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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: June 07, 2024 03:24AM

Hi blackwatch

Don't disagree but I wasn't making a general point about cults or who gets involved with them.

I was particulary affected by what I heard in the psychologists talk about why their time in Struthers has hurt people so badly for so long. I don't find that is universal with people departing cults.

It may be more a feature of destructive and toxic Christian churches where the biblical truths are over applied to your detriment; then when you experience hurt and need then you are too much trouble and abandoned by your trusted leader. This is because they are not real leaders in any bible based new testament leadership system.

The evidence of this is most clearly shown in that they will not lift a finger to help anyone here but rather add to people's pain by dismissing it in their services and disrespecting it publicly. This so that they can keep swanning around in their self serving system claiming to be uniquely anointed and special leaders but never get near washing hurting peoples feet in case this makes them appear less elevated and spiritual. Jesus gave this example as what true leadership looks like.

They didn't lead like that with many of us in the past and they still ain't leaders like that.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: June 07, 2024 01:49PM


corboy Wrote:
> 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 07, 2024 03:06PM

Hi FalkirkBairn,

This is the CEI message board :-)

We tend to talk about it as "the forum" or "the cult education forum" but it is run by the Cult Education Institute or CEI, so the official name is the CEI forum - or the CEI message board.

While I am here, RedRoad, welcome to the forum. I was very interested to read your post and the references to cPTSD in particular. I have heard others talk about that, and think there are quite a few people who have cPTSD because of their experience in Struthers and, as TheGreek points out, their experience of betrayal when they left.

I have also started reading the book you mentioned RedRoad. Very interesting. I have only read the introduction and chapter one, but there is a great deal there that resonates with me.

One quote is that,

Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse
Over the years, there has been far too much attention given to church growth and nothing like enough to church health. Healthy things grow. That's the divine pattern within the world of nature, and indeed within the kingdom of heaven.

I thought that was pretty sound thinking.

I would encourage all readers of this forum to have a look at that book, particularly if you are in Struthers.

I cannot see the harm in reading it - if it does not relate to what happens in Struthers, that is fine, you note the things that went wrong somewhere else, rejoice it is not going wrong in your church and move on.

If you find any bit that does apply, well, you then have more information about good practice and things that can go wrong, and you seek to apply it in your context.

What could possibly be wrong with reading the book to see if it helps you understand a bit more about things that happen in churches? Half of the New Testament is exactly that - letters about things going on in churches and what to do if they are not quite right. Why on earth would you not want to read that?

There is of course another reason to read it at the particular time as there is the possibility that there will be a very public exposure of Struthers in the near future. I have only read chapter one of the book, and I already see some things that will probably be said about Struthers. Do you not want to read the book, see the kinds of things that are said about another totally unrelated church organisation and think about whether you would be happy if these same things were said about you and your church? Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

I know I have had (and will continue to have) digs at Basilisk for trying to tell victims what to do instead of addressing the perpetrators, but he or she did have a point about trying to deal with matters before they are in the public domain. Here is a chance, members of Struthers, read this book, see if any of applies and, if so, think about what you can do to change that before the book/article/investigation is about you.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: June 09, 2024 10:57AM

ThePetitor Wrote:
> Hi FalkirkBairn,
> This is the CEI message board :-)
> We tend to talk about it as "the forum" or "the
> cult education forum" but it is run by the Cult
> Education Institute or CEI, so the official name
> is the CEI forum - or the CEI message board.
Thanks for explaining that to me.;-)

Redroad I have already read the book you mentioned and agree it's a very interesting read and it did put us in mind of Struthers it also helped myself.a lot with his I was.feeling myself.

I have now read.most of the forum and see that the things what happened to me also. Happened to a lot others. But I still feel we have only heard the tip of the iceberg we have a lot more to hear about.

I also have been informed.of.Other I incidents where Stuthers have not done the right thing and b!amed.the victim...But it's up to those individuals to tell there.story not me. I am afraid to say and sadden to say I am not the only one that Struthers let down

so please if there is anyone who is afraid to share in please don't be afraid to ask to someone my pm is always open and I will help in anyway if I can't help I will give you help to find places or people who can help you please don't be scared to seek help.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Amazing grace ()
Date: June 11, 2024 07:37PM

