Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: August 27, 2013 08:00AM
EDITED HIGHLIGHTS OF EXPERIENCES BY SMC EX MEMBER * CBARB * SELECTED BY ME * CLIVE * APOLOGIES IF BITS ARE MISSING :
It's been many years since I attended SMC and it's quite alarming to me to read about the church in so many sites and confirming what I have secretly felt for years!
The church was founded by Hugh Black (then a teacher at Port Glasgow High school) in the 1950's.
The original church consisted of Hugh Black (known as 'Totty Black' to the school kids) and a bunch of kids from his RE class.
My dad was one of those kids and he eventually ended up as pastor of the Port Glasgow branch.
It's worth noting that the memebers of the church built the Port Glasgow branch themselves, being from all different trades.
I should also point out that my dad is an excellent and very funny preacher and was nothing like the present leaders of the church. He didn't preach doom and gloom but taught love and respect for each other and allowing God to be present in our daily lives (all very normal stuff interspersed with enough funnies to keep even the youngest kids interested).
As a result of my Dad being pastor, of course I was brought up in the church and lived for my first 16*18 years of life in constant fear of the main church leaders in Greenock finding out how bad I'd been and announcing my atrocities to the whole church, from the platform (yes, that did actually happen to many perople who attended the church and 'strayed from the path of righteousness'). It was particularly difficult being a young girl in the church in those days because the leaders would watch you like a hawk and if you so much as said 'Hello' to the good*looking boy on the next pew, you were damned and in need of excorsising of your demons, furthermore there was no redemption for the 'harlots and Jezebells' so you were ulitmately doomed anyway no matter how you cut it.
My closest friend left the church when she was 16 under a cloud of 'Demon Posession' because she had become pregnant and wasn't married and I was left with no one really who understood the oppression and guilt the teachings left me with. Some of those sermons could last for three or more hours solid and that's not a jokey way to spend your Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights! (Actually we attended church six days a week, Tuesday being the only night off because it was the adults prayer meeting).
I would say the church is very totalitarian although I'm not sure I would go as far as to call it a cult but they do drum into you that SMC is the only church with the TRUE answer to life; but many other churches, temples and holy houses believe the same thing of themselves.
I do believe god works in SMC (or did back in those days) because I can't ignore the spiritual experiences I had while in the group but I also believe that the leaders of the church (who are all completely different from the days when I attended between 1963 and arounnd 1980) are quite full of their own self*importance and tend to dictate to the members of the congregation how they should live. But we are being dictated to by governments, royalties, leaders of this group or that every day of our lives anyway.
The point is that, although SMC teaches that you should not question anything you are told because it comes from God in the first instance, it is natural and sensible to question absolutely everything in life. How else can you learn what is right for you?
I should point out here that there are very few of the original members left in the church congregation today and I would probably not recognise anyone now apart from a couple of the leaders.
My own decision to leave the church permanently was made because the pastor refused to marry me and my husband since my husband was not a memeber of the church and this meant that we were "unequally yolked" (not sure where in the bible that one comes from but it was a favourite sermon of the day). It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth as I'd known the pastor and attended the church all of my life and yet, a few weeks prior to my asking him to perfofm the ceremony, he married a young couple and neither of them belonged to the church. I often wondered if that meant the couple were "equally yolked" because neither were members of the church and obviously 'on their way to hell' anyway? I don't know, I never asked for the reason * I just left the church and didn't go back.
Anyway, I'm older and wiser (I think) now and I know that you can be close to God and a very spiritual person even without attending any church at all. Sometimes religion gets in the way of God and spirituality and we see that every day where wars and terrorism are begun in the name of God (now that's shameful).
None of my family attend SMC anymore and instead they attend a different Evangelical church where the people are REAL and the pastors don't put themsleves up on pedastals to be revered by their adoring congregation and I have to say, my family are all so much happier and fulfilled in life than they were in those days of constant self flagellation and guilt about not being good enough for God.
It is good to remember that religion (no matter what it is) is a man*made institution and, for the most part, is designed to keep people apart rather than bring them together. The bible tells us that God lives inside every one of us and not in a brick building with a spire, clock and weathervane. We all have the power of God inside us, if we are willing to recognise that fact. We are not just human bodies, the body is just a space suit which allows us to survive on this planet, our essential self, the true us is spiritual and it's the spirit of us that carries on after the body dies. There is no church, temple, synagogue etc. in the world which can keep the spirit inside its walls and my ultimate conclusion over the years has been that what really matters is that we live the way God intended us to live by loving and caring for each other and helping each other through hard times.
