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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: December 15, 2012 09:45AM

Sorry about the duplication in the above messages. It was because my first post was disallowed for being duplicate of Chesterk55's, so I posted another one without the quoted part. Then it seems that my initial post was allowed.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: December 15, 2012 10:29AM

Hi folks

I've no posted on here for a long time. I guess I felt I didn't really have anything to say for a while.

I think the biggest problem with the few responses given by those who are 'Pro Struthers', is the instant dismissal of anything said against SMC on the grounds that the person who is raising 'an issue' and therefore everything they say is invalid. I do think it follows the Struthers mentality of

You disagree with Struthers leaders, therefore you are in rebellion towards God
Because you are rebellious towards God, you are full of sin and/or demon possesed
Because you are full of sin/demon possesed, anything you say is tainted by your sin/demonic possesion
Therefore, nothing you say is worthy of recognition or should be believed

I think back to the early days of this forum really taking off and the comment made by Anon201062 back in August 2010, and I quote

"Yes I am writing this as someone who does go to one of the Struthers branch of churches and yes I will be biased but see no harm in straightening some facts that have been massively mis-quoted by some who are obviously bitter at their experience."

I also recall one of the key Struthers leaders accusing all posters on this forum, as having "A root of bitterness" I suppose then, it is no surprise that when someone else comes in and dismisses peoples' experiences as simply 'grudges and grievances, some of which sound highly implausible' it is bound to cause more upset. In Struthers, if you didn't agree, asked questions, didn't tow the line (or even if you did, but the leaders weren't 'drawn to you') YOU were the one with the problem. Is it any wonder then, that when this mindset is repeated, it dfoes cause such upset and open old wounds?

I only ever recall one person attempting to actually address any of the points and that again was Anon201062 regarding some points I made. They suggested that I was mistaken in my posts and mentioned one issue I raised, of which I had second hand information, from a good friend of one of the people involved in the incident. I agreed that, as I was not a personal witness, I could have been given wrong information. This person admitted that they were biased towards Struthers Church, which is fair enough and I respect the fact that they gave reasons for their disagreements with what I said. This is far more helpful than just making sweeping statements about posters here. (Although I think this was done at other times n their post.)

My second point is the one around the question of child abuse in Struthers Church. I am certainly not aware of any sexual abuse that has or is going on at SMC. However, an environment which teaches members (young and old) that leaders cannot be questioned under any circumstances, provides an ideal opportunity for those in leadership to exploit the children under their care. Abuse of children can take many forms. I feel that sexual and physical abuse are the most obvious and the most shocking forms of abuse towards children. However, psychological and spiritual abuse abuse are just as damaging I feel. I do have concerns about the care of children in Struthers church.

In my early post I spoke of a time when I witnessed a girl of about 7 or 8, being grabbed by the arm and removed from a meeting, by DR. This child was then made to apologise, in floods of tears to DR at the end of this meeting. I have read testimonies of young people being prayed for, for 'demonic deliverance' or tod they were bad people who displeased God. The Latigo site speaks of teenagers that were actively encouraged by SMC key leaders, to disobey parents who had forbid them to have anything to do with SMC and come to the meetings or have private meetings with the leaders.

I'm not sure if it was this year or last, but I do recall a post from a father who had split from his wife. Prior to the split they were all member sof Struthers but I belive he has now left the church. He was saying that just before the August camp, he and his teenage daughter were getting on fine. However, since the camp, his daughter refused to speak to him or communicate with him in any way. Given Struthers past history on interferring with family relationships, it is entirely possible that they could have told this young teenage girl to cease all communication with her father.

So does, or did, child abuse of some sort go on in Sthuthers church? I suppose it depends on how one defines child abuse. I believe that there have been and still appear to be, very questionable pratices that go on regarding the care of children. As someone who works with children and young people in a church setting, if any of these practices came to light in the church which I now work, I would be asking some very serious questions. However, as I said before, an environment where asking questions is virtaully forbidden, is a very precarious place to be, especially for vulnerable and impressionable young minds

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: December 16, 2012 11:43PM

Hppy Sunday guys

CovLass I agree with you. Abuse doesn't have to be physical to be abuse and, having been brought up in the church myself, I know the tactics used to 'condition' young people in the church.