Hi everyone,
I’ve looked at this site on and off over the years.. from when it first began and the Latigo site as well. Being open I had mixed feelings about it, I preferred the Latigo site because it leaned more towards presenting facts and using scripture.
Sorry Al Duff I think maybe that’s why some thought you were the one writing it. But it was totally unacceptable for the speirs children to contact you. Again showing their arrogance. The person who did write it was a good Christian person just seeking for truth.
So why join now?
Probably because I with the grace of God have dealt with my own pain. When you’re feeling like a complete failure as a Christian and have no worth then it is hard to take on other people’s pain. This along with you don’t want to accept the fact that the years you thought you were giving to Jesus and to the gospel you were in fact giving to a leadership that did not know how to disciple or to shepherd a flock. You were locked in a delusion. Maybe this year I’ll be good enough to serve Jesus, maybe this year I’ll be worthy enough before Jesus and the Father to be accepted. So you keep on going. But for the real grace of God who has opened my eyes. I’m going to quote a part from the book ‘escaping the maze’
‘There was … a psychological and emotional component. But what John Smyth did to us first and foremost was spiritual abuse. Without the spiritual dimension to his behaviour, there would have been no abuse at all. He would never have succeeded, over time, in eliciting our cooperation.’
Blackwatch you stated ‘why otherwise intelligent people continue to subject themselves to this’. This book sums it up. You truly believed heart and soul this was all for the glory of God, they were the anointed ones and could no wrong, you simply obeyed.
To Rainbow and Falkirkbarin and all the others who felt broken, isolated and hurt I really feel for you. To address the Alison Speirs issue.. I would not say she had a lucky escape. She was the worst of all. The damage she has done over the years is coming to the surface. To Al duff, I am so pleased you and your family left when you did and did not stay under her ministry in Glasgow. Her vision was to build a kingdom for her family. She was far removed from any biblical standard and in fact did not put a lot of weight in scripture. She was a bully and unfortunately trained her daughter in like fashion,
Sorry for long introduction.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: June 11, 2024 09:48PM

Hi Amazing Grace,

Welcome to the forum. Absolutely no apology necessary - enjoyed reading your comments - please write more!

Just to clarify my comment that you quoted: I am not intending to criticise "intelligent people who subject themselves to this". I fully understand why it happens and why they do it. Rather, I'd like to encourage people to try and break the cycle. Here's some practical ways that people can protect themselves:

- Don't idolise or put anyone else on a pedestal or assume them to be 'better' than you
- Realise that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (eg, someone claiming special powers or insight or that God speaks to them directly)
- Never think that someone else is more holy or more righteous than you. Firstly, it's not your concern and secondly, it's impossible to know. Remember, what you see in public can differ massively from what goes on behind closed doors and history tells us that it often is.
- Always challenge hypocrisy and bad behavior, especially where it's glaringly obvious. Past leaders of SMC have happily preached about holiness and sin whilst demonstrably struggling with obesity / gluttony.
- Detach yourself from anyone who is not willing to try and see your point of view
- Detach yourself from anyone who is not willing to accept that they may be wrong
- You know and understand what basic good human behavior looks like, let alone christian values. Detach yourself from those unable to show genuine compassion, love and understanding
- Be wary of anyone who uses phrases like "God told me this" or "God showed me that". There is no reason for you to accept this to be true, especially when it contradicts your own core values.

It's not exhaustive, but this, I believe, is a pretty good starting point in protecting yourself from the likes of SMC.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Amazing grace ()
Date: June 14, 2024 05:10AM

Hi everyone,
Thanks for your feedback blackwatch, it was very helpful.
There’s a lot of good teaching in this area it’s being open to break the cycle, which is not easy.
Dont know if anyone has heard of a woman called Dawn Hill who was a ‘prophet’ in NAR who has come out of the movement and is active in using the Bible to show a lot of the errors. She’s written a book and has called it ‘Nonprophet Woke’. She’s done interviews with various people like Steve Kozar of the ‘messed up church’. But what is interesting is her interviews discussing the deliverance ministry having been used in that way and now repented of it. Basically a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon because they are spirit filled at conversion as the petitor mentioned. In scripture there is no evidence that the Church was used in deliverance ministry to each other. Summing up her testimony she was in a meeting where the leader Ryan Le Strange used ‘my sheep hear my voice’ and applied that to himself I.e he, the pastor had to be obeyed. When she questioned this or him she was basically hounded out of the Church and she lost Sounds familiar. But in short she turned to the Bible immersed herself in the word and realised she had been in error for nearly 18 years. Her life does parallel what many have experienced here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 14, 2024 10:02AM

TheGreek Wrote:

> I was particulary affected by what I heard in the
> psychologists talk about why their time in
> Struthers has hurt people so badly for so long. I don't find that is universal with people departing cults.

TheGreek, which psychologist’s talk about Struthers are you referring to? Sorry, I may have missed that.

TheGreek, And I have to disagree with you about long-term hurt and pain not being universal with people departing cults. In fact, there are many many testimonies from people departing a cult, especially those who were born into a cult and raised in one, of terrible trauma, longterm mental health issues, difficulty fitting into normal society, and difficulty with relationships. I have read many books written by cult leavers, from cults such as Scientology, Rev Moon cult, Children of God, Jehovah Witnesses etc. These ex-members went through agonising times trying to recover after leaving the cult they’d been in for years.

So, I can see similar patterns in folk who leave Struthers including those who were born and raised in it, like EscapetoFrance for example. What all this says about Struthers, readers of the Forum and folk who are still in Struthers, can decide for themselves, but I think this church is very cult-like.

Welcome to the Forum, RedRoad and Amazing Grace. Thankyou for sharing your stories and I hope you’ll write some more on here. I hope that you’ll both continue to heal from the pain and trauma resulting from the years spent in SMC. PTSD, wow, RedRoad, that’s serious stuff but you are spot on there. This is why we all need to keep on exposing the control, spiritual abuse and lack of loving care which exists in SMC. This Forum is amazing!!