We don't need a church or a pastor to tell us this, it's common sense... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or differently "An' it harm none, so be it" these are phrases from two quite different teachings * the Bible on one hand and the Book of Sorrows on the other. The point is, they mean the same thing * live a good life and don't cause anyone any harm and, if you do hurt someone, ask for their forgiveness and make things right with them * that, I believe is the true teaching of the Bible, the Koran or any other holy book you care to mention; regardless of what the religious groups or cults try to teach you beyond that very simple rule for living a spiritual and fulfilled life.
I can't, in all honesty, comment on SMC as it is today but judging from what I have read here and on other similar sites it seems to be actually worse than it was back then; although when I was 16 years old it felt like a millstone round my neck on a daily basis because I could never be good enough to be truely loved by God... now I know better and I hope this is helpful to whoever reads it.
Thanks for your time and letting me get it all off my chest!
I'm dumbfounded by what's going on in the church I used to pretty much LIVE in. The original founders would be turning in their graves right now because although they were strict back in the day, they would certainly not have condoned what is happening now and if D Rutherford is who I think she is then I remember well the day she joined the church at one of the summer camps (I was about 15 or 16 then) and believe me she was not an angel and some of her past exploits would turn your hair white! In view of her own shady past, I think she has no right to judge others and portray herself as 'annointed by God'. The bible says 'Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself' and that applies to all humans, including the leaders of SMC. It's an abomination what is happening in that church and I personally say you are better off not going anywhere near their doors because the kind of attitude they have is sure to destroy you or turn you into nothing more than a slave to bad leadership and even worse life*coaching.
My prayers and my heart go out to those who have been so profoundly affected by this church but you should know that this is not the teachings of God or the bible. God is a forgiving and totally loving God and our sins are dealt with by him and him alone and not by humiliation from such hypocritical and totally misguided people. Those of you who have been told by this woman that she knows stuff about you should take that with a pinch of salt because, in my experience, God deals with us privately and would not be disclosing information to leaders or anyone else for that matter unless it was to show the person love and a path to resolving their issues.
Humiliating people is not showing God's love but man's (or woman's) power over other people. This D Rutherford is full of it in every sense, she can no more hear God speaking to her than I can hear the pixies supposedly at the bottom of the garden! What a lot of tosh!! There are way too many hypocrites on the pulpits of SMC but God will judge them himself when the time comes and I think they will probably get a great shock on that day!
My love goes out to you all and I pray that God will support and comfort you and bring you back to a proper and loving place of worship. It makes me so sad to hear all the stories posted here and on other sites because I know now that SMC is no longer a church in touch with God, or at least certain leaders are no longer in touch with God and, by the sounds of it, are actually batting for the other side... the guy that wants to drive everyone out of the churches and away from God and, in SMC he certainly seems to be winning the battle if you ask me.
My prayers are with you all that he will heal your spirits and show you that he is a loving God and does not belong to SMC or any other organisation for that matter but he belongs to us all, as we belong to him, and is accessible to us all. God bless you.
You're probably right, I was still quite young at the time and you know the young folk never got told anything much and I guess I wasn't really involved in any of the 'bad stuff' although I do remember a particular incident which shook me a lot at one of the camps, when a guy collapsed with an epileptic fit and instead of calling an ambulance the leaders started praying in tongues over him to 'cast out his demons'. As a young kid I was petrified that those demons would find me!! It was years later that someone told me the truth of what happened and shocked me silly!
I don't know what happened with my folks because they never talk bad of anyone and don't allow themselves to be drawn into conversations where they might have to. I just believed they moved on because Dad got a new job down south * although I got married and stayed up here in Scotland and my uncle took over the PG church, but my uncle and aunt also left the church and my uncle went to study theology instead. I guess that made them outcasts too.
That being said, all of my family are now very much happier than they were in SMC, so it was a good move all round and Dad is still cracking jokes during sermons although, these days he doesn't preach so often due to the onset of parkinsons but he's doing well.
