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Reflections of being "in church"
A learned lesson

We found a certain percent of the members were selected to care for the other less important members... 20% of the elite took care of the 80%. People and families were targeted to either be spiritually nurtured or starved in hopes they stay or leave. So after discovering that I looked back on how our family was treated and wondered if that is why we were targeted to be neglected, in hopes that we would never return because they thought we weren't good enough for their church and their God?

When "in church" you can't really make friends, unless you're a lucky one, part of ministry or join in on the backstabbing and snitching to gain a rank of acceptance with the preacher or his clique. He always needs snitches and holiness cops to help keep his flock in order and to warn him of dangerous people who could break up his control over everyone.

When "in church" if your spouse isn't a follower or has more liberal Pentecostal ideals you are discouraged of following them as the head of the household and to rely on the preacher for direction since the spouse could lead you astray. Some are encouraged to leave their spouse to wake them up or divorce.

Being "in church" your geared to be "tight knit" in one way so you don't stray from the legalism and control of the preacher. Who ever decides to make their own decisions without contacting others, the preacher or praying, beseeching, fleecing and fasting they are seen in most cases not really part of the flock and are seen as dangerous and are dealt with subtly or swiftly.

When trying to get together with others you can't just talk... you have to stay focused on and discuss church functions, miracles that can happen if you dive deep and give all, punishment that will come down on you if you aren't bendable, pastor worship or the Bible. Hardly anyone really cares about you as a person. Most contacted us to check up on us to report back to the controlling preacher or to report to their gossip group. And they are only your friend, brother or sister if you are in their church or organization. Once you leave church or their church and go to a church down the street, you're no longer part of the flock. Yes, visiting a church across town that is within the same organization is considered disloyalty and you might be seen as a threat, church hopper, butterfly, someone spreading discourse, etc. You get the picture.

It's shallow fellowship and a fake love. They claim to love, but if you don't fit within their ramifications of spiritual rightness or if they pre judge that you will never be bent into submission you will be treated in a way that will drive you away. They are isolationists, you cannot truly make friends within the church and you are not allowed to have friends or family who do not belong to the religion. You are told to cut off people who might "steal your salvation by corrupting your morals". If you still talk with others sometimes you are guilty by association and will be the object of taunt and repercussions. They practice religious prejudice and intolerance to anything other than their own doctrine or social arena.

They focus on how you're a horrible sinner because your born into sin and how you have to die out daily and take up your cross. You constantly have to prove you are saved again and again by repenting, speaking in tongues, putting on display of spirituality within church services or prayer rooms, dressing according to the rules and anything else they want to throw in there. Legal opportunists to mold someone into submission. This is done so others in church can see that your "just" in the eyes of God and their barbaric imaginations. You're really answering to their presumed holiness.

You have to adhere to strict holiness dress standards so the church members and pastor can judge and monitor your spirituality levels. If you don't line up to dress standards you will be shunned or called on the carpet so you will be taught a lesson or in hopes you leave because you are rebellious and not serious about living the Apostolic way of life. "You're not fit for the plow". If you still attend and don't adhere to their "convictions" or lack convictions you are fair game to whatever actions they deem worthy to make you submissible.

No two churches teach the same exact by laws. If you attend one church for any extensive amount of time and learn to follow their rules and happen to relocate and attempt to follow the same rules as the previous church (if it was a more liberal or "live church" in worship) you are swiftly taught what's to be expected when attending the new church. If you feel that you aren't supposed to be at one particular church and feel you've heard from God and try to find a new church you will be a suspicious character and will remain in probation. Sometimes the character label and probation will never let up. You will not ever be accepted. They chalk up the church rule differences to "sovereign" tactics.

Never returning
After saying some of our history I say this. I realize church/religion thrives on peoples emotions. Faith is an emotion, fear is an emotion. You have to have faith to believe in God, and you have to have fear to believe in hell. And playing with peoples emotions by telling them that if they don't believe in God they will go to hell is a form of emotional abuse. Telling people if they aren't Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals they're going to hell is emotional manipulation and abuse.

I sought out God for peace, love and grace and all I ended up hearing was hellfire and damnation sermons... having to dress holy, repenting sermon after sermon and speaking in tongues (outward appearances of salvation- works of the flesh) I was tired of proving my salvation/spiritual level to man and God. I didn't need to be reminded sermon after sermon, lesson after lesson how much a sinner I was or how many demons I would get after walking away in order to keep me on the pew. You cannot entice me with heaven by offering me hell.

After realizing I was being controlled by the emotion of fear I made a vow to myself to walk away from all forms of emotional abuse.

Yes I was a "seasoned saint" and was involved for over a decade but after living "in church" for years I realize those were wasted years and I was fooled into their legalistic fear driven views of obtaining access into heaven. Most of their laws and rules are based on paranoia and sheer greed to control a persons life. They teach, screech and lecture on the law and holiness... but rarely do you hear peace, love and joy to attain heaven! If heaven is mentioned it was either a prelude or an introduction on a scare tactic of eternal torment for not complying to some rule or ideal.

I will never again be ruled by the emotion of fear to believe in God, heaven or hell or to follow by laws set within each separate church... it's abuse, plain and simple.


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