Current Page: 154 of 154
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 26, 2022 11:53PM

There was an interesting article about Destiny Church in the Times on Saturday (and, now that I look, there are a number of related items available online).

According to that article, the leader of Destiny had quite a focus on the “prosperity gospel” saying that God would make you rich if you gave to Him.

I think that is a bit of nonsense, although there are of course verses that say God will look after you if you seek the Kingdom of God first. But, here’s the rub – that is only if you are actually seeking the Kingdom of God by doing things like giving to the poor and needy. Giving money to a self-serving organisation does not count. In fact, you could argue that if people are giving to organisations like Destiny or Struthers then do end up in personal need, that is evidence that their giving is not giving to God. They need to get out and work with those in need.

I was also interested to read that people were told their lives would be a disaster if they left Destiny Church, a message that will I think sound familiar to readers of this thread.

The thing is that, like any church, I am sure it will be full of good honest people who do indeed want to seek first the Kingdom of God. The problem is that good honest people who want things to be better can be the easiest to deceive. I think that is why messages like “you cannot leave this church” and “you must get all your teaching from us” are so dangerous. Unless you believe Struthers/Destiny/Some other exclusive church has 100% truth and no-one else has any, that is just nonsense. What if your favourite church has 99% truth and someone else out there has just 1% - is it not worth seeking out that 1%? Even David and Peter were rebuked by others pointing out they did not get it all right so, come on folks, listen to other preachers, read other books and mix with other Christians - not to reinforce the views you already have, but to see if you can find one small thing that is new and different, and is not part of your previous understanding. If you do, I can guarantee you will end up the richer for it and maybe, just maybe, you will eventually realise that “the emperor has no clothes”.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymousfornow ()
Date: October 01, 2022 06:11AM

Two hours of a chap from the (now defunct) Pudsey Church sharing his experience as a teenager on a popular podcast here,..

[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 04, 2022 09:45PM

Thanks for posting this link anaoymousfornow.

Wow! One or two surprises there!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymousfornow ()
Date: October 05, 2022 03:03AM

Good to hear from you ThePetitor - what surprises you? I wonder if perhaps the mid noughties presents a different experience to others (both before and after).

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 11, 2022 12:14AM

Hi anonymousfornow,

A fair question - I guess I shouldn't really talk about surprises without being willing to comment further as, unlike Struthers, I do believe in openness and transparency :-)

I do want to remain a bit coy on this occasion however, mainly because I do not want to put people off listening for themselves and making their own judgements. I probably already make too many comments on this forum and I worry that making comments about the bits that stand out to me might mean people take that as a useful summary and (whether they agree with me or not) do not then bother listening for themselves. I would rather people listened for themselves as they may pull out different bits to agree with/ disagree with - or be surprised by.

So, for now, I think I will just say that the stuff about veils was interesting, and one of the reasons I said there were some surprises. I am not even going to repeat what was said about veils though!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: October 11, 2022 08:21AM

Thanks for the link to the podcast interview, anonymousfornow. I have listened to it a couple of times to make sure that I did not miss any of the detail.
I am not sure whether it’s you who are speaking on it, anonymousfornow, or if it’s another young person who used to be in the Struthers Pudsey church, so I will refer to the interviewee as SM instead of just saying “the guy” or whatever. Hope that’s OK.

I was so pleased to hear about this podcast interview, which is broadcast via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I believe it is a first for this type of thing for ex-Struthers folk and maybe is a precedent for more such media interviews to come. It takes courage to do this kind of thing in the face of disapproval from a church you were once part of, and I applaud SM for taking that step and going public with his story. He describes so well what being part of Struthers is like during (I think) the years since 2000.

I was very concerned to hear about him being drawn in to the Struthers church at Pudsey (Fartown Christian Fellowship, as it was named) at such a young age through their youth work, which at first entailed simply games and fun but then progressed to attending study groups and then church meetings along with adults and other teenagers. Exposed in his teenage years to Struthers meetings full of loud speaking in tongues and deliverance, without much explanation being given about what was happening, must have been quite traumatic. Being encouraged to separate from his parents and not tell them what he was doing at Church activities is typical of the advice given by church leaders to people whose families are not in Struthers. Totally wrong! Family life should be honoured. Jesus taught us to honour our father and mother, especially when we’re young, whether they are Christians or not.

I’m not sure how much evangelistic youth work is still going on in Struthers. The youth nowadays seem to be made up of children of church families, ie brought up in Struthers. Of course they have Cedars School but I don’t think many come in to the church from that work. Maybe someone from the church could tell us.

