. I had devoted so much, even my life to a bunch of religious bullshit. That’s one bitter pill to swallow I swear. But, I couldn’t stay, there was too much I began to disagree with. How could I continue to support what I began to see as one man’s personal narcissistic supply closet?
I will never go back.
Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks to anyone who reads this. I’m wondering have any of you all –outed- the group you were in? I am not sure what to do, it is cathartic to write about my experience, it’s a release I suppose. I don’t know that I will –out- the cult I was in…still tossing it around in my head.
It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this journey.
Filed Under: Letters