The constant assertions that we are all somehow un-holy and unworthy of God's love, even as Christians, and that we are all susceptible to demon-possession is enough to send a well-balanced adult over the edge. How much worse is it for children, who are just beginning to learn about life, to be told that there is probably no hope for them anyway because, unless they are standing on the platform, they are somehow less worthy to God. Children need to know that God loves them even when they are naughty and not that they are possessed by demons because they're naughty.

SMC leaders are quick to spout from the platform without properly checking themselves. They will say what ever comes to their mouths without taking the time to ask how their words are really affecting people, in particular the young and vulnerable.

I'm just wondering how many of the current leaders actually PREPARE their sermons in the days before they give them? I know my Dad used to prepare his sermons the day before he was due to give them and he always had notes on the platform to keep him on the point of the day's sermon.

Do the current leaders do this? I've listened to some of the sermons which were uploaded some time ago and they all sound to me like the preacher is just saying what ever comes into their head as they speak. I don't hear them being structured and reasoned sermons on anything in particular and sometimes what the speaker says doesn't even make any real sense or contradicts something they said earlier in the monologue.

When you're speaking as the pastor of a church you need to take extra special care with the words you speak especially when there are young people sitting listening to you. Mental and spiritual abuse are subtle forms of abuse but can easily pave the way to an even worse form of abuse which the child feels responsible for because they have been taught that they are the ones who are full of sin and worthless to God. I know this from personal experience.

Also, from a recent PM from Kelvin, I get the notion that SMCers are more worried about the label 'cult' and that may be stopping some people from posting. I'm afraid I believe the label is the LEAST of their worries and there are far more important issues here than the site the forum has begun in. I don't think it really matters where the forum is situated on the web it's the CONTENT of the posts which is important and whether or not the current SMCers identify with at least some of what is being said here. You don't have to agree with everything, you just need to see the truth of what's being posted here and hopefully make your OWN decisions on whether or not you believe SMC is as holy as they would have you believe. Is it a cult? Who knows and who really cares anyway, that's not the true point of this forum.

Let the reader research the word 'cult' for themselves and decided one way or the other but it is so typical of SMC mentality to grab hold of the LEAST important message of this forum and use it as a reason not to be talking to us. So you don't want to post because you might be seen to be endorsing the use of the words 'cult' and 'SMC' in the same sentence. Is it really that important, given the heartache and thoroughly un-holy treatment so many people have received from SMC leaders? I don't think so! SMCers should stop looking for excuses not to post and start asking whether or not they identify with, or at least have questions about, the issues raised on this forum.

Biiiiiig love and huge hugggggs to all
God bless you xxxxx



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/16/2012 11:51PM by cbarb.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: December 18, 2012 02:10AM

Quote
cbarb
Also, from a recent PM from Kelvin, I get the notion that SMCers are more worried about the label 'cult' and that may be stopping some people from posting.

Was meaning to defer posting any further, but seeing this just had to make a wee point.

cbarb - If someone PM's you - it is because that person wants to send you a PERSONAL message. The whole point of PMs is it allows for conversations where not everyone gets to know about it.

Unless kelvin stated that he didnt mind having his name mentioned regarding the information he passed on to you privately I think you should assume, and
indeed out of polite netiquette - at the VERY LEAST - not mention him by name, when claiming to quote him. At the very least - word it in an ambiguous way whereby no-one else on this forum would be able to deduce that it WAS kelvin that sent the PM. Oh and in case you wonder - NO - I am not kelvin.

Lastly my hunch is that most from SMC that occasionally dip into this forum, really aren't that interested in reading the huge posts that basically emanate from the "magnificent 7" - including myself ;) - that continually preach to the choir.

