Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: June 07, 2013 02:31PM

Hi again!

I was just reminiscing and thinking about the days when SMC had some semblance of a normal healthy church about them, at least to a greater extent than they seem to have now - before commercialism raddled their spiritual brains. I do remember all the instruments, in the early days... you know, Hugh Gilchrist on the coronet, Hugh McConnachie on the trombone, Bobby Cleary on the oompa loompa tuba, Morris Offord on the French horn, there was also a hawian guitar and autoharp and I think at one point there were violins too and a few trumpets. I used to love 'getting down with the trumpets', oh and the old squeeze box by, was it Eileen Morrison? And, if I remember rightly, a big lanky guy called George who played the bagpipes, not to mention the regular pianists like Bobby Morrison. Do they still have all those musicians, or other musicians getting down with the trumpets? I know each church will probably have a regular pianist but do they still have a proper musical band like they used to? If not, is it because the musicians just don't exist in the congregations any more or is it deemed unholy now?

I may be remembering wrongly but I'm fairly certain that the musical band stopped being asked to play before I left church and, I think, around the time Miss T went off her head. But I could be wrong about that although I can't seem to remember the band playing for quite a while before I left, although I was a rotten backslider for a bit and might have missed some meetings that they actually played at.

Also, Rensil, as I was looking at your list of past guest speakers I was thinking that I do remember Elizabeth Austin and I remember there being a big hoohah over certain things she'd said to people although I was too young to be told the actual detail of the hoohah but I do remember feeling embarrassed for her by the way people were talking about and rubbishing her. Even at that young age I found myself wanting to ask how people could profess to be Christians and yet gossip so unkindly about someone who, in my young view, was vibrant and obviously a very Godly person. But I found, in all my time at SMC, that gossip was rife among the people and there was always someone pointing the finger at someone else who they believed was less holy than them for this, that or the other and it seemed that certain people just couldn't wait to daub-in other members to make themselves feel more important and holy. It was one of the major reasons I decided that church and God were not for me, if it meant you could speak unkindly about others and ignore God's teaching about removing the barn from your own eye before removing the straw from your neighbour's eye (I paraphrase here, being too tired to try and remember the actual verse and too lazy to go and look in my Bible - but you get the meaning?). I just could not stand the volume of gossip which went round the church like wildfire and was very often, as we all know, completely wrong!

I myself became the subject of such gossip, shortly before I left the church, it was unkind, uncalled for and waaaaay off the truth of the matter but the gossip was so much juicier than the deed that nobody cared very much about the truth. Including HB who was told the truth but didn't bother to make it public knowledge and quell the gossiping, so I can only assume he disbelieved the truth or didn't care enough to stop the gossips. Either way, I threw in the towel and decided that kind of life was not for me any more, and I thank God that I did because I found a much fuller and more wholesome life elsewhere.

The thing is, I didn't realise it at the time, but now I'm more ancient and a lot wiser and I can see that the gossiping is actually encouraged by the leaders as another form of control over the people. The word 'clique' is used often but the sense of the word is twisted in SMC to make it something that is desirable rather than something to be avoided (as the Bible instructs us). In fact I'm pretty sure I remember someone posting here, sorry I can't remember who, regarding DR telling people to strive to be part of the 'clique' as in 'the chosen few'. Now to my mind, 'the clique' consists of all those members who take great pleasure in gossiping about other members of the church. These are the people who will wheedle their way into friendships and trusts with other members in order to gain any juicy naughties which they can then relate to the pastor who will announce it from the platform, the following Sunday, as some divine insight into that person's life. What it all boils down to is just plain old-fashioned gossip but it's used as a form of psychological control over the congregation, some of whom seem to be too stupid or blind to see it for what it really is and are actually dumb enough to believe that these leaders have some divine knowledge known only to themselves.

Even I could see, as young as I was at the time, that the leaders were listening to and acting upon gossip that they heard among the ranks although I didn't understand the mind control aspects of it at that time - I just wondered how professing Christians, who felt they were holier than everyone else, could stoop to perpetuating gossip among the congregation on the one hand, and then turn round and tell us kids that gossiping is a sin? How do you make sense of that when you're young? So much of what went on and still goes on in that church does not make one iota of sense no matter what way you look at it. I can only assume that those who are left in the church and still believe this NONsense are not very sensible people themselves or don't have enough faith in God to trust that he will give them a rich life outside of SMC.

