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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: May 23, 2024 05:36AM

blackwatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My favourite comment is this one:
>
> "Why don't you talk to each other directly? It may
> lead to a resolution of the matter."
>
> You've got to laugh.

That.maybe me laugh also. They refuse to speak.to you once you leave the church tell other members you have backsliding and not leading a godly life.
The last few weeks have been very busy in my life. I wish I had knowing about this forum years ago.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: May 28, 2024 03:18AM

I thought folks might be interested in this exchange from the Post Office enquiry. The two people involved are Jason Beer KC and Paula Vennels, who was CEO of the Post Office. It refers to advice sent to PV about whether to fully investigate the miscarriages of justice.

Quote
Post Office Enquiry
JB: Do you agree his first point says you should make a decision about the extent to which you review possible past miscarriages of justice by reference to the extent of media coverage that it will generate?
PV: It does say… it could be read that way. That wasn’t my…
JB: Is there another way of reading it?
PV: I wouldn’t have…
JB: …and, if there is, please explain which words help to read it in a different way. He’s saying, “Don’t go back 10 years or say that you’ll go back 10 years, our current approach would mean there’s going to be some coverage but not very much, the usual suspects. If we say we’ll look back at past cases, we’ll be on the front page”. Isn’t he directly saying…
PV: Yes, I can see that that’s what he is saying.

Interesting. It appears the CEO of the Post Office was given advice that the extent to which miscarriages of justice should be reviewed should be decided on the basis of how much media coverage would be generated. I do not think there is a single person at the enquiry or watching at home who thinks this was a good way to make that decision.

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the Struthers boardroom at the moment. I wonder if they are saying, “Have you read the forum? This is terrible, someone has been really hurt, we must try to ensure justice.” or, as the Post Office effectively did, “Have you read the forum? We need to decide how to investigate this on the basis of whether it might lead to bad publicity.”

A bit of a challenge for the leadership – to align themselves with the principles of justice or with the biggest miscarriage of justice in British Legal history.

And as I type this, I wonder if it is more than effort they are putting in. Are they actually spending cash getting advice not on how to ensure that any miscarriages of justice are dealt with, but on how to protect their reputation? Is that where some of the congregational giving is going, to support a Post Office style cover up?

If there are any members of the leadership with an ounce of integrity they should be saying it is totally unacceptable to even consider issues of publicity and reputation as the basis for this decision, and what is needed is to look at how best to achieve justice.

All the leaders have to realise that if all of this ever does become a documentary or a court case or any other public confrontation, these are the questions that will be asked. Just like the PO enquiry, the truth will come out and, just like the PO enquiry, anyone who has even considered making a decision on the basis of reputation rather than justice will be in for a very rough time.


… and Basilisk, I am still waiting for your reply.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: May 28, 2024 04:41PM

Petitor,

Interesting point.

I suspect that the 'leadership' have a barely given it a moment's thought or indeed, any credence whatsoever. Would it not be fair to say that this is how they've 'dealt' with controversy up until now?

What we can say is that there is no recognisable form of christianity in their approach. No compassion, no reconcilliation, no humility or care.

I've recently been watching a documentary series about cult leaders. And although this is dealing with some very extreme examples it's fascinating to see the similarities.

As soon as someone declares themselves 'anointed' or 'chosen' and you have a group, no matter how small, who accept and believe that proposition , power is created. Once that is established, you can say and do almost anything you like and the believers will act on it. That is precisely how SMC has survived and prospered over the years.

When you look at really extreme cult examples, it's easy to imagine that the followers must be simple-minded, unintelligent people but this is rarely the case. It can be people from all walks of life. IT IS THE SAME IN SMC. These are the people that need to break the chain and dissolve the illusion. You are not submitting yourself to god, you're submitting yourself to your fellow man and these are simply people that crave attention.