I am so glad that SM saw the truth of what was going on and managed to get out of Struthers while he was still young. He tells us that has gone on to make a career in the arts after gaining a university degree, or two. Well done to him! He decided not to let the church leaders take control of his life. He got out before his personality could be moulded and reduced by their controlling influence.

Please have a listen to the podcast: riveting stuff!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FatHippo ()
Date: November 08, 2022 09:22PM

Hi Everyone,

I went to SMC for a while in the early 00’s as a teenager before leaving and never going back. I have been a lurker on here for probably 10 years now and have finally mustered up the courage to actually post.

I want to thank everyone who has posted on here over the years as you are really doing God’s work, helping to save people from this awful organisation and to heal after leaving. It really is appalling that there are so many of us who have genuinely suffered at the hands of SMC.

Is Struthers Memorial Church a cult? The church ticks many boxes of the definition of the word.

I have read every single page of this thread and so much of what I have read here resonates strongly and I share so many experiences with you all. I found the recent podcast with Samuel McKay to be very interesting, and I can relate to many of his experiences. I too found many at Struthers to be quite narrow-minded; oblivious to the greater world around them.

It is oddly reassuring to think that there were probably several of us sitting there at the same time on a Saturday night, heads down, eyes open staring at the floor as the final act of the meeting raged on around us, wondering what exactly we were doing there and hoping it would just hurry up and end.

I learned the following at Struthers:

1. Struthers Memorial Church is really the only church in the whole world that is holy enough or good enough for God, even though there are only some 10 or less branches globally. It’s odd that God apparently identified this relatively young and small church in Scotland to be the only true believers and followers of his word, but I suppose the Lord works in mysterious ways.
2. Everyone else in the world is wrong, and the church and its leaders are right. On everything. All the time.
3. If its fun, Struthers probably don’t like it and will strongly discourage it. TV, music, modern culture, exploring new things, doing something that the leaders don’t do themselves, moving outwith the reach of one of their churches, etc.
4. Attendance is expected, and there are many, many meetings to attend.
5. You shouldn’t have any friends outside of Struthers as these people are bad.
6. All kids should really attend Cedars School so that they can truly be holy.

Expected church attendance consists of Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night between Greenock, Glasgow, and your local branch. Once you factor in travel and time spent chatting to people after the meetings, this can easily add up to 20 hours in a single weekend. What the Struthers faithful sadly don’t realise is that this level of attendance is just not normal, or healthy in any sense of the word. Some will even attend meetings midweek in addition to the four weekend meetings. It is exhausting, and makes it impossible to accomplish anything in your own life since you are constantly on your way out to the next meeting. I suppose this way the congregation simply don’t have time to think about anything else in their lives, so SMC is the first and most important thing on their minds at all times. Very clever.

As a child I always found it odd that so many members would leave and never come back. Kids that you considered to be friends would just disappear, never to be seen again. I remember asking other kids once what had happened to certain friends of ours, only for them to tell me “We’re not allowed to talk about them”. If the church is so great, why do so many people keep leaving?

It always disturbed me as a child to hear it implied in meetings and from other churchgoers that even other churches weren't as good and holy enough as SMC. I worried about the people in these churches who obviously thought they were doing the right thing but would find out at the pearly gates that they had not been holy enough because they didn't attend Struthers. If other people in Scotland hadn't found Struthers, how would people overseas find it and then be properly saved? Well I suppose the church did do an outreach program where they sang in a shopping centre and put on play in their own buildings attended mostly by SMC members so I guess we have done our bit for all mankind...

I don’t ever remember enjoying or actually being happy at any point during any meeting I went to which in hindsight is mad. Just sheer relief when it was finally over, and you had lived to survive another meeting. Sunday meetings were usually lower key affairs by SMC standards. Saturday nights were the big, intense, meetings where the large congregation were all really up for it and all sorts of stuff would happen. Then you had the camps, which somehow manage to be on another level altogether. I dreaded the camps more than anything else.

I attended the youth camp in Biggar. Looking back on it, it was completely unhinged and child services should really have shut it down a long time ago. Multiple meetings a day which were a carefully coordinated emotional assault on vulnerable kids who had no other choice but to conform and accept what was launched at them. I wonder if the owners of these venues know what is really going on.

If you didn’t accept what they told you, they would make your life difficult during camp and then again back in normal life as well. You had no choice but to accept and play along, and hope you could somehow survive until the last meeting was over on Friday. You couldn’t just leave, as Biggar is in the middle of nowhere. You were stuck in this place where they knew where you slept, where you would eat, and monitored attendance at meetings to give you a bollocking if you dared to skip one. Trust me, I know this.