I do hope that more people will come to their senses though and maybe even TEST the divine knowledge with a red herring or two, as another poster here did before realising that the knowledge was not as divine as the pastor would have everyone believe. It would be fairly easy to let something slip to one of the 'clique' and see how much moss the rolling stone gathers before it reaches the bottom of the hill.

We live in hope!!

As always biiiiiig love and huge huggggggs to all
God Bless xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 09, 2013 04:31AM

Hi Cbarb, I found this forum by chance today and have been reading it with interest and after some hesitation decided to join. I also have good memories of this church in the early days eg. at Wiston Lodge when there was the swimming pool and as young children we had fun - baptisms in the pool and activities like climbing Tinto and grilling sausages at the top - having singsongs in the camp kitchen each evening while drinking the last cup of cocoa. These were the good days, then somehow it all changed and became intense and serious and instead of going to the pool in the afternoon we were expected to attend prayer meetings - which meant 3 meetings in the day & that was our summer holidays - then meetings seemed to lengthen to 4h in the evening and so on and so on. 25 years later it is really weird to read this forum and realise that it doesn't touch me any more - it took a long time to reconstruct my life after leaving but I never regretted the decision, as living a very fulfilled, balanced & happy life today. I have always felt that things have a way of coming around and justice somehow comes to those who dare to tamper with the lives of others and over the years, hearing one thing and another have realised that this has been the case. I am over and above anything really sad that, in the name of christianity, so many people's lives have been affected in a negative way - love your neighbour seems to be the basis of christianity I would say, and yet I have often experienced this from people, colleagues not even professing any kind of religion, just simply kind people doing their best in life. Kindness is the basis of everything. I am also glad that many of us have had the courage to leave and continue life in a positive and fulfilling way, not dwelling on the past but constructing the future. I believe I may know many of you on this site (would need to be pre-1989) - difficult to know by the Pseudos. Since it was a church started by a schoolmaster with some of his school boys and grew from these very small beginnings I suppose the structure never was really a necessity and then it got out of hand somehow - as far as I know no-one was ever paid for their lay-preaching - more that everyone gave a tithe of 10% of their salary. As far as I hear & can see it seems to have become huge, commercially with shops & a school but somehow I don't have any criticisms left in me anymore - the initial bitterness has gone a very long time ago and in fact I can also now remember the good times and in fact years can go by now without even thinking of that period. I still can't hear "Guide me oh thou Great Jehovah" without thinking of Elizabeth Taylor leading the choir and these things stay and that's part of my history, but I am certainly glad I didn't spend my whole life in that small intense world, with a man-made rule book and had a chance at really living and enjoying a real healthy life. I trust others of you also are happy and wish you well.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: June 09, 2013 10:43PM

Hi Wistongirl

Lovely to hear from you and welcome to the family! I'm so glad you've found a fuller life now and can put the past behind you. You really echo my thoughts about the commercial side of the church but the major fact about that is the commercial ventures have never made enough in profits to warrant continuing in business, in fact a good proportion of the money the congregation give to the church is used to bolster the failing commercial ventures (including the FEE PAYING school, whose income from fees has never been enough to cover the expenses of the school - which is staffed by members of two families in leadership in the church).

It is very sad that they have sunk so low. Back in the days when we were actually allowed to have some fun, yes the teaching was austere but at least you were allowed to be a bit human for some of the time. Now it seems you can't even be a normal human being any more.

You see, when Miss T went off her rocker it was put across that she was having a battle with the devil and if that was true then I think I have to say that she lost the battle because what happened in the church after that squeezed the life and the joy right out of the place and the ritual of self-flagellation and being told you were never going to be good enough for God began. Christmas presents were un-holy, television was un-holy, even Christian music which featured any kind of up-beat instruments or dancing was un-holy etc. etc. That was also the beginning of the 'I've got so-and-so's mantle and can see into your black heart and if you don't cow-tail to me I will announce those sins to everyone and have you ostracised" (In Miss T's case, she believed she had been given the prophet Elijah's mantle). It was also Miss T who decided to change the meaning of a 'clique' to make it into something you should strive to be a part of, I understand the thinking behind it - that it is a good idea to be in God's clique - but the reality was that the cliques were the major gossipers who were feeding the 'divine knowledge' to those who commanded the platforms, who then put it across as divine knowledge from God - I hasten to add here that not all of the leaders at that time were in agreement with that sort of behaviour and it was usually Miss T who did the 'announcing of sins' from the platform but, in those days, all the preachers were men and Miss T was the only woman in leadership.