In the mean-time ThePetitor, I suspect you won't get a reply to the questions you've asked.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FatHippo ()
Date: May 29, 2024 04:20PM

Basilisk, you say

Quote
basilisk
I do not wish to express any judgment on the credibility of any grievance, but rather try and view it all from a Biblical perspective. I suggested people should be talking to each other, that is probably easier said than done. It may get nowhere, it might get somewhere. But saying nothing creates voids which may be filled in by people according to their perceptions of the "other side".

Your statements overall are unfortunately quite typical to the type of response that high control groups so often give in these circumstances. Essentially it so often boils down to “Stop going public about this, we should talk about it privately instead so that no one else can hear what you have to say, and we control the channel by which you should talk to us. Also, you need to just ignore whatever happened to you because [insert group’s goal here]. ”

I don’t think any of the other former members here are surprised by this at all. As others have pointed out, many have tried speaking to SMC and got precisely nowhere. People have been posting on here for almost 14 years now and SMC could have sent any person a direct message at any time to open a discussion or address any points. The Latigo site says that Struthers indicated in a sermon back in 2011 that they were aware of this forum and what was being said here. I’m sure many would like to have a conversation with SMC, but that can be hard to do when the entire congregation have been directly instructed not to talk to them.

As you say there is no Christian equivalent of ACAS and this is exactly part of the problem, because SMC leadership unilaterally act as the judge, jury, and executioner in matters they don’t personally like, or matters they simply find to be threatening to their own control of the church or their control of the individual members of the congregation.

You ask
Quote
basilisk
I would like to know where you (and others) are hoping this will end up.

Personally, I would like Struthers to completely stop engaging in practices that are harmful to the congregation, especially children. Most of the children in Struthers have no choice in whether they go or not. Freedom of religion? I’m all for that. Ruining people’s lives? That needs to stop immediately. Stop spending so much time controlling your congregation and instead go out and do some actual good in the world.

SMC leadership historically don’t take very kindly to any kind of criticism, feedback, or challenges to the leadership. Perhaps a documentary can help bring these issues to a wider audience and pressure SMC to fix their destructive, culty ways. It may well be that the almost 14 years of conversations and exposes on this forum have already brought about some positive changes inside the church.

Basilisk, please do tell us, are you currently in Struthers? Have you ever been in?

If you are not, I would ask anyone in current Struthers leadership to come here and talk us on this public forum - even AS. Listen to what we have to say with an open mind and engage in meaningful discussion. Try for once to understand the hurt, pain, and sadness you have caused to so many people under the guise of your version of Christianity. I'm willing to bet no one comes.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 29, 2024 11:15PM

See what we've learned by having a peek at the tenor of Basilisk's previous posts.

Anytime something about an individual seems dodgy, feel free to look at their profile and previous post history on te CEI message board.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 04, 2024 03:19PM

corboy, you are right there. A look back at previous posts by someone shows a number of things. Not just what they say, but what they refuse to say. It is really interesting that the Struthers sympathisers on the forum all share one very significant trait - the refusal to answer any questions. (Now, who does that remind me of? Oh, I know, Basilisk :-))

That is just the way they work - they are here to tell people they are wrong, not to be accountable themselves. Exactly the opposite of Jesus who came to serve not to "lord it over people".

Anyway, very quick one this morning. A conversation I had led to the question of how folks in Struthers treat people with mental health, and the very simple and articulate answer was, "They tell them to go away and come back when they have sorted themselves out and are ready to be more spiritual."

I thought that was probably not far from the truth.


Oh, OK, I said this would be a short post, but there was something else I have been thinking about, and that is the whole secrecy thing. To repeat a message I first posted in 2011,

Quote
ThePetitor, 2011
In case no-one has noticed, one really bizarre thing has happened in the last few weeks. Remember the discussion about what constitutes a cult? Archbishop Laud proposed a definition, I also made some suggestions as to what might constitute a cult, there were a number of related comments then the moderator came in to give the most widely accepted view. All good stuff, but there was another contribution as well. In the sermon of 12 March, Grace Gault, the overall spiritual leader of the church (at 24 minutes and 30 seconds into the sermon) says,

“A cult is something secret and hidden and suspect. We are manifestly open. We are totally above board and have nothing to hide.”

