Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chris19 ()
Date: June 20, 2013 10:53PM

Wistongirl, your pms have arrived and I have replied. I think you need to tick a box if you want to save messages to the sent folder.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 21, 2013 05:29PM

Hi - thanks guys - now seems to have worked :-)
Hi to all,

I just realised yesterday (sometimes a bit slow ...) that the majority of those who were "the young people" at the very beginning of SMC in the 1950's-60's with Hugh Black etc. who have now left SMC all seem to be socially active together and have kept their friends - they do card crafting together, go to their various churches together & generally socialise together - even (god forbid) go on holiday together! I find this first of all great for them as often the oldest friends we have are the ones who last and know everything about you without having to explain everything and secondly a "victory" vis-à-vis SMC. "You can squash us out, but you can't divide us". I obviously won't take the liberty here of naming these people, but I'm talking of people who came into SMC in their teens (often via Hugh Black) and married (marriage was not at all looked down on in the early days - was a healthy progression) and had kids in the church and are now around the age of 70-ish. I can think of around 15-20 in this category - perhaps someone else can think of more? Or has other thoughts on this?

Secondly, I don't remember as far back as when Elizabeth Taylor was "inactive" so to speak and at what point she came to the forefront. I just remember Hugh Black on a Sunday night up in the top pulpit shouting hellfire .... terrified the life out of me as a child I must say. Then things changed - preaching took place in the bottom pulpit - Morris Offord no longer took the choir (I think it was him who took it or was it Bobby Cleary - can't remember) and Miss Taylor was taking it and we all had to LOOK - no looking away was permitted and it was so loooooong. Everything played on this LOOK - can't explain it otherwise and it was as if your soul was bared through this look.

Thirdly (there is then also a fourth and last): There was an open-air meeting in Greenock during several years - outside Mothercare - now no matter if I tried to be dying of stomach-ache I had to go - unfortunately I also had to face my school friends on a Monday .... I don't remember (now I may be wrong) any leaders of SMC coming to support that open-air - it was all regular members. So there were people concerned with outreach and looking outwards. This was during a period where "oh sanctify me now" was all the thing and singing slow this song many many times. Again in Glasgow in the 80's (and this time I was more enthusiastic) there was an open-air in the middle of the town centre at lunch time - this was initiated by one of the twins I mentioned earlier - who was a very outgoing, outreaching person.

Lastly, I was thinking again of the camp kitchen and also in that area there were "skivvys" & "holy's" - hands-on people & "too holy to do that" people. I remember there was a sermon on that once encouraging everyone to help out at camps. To this day the most "holy" ones for me were the ones slaving away in the kitchen while others were away praying. Perhaps I'm labouring the point here and not being very nice, but frankly camps were exhausting for lots of us and we took holidays to do that (at the time very willingly as a service to God).

Anyway, bye for today & have a great weekend!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: June 21, 2013 08:51PM

ThePetitor, I meant to add. While this all-seeing leader couldn't discern that I was just counting the minutes until me and my bro could head out to the woods at Wiston and get ridiculous, I didn't get even a dram that evening. Spent all my time looking after my drunken brother who (very loudly) was being sick. In the dead of night at Wiston, wretching sounds travel far indeed. And in the morning he could barely hold his bowl of cornflakes at breakfast in our youth group leaders' tent. I remember being asked if he was always like that in the morning. I thought, no this is definitely his last time.
So maybe fake church leaders spouting lies, living out deluded lives, preaching fear etc can't adequately discern stuff, but you could say God stepped in himself and taught me an important lesson about the downside of excession. Don't think my big brother was listening though...
You are so completely spot-on target Wistongirl. smc survives on the hard work and sweat and energy (and money) of good, honest servants of God. While the leaders tend to remain busy acting like royalty, engaging their courtiers with even more guff. The good folks seem to have gravitated to here while the royal court continues to feel impregnable to attack.
An interesting bit of news that G8 leaders are offering amnesty to Syrian Army top brass, if they topple the president. Even Vladimir is on board, provided nobody arms rebels...
It is not dissimilar to numerous calls to influential smc members, on here, to demand change. Of course smc is proving way more complicated than the whole Syrian nation...despite such an obvious solution to their predicament.
I am beginning to think that OSCR will even find it hard to table directions that will lead to solutions. And really it isn't their job to help charities survive, though by regulating they do often ensure a safer future for some charities. (but I'm sure they won't waste too much time if they detect the arrogance afoot..)
And the more posters that appear, the worse smc appears. And a clearer picture forms. :)
Regards all, Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: June 21, 2013 10:39PM

Hi Guys,

Its fascinating to read the recent posts from y'all. Seems to be loads of memories flooding back and being recalled and confirmed here.