You're right about the lay-preachers not being paid for the work they did in the churches, all of them had outside jobs and tithed their 10% to the church (many of them struggled very hard just to be able to afford to pay that money to the church too). As far as I know, the present leaders still don't get paid for their preaching and I think the workers in the coffee shops are voluntary too, but the present leaders have overcome that little problem by using the school as an excuse to have the congregations pay them and their families anyway. Not only that, they have done it in a very underhand way, they are telling the congregations that the school pays for itself and that's clearly a blatant lie (unless their filed accounts have been misrepresented) because the school has NEVER once broken even, and has consistently made a loss. In spite of those losses the teachers (all members of leaders families) still get paid their salaries but the church members are led to believe that this is not the case. There is major dishonesty among the leaders of SMC, who hold themselves up as being the mediators between God and the congregation - just like the Pharisees. I do understand why their teaching is so founded in the Old Testament because, to teach the New Testament would take the power away from the leaders and give it back to the people on the pews and they just couldn't let that happen because they enjoy having the power over the people and being treated like Gods themselves.

It IS a shame how far they have sunk into the use of under-hand mind control tactics to keep their grasp on those who remain in the church and divine retribution is on its way I think. The Bible does tell us that God will allow the false prophets only 70 years (is it 60 or 70, I can't quite remember but I think it's 70) to do their nasty work and then he will come and take control again. Funnily enough it's getting closer to the 70 years now and things are beginning to crumble for SMC - let's hope they sit up and take notice and actually DO something about it before it's too late for them. But we won't be holding our breath for any drastic change in leadership anytime soon since these leaders don't need to have a conscience about those under their pastoral care because they can just 'leave it with God' and this is their cop-out or 'Get out of Jail Free Card'. They feel they don't need to bother about such petty things as people's problems and questions and when you become that narcissistic why should you be bothered with such human traits as guilt when you are higher than those minions you are controlling?

We can only wait and see how God is going to deal with them, perhaps through the OSCR and perhaps by other means but they can be sure that they are now being called to answer for their years of abuse of people's lives, trust and spirituality. Having said that, it is wonderful to hear about those who've gotten out and have gone on to richer and fuller lives and, in many cases, a much closer walk with God.

As always biiiiiiig love and huge huggggggs to all
God Bless xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 10, 2013 04:16AM

Hi Cbarb and thanks for your swift reply. I do agree about certain leaders "being treated like God" as I remember when Hugh Black managed to lose approx. £80'000 of the tithe-givers money on the stocks & shares. I'm sure that initially he was planning on making more money for the church, however the more he lost, the more he tried to recuperate & lost and finally we all know the story - roughly. This whole ephisode was eventually played out to be an "attack of the devil on the church" however it was quite plainly an abuse of trust & money and well - he lost it! Why not call a spade a spade? Why wrap it all up in holy mystery? However the leaders were put systematically on piedestals almost like untouchables - when in fact they were totally normal like everyone else, subject to failings. The night we all had to vote as to whether he stayed in leadership or not was such a farce and turned into an emotional prayer meeting and in fact it became clear that he would retain his position - which of course he did.

It also brought back memories of collections for the building fund at each conference and I remember the offering baskets being full to overflowing with pound notes. I'm sure it takes a lot to heat & run some of these large churches and run the church vans which were in operation at the time for the youth meetings, however everyone was working for free, cleaning the church for free, taping the meetings for free so I sometimes wondered where this money went as the church camps were rather expensive even for campers/caravaners and the cooks cooked for free (I know this for a fact). So a maximum of economy was made I would say. Money has definitely always been a mysterious topic and judging by your reply seems to continue to be the case today. Even the labour in building the initial group of churches at the time was free as it was all the young men in the church who gave up their Saturdays with their families in order to give this time to God.