Well, that is interesting. None of us actually decided that Struthers was a cult in our discussion, but Mrs G seems to think it is, because that is her definition and about a month after than pronouncement, Struthers have taken all their sermons and testimonies off their website. How can removing sermons that have been publicly available for years be anything other than, “secret, hidden and suspect”?

Could it be that they have been removed because they cannot stand honest scrutiny? I cannot think of any other reason. "Secret, hidden and suspect" appears to sum it up quite well.


As Mr Black was fond of quoting Mrs G, it seems you are “hoist by your own petard”.

If you are struggling to work out which version of things is true - the Struther's Leaders version or the version described by people here on the forum , just ask your self which one is being secretive. The posts on this forum are open for all to see, and almost everyone here has responded to points and tried to explain things here in public when questioned. Quite a number of folks including me have apologised when they have got things wrong.

That is not the case with the Struthers leadership though, they are not willing to have a public debate, and hide behind private meetings and having a policy about complaints that says they welcome them, yet also saying complaints are an attack of the devil.

Even worse, they hide behind the pulpit, making statements but not being open to questions. So, if you are not sure which way to turn I suggest you avoid the ones that are being "secret, hidden and suspect" and engage with the ones that will speak openly.

As I also said back in 2011,

Quote
ThePetitor 2011
In my view, whether Struthers fits a specific definition or not is not really the issue. I see at least three things that people might, rightly or wrongly, associate with being a cult.

1) Non-standard doctrine. Archbishop Laud is clear that the doctrine is mainstream. I am not so sure. Struthers leaders appear see 4 classes of people –

(a) people who have not accepted Christ,
(b) those who are saved (a doctrine accepted by all of the evangelical churches),
(c) those who are baptised in the Holy Spirit (a doctrine accepted by the Pentecostal churches) and
(d) those who are deeply anointed (a term that does not occur in scripture and would not be accepted by other churches or by any of the great Christian leaders they are always quoting) and who as a result must always be obeyed and never criticised.

I wonder if point (4) actually puts them quite wide of the mark in terms of having standard doctrine.

2) Secrecy and ambiguity. This is a huge part of what happens in Struthers. Apart from the examples above, the Latigo site lists dozens of questions. Even from this forum, it is clear that people have tried to get answers to these questions over the years, and that the response is always the same – divide and conquer. Make people feel they are the only one with these questions, that they have “ a questioning spirit” a “seed of bitterness” or some other fault. Doctrine is not made explicit, but is all anecdotal, and often contradictory. For example, there was a whole sermon recently about the dangers of humour yet Jennifer Jack, one of the leaders and a Director of the company, wrote the Founder’s obituary for the Glasgow Herald (search for Herald obituary Hugh Black) and in it said he had a great sense of humour! How are members of the congregation meant to deal with this sort of thing when there is no opportunity to discuss it and tease out what is meant?

3) Control. To me, this is the real issue. Whether the above 2 points are proven or unproven, and whether Struthers fits within this site’s definition of a cult or in some dictionary’s definition is not the issue. The issues is the way the leaders control the lives of the congregation, spending almost all of their time convincing them not to leave. I personally like the ten warning signs that you publish on this site [www.culteducation.com]. Whether or not Struthers is a cult, I think it meets all of these criteria and that many people who come into contact with it are damaged rather than helped. I for one have never met anyone who has left struthers without being damaged, and others on this forum have testified to exactly the same thing.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: June 05, 2024 12:08AM

OK I have been quiet but that does not mean I'm still not fighting the fight to make sure no other child goes through what I did in Struthers .

No I'm not BITTER I am more understanding and feel sorry for those who are under the control still of Struthers

I am more than willing to talk to anyone from there but I will not be the quiet shy person they knew back then .I am a strong independent female who wont be walked over anymore no one controls what i do now not even my hubby.He try at times but knows I will do what I want in the end.

I do still belivee in God but that's not something I think I need to discuss in here but no church or thing will ever brainwash me take over my life again as Struthers did back then I wasn't allowed to be a tennager because of the time and what I was lead to belive from the leaders back then.