I do have fond memories of the PG church though and the Saturday clubs when we would take canoeing trips at Castle Sempel Loch and on Windy Hill or at the swimming pool in Paisley (I think it was Paisley anyway, really old victorian baths with the changing rooms all round the pool side), we did have a lot of fun. Then there were the social nights where we would put on plays (usually written by my Dad) and that was really good fun too. I did love going to the PG church I just hated going to the main church and the summer camps where we practically lived in the meeting hall or the barn and didn't get a lot of free time to actually enjoy the holiday (my name is still carved in a tree or two at Wiston Lodge!!)
It's a sad state of affairs all round really and I hope that you have also found peace away from the clutches of SMC. It's not so easy to shake off the teachings of a life*time and I thank God that my parents are who they are and were sensible enough to get away from it all. Perhaps I don't remember everything too well because I spent more time in the PG church than I did in the Greenock branch.
My brother is now also a pastor and has his own church in Brighton and it's a very lively church, given that he is a fabulous musician and has my Dad's sense of humour in his sermons. Anyway, I wish you well Rensil and thanks for reminding me that things probably weren't so good even back then. Take care and God bless.
Being a part of this forum has led me to cast my mind back further and remember days I had long ago forgotten.
My own feeling is that the church changed drastically AFTER Miss Taylor became a part of the congregation and, subsequently, a higher leader than Mr. Black.
Am I right? Is there anyone here who remembers what SMC was like in the days prior to Miss Taylor's leadership?
I believe that was when the sermons began to stretch into hours and hours of self*flagellation and thunderous doom and gloom from the pulpit?
I'm sure I remember a specific change once Miss Taylor became the main leader of the group.
Rensil, I can't work out who you are but I obviously would know you, were you there in the days before Miss Taylor? I do remember that many of the original Portonians and friends of my dad (from school) left enmasse within about a year or two of Miss Taylor becoming leader and these were the guys who gave up their blood, sweat and tears to build the PG church... plumbers, builders and electricians.
Am I remembering this correctly? I would ask my Dad but I don't think he would talk to me about it unless I gave him a reason for asking and I know he wouldn't be very happy about me talking openly on a website about those days so I don't really want to ask him but I'm pretty sure I'm right about this. Can anyone here remember that far back?
I knew I had experienced a real change in the church at some point, a heavy suffocating atmosphere that suddently seemed to take over the Greenock church.
I do remember visitng other churches in the surrounding areas, in the early years. I made some good friends in those days in the Elim and Nazarene churches and I was really upset when we stopped attending these 'Outreach' services because I enjoyed them so much. I'm glad my family left the church and I'm pretty sure there was something that went on between them and Ms.Taylor/Mr.Black in the run up to them leaving. but they don't talk about it and they still have quite a few good friends in the church.
Personally, I don't attend any church now because I've come across too many hypocrites in churches but I still have my faith and know that God loves me whether I'm in a church or not and, as I've said before, I think religion is designed to keep people apart rther than bring them together. I think it's important to love and respect people no matter what background or religion they come from but it doesn't excuse the fact that many people who portray themselves as 'being close to God' couldn't be further away from him because they can't see beyond their own noses.
I only have to know that God is real and that if I fall and ask for his help, he'll catch me and that's good enough for me to stay wholly faithful to him. Apart from that, I have witnessed miracles and healings over the years which has only helped to strengthen my faith in him. I'm no angel I have to admit and have made many regretable mistakes as I've stumbled through life but the one thing that has been, and always will be, constant in my life is the knowledge that God is always there and I only have to stop and listen to find answers. It's when I'm not listening that things start to go wrong and then I realise that we aren't meant to struggle on our own through hard situations but that the problems we come across are intended to strengthen us and our faith in the God who made us. That's the shining light in my life and I know I only have myself to blame when I make bad decisions and shut my ears to his advice.
The wonderful thing is, regardless of what SMC teaches it's congregation, God will NEVER turn his back on any of his children and we only have to reach out and let him take over to find peace and wholeness in life. It doesn't mean we'll never have any problems in life coz we're only human after all but it's great to know that we can put it all in his hands and let him guide us through the hard times as well as the good.
People who have lost their faith due to bad and hurtful dealings with cults and churches should realise that God is still there for them, he doesn't live inside a church or a religion but inside the heart of every one of us and, while we might not always get the answers we want, we only have to ask for his help and he will resolve situations and problems for us in his own way, but to our eventual advantage (even if we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel immediately).