All this said, this could be a problem in any social society, however the controlling of people's lives, major choices they make, marriages & families (and separation of some families) is by far the greatest concern and I honestly believe that whatever you sow you reap and these people will have to answer for this one day - I really believe in "natural justice". I also know that when someone is in the "Struthers Mindset" there is absolutely nothing you can do to reason with that - they are right and that's all there is to it. However once a person suddenly "sees the light" (in the opposite direction) then things become clear and the manipulative methods become evident. Before such a phase you are striving to do your best to please (whom?) and be holy - this was always a point where I failed as I always managed to do something wrong and of course nowadays I know that no-one is perfect and we should be accepted as we are with our individual characters which of course makes life more interesting than cloning.

I did have a look on the school website and can see one family clearly who teach but must be too long away in order to work out the other family you speak of however there are lots of teachers so must be a big school ;-)

The "Big Brother is watching you" environment obviously is still the way it works from reading previous entries, and this is how control is kept and the influence by peer pressure. It shows a lack of trust in their parishers (is this a word?) and a lack of confidence in their beliefs. I have nothing against school teachers (...) but most of the leaders at the time were from this environment and had never been out of this educational cycle so the "outside world" was an in practice an unknown entity - they didn't work in industry, commerce or mix with outsiders and thus certain basic social skills were missing and a certain naivety reigned - due to lack of basic inter-acting, social behaviours. This of course created a "sect-like" environment - very closed & restrained. Nowadays the idea that this tiny little group are the only ones who have the right link to God and everyone else is lesser is just laughable & ridiculous. It's a big world and takes all types to make it!

I witnessed lots of young, lively people coming into Struthers - talented, intelligent people who over the years became fad, old-fashioned, didn't talk dynamically any more & didn't shine and show their individuality any more and became old and worn somehow - is this the image of christianity? It was like all the individual energy was squeezed out of them to become something else they were not ...

When I left Struthers (after more than 20 years in the organisation) only 2 people called me to see if I was ok - one was an old man who often used to "bother" me and the other was Grace Gault. Otherwise no-one called me to even see if I was sick, and my whole social life was wrapped up in Struthers - I had nothing outside of it apart from my job (luckily as it was my colleagues who supported me at that time) and it always amazed me that not one of my "friends" called! I didn't announce that I was leaving - I just left. This has always puzzled me - it was as if people just knew ... I went to a wedding of a former Struthers person some 5 years later and met Hugh Black who was very cordial, shook my hand etc etc. but his wife would not reply to my hello even although I was face-to-face with her - incredible as she was always nattering to me as a young girl and she knew me very well.

I also remember the visits of Johnny Hamilton - this family were very precious to me and he was such a hoot! It was so refreshing when he came and he injected such energy into us and just plain good fun! I also remember Wesley Gault's sister Rosemary McCauley - an amazing woman who seemed to have a real gift - I also remember her sadness and concern and that fact that she didn't come back. She was a very courageous lady.

The above is perhaps a bit of a jump from subject to subject but perhaps you can relate to this - I would say it took me a few years to find my way and then many years to "get it out of my system" but I often look back and think - what would I be like now if I had stayed - heck!! Doesn't even bear thinking about and when I see how my life has turned out - so fulfilled and happy and free - I just have to beieve I have a guardian angel :-)

I would be interested to know how this blog started & the aim of it and what is the OSCR?

Thanks & a very good night to all!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: June 10, 2013 08:10AM

Hi Wistongirl

Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m really glad you’ve found a happy and fulfilled life, it’s just a shame that you’ve had such a negative experience of some Christians. It is hard to reconcile when you have friends who make no profession of faith, but treat you better than your own church leaders isn’t it?

My experience of Struthers happened long after you left and only lasted a few months. With regard to how and why this blog got started (at least the Struthers thread) I suppose I was one of the key people in getting things going, although I was the third person to post a comment, with the first post being made some 5 years before I came across it. However, I never imagined that it would still be going strong over 2 and a half years later, with over 1000 posts and nearly 120 000 views, so maybe I was just an instrument in God’s hands and it was the right time.