ThePetitor - you wrote recently "As Mister Black often used to quote, “All that is required for evil to abound is for good men to do nothing.” which I had been thinking of posting here just before reading your quote.

It did and does make me think. How is one to view people - who one knows, and are by all accounts themselves utterly good, honest , hard working, kind and well-intentioned people - people who might not be the ones responsible for all the harm we read about here - but are or were just regular congregants, helpers,and "supporters". "Sandwich makers" :)

Sheep ?.

See - I don't view the typical "sheep/shepherd" metaphor often recounted in the new testament as being a positive relationship. Are humans something to be "herded" ? do we need dogs to scare us into getting back into "the fold" - and prepared for the final slaughter ? to be eaten ? mere fodder for some other "higher" unfathomable cause ?

This seems to be the model of the SMC way. and I of course don't accept it in any sense- whether for cultish reasons or even religious ones. As you might have guessed I fall into the "unherdable cat" mode. But maybe thats me and just a few others. Those one - dare I say - with more individuality, and i suspect creativity. It seems to me it takes sheep with a very limited sense of imagination to stay in folds such as SMC. Am I wrong ? is SMC a hive for new and creative ideas. Or are they cookie cutter people ? Happy to be moulded.

But back to these "sandwich makers" - are they culpable ? a side of me says yes- another, no.

I was tempted on reading ThePetitor's "All that is required for evil" quote to reply with another one from physicist Stephen Weinberg, but i'm going to quote my own modified and nuanced version of Weinberg's:

"With or without dubious un-evidenced beliefs, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes dubious un-evidenced beliefs"

Should one judge or condemnt SMC members who themselves did no wrong, but as regular tireless faithful helpers - nevertheless - because these helpers refused to ask deep questions and reassess things - and maybe see no wrong in people like DR etc - are in effect helping the ongoing infliction of harm by others - say DR etc ?

Of the people I know personally in SMC - one side of me gets extremely judgmental - but another - a more I suppose deterministic side - considers certain personality traits of these individuals and concludes that these persons simply don't have what it takes to discern the "elephant in the room" - the nakedness of the emperor. They know of no other way. Regulars here - will not be surprised that I personally attibute a lot of this down to a substantial inability or reluctance to be sceptical. Even in terms of intuition. I can think of two SMC people I know personally who were the subjects of financial scammers - people who lied and conned. And yet neither seemed to either have the intuition - the "discernment" - or "inside tip form the holy spirit" to tell them that they should not be getting involved in any way with these rogue individuals. And these individuals i am talking about are VERY close and loyal to the inner circle of Lady Diana. Or at least were. I can remember them waxing lyrical about her as if she was some super haloed saint, sent form above. I remember getting my suspicions - my sceptical antennae raised in the air - about DR pretty much immediately back then. All to be confirmed decades later on this forum.

And meanwhile there is all this talk of "revival" ( and i gather there's hype going on right now regarding some supposed revival activity in wales ) yet all I see is gullibility.

So my point is should these "Nice" people be held to account for simply being gullible ? Because i'm sorry - quite a large number of SMC congregants - clearly are guilty of the crime of gullibility here. If gullibility is in any way a crime. Or should I just accept people for who they are ? They can be no other way?

On another related note - whils't battling insomnia I came across an interview with a very interesting person who was a member for 40 years of a sect that originally was based in Finland and Sweden called the Laestadian Lutheran Church. He has recently written a book about this, while considering leaving the sect ( which he eventually did ) called "An Examination of the Pearl".

The interview - which is in the form of a podcast discusses in detail what it was like growing up in, what some have called of this denomination, “a cult” and tackle the issue of original sin and seeking forgiveness for being human.

It made me think so much of SMC. Even though this is more of a "strict brethren" type, and not pentecostal.

It is a fascinating and moving interview. Skip to time ( in minutes ) 5:10 for the start of the interview ( theres some sceptical stuff at the beginning you can all ignore )

The interview is here"


Maybe one of you cool people might even want to contact the podcasters to be interviewed yourself !.