Isn't it good to know that God's love is more constant than night turning into day? I actually look forward to dying, not in a morbid way, but I look forward to finding the freedom form earthly problems and the everlasting spiritual life beyond this one. That said, I'm still glad to be alive for just now though!
God bless you and love to you all, especially to those of you who are hurting and confused * keep your faith in him coz he hasn't deserted you.
( on revival )
whether the visions of miss Taylor were true or not, I don't see how you can have a revival by turning people away from the church and, in some cases, even destroying the faith of the people involved.
Perhaps we would have seen a revival at some point if the leaders hadn't set themselves up as 'holier than thou' and therefore closer to God and more knowledgable of God's desires for the church and its people. Surely that is turning away from the fact that Jesus died to enable us all to have a direct communion with God, without the need to consult with a church leader.
It's obvious, to me, that the leaders who choose to lie about why certain members of the church are no longer there cannot be walking with God because I don't believe he would permit church leaders to tell lies in his name.
I remember the 'vision' days well but instead of feeling elated (like everyone else seemed to be) I found myself making excuses to go to the toilet as often as possible just so I could get out for a breath of fresh air. I remember the atmosphere in the church changing dramatically and a real sense of heavy suffocation each time I stepped through the doors. In those days I worried that I must be back sliding or even demon possessed because I couldn't stand the oppressive atmosphere.
Even the tone of the church camps changed and we had to start attending meetings in the mornings as well as in the evenings; before then the only time you attended meetings more than once in the day was on a Sunday. I remember being very embarrassed because I had just managed to persuade a school friend to come with me that year and she nearly went home when she discovered we had to attend church twice a day, every day! (Admittedly, sometimes we would sneak into the woods and hide so that we didn't have to attend the meeting; but there were always people sent out to look for us and sometimes we got caught and sometimes we got away with it!).
It was as if the life had been sucked out of the church and having fun was no longer considered to be godly or holy, everything became morbidly serious and you were certainly not going to enter the kingdom of heaven unless you were a part of SMC. It was a very heavy burden to bear, at the time, believing that only members of SMC would be getting past the pearly gates! Thank God, I don't carry that burden any more!
I only vaguely remember the outreach meeting in Glasgow that chesterk55 mentioned (Maurice Curello) and my feelings were that the leaders disagreed with the clapping, dancing and chanting of the audience who were, I believe, showing their appreciation of God and the speaker's interpretation of the word of God, I might be wrong about this, being so young at the time. However, shows of emotion like this were actively discouraged in SMC; clapping for speakers and dancing in the aisles was unheard of!
Perhaps if the leaders of SMC learned the JOY of God to the extent that they expound the wrath of God, they would make better spiritual leaders and examples to their fellow humans.
on Joan Jewell and taking notes
I for one do not believe that any of the leaders have any special gifts like this, I believe that they gleen all their information from the clipes and cliques in the church and then put it across as divine knowledge. It's more like a charlattan medium laying out the Tarot cards and then making up some ambiguous story that, if you're gullible enough, you can say 'Oh yes, she was right about that so she must be genuine'
I do believe that God can give people insights to tool them up to HELP someone but I don't believe for one minute that God wants to humiliate and castigate people publically for some 'perceived' sin. The true pastor would take that information and minister in private to the person involved and encourage and help them to overcome what ever it is that's fouling up their lives. I can't help thinking how many catholics would attend confessions if the priest was going to announce their sins to the church the following Sunday?
The only public humiliation should be that of the leaders themselves because, as shepherds, they are more accountable to God for their flock and he will call them to answer for their actions, in his own time.