I don’t know if you’ve read my experience. If not and if you are interested, you can check it out one page one of this forum thread. The abridged version of it is, I moved to Cumbernauld at the end of 2007 and within weeks, Diana Rutherford, the Cumbernauld leader, claimed she had divine knowledge that I was gay, was demon possessed and was the worst sinner she had ever had the misfortune to come across (none of this was correct) As a result she told a friend that she could not speak to me or even acknowledge me in church and told me that if I didn’t like it then I should maybe think about moving back to my home town of Coventry.

As you can imagine, I was very hurt and eventually did move back to Coventry. I was trying to make sense of it all and as a part of that I would sometimes Google “Struthers Memorial Church.” The only stuff I found was either the stuff they put up themselves which painted them in a wonderful light, or the occasional post on an atheist forum.

I really didn’t want to contribute to atheist forums because, although I can understand how some people’s experience of church could make the Pope turn atheist, I personally felt that blaming God or saying he does not exist, based on the actions of another human being, was wrong. Therefore I didn’t want to say anything as I felt it would just end in an argument.

Then one time I Googled Struthers and I came across this forum. I thought it might help me make sense of what happened and get in contact with others. I think just knowing that there were others and you were not the only one, was kind of comforting because you blame yourself and start to think “there must be something wrong with me”

In addition to this I was thinking that I would like to use my negative experiences for good. If my experience could help someone else or warn someone who was thinking of joining the church, just what they were letting themselves in for, then maybe it wasn’t all in vain. I think that if I had come across this forum BEFORE I moved 450 miles to join the church, maybe I would have thought twice and not gone.

So basically my initial posts were born out of both a need for catharsis in order to make sense of things and partly out of a desire to help and warn others. I'm sure each and every contributor will have their own personal reasons for posting. As I said earlier though, I never imagined that the fallout from Struthers was quite so big and involved quite so many people for such a relatively small church. Just as a side note OSCR is the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. They are the ones who make sure charities are acting accordingly and are currently looking into several complaints about Struthers made my various people.

I hope that helps. It’s always nice to have another forum contributor share their experiences.

God bless


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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 11, 2013 01:09AM

Hi Covlass

Thanks for your welcome and explanations - much appreciated! What happened to you is unacceptable and it's a shame you moved so far away from your home town to join this church. Someone must have really been convincing to make you do this ;-) Anyway it shows that whether it is an experience of a few months or several years the rejection factor still had the same negative effect on your life for a while after. I was originally going to say that luckily you only were part of it for a few months but I don't know if that really makes a difference vis-à-vis the confused feelings at the end. I hope you have found a happy solution back in Coventry and found closure on what happened to you in Cumbernauld. I honestly don't know this church in Cumbernauld as it was not as yet created when I left. Diana was as yet unmarried and certainly not a church leader, although was a "rising star" in the Glasgow church - a prodigy of Mary Black and her father. I didn't get to know her personally as 1) she was older than me and 2) I only saw her occasionally. I think some people are naturally ambitious and seek power and have perhaps too much zeal and don't honestly realise that their methods are so ruthless as they are convinced they are doing God's will. There again there is this lack of basic social skills, discretion and manners - everything is black & white and no grey areas are permitted. The accusation of being a lesbian is interesting - how would she know this - how would she "sense" this? It's a serious accusation to make to someone you don't even know and haven't taken time to be with.

The turnover in Struthers over the years has been enormous. There is a central group which seems to stay and around that it changes regularly - many lovely people have left and often it is people who have given years of service and been very useful. Luckily anyone I know from that time have found their niche somewhere else and have gone forward with their lives, however there are those who stay as they do not have the courage to leave and start over again - this is a choice and I understand that - this is not a criticism.

I trust you are happy in Coventry & that the period in Struthers is now just a bad memory. I think it is good that you are in contact with the Scottish Charity Regulator office as it is perhaps time for accountability. Charity ... Hmmm!

Ok, bye for now & take care

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 11, 2013 07:12AM

Hi there, Wistongirl, and welcome to this Forum thread. Thank you for telling us your experiences of when you were within SMC. As others have already said, I am glad that you managed to leave and have gone on to have a happy and fulfilling life. Your life would have got stuck and your personality wouldn't have got the chance to develop into the person God wants you to be, had you remained, I am certain of that.