And book info here;


His book ends with this:

"In the calm waters of a pool of reverence, even a drop of criticism creates disquieting ripples. No doubt my bluntness and, at times, even bemusement about sacred matters will cause discomfort for those who have never heard their faith discussed with anything but devotion, piety, and praise. I’m sorry about that, I really am. I wish there were a way to honestly share the knowledge I’ve acquired over these past years without some of those who have been my closest friends taking it as an act of betrayal. I have already lost many of those friends, and know that I am likely to lose more. Please don’t think it hasn’t weighed heavily on my mind"

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/2013 11:05PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: June 22, 2013 02:03AM

Clive, haven't some of these recent pages shown you that it is way more complex than you seem to be breaking it down. The "sandwich-makers" of old, really wouldn't have had concerns compared to today. The timeline is 2 stories now, the good grafters that built the church under a much more respected leadership. Perhaps you were one of these? The work done by them cannot be overstated and they probably didn't have real cause for concern. Those who did, probably left.
Many congregants remain for many different reasons. I would say that individuality has exactly naff all to do with it. We are all unique but none of us are "un-herdable". Give it long enough and anyone's individuality can be eroded away, even yours.
But it's not just sheep, as has been said and further illustrated recently, for clarity.
Many are so enmeshed that they need (or believe they need) smc more than anything else.
Others will feel they owe loyalty to smc. We maybe can't fathom how that works, but it does work.
Some may be completely fooled, but that doesn't automatically mean they are any less of an individual than you or I.
It is so much more complex. Family connection and divisions. Financial entrapment. There is a huge list of reasons for there being so many in, that we can't sit here and say they are sheep.
I wondered about their complicity too. But as the org changed so did techniques of control and things are much more muddy now.
There are probably more reasons than we can suggest why some remain. Individual reasons or general reasons, we have been leaning towards compassion for subordinates, but yes it's harder and harder to justify this approach.
But that's not for us to judge anyway. Point remains to make the world safer for all. In here we are trying save further harm being done by smc. I don't think it's worth examining each congregation and singling out the guilty according to our opinions on their degree of complicity. Those named and shamed here are the root cause. We can argue that their outer layers of yes men and sheep etc, enable them to continue. But we don't know the facts about everyone.
Be careful Clive, not to big yourself up as untouchable compared to those with less individuality than yourself. Anyone can be herded, as has been proven again and again throughout human history. There's a method for every single human being, even though we are all unique.
You happened to notice changes that you rightly predicted would result in today's sorry state of affairs, lucky for you, but you maybe are naturally more suspicious or perceptive. In a different set of circumstances, with more skilled DR types, you might well have missed it. As will be the case for many.
How far can blame be allocated. I noticed in the 80s that there was corruption within. I did nothing, I didn't know what to do. So I did nothing. So now I blame myself for that. Should I? probably not. No more than you for noticing, predicting and allowing it to happen anyway.But still...let's not get too high and mighty, lest we become suitable smc leadership material. :)
Regards Clive, Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: June 22, 2013 03:33AM

Hi folks

Haven't had a chance to listen to that interview yet Clive, but that's probably due to my lousy internet connection - I'll try again later.

Ifellaway, you hit the nail on the head about the possibility of manipulation of any individual.

Personally I believe that the reason there are still people on the pews reverently believing is to do with the 'wonderful feelings' one gets in the services. You know, when everyone is praying loudly in tongues and waving their arms about and singing in harmony etc, etc, this leads to a feeling of euphoria which many mistake for something more spiritual.

This, I think, is the major tool of manipulation used in SMC because there are tangible results from this kind of manipulation of a crowd of people. As I've said before, I have experienced the same high (dare I say it, almost spiritual feeling) while observing a Red Arrows Flypast - that was a defining moment for me which awakened me to the idea of mass hysteria and made me begin to question things I'd blindly believed for so long.

In an environment where you have tangible feelings of euphoria, on a regular basis, it's difficult not to get a bit addicted to that no matter what type of individual you are. It's also very easy to attribute those feelings to the 'anointed ones' leading the worship and therefore to be viewed as something spiritual.

The second major tool in the mind-control arsenal is the so-called 'anointing and discernment' these are borne out of gossip in the inner-circle. The way this works is a certain member of the inner circle will be told to pay attention to a particular member - perhaps someone who looks like they might be a bit stubborn or have somehow strayed from the path etc. It may be that they start giving this person lifts to the meetings or sitting beside them during services and engaging them in conversation at the end of the meeting. The person eventually gains some measure of trust with the victim and begins to glean more personal information from them, this information is relayed to the leader and, when it's considered sufficiently sinful information, it is brought up publically and the individual concerned is castigated severely from the platform. Or sometimes, just threatened with public humiliation to keep them in line in the future. In some cases the sinful acts are ones the victim themselves weren't even aware of committing.