There was a time some months ago where rensil and cbarb really DID add some fascinating new information covering the past history of this church - going back to the 70s and up to the famous Hugh Black incident ( questions of mine asking for clarification here have still gone unanswered incidentally, it isnt just SMC who don't seem wanting to answer questions here )

But following on from this period, it just seems to be preaching to the choir.

SMC leaders could be starting to feel reassured that all their "rats" have now left their sinking ship - and all leavers or dissenters that exist, have indeed made themselves known here.

Thus - whereas us magnificent 7 prattle on, maybe imagining that the SMC leaders are shaking in their boots, reading every line of out wonderful prose, our
eloquent sermons and diatribes - in fact - at the most they probably just give RR a quick scan to see if anyone NEW is posting.

Having the same same crowd post on and on is very reassuring for them. No need to do anything. And dont think for one minute that all our sermons here will suddenly make the leadership come on here and respond !. Dream on.


The only thing that will give them pause, is if new posters come on and give their stories of their experiences, And no more. Most regular posters here have given their stories long ago. Everything after this is either venting a ( very justified ) anger, pure ranting, whatever. Sort of like - ahem... this post ?

So guys .... how about just letting the forum go quiet for a while ? Just a suggestion. no more.

Lets take the current and topical example of the Jimmy Saville debacle.

Do you think the powers that be, and the public have suddenly taken the true seriousness of the Saville cases because just three or five people who came forward, keep posting stuff about saville, along with their opinions etc etc in the comments columns or newspapers ?

Or do the powers that be have to respond because the number of people that keep coming forward grow and grows. New testimonies keep getting added.

By all means have a go at me. it will generate even more lines of fluff than we have already.

if posters here really are just happy to have a forum to keep ranting away, imagining that everything they write is being actively read and devoured by
an eager but petrified SMC leadership - dream on.

I was reading a rationalist blog today and noticed a useful tip on "commenting profligacy" that might - just might - be worth some here taking on board.

[ "Commenting frequency: A good rule of thumb is that your name should not appear more than two times in the 10 most recent comments, as shown on the right sidebar. Three times is acceptable on very rare occasions. Four times, never." ]

[www.overcomingbias.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2012 02:14AM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: December 18, 2012 03:15AM

Hi Clive

Point taken.

Hi Kelvin

My sincere apologies, I should not have identified you. I meant no harm but only wished to make a general point.

Biiig love and hugggs to you and I'm deeply sorry for any harm caused.
God bless xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: December 18, 2012 09:22AM

Clive
I gave you clarification and offered a source of information some time ago about the Hugh Black financial shares crisis in the 80s. Others have written about it on here already aswell. Perhaps you should scroll back and read these posts. I don't know what further clarification you are still looking for. Your questions have been answered. I've tried to explain before, how things operate in Smc and how, even if a mistake is made, many members will still stick up for the leaders and be loyal to them at any cost, and remain in the church. The Latigo articles explain things very clearly aswell; perhaps you could read them again.

I don't know what others think, but, No, in my view, we are not going to stop posting on here. There are lots of folk who read this forum thread whom you don't know about. Things ARE happening to make people in SMC sit up and think. There are more than 7 people posting on here. They don't have to post regularly. This forum thread is here to help people and will be here available for anyone who wants to leave SMC but who is maybe scared to, or has just left and needs support and counselling, and to know that they are not alone. Many folk have left SMC over the years and I believe many more will. People who never ever thought they would leave have left and I think more will do so. Many are also praying for the folk in SMC and the leaders, that they will face reality and see the truth.