I dreaded every meeting at camp, which was difficult because all the other kids seemed to look forward to them. At the famous Wednesday night meeting I was told that I had demons inside of me. This came as a surprise as I wasn’t aware of being possessed before this, having exhibited no symptoms previously and having lived a very average lifestyle. I’m very thankful to the Latigo site that has helped me understand just how preposterous this accusation was. According to SMC leaders I was doing everything in my life wrong, and God would make sure to punish me for this if I didn’t change my ways. Every meeting that whole week was a total, all-out assault on your mental being. It was both exhausting and in hindsight, quite disturbing.

This emotionally abusive behaviour was impossible to process as a child. The truth about SMC is that the leaders are cowards who are not accountable to anyone. I see that Alison Speirs is listed on their website as “responsible for all matters of child protection”. I find this very alarming, as she was one of the main people dishing out much of the emotional and spiritual abuse.

Overall, SMC left me feeling a worthless outcast, hated by the leaders and unwelcome by the congregation, and all of this was apparently all my fault even though I was only a child living a very normal and otherwise uneventful life. I still have no idea what I did wrong or how I displeased those in charge so much. It was an emotionally and physically exhausting experience. I have never regretted leaving or considered returning. It has taken me over 10 years to properly process the whole ordeal. I know that I have been mentally scarred by my experiences there and I sometimes still struggle with it all.

In my view the leaders need to be held accountable for their own actions and should face consequences for the abuse they have inflicted on good people for decades.

Coming on here and reading so many stories of people who have found their way out of this organisation makes me so happy that people may actually find peace and happiness now. I hope more people can continue to escape their own prisons of belief that they are stuck in, and that this forum and the Latigo site can continue to help others as much as they have helped me.

I am thankful and proud of every one of you who has left SMC and posted on here sharing your experiences. And to anyone currently in Struthers having doubts about the church and reading this: What you are feeling is completely normal, very valid, and justified. You are not the only person who has felt the way you do. We have all been there in your shoes at one time. I have never felt so free as the time I left Struthers. There is a big world out there full of love, happiness, fun, and opportunity. There are even other churches that you will enjoy.

The tiny bubble of Struthers is only a drop in the ocean of what the world has to offer us. Life is short, I recommend seeing what is in the rest of the ocean too.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 09, 2022 11:11PM

Hi FatHippo, and welcome to the Forum.

It is amazing to find more and more people willing to share their experiences and remarkable just how many similarities there are in all the different stories - the pain, the sense of rejection, the sense that you are the only one feeling this, that you are somehow worse than everybody else. No wonder the leaders do not encourage people taking to each other, if they did, people would very quickly discover how few actually agreed with what was going on.

There are probably married couples in Struthers who both want to leave but do not even feel able to speak to their partner about it in case they "cause them to stumble". If only they would broach the subject they may well find their partner feels as strongly as they do.

Your description of "what you learned at Struthers" is also spot on. The only explanation I can think of is that God has indeed hardened their hearts so that they cannot see the truth.

I also really agree with your appeal to people to try to escape from the trap they are in. There is a big world out there, and experiencing the world and the people God has created will help you understand God.

It does take time though, doesn't it? I note it took you ten years to get over it, and others can tell a similar story - years of angst as they tried to reconcile their beliefs (often, although not always, a continuing belief in God) with such a demoralising and disempowering experience. I for one am glad there are others there that have experienced the pain and can relate to what happened.


... and that brings me to another issue, which is that I would like to make a public apology for something I said to someone in private. I will not go into the detail here, as I do not want to identify the other party in any way, but I do want to apologise. What I said was quite simply wrong, and I can see why it was hurtful. Been there, felt the pain, and there is no excuse for being heedless in my response. I will perhaps at some point try to convey privately what I think, but the key message is sorry - and you are absolutely right!

(and a further apology to others if this seems mysterious - it is not, it does what it says on the tin.)

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FatHippo ()
Date: November 09, 2022 11:47PM

Thank you, it's nice to finally be on here proper. I have no doubt that more will arrive here when they are ready to post.

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ThePetitor
There are probably married couples in Struthers who both want to leave but do not even feel able to speak to their partner about it in case they "cause them to stumble". If only they would broach the subject they may well find their partner feels as strongly as they do.

I have often wondered about this exact thing. How can you possibly even bring up this topic in the first place? If your partner doesn't feel the same way they will no doubt dob you in to the leadership and that will make your life very difficult both at home and at church. There will be people in this very difficult situation right now. I hope they manage to see the light and get out.

I can imagine that some relationships will not survive one person starting to question things. But then if you are scared to mention this type of thing to your other half, then that should probably make you question what kind of organisation you are in.

For me at least as I said it took a lot of time, first to face the fact that SMC really was as bad as it was, and then to begin to heal from there.

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