You mention the change in SMC way back, which you felt led to a serious, no fun, and far more controlling environment within the church. I think this coincided with the large influx of young folk - secondary school kids and Uni/College students - in the late 1970s and early/mid 1980s, whom Miss Taylor decided were to be the army of The Lord which God had chosen and called and who would bring in revival. Diana Rutherford was one of them and yes, as you say, a rising star. Miss T's teaching and ministry to these young folk were very strict and no sin or mistakes were permitted, or else a public rebuke would be given, as Cbarb has said. This was a demonstration of the control and manipulation by the leaders over young folk's lives. Many, many of these young folk as the years went by, left SMC. Many are now doing well in other churches. Some sadly haven't been able to recover from the censorious treatment meted out, and have lost their faith or don't practise it.

Many left because, as time went on and a new generation of young folk arose, the first lot were largely ignored and/or told they were now backsliding. All attention was then given to the new lot. What a way to run a church and what a way to treat committed Christian people who had given up the days of their youth to serve in SMC and attend about 5 meetings a week for years! Why were they told they were now backsliding? Because they had got older, some married and had children, and they had demanding jobs, so they simply could not give all that time and energy to the church. But this was never considered. Backslidden, and that's it.

Cbarb, you mentioned the orchestras and music in SMC. That was still a big part of the meetings all the time I was there and I assume its still the same, judging by the occasional press/web advert about a Passion Play or whatever. I note that some of the names you mention are men who left SMC or have passed away. I don't remember any cessation of instrument-playing or of choir performances after that period you mention. These were always given a very high profile in the church. Problem was, though, playing an instrument or being in a choir was very controlled as well and led to guilt feelings if you didn't measure up or, worse, didn't show up to play or didn't want to play that day. I remember once at a Camp, a person with an underlying health issue, had to play his instrument at every meeting whether he felt tired or not, on the instruction of the leaders. He ended up unwell and had to be taken to the local hospital. It was simply due to sheer exhaustion and over-activity. But he didn't feel he could say, No or, Is it ok if I don't play it today? He was trained to think he was doing it all for God and therefore had to keep going.

Covlass has remarkable insight and knowledge concerning the ways of SMC, even though she was only in the church for a short time. What DR said she perceived about her was totally untrue and incorrect. There was no outward reason for her to claim such a thing. DR claims to "see" and "know" things about people that nobody else does, even the person themselves. She is clearly in error. And it's dangerous for the unsuspecting.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: June 11, 2013 11:06PM

Welcome Wistongirl! How lovely to hear from someone who (without being too conned...) has fond memories of time at smc camps etc. For many years, and now of course, I too have great memories and they have been immensely validated by the good people (and their level of understanding) here on this forum.
It is true that the length of time spent within smc is not directly proportional to the level of influence experienced. The black and white, all or nothing, attitude still resides with me today. I could argue that this is down to my own failings rather than teachings from smc...but when I let this play out in my mind, it always come back to who originally set the standards by which I judge my own behaviour. It is a harsh message and a seemingly unattainable degree of holiness. I was conditioned to fail. I still haven't fully seen through the vestigial veil, and it still clouds my perspective. I am definitely worse off overall due to ever coming across smc.
But to have these memories of good folks who also attended are a valuable part of who I am. Being here on this forum has shocked and angered me, and dare I say it, I have felt a repulsive level of hatred towards those whose behaviours have been highlighted here. Yet it is fair to say, I think, that everyone contributing here have swayed me overall. I am leaning towards forgiveness, yes even for the lowest of the low. As yet, I can't proclaim any religious belief, because, frankly, it is still too frightening a concept. But as a scientist, I have a good understanding of many of nature's laws and have to submit to the fact that what goes around comes around. A simple, mathematical axiom that probably arose before any serious religions adopted it as a framework upon which to construct a doctrine. None of these twisted teachers will escape their own fall. And I think they will experience terrible dread when they realise it.
I can identify with the dread and wouldn't wish it upon any other living soul. But the laws of the universe are by definition for all. I don't know if that counts as faith or just a reasonable and well-informed conclusion.
When they begin to fall, I wonder how many of us here would refuse them forgiveness. I guess not many would. That is a remarkable statement about the truly good human values that are evident in this forum. Even those who have been most cruelly treated by the most misguided.
But meanwhile, damage continues to be mercilessly meted out by the same inhumane people. Now I am fairly sure God could swiftly end this in dramatic fashion but here we see we have a chance to be instrumental in how checkmate is made. More importantly, we are wise to the post-smc effect and may, hopefully, be able to help those who are left without leadership or purpose.
I have to add these last few posts have made clear and concise sense of how it all began and how it turned sour and unhelpful, and how/why it continues still.
And still silence booms out from smc core. It's louder and louder with each new observation. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I still haven't fully read the recent posts. Not lazy! I must keep forgetting to tick "send replies".
To sum up...I see more help in here for many of us than we could ever hope to get from within smc confines. It's moving.
Not to forget the wealth of links to related helpful info, provided by rrmoderator and many posters, thanks all.
Could it be that smc's failed, unrealistic teaching leads to a journey that teaches us to ultimately become more useful to God? I mean, the turnover mentioned...basically more have got out than remained in. But the compassion here is one thing I can definitely not remember being taught from smc pulpits. Maybe I wasn't listening... :)
Anyway, smc leadership; I don't knowingly serve a Master, so keep relying on the fact that your demons will take me down. Got news for you though, if you are reading (!!), I'm making new friends everyday and, as for you sitting pretty thinking that you are protected by your god....well I put it to you that you are not. Consider or dismiss, make no diff to me. It's up to each of us discern the truth for ourselves, based on the available information. But you will never have ignorance as an excuse.
Regards and happy days to the good folks o' the forum, I am continually grateful to be here and thanks you all for helpful posts and insights.
Thanks! Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 12, 2013 02:37AM