Good to hear from Covlass again. I agree there is no sexual abuse going on but there are definitely other types of abuse where children and vulnerable adults are concerned. I didn't witness the incident Covlass speaks of, but it doesn't surprise me because I have seen the same sort of thing done to people with mental health problems who were being too active and mobile during times of singing, and were ushered to the back of the meeting without explanation being given to them. I also know of harsh treatment being meted out by a female leader to a 10 year old boy at Camp whilst he was in a toilet. The correct course of action would have been to send in a male responsible adult and inform the parents; neither was done and the boy was extremely upset by the incident and told us about it several times afterwards.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 18, 2012 11:01PM

I think the debate about what might and might not be effective is interesting but that is not the core issue. What if people have been too critical, or have even reacted in anger? Sure, it is quite legitimate to advise on these things and to try to make contributions as helpful as possible, but I want to make my position quite clear, which is that there is no excuse for the behaviour of the SMC leadership.

Even if people repeat themselves too much, or do the opposite and stop posting entirely, or if they react in anger or perhaps slink off offended by others, that does not change the fact that there are issues to address. Yes, by all means lets think about what to say and how to say it, but none of these things are acceptable reasons for SMC to continue to fail in their responsibilities. As I said before, let's focus on the abusers, not the abused.

I do not want anyone in SMC to think – “oh, it is OK, only 3 people post regularly” or “these people react badly to this” or “some criticisms are due to a grudge” or “if they would stop criticising the accounts” or “if only they would tone it down, then we might listen to them”.

No, it is not the fault of the posters here - it is NOT because people have filled in the wrong form, have spoken too emotionally, have not explained themselves properly, have over-reacted, have treated it too lightly or too seriously or anything else. I have seen so much of this in SMC – “if only they had asked someone to come with them to explain it less emotionally, then we would have dealt with the issue” then, next time, “if only they had come alone and not brought someone with them, it would have been better”. Or “if it was a spiritual matter, we would take it seriously, but the accounts are not the most important thing” followed by “if it was a factual matter like the account, we would treat it seriously, but this is a vague thing about how they feel”. Always an excuse, but it isn’t genuine, it is just anything at all to make the issue go away.

The emperor has no clothes on and it doesn’t matter whether the boy saying that is too young or too shrill, or if he is not in the best position to make the judgement or the timing is wrong, the emperor is still not wearing any clothes.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 18, 2012 11:04PM

On another matter, I am currently reading an interesting book by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work on judgement and decision-making.

I was particularly struck by the observation on page 84 of his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.

Quote
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner
To derive the most useful information form multiple sources of evidence, you should always try to make these sources independent. This rule is part of good police procedure. When there are multiple witnesses to an event, they are not allowed to discuss it before giving their testimony.
If you read the contributions on this forum, you will see how many there are that say, “I am so glad I found this”, “that is exactly what I was feeling”, “that has been my experience as well” and so on.

I note that Kelvin has gone quiet but may of course still be reading posts. Kelvin, if you are there, there is one question I do want to ask, and that is whether you have actually read all of the posts on this forum, and whether you think this level of would constitute compelling evidence if it was a criminal investigation (or a piece of medical research perhaps?) Well, OK, that is possibly 2 or even 3 questions, but you get the idea, the main one is simply, “have you read all the posts.”

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: December 18, 2012 11:45PM

Couldn't agree with you more Rensil. You have provided an answer for Clive and he has repeatedly claimed to dislike the Latigo articles. Not then our job to solve that problem for him especially when it is not remotely clear what he is even asking for. Clive, I would recommend Kelvin's comment – go and ask the Struthers people if you want to get information about their finances. And good luck with that.

There is a remarkable claim in Clive's latest post rubbishing and disrespecting those posting on this forum. In addition he seems to be claiming an astonishing degree of detailed knowledge of what is going on in the minds of the Struthers leadership. Yet he has often indicated his direct experience of Struthers was very limited. Some of us here worked along side them for 20 and 30 years.

That gives me a great deal of confidence on one point. They never brush off or treat lightly any criticism. They always take it seriously. They see it as an assault from the devil regardless of how true the actual content is. They regard even telling the truth about their conduct to be evidence that those sharing the truth are “going against the will of God”. In other words they believe loyalty and covering up the mistakes and unkindness of the leadership is more important than telling the truth and God will punish all those who disagree with that. Not criticising the leaders comes first. They even claim that is the same thing as criticising God.