You ask about Joan Jewell as well. She took over the Port Glasgow church from my uncle (who took over after my Mum and Dad moved South and began attending a different church). Unfortunately I can't say much about her ministry because I have only ever heard her give testimony before but back in the day, she was a lovely person, as were her two sisters (although I don't think either of them attend the church now but I may be wrong about that). However, if she is still remaining on the pulpit in SMC then it stands to reason that she holds the same views as the other leaders or she would have been drummed out by now and she certainly wouldn't have been involved in the school either. Her mother*in*law was one of the stalwart people who used to attend the church and she did all the cooking for the church camps and worked tirelessly to help the younger people in the church and we all called her 'Ma Jewell' because you could talk to her about anything and she would keep your confidences and give you some very sound advice. She was a woman who shot from the hip and gave you it straight, she was fair but firm and most definitely, in my view, a godly person. She was a massive influence on my life and saved me from utter self*destruction with her words of encouragement and support. She moved eventually to the same church as my mum and dad down South and continued to be a supportive and wonderful person until she recently died and we miss her a lot. I did hear her, once or twice, remark to my Mum that Joan was 'slipping into the Struthers mould' and she was quite sad for her grandchildren. To be fair, the Jewells have seen a lot of hardship and tradgedy over the years and the fact that they kept any faith at all is to be admired, even if the faith is a bit twisted where Joan is concerned, but she too has been brainwashed from an early age like the rest of us.
As far as I can tell all the REAL people who were in SMC when I was younger have now left the church, those I spoke of before who built the PG church with their own hands and in their own spare time. All of those people have left the church and the most influential ones who tried to 'keep it real' are no longer there to keep the leaders' feet on the ground and bring them back to reality. I believe strongly that pride and self*importance have overtaken the leaders of the church and there is no longer anyone there to bring them back to the place of humility which God insists we should be in. It seems to me that the leaders of the church have lost touch with what being humble and thankful to God is all about and instead believe themselves to be 'chosen ones'. In my experience 'chosen ones' are known by their actions and strength in their humility before God and not by the fact that they regularly tell everyone how godly and wonderful they are! The leaders are so incensed by their own self*importance that they can't move aside to let God take his rightful place in the church but it does make you wonder when you see that the majority (if not all) of the current leaders are also school teachers who are used to controlling classrooms of rowdy kids.?
Yes Derek was a lovely man and sadly died far too young. I'm not sure about their married life but I do know that Ma Jewell and Joan didn't see eye to eye on many things. Ma Jewell was very vocal and strong when she disagreed with teachings from the pastors and she was usually right and people, including the leaders at the time, respected her for that so it speaks volumes that Ma eventually left the church herself.
You may be right about the man v. woman thing although I have to admit that I don't think there is anything wrong with women in ministry, if they are indeed humble and godly people. These days women are more active in every area of life than they were back in the dark ages and there are probably almost as many families where dad stays at home and mum works, as there are the other way round. I feel, personally that the problems with SMC stem from the profession of the women leaders rather than from their sex. These women are used to controlling people because they have to control classrooms of kids and I think that is what's spilling over into their style of ministry and their 'I'm right and you're wrong' attitudes. Aside from the fact that they all seem to have a God*complex and make themselves out to something more than merely human.
I do hope that the present SMC congregation members will take your advice and start taking some notes, even if it's just for their own personal use and not for public consumption. I think it would probably be a big eye opener to many if they are totally honest with themselves and really research what the leaders are telling them. There's nothing wrong with questioning any human on any subject including the word of God, as you have pointed out before, it is actually a very healthy attitude to take and one that no one should ever feel guilty about.
Don't worry, none of what is said in SMC affects me in anyway, or any of my family. We were well aware of what was being said about them in the church but my Dad taught us to be thick*skinned and not care about what anyone says about us because all that matters is that God knows the truth of our lives and he's the only one we need to answer to. Many others left the church after my folks as a direct result of the rubbish that was being spouted from the pulpit about them. I actually thank God for the rubbish because it opened so many people's eyes to the utter tosh being spoon*fed to them and allowed them to see clearly enough to get out of there, fast.
My folks are still great friends with all the old members and they still have contact with quite a few people still in the church. Anyone who really knows them will know that they are two of the most godly and caring people you are likely to meet in your life and God has rewarded them in many ways over the years.
I am a bit surprised though that Ma Jewell was never mentioned after she left because she was such a strong and amazing person and she gave up all her time at church camps to man the cook*house and make sure everyone was fed both physically and spiritually. You're very right, she should have been celebrated and sorely missed especially by the leaders and it's very sad that she isn't. However, on the plus side, the church that my folks and Ma Jewell ended up in, down South, have celebrated Ma Jewell's life and all of the members have openly spoken about how her strength helped them to get through difficult situations in their lives and they are a very loving congregation who also openly thank God that they have had the privilege to know Ma Jewell and my folks. That church was in desperate need of the leadership and love shown by my folks and Ma Jewell and I believe that God put them there for a reason.