Hi Rensil & Ifellaway and thanks for your welcome! Firstly I just want to clarify that I also have many "un-fond" memories of my time in SMC & when leaving. It's just that on reading this blog before joining I was impressed by the level of conversation, the objectivity and intelligent analysis of the members and what made me join was that it is not a "slagging off" Struthers blog but a constructive chat in order to exchange our views & in doing so perhaps help someone as (as we are all different and have had different experiences) we all see things from a different angle. So therefore when I posted my first message I was trying to see the good side and obviously with 25 years in between, the edge gradually wears off, but I assure you that when I left Struthers I was lost at first and had to start re-constructing my life again as my life was Struthers. For me it was a choice to leave - I was not pushed out, but it was not a choice to join as I was literally born into SMC.

Rensil mentioned that some people went to SMC 5 times a week - well to give you a laugh (and people outside of that environment just don't believe me) I went to church on a Sunday only 5 times!!!! I also went on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (If I was feeling holy) and of course the famous Saturday night meeting where everyone joined up. Getting up for school/work on a Monday morning was no mean task ;-) I didn't know anything else and that was life. I was also in the "hat" days and as a child this was a rather "jaggy" experience. Compared with what we had to go through and some things that have leaked out I think the young people have the life of riley now in SMC - no hats, can go to cinema if they wish, i-pads - hey! I wasn't even allowed to swing my legs in church during a 2-3 hour meeting as a child .... now that I'm a mother I don't know how mine kept her head on :-)

I also agree with Rensil that the change came when the Glasgow church started to pick up and lots of students (very fervent) came along. I remember that (contrary to us) they all sat in meetings with their heads bowed in prayer even when there was no prayer, eg. during sermons etc. - I found that weird and must have been off-putting for the preacher looking at all the heads. At that time they were the big interest and I think a lot of people who had been in SMC for a long time felt "put to the side" in favour of the rising stars. Now, in the long-term members were people who were really active with young people's work or cooking at camps or making sandwiches for the conferences - the famous sandwiches ;-) and as we are all human beings some felt it bad. There was really a group of about 6-8 people who got special attention from Hugh Black & his daughter Mary and they were always giving testimony - one of these was Diana whom you all mention regularly. I as a child was quite in awe of all this and thought they were so fashionable in the beginning - one had even hooped earrings!!! But then of course through time they were moulded and I'm sure if I saw them today they would be unrecognisable (from a fashion point of view & looking after ones-self etc.).