So if any leader or anyone who still goes to Struthers please get in touch.
I am not a evil backsliding person what is possed by a demon what folks been told you might even find out I'm a very caring person who just want to help folk and make sure somewhere is safe for everyone

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: RedRoad ()
Date: June 05, 2024 02:15PM

Hello everyone.
Like others I have been following this forum for a couple of years. It was a liberating, empowering, comforting find. I found it after the search engine improvement that causes it to appear at top of the list if you search for both "Struthers Memorial Church" and "Cult". I have used the word "cult" loosely all my adult life to describe Struthers, normally dumbing it down a bit and saying "cult-like aspects", because of embarrassment of admitting to having been part of a cult.

Those of you who were around in the 70s and 80s might have immediately got where my user name comes from - the red South Lanarkshire roads that begin after you leave the M74 at Rigside to make the last stage of the journey to Wiston Lodge.

I made no initial choice to be part of Struthers, being born into one of the families undertaking the experiment into the world of pentecostalism from the 1950s onwards. I physically left at the point of adulthood and independence. Freeing myself mentally is an ongoing process and I still have a long way to go, almost 40 (yes 40 !!!!!) years later.

There are so many things I could say, may say in future posts. I do have some factual information to add into the historical recording interspersed through the forum posts.

I salute the few of you who have been brave, brave, brave to use your real names. I remember you. And I recognise a few contributors from pseudonyms and narrative descriptions.

I tend to tackle (and it does feel like a contact sport I've been playing all my life) going back to deal with the Struthers mental mess in bursts. I don't need to tell any of you about the strength required to lift the lid and attempt more self-healing work. I am currently in one of those active healing phases.

I had a light bulb moment when a fellow traveller told me they had been diagnosed with PTSD. For the first time in those 40 years I think I have found a phrase that makes sense of my adult life. For me, the diagnosis is further refined to "Complex PTSD" because I had no possibility of escape over the first part of my life, and emotional pain was inflicted over and over and over in that time, to me, to family members, to the wider congregation.

Added on top of the institutional trauma has been the realisation (from a teenage age) that family members chose Struthers, chose an experience, chose an emotional high, chose a leader(s), chose fear, over the wellbeing of their children and spouses - that messes with your head as you progress through your adult life.

What has kick-started me back to lifting that lid is the impact on my own children. Damage done to me is impacting them. Attaching a label may be called a superficial, semantic thing. But it has helped my children and given us a new framework to attempt moving forward again.

For those of you who like reading, I have just finished a book that I would heartily recommend. I found myself highlighting a sentence or sentences in almost every paragraph in the first four chapters with "Yes, that is exactly what it was like in Struthers". If there are any new readers of this forum that may have been thinking they must have been imagining the various mental contortions they have lived through, this forum and this book are here to tell you - you are not imagining it. And you are not alone.

The book:
Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating Healthy Christian Cultures - Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys


And for good people still in Struthers, people with standing in their outer, professional world, people who have had a niggle or more over many years that there are aspects of Struthers that are not right - be brave - read this book - the first four chapters will be disconcerting, the last four chapters give you a framework for you to lead Struthers out of the abusive hole. There are now supportive church resources, training, conferences available that were not there before. Act before your outer, professional reputations are trashed in public - see the parallels in the Post Office Horizon public enquiry, see how company officers and professionals chose concern for reputation over concern for individuals, learn the lesson and do not repeat their mistakes! If not concerned for fellow travellers, risk-assess for your own self-interest. Would you lose your professional job should a link be made with any roles you carry out in Struthers when stories of abuse reach a wider audience?


A church resource:
[thirtyoneeight.org]

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: June 06, 2024 05:46PM

Something we often hear and often ask ourselves is why does this church and its way of doing things affect people so much?

Why can't they just walk away and get on with their lives?

What happened that caused so much deep and abiding hurt?