Even though so many bad things have been said about them in SMC, you won't ever hear a bad word about anybody, in or out of the church, from my folks. When it used to affect me a lot, they would tell me just to take it to God and leave it with him because he knows best how deal with people who have 'dark mouths'. I did leave it with God and I'm much more at peace now in the knowledge that God will eventually expose the lies and the deceit for what they are.
Miss Taylor spoke of many visions over the years, when I was there too, but not one single one of those so called 'prohesies' has come true in the intervening years * not a single ONE, not even close! What gets me even more is that I knew Diana when she first joined the church and she was not a holy person (quite the opposite) members of the congregation should know that pastor Rutherford has a dark past and has a complete cheek to be admonishing any other person in the church since I expect very few of them have done the things she has in her past. Instead she should be humbly thanking God that he blessed her (if he has indeed blessed her * which I take with a pinch of salt myself). I would be more inclined to say that I think the devil is more at work in SMC than God is and I fear for the lives of the people who still attend the church and believe, without question, that the leaders are somehow annointed and closer to God than they are. That can't possibly be true because people who are close to God do not speak badly of others in public and they certainly do not tell lies about other people, of that there is no question in my mind.
What hurts me most is that perhaps the visions for revival etc. would have come true if the leaders had stepped aside and let God do the work he promised he would but instead they just got in God's way and the massively dwindled congregation is a testament to that fact. There are churches all over the world who ARE experiencing a revival and a growth in their numbers because their pastors and leaders are allowing God to have control and not usurping his place at the head of the organisation.
God has work for everyone to do and if his will is not being done in SMC, he will move his people on to places where they will be able to do the work he has given them and that's a sad spiritual loss to SMC; but he will deal with those leaders in his own way and, with our prayers, hopefully at least some (if not all) of the present members will have 'the scales lifted from their eyes' so that they can see more clearly that what they are involved in is not healthy or godly in any way.
Just reading a few posts again and I was drawn to the post by the Petitor...
Quote: “If someone is criticised for leaving a church to join one where they see God is moving, they should wipe the dust from off their feet and not look back.”
I remember this quote well (Mr. Black DID actually say this!) However, as I remember it, the statement was made about a new member of the church who had been criticised for leaving their own denomination to join SMC and that the statement was never used in the other direction. Quite the opposite, people were and still are thoroughly criticised, ostracised and apparently completely doomed if they dare to leave SMC.
This is just another example of the confusing messages which SMC put across. The leaders will contradict even their own statements if it happens to suit their purpose at the time. Perhaps they forget what they've said before and expect the congregation to do the same and just 'take their word for it'.
I have to say that I have never been in any church since which twists and rearrranges the text of the bible to suit themselves to the point that speakers actually make*up what they think the bible is teaching and set themselves up as being so special that they actually have an insight into the bible which no one else has.
I find this all very sad because, for the first 18 years of my life, I probably spent more time in the church than I spent at home and my conviction that the church was right led to extreme bullying at school and I had only two friends during my whole school life. The effect of this on my life in general was really bad and influenced some of the worst decisions I ever made and regret. I now know, without question, that my life would have been far richer if my family hadn't attended any church at all never mind one like SMC.
The good thing is that my folks did eventually leave the church and have had a much more fulfilling and enjoyable life since they decided to make the move and, contrary to what SMC leaders have said about them, they are the most loving, caring and 'holy' people you could meet and I would certainly listen to what they have to say about the bible, God and living a godly life before I would give any of the Struthers present leaders the time of day.
To all those still in SMC (if you are reading this), there IS LIFE after SMC. Real life in the arms of a loving God who is so vast that SMC is no more than a 'mote of dust in his eye'. God loves every single person on the face of this planet and has a place reserved for each one of us if we want to occupy it.
Just ask yourself: Would a God who created all of the universe and every living thing in it only want to welcome home around 300 members of SMC and no one else? The answer has to be a resounding "No!". There are billions of good people on this planet who live good lives and never do harm to their neighbours, do you think God will turn them away when they die? I don't think so.