It can be easy to be blind to the corruption in your midst when that corruption is smothered over with loud praying and slow, meaningful singing and hours of expounding on the God-like status and infallibility of the leaders; who are the ones providing the euphoria you so desperately crave in every meeting.

I suppose you could pity these people more for their addiction to the high, than their loyalty to the leaders.

Wistongirl, you bring back so many memories and I know many of the people to whom you refer. Many of these people built the branch churches over weekends, in their spare time and with great love. I remember helping to make soup and sandwiches, painting walls and fences, cleaning up etc. when the PG church was being built and no-one complained even although they must have been totally knackered having worked all week at their normal jobs (and attended meetings every night of the week and three or four times on a Sunday) And these people still paid their tithes willingly to the church.

It's unfortunate and speaks volumes that there is probably only about one or two of these original members left, of those who were involved in building the churches. As far as I know, of those that are surviving today, all are happy and fruitful in other areas and other churches and doing the work God intended them to do originally.

We hope to make a difference here and whether or not that is a difference in leadership or the end of the organisation remains to be seen. I'm not entirely convinced that a change of leadership would lead to a change of beliefs and policies due to the strong reliance on the 'anointing' thing.

The religious stuff aside, if SMC lose their charitable status, it's unlikely that they could survive financially, without all the tax breaks charitable status brings. Although, they may try to raise more money from the congregation but I guess there has to be a limit to just how much even the most devout follower can put in the church coffers.

I do envisage the scenario that, if they lose charitable status, they will begin to sell buildings and start holding meetings in houses (some meetings are already held in houses). So, even if the buildings disappear and they are no longer considered a charity, I don't think there will be any fundamental changes to those in leadership - who will no doubt continue to court a certain amount of faithful followers.

I also predict that, should this happen, the whole shebang will be classed as "An attack by Satan" and they will continue to 'soldier on in the holiness war' It's unlikely that they will ever truly be stopped, since they will already be grooming the next generation of leaders to act in the same narcissistic, uncaring and manipulative ways they do themselves. And there will still be no answers forthcoming to any of the burning questions raised here.

We still live in hope though!

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

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 22, 2013 06:42AM

Hi Guys,

ThePetitor - you wrote recently "As Mister Black often used to quote, “All that is required for evil to abound is for good men to do nothing.” which I had been thinking of posting here just before reading your quote.
One of the things that I find interesting is that I do quote Mister Black from time to time. Chris19 says that looking back form a distance he or she sees some good things. I must admit one of the good things I see looking back is the words of wisdom and anecdotes from Mr Black - but he had completed a course in Bible study I believe, and he also quoted things like the above. I can't actually remember any of the words of the other main leaders that were worth remembering, but I do remember many of Mr Black's sayings, and still find many of them true. Admittedly I often quote them here as a rebuke to the current leadership, but I am still quoting them because I see the wisdom in the things that were said.

Doesn't make him perfect of course, and i disagreed with things like his view that it didn't matter if leaders had things on their conscience, but I dont believe anyone is 100% good or 100% bad. We should judge each individual action, not either put people on a pedestal or condemn them as totally wrong.

Clive, re the stuff about sheep, I would again quote Mr B. He used to say that in Israel they did not herd sheep from behind, but the shepherd would go out in front of the sheep. They would recognise his voice and follow him to safe pastures. I have not looked into this myself, but I do think he actually studied these things rather than just relied on making people feel good, so I am sure he was right.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 22, 2013 07:48AM

Some very interesting posts here. Thanks, everyone.

Clive, I will listen to the podcast you speak about as I am always interested in such stories. You said, it's more a strict Brethren type of sect rather than Pentecostal. The thing is, however, that Hugh Black took a lot of his teachings from his own strict Brethren upbringing and transferred them, probably unknowingly, into SMC. I think that's where the concept that SMC is the holiest church and is better than other churches, comes from. Also where the women's hat-wearing, silence before a meeting starts, marrying only within the church, and, dare I mention it, the ban on black pudding!, all stem from. However, he disagreed on their policy on women ministering in church and perhaps that's why he made such a big thing of defending it and ended up with so many female leaders. He did know the Bible, though, because of his upbringing, which is more than can be said for some of the other leaders, from what I have heard, both in the past and on the podcasts before they stopped being put online.