I recently heard a psychologist talking about reading Dante's Inferno. The book describes a journey through hell and the levels of hell the hero has to travel through are described in great detail. But the speaker then pointed out that there is described in that book the worst level of hell. The worst place and the worst thing that can happen to a person. He indicated that Dante described the worst level of hell in this life as the place where you experience betrayal.

But within that awful place there were more levels. To be betrayed by a colleague was bad enough. To be betrayed by a brother or a friend – as happened to Jesus - was far worse. But the worst level of the worst level was to be betrayed by someone who claimed they were there to help and who you were supposed to be able to trust. Someone who had a place of trust and guardianship over your life.

He used the example of children abused by parents – where the position of trust is so critical and important to the healthy development of that child.

But in Struthers we were taught and encouraged as young people to place the leader of our church, and the central leadership, in a place of guardianship beyond even our parents. Our loyalty and trust had to be placed in them first even above that which we owed to family. In return they claimed they would bring to us unique knowledge, safety and an experience of God Himself. They were not then just guardians over us, but guardians of our view of God.

This could work for a while if the immature person remained severely dependant. But as some grew in understanding they encountered what happened if they asked a difficult question, came to the leadership looking for help with one of the complicated problems life can bring, some even tried being a Christian and serving people in ways the leaders didn't want. Some quietly wondered why Struthers if it was so “deep” was not growing as a church and some foolishly asked about this. In this we failed to be manipulated in the ways they wanted us to accept.

We were then inconvenient and unwanted, dumped, ostracised and shunned.

Those who we had trusted with the guardianship of our souls, and who we were told we could rely on for help in difficulty, suddenly utterly abandoned any responsibility to us what-so-ever.

They did this to people time and time and time again and we are all now witnesses to the scale of that on this Forum. They were our guardians for precisely as long as we consented to come under human control by them. As soon as we grew and became more capable and less like mindless drones we were thrown away and the guardians, who claimed to represent God to us, told us that now God (not just them but God) was angry with us.

Such blaming and shaming of your life by those you deeply trusted with your welfare can screw you up very badly and for a very long time. How badly depends on how much you put your trust in them before you became burdensome and inconvenient and they shamed and rejected you.

The claimed high place of calling on their lives towards us lasted only as long as it suited them and as long as it was beneficial to them. We were told they were shepherds who would lay down their lives for the sheep. We were told they were so special and Christ-like that if necessary they would step out of their comfortable places and go to great trouble to get us the help we needed to be safe in God. This is not what happened.

Yet in Luke chapter 15 Jesus spoke, describing how a true shepherd would act.
We are to evaluate our pastors based on what Jesus says about pastors. Not what they say about themselves.

Their guardianship was shallow and self serving. But we had believed it was selfless and deep and we were safe in their care – because that is what they told us. We were young and we believed them.

We believed that if we ran into spiritual difficulty they would be the strong, wise and patient, biblical and skilled help we would need to survive and recover.

When we did run into spiritual difficulty we found impatience, lack of concern, deep lack of biblical understanding, very limited counselling knowledge, dreadful people skills, and very little evidence of love or care.

They were not what they claimed and promised before God they would be in our lives and that fundamental betrayal continues.

The suggestion in Dante's book is that this betrayal by someone you trusted as an important guardian in your life is among the worst ways you could be treated by another human being.

We trusted these people to protect us.

They betrayed that trust. And by despising and rejecting the people on this Forum they continue to do so.

That could be a reason why so many have found their experience in Struthers so deeply damaging for so long.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: June 06, 2024 06:28PM

Redroad - welcome to the forum. Excellent post - thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge. Really enjoyed reading that.

TheGreek. All cult leaders make extraordinary claims about themselves. Struthers is no different. These claims are utterly unfounded and wholly without substance. The power only exists because other people give it to them. That's the chain that needs to be broken.

With the history and track record that they have, it should be completely self-evident, as plain as the nose on your face. But to those still under the spell (illusion) it can be near impossible to see it. How many times have you seen a program or read something about a cult and thought "who can these people be so deluded, so misguided and misled"? It can happen to anyone. Redroad references this - there are still good people in there that need to be brave.

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