SMC do not have a monopoly, just the same as no other cult has a monopoly, on God although they will try to dupe you into thinking that they have. Don't let them fool you this way. We all have an in*built connection to God, through prayer, and no church leader can tell you what God's will is for you only God can tell you that. Sure, church leaders can give advice, if asked for it, but their word is not the letter of God's will and shouldn't be taken as such unless God actually speaks to you and tells you that this advice should be followed.
Church leaders should never be in a position of so much control that they can actually influence who you marry, where you live, what school you attend, where you go on holiday or even when you go on holiday. Don't just be sheep and follow the leader, be Lions and TAKE the lead and responsibility for your own walk with God. Only the individual can make their walk with God because God looks on us as individuals and caters to our needs as individuals. God knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows what's right for one isn't necessarily what's right for another, in his eyes one person is just as important as the next person regardless of their religious background.
I got a real heads*up recently when I watched a video my Mum sent me and I would recommend it to anyone. It's a video of a speaker called Louie Giglio and it features some of the pictures sent back to earth by the Hubble. One particular picture will take your breath away; just before the telescope went out of range of being able to send earth any more data, the controllers programmed it to turn it's camera around and look back at the earth.... that picture alone will put everything into perspective for you and shows you just how small and insignificant we really are in this vast universe which God made. I can tell you that I have never experienced anything so humbling in my life and I would highly recommend that you grab a copy of this video for yourselves. The video is called "Indescribable" by Louie Giglio and is the most enlightening video I have seen in a long time.
As always, love to you all and God bless you all richly (in or out of SMC)
I've finally found peace but I spent far too many years with anger and confusion in my heart and it caused even more heartache so I would say to you, don't let your hurt and anger take up too much of your time. It's easy to dwell on these things but there is light at the end of the tunnel and if you turn to God when your thoughts are straying, he will give you the strength to push them aside. It's a complete life experience that we've been through, our whole upbringing was founded on SMC and it's seems like the hardest thing in the world to let go of the skewed teaching ingrained in us from childhood. Our parents are not to blame and, praise God, they left when they did, but they did what they believed God wanted from them in our up*bringing. God did move at various times in SMC but very often his work was stiffled by the main leaders of the church who refused to listen to people who were truly walking with God.
Time is great healer though, you don't ever forget about it but God makes it easier to come to terms with and, as time goes on, it will become less and less important because God will give you more important things to be thinking about.
Someone made the point, not long ago, about the incident where Mr. Black lost a huge amount of the church's money in the stock market crash some years ago. This was after I left the church so I don't know all the details but I do know that Mr. Black had been preaching for years about the evils of gambling, including stock market gambling, but the congregation voted to keep him on as minister to them? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me since he was clearly doing something evil (according to his own words from the pulpit for many, many years). I also believe it was the first and last time the congregation were ever invited to 'vote' on anything regarding their leadership and church practices.
OK, I understand that, as Christians, they would want to forgive Mr. Black for this heinous mis*use of their money but to consider that he was still fit to preach to them as God's man for the job leaves me totally confused and speaks volumes about just how much store the congregation put in human beings instead of in God himself. There were far more Godly people in that congregation who could have led the church into a much healthier walk with God than a man whose double standards were so blatantly obvious.
But this is what we have all been saying for so long. The double standards in SMC always work in favour of the leaders retaining their positions of power over the people and getting the submission, not to mention the hard*earned cash, of the congregation. To whit, they can really get away with anything by saying that God told them this was the right way to go and no one will question what is said because these guys are 'the annointed ones'. If it wasn't so serious you would just have to laugh your face off at them.!
I well remember Miss Taylor's 'war with Satan for the souls of the damned in Struthers'.
Although I wasn't privvy to what her illness actually was I think she just went off her rocker and it was made out to be some holy battle with the 'Dark One' when in actual fact it was probably no more than senility affecting her brain. I could be wrong but I don't think I'm far off the mark.
I also, vividly remember an incident at Wiston Lodge in the main meeting hall. It was an unusually beautiful Sunday morning, I think I was probably about 9 or 10 years old. Anyway, near the end of the service, we stood up to sing the last hymn and some poor chap at the back of the hall suddenly fainted and began to fit on the floor. Miss Taylor, Mr. Black and few others ran up and gathered round him and started praying loudly, in tongues. Miss Taylor shouted about casting out demons and told the rest of the church to pray fervently so that the demons wouldn't go into them instead. I was terrified, as were most of the young folk, I didn't believe I was holy enough for the demons not to find me and I spent the rest of the time at that camp worrying and crying because I believed that I was so unholy the demons must've found me and consequently I was utterly doomed. I was scared to tell my parents in case they thought I was unworthy of their love also. Of course all of that was complete codswollop.