I too remember peeling scores of potatoes and washing hundreds of dishes at Camp! Does that make me holy or unholy! LOL! Yes, we did work hard and in most cases, that was our summer holiday if we were in employment. SMCers didn't go holidays back then, even in Scotland. Nowadays I believe they jet off to sunny holiday resorts just like the rest of the population. Perhaps the leaders have gradually realised that people can go on holiday to these places and not get drawn in to bars and night life, or get drawn away from the Church.

You also mention the " look" from Miss T as she led the choir. I remember this happened during the singing time too and Mary Black did the same. We had to keep eye contact with her as she led, and many a disapproving look she gave. People were devastated for hours by such a look, which, yes, you felt penetrated your very soul. We had to keep singing strongly and loudly, even if you'd a cold, cough or asthma. People were nearly hyperventilating at times. If you were a good singer, you were highly favoured by the leaders and thought of as really anointed even if there was wrong behaviour going on in your life. Another example of the leaders's lack of discernment as to where people were at.

Being encouraged to come apart from one's parents and family was common back then, and I believe still happens. It is shocking though, that you were asked to do so, Wistongirl, when your parents were also in SMC. However, I know of other cases where this has happened. I think there are stories earlier on this Forum which indicate this is still happening. What about the Bible verse: Honour your father and mother...? Don't they read and act on this verse?
The large influx of young folk in the late 70s and 80s consisted mostly of kids from unbelieving families. They were encouraged to forsake their parents, which, in many cases that I know of, caused much upset and worry for these parents. I know that many believed their offspring had got caught up in a cult, such was the change in their lifestyle and their reluctance to spend time with their own family.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 22, 2013 06:21PM

Just a couple of comment on the remark

The large influx of young folk in the late 70s and 80s consisted mostly of kids from unbelieving families.

I think we have to remember 2 things - first, the "large influx" is only large by SMC standards. What we are talking about here is perhaps a dozen folk in each influx.

The other thing is that, apart form the early days when Mr Black ran camps and brought people in himself, the whole model has been that young people, mainly of university age, have through their own enthusiasm and commitment brought others into the organisation. It was not the leaders that brought people in, it was young people who had in general only been in the church for a few years. They were often genuine and enthusiastic. Their honesty and faith was attractive to others and their friends wanted to see for themselves what was so compelling. Sounds good as far as it goes, but what then happened was that these effective evangelists were told they were not spiritual enough, that they had to "move deeper with God". Some even had effective works taken away from them and given to others who 'more spiritual' - but a lot less effective.

Almost all of these 'attractive' (in the sense that they attracted others to their beliefs and lifestyle) young people were frustrated by the lack of genuine interest and understanding form leaders and left. The ones that remained are only a tenth as effective as they ought to be as the very qualities that made them effective at drawing others in were refined out of them. Just my view, but I think it fits well with the observable facts.

This pattern repeated itself in a number of schools and universities. Going west to east, I can think of Greenock (I am thinking of Irene Morrison for example), Glasgow University, Falkirk, Edinburgh (Queen Margaret's), Trannent. Where are the people that were at the centre of these 'influxes' now? Why did the influx not continue year after year? In every case, it was for a few short years then stopped as the people most involved either "missed their high calling" in the eyes of the leaders and left, or "found their high calling" in the eyes of the leaders and, as a direct result, became totally ineffective.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 23, 2013 02:32AM

Yes, totally agree with you, Petitor.
It's not really a large amount by outside standards. However, I was kind of contrasting the situation with what it had been like in SMC before the influx of young folk at that period, which Cbarb has told us about. It looks like the Church seemed to change and Miss T took full and authoritative control at this time, and went into action to mould and "train" all these young folk in a manipulative manner.

Another establishment where young folk came into SMC from, was Jordanhill College, also some from the then Glasgow College of Technology. I agree that many, maybe the majority whom I can think of, of young folk who joined SMC then became disillusioned, through being ignored and cast aside, and eventually left. And yes, the few who remain are either very controlling themselves or have just sat back and become passive to all that is going on, while a new lot of favoured ones get the attention from the leadership. What a waste of some very gifted people.

No, there haven't been continual influxes over the years and none as large as that one I referred to, which as you say, Petitor, wasn't that big anyway. Why no more ingatherings of young folk if SMC still maintain that their church is growing? As you can read in the Latigo updated article on How many Members Does SMC have? there aren't that many members compared to other evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the UK today.

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