So the claim that they are in any way blasé about this forum and all that is online just now is simply not credible if you know anything at all about how they operate. They also display a high need for control of people, information and their public image. Through this forum they have lost that utterly and completely. The suggestion that because there are not streams of new posters they are blasé about what is being said here is nonsense. Even Kelvin's recent posts are evidence that they are having to talk to their friends outside the church and explain themselves and account for their actions. That has never happened before. Then they choose to do that by lying and discounting the pain they have caused and which is evidenced in the testimonies on this forum. Kelvin seems to have believed those lies but now gone away unable to win the argument without insulting people personally (according to the moderator). Yet even he seems to have gone with a much clearer understanding that this is not just us but there are issues on the Struthers side – something he never initially allowed for.

That this forum exists is one of the most powerful reasons why Struthers is not getting its own way to ignore such questions and claims any more. In the last 2-3 years a regular stream of people have been leaving the Struthers churches. We know this from meeting the people who have left and talking to them and we know this by the huge income drop in the accounts, and the big reduction in camp and conference income. That is the reality of what is happening.

If people choose to read this forum and leave or read this forum and stay in the full knowledge of the damage done to lives and what is really going on that is not an outcome we can decide for them. To suggest this forum is damaging that, as Clive and Kelvin have, is I believe irrational nonsense based on no evidence. Believe me – Struthers are not laughing about this forum, any of their present troubles, or their soon to arrive audit by OSCR.

The only comfort the Struthers leaders will take is when posters on the forum suddenly declare we are making wild accusations (with no specific evidence of who and what) and groundless claims that we are somehow making it less likely that people will leave Struthers (which is the opposite of what is happening). Many people have left in the last 3 years and there is good evidence that people still in the church are recognising the pain and callousness of the Struthers leadership in the stories of those on this forum and know it for themselves. These people like us were frequently told "you are the only person who feels like this so you mist be out of step with God". We now know that to have been a colossal, intentional lie as the leaders are well aware of how many unhappy people they have failed as pastors.

This forum is one of the most consistently read, supported and successful forums in terms of number of participants in the Destructive Churches thread. It has publicised a lot that is true and some that is both true and shocking. This is the right place for this discussion to take place and I know many people here value it highly. I also know many people who have told me personally they are reading it but for perfectly valid reasons would not want to post private and identifiable experiences. They and we still gain from having a place where such experiences are discussed. As everyone can see can see many people are reading it – pages read is still increasing faster than for any other forum on this thread.

My personal view is that people should continue to post whatever they want to say about Struthers whenever they want to say it. We have waited a long time to have a forum and a place to discuss the problems in Struthers and those who do not value it have no reason to post here or read it.

That, I suggest, would affect the rest of us not one bit.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: December 19, 2012 07:48AM

Clive and Kelvin, I will not stop posting on this forum because of your comments , which hugely seem to think that us posters are talking rubbish, feigning madness, depressed, making up stories, holding grudges or imagining what happened to us over a lengthy period of time in the clutches of Struthers. I will not repeat my experiences to either of you as they are clearly written in black and white. It does, however , seem to be the case that neither of you has read the content of previous posts. I posted previously, Clive , about amounts of money lost on the stock market. Do you think I was lying/ imagining? I know that many interested parties are reading this forum also. Including the GTC and OSCR. I agree that abuse takes many forms and there cannot be any doubt that psychological and emotional abuse happens in Struthers. I suppose , Clive , in your eyes, I am just being repetitive. In my eyes, I will ALWAYS speak up against the practices of Struthers. I am neither ranting nor raving, just stating that unless people speak up on such a forum, everything in Struthers will continue to be and that cannot be allowed to happen. You both state that you weren`t in Struthers for a long time... but seems to me that you both have enough ties to want to stick up for/ support them/ each other in a vehement manner. Are you being really truthful in your posts?

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