Ten years later, while talking to someone about it, I discovered the poor chap had been having an epileptic fit and they didn't even have the decency to call an ambulance for him!!
I well remember Ma Jewell, on several occassions (when she attended the same church as my folks down South) voicing her terrible worries about her grandchildren being subjected to SMC lunacy. I believe, from what I overheard, that Joan did not like her children visiting or being visited by their grandma and, if that's so, they missed out on a whole heap of real life*coaching from one of the strongest most level*headed women I know. Those of us who remember her will always miss her for being the 'rock in the storm'. Yes, she could be scary if she was telling you off for misbehaving but she was also very fair and gave some very sound advice to those who asked for it. She was also no stranger to taking any of the pastors to task (even Miss Taylor and Totty Black) if she disagreed with something said from the pulpit and she was usually quite right but of course, for the most part, she was sadly ignored by them.
She and Fiona McConnachie were the ones who did all the cooking at the camps and that was no mean feat with so many hundreds of mouths to feed every day. There was no holiday for them, up in the early hours to prepare breakfast then as soon as that was over they would have to start preparing lunch and when that was over there would be the evening meal to prepare and finally supper before either of them could take a break! Did they ever get any recognition for this? Not that I ever heard of (except that they MAY have gotten a discount on their camp fees but I'm not entirely sure about that). In fact, quite the opposite, both were 'invited to leave' (at separate times) after DECADES of tireless work for the church!
SMC leaders take everything and everyone for granted because they think their brand of Christianity doesn't have to include having a concience or loving their fellow man or acknowleding the precious time given by so many people, to help with the running of the church and it's various other ventures. The worst of this is that, having no concience, they don't have to worry if they ruin young people's lives because god will absolve them from the need to worry about whether or not they teach the kids the truth. Obviously they will be teaching the kids in the school according to current curriculums but, knowing the mindset as much as I do, I know for a fact there will be quite a bit of SMC teaching going on too; although it won't be blatant but will be done by insinuations and subtle manipulation because that's what's at the heart of SMC. And it's a very black heart that they have; the power they have over other peoples' lives is phenominal and it's taken gradually by breaking people down slowly until they get to the point they become utterly dependant on the church for everything in their lives.
Right now, the congregation are being told that the church is growing but what they're not being told is how far the membership has diminished over the years and just how many outlying branches of the church have disappeared since the 70's and early 80's. There are still some people attending who attended when I was young and either these people have forgotten the huge membership back in the day or they are so hoodwinked by the current leaders that they choose to ignore this fact and are happy to wallow in the SMC mud and be comforted by the wool over their eyes.
With regards to pastoral care, there was a time when it was different, (at least in the outlying branches anyway). When my Dad ran the Port Glasgow church everyone congreagated afterwards at my Gran's for lunch. My Dad worked away from home (in Newcastle) all week and was only home from Friday night to Monday morning (my Mum ran the church through the week) but he still found the time to visit the Portonians who attended the church and some oldies and sick people who were brought to his attention by members of the church. Having said that though, my Dad is a very loving and caring man and would go out of his way to help anyone who needs it. Our house was always open to anyone who came for his help and we even had homeless people staying with us on many occassions. Also my Mum did a lot of work with alcoholic and drug*addict women in the area and did trips to the Chemist for prescriptions for people who couldn't get out easily themselves and I believe she was admonished for this work by the Greenock leaders who informed her that she was 'tainting' us by having these types of people around the house! I also wonder about whether or not the Port Glasgow church are still supporters of Tear Fund? When I was there the church were avid supporters of this very needy charity * does anyone know if they still keep this up?
I have never heard of any of the Greenock pastors doing anything in the way of pastoral care in their community. I don't know about outlying branches although I'm fairly certain that people like Johnny Hamilton, Hugh McConnachie, Jim MacAlree, Bobby Cleary, the pastors at Falkirk, Gorebridge, Edinburgh and branches down South did actually give some great pastoral care... Oh, I forgot, NONE of them are in SMC anymore!!!