I also remember the instruments (the mention of which from Cbarb was the reason I joined the site as I recognised the beloved names ... and in this I am not being sarcastic as they were beloved to me these above-mentioned gentlemen - God rest Morris' soul - he was a lovely upright christian man) In the choir you had to really look at the leader and they could "lead you by a look - make or break you" - perhaps I was too sensitive but I could put myself into question for ages afterwards if I didn't "get the look" - laughable now on looking back but so real to a fervent young person seeking to serve God. I also remember we had to sing really slow ... ouff!

Ifellaway mentioned compassion. I remember you could receive compassion as long as you were on the right road, but if you deviated even just a little - no compassion! It was as if we all had (& they all had) antennae and things somehow were "known". I firmly believe (and believe me I've had time to think about it and was long enough and deeply enough involved to say this) that SMC is a sect. It is so exclusive, they are scared if anyone goes to another church in case they will be "infected", and there are just sooo many don'ts. The control by the leaders over their flock is total - they don't see it like that but you are accountable for everything just like a child and young adults do not get the chance to grow up and develop into who they are - they are "sanctified" before they know where they are and accountable - not to God - but to another human being who has taken it upon themselves to lead a flock.

You all often mention that SMC members read this blog from time to time to check up - this is good - but honestly in my opinion it will not make one whit of difference as to how they think as they will automatically see this blog as an attack of the devil - it's their reply to eveything as there is no accountability or responsibility for their actions - all of it is in the name of God and what goes against that is for them automatically an attack of the devil - so easy isn't it? Like that there is no humility to put oneself to question or to analyse - is there really a problem? - oh perhaps there is? - no way! If someone is in the SMC mindset nothing will budge them from their point of view (having been in this mindset I know this is the case) - it is only somehow "seeing the light" in the opposite direction via a series of events or increasing dissatisfaction that will make them think or change - the famous "chink in the armour" :-)

But to be positive it does make a big difference to those on the blog to have an area of sharing, encouraging, realising that it's all right - life goes on and hey - there's a big world out there filled with all sorts of lovely & unlovely people and we can find our niche in it and grow into who we really are without looking behind our backs at who is judging us. I remember the first time I wore make-up - I thought I would be struck down and the first time I went into a cinema hall - I was sure I was in a den of iniquity - so ridiculous now, but so real because of the teachings I had grown up with.

Ok, I'll stop for today, but it's really a pleasure to meet you all and I look forward to sharing more as it all seems to be coming back just by writing and you know the lovely thing guys? I have absolutely no emotional or negative feelings which come out at the same time - just the fact of writing things in this blog I realise they are gone - it's more like fun to write to you and I hope that in doing so I can be of even a tiny bit of help to someone who thinks it may never end all these mixed up feelings - it does :-)

Enjoy your evening!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chris19 ()
Date: June 12, 2013 07:22AM

Hi Wistongirl

I have so enjoyed reading your posts - you have brought back many memories - some good, some bad. I don't know if I am the person you were referring to but here's my confession.

Confession number one. I wore earrings to church and yes I did have a pair of hooped earrings. I had completely forgotten about them until reading your post. Pierced ears were a big no no so I was pressurized into stopping wearing earrings. However after a few weeks I regretted my decision so I secretly started wearing them again outwith meetings. Of course the inevitable happened and on one occasion I forgot to take them out before going to church. I was caught red-eared so to speak. I was called to account but stuck to my guns, shrugged my shoulders at it being termed an unholy crime, ran the gauntlet of disapproval and continued to wear them irrespective of what the leaders thought. Interestingly after a few initial confrontations and occasional jibes it seemed to cease to be an issue. Maybe I should have challenged more things.

Confession number two - I also had my hair highlighted - . On my instruction it was quite subtle - no big deal perhaps but we are talking early 80's so for me it was token rebellion and refusal to conform.

Confession number three. I occasionally wore nail varnish but again, not to meetings. Shock, horror. Similar to the earrings slip up, I bumped into Mr Black outwith church whilst wearing a vibrant red colour and from then on he would make reference to "nature red in tooth and claw" or me having had fingers dripping with blood. The irony is once I left the church I rarely ever painted my nails.

For those of you who may remember me, sorry for shattering any illusions but actually the ability to dig my heels in and go against the power of the leadership is probably the same resource I had to draw on in order to extricate myself from their web of suffocating influence.

I think I've confessed enough so I'll stop now.

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