Amazing Grace, do you think Struthers will be different now that Alison Speirs has gone? She was only one part of the abusive and controlling leadership in SMC: Hugh Black chose and appointed her as a leader and then, along with Mary Black, made her a minister of the Glasgow Church. I have heard that some people have not recovered from her departure and wish that she was still there. What is the damage that is now coming to the light? Are you able to say more?

Bye for now. Look forward to reading all your posts.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rainbow ()
Date: June 16, 2024 05:43PM

Good questions Rensil! And welcome and thanks to everyone who is posting.

Some of the recent posts have really made me think. I actually never had a problem with Alison Speirs. I always found her kinder and more accommodating than the other leaders but now I am looking back and questioning a lot of it. I'm seeing things in a different light and it's making me think. Lots to think about! My issues were mostly around Mary Black and her family. I had few dealings with Diana thankfully, I never took to her. I just didn't. Grace Gault was actually always kind to me, again though, she wasn't my direct leader so maybe that's why.

I'm reading back this before I post and realise I am doing what I always do. Making excuses for them and making out like they aren’t that bad. does any one else do that? I assume I was the problem. But no. I need to remind myself I wasn't the problem. They were and are.

Hope everyone is doing well. Did anyone ever hear anything back from the BBC?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: RedRoad ()
Date: June 17, 2024 01:48AM

Thanks for the welcome folks. As I said previously, I'm a new poster to the forum, but have been following for a couple of years, wish I had found it the 14 years ago that it started. I am very thankful after that seeming going nowhere message posted in 2005 from Ohio, Clive took up the challenge, CovLass quickly came explosively in on the action and the forum took off.

I'm writing this in calm, reflective mode, so am not following on from the specifics of the most recent messages. I do have a good cache of traumatic stories, but right now I don't feel the need to post specifics. I do take that to encourage myself that I have made progress in my almost 40 years of coming to terms with the family context I was born into.

I'm almost at the end of all the forum pages - just 30 or so pages to go. When I started re-reading, I thought perhaps I would have new angles to add, but I'm not so sure that I do. A comprehensive story has been told over those years. Much initial history has been recorded, and that is something that even Struthers may like to keep hold of and in due course, if the organisation survives and turns itself into a more honest, transparent organisation, they may even add to the history story they tell themselves. What an even better story to tell, that sometimes we got it wrong, sometimes some of our leaders disagreed with each other, sometimes we were slow to listen, good people got hurt, but ..... then add on the Christian bit to bring it back to describing itself as a growing, nurturing spiritual home. And look, here are all the places we did pioneer pentacostalism in, and here are all the leaders at that time, this is their story too.

Pro-SMC supporters may make the assertion that posts on the message board have been exaggerated, have not been corroborated, there are bitter people involved, there have been some strange conspiracy theories put out on the message board. It is a fact that the human memory is not completely reliable. And when it comes to conspiracy theories, surely one of the features we have learnt from all the posts is that people can be trusting and gullible and believe information that may in time be shown to be nonsense, especially if they think it is going to bring them closer to God.

All that in no way takes away from the landscape that has been painted. There are too many eye witness accounts that have the same flavour and which cover all the attributes of spiritual abuse, coercion and control (whether or not you agree SMC is a cult). Any such assertion of exaggeration and/ or bitterness puts me in mind again of what we've heard at the Horizon Post Office enquiry during this past spring of 2024. The analogy I see is that Second Sight, who were the Post Office Horizon system independent investigators, said that statistically, the number of cases of alleged fraud were too many and too connected in time to the rollout of that software system, to be credible against the normal occurrence of PO fraud and against the average character of an average Sub-postmaster.

I am not going to make any correlation about character of those who attend SMC and now say they are damaged (it is complicated anyway when you some of the witnesses reporting emotional and psychological pain had no choice to be in SMC as they were literally born into it). However, using the same rationale as Second Sight, I would suggest that it is not credible to discount the number of individual witnesses compared to the number of the congregation at any snapshot of time and the extent of similarity of descriptions of emotional and psychological pain inflicted to those witnesses between people who cannot possible know each other, in different geographic locations with different spiritual leaders and different decades of time. Yes of course some pseudonyms will have been guessed correctly and may be known to each other, but I would say, and I think it could be proved, the majority of witnesses are highly unlikely to know each other in advance of coming to tell their story on the forum.

When I restarted reading the messages, I almost gave up, some of them are SO painful to read, I wasn't so sure it would do my mental state any good to read every single one of them. But I think the fleshing out of early SMC history hooked me and it had particular resonance because that initial era was the era my parents chose to join the organisation and give up themselves and their children to the organisation. By continuing on, I got to the posts with the unpicking of the various characteristics of SMC and comparing them with cult characteristics. And by continuing on again, I found lots of posts of fellow "I did not ask to be born into this" people, and reading their descriptions of fun times (mostly Wiston, the only time you were allowed to play with a big group of children in the 70s, 80s) and descriptions of the emotional and psychological pain they have experienced (FEAR, public humiliation during services, deliverance on mega-drive, inappropriate demonstrations of such supposed deliverance within children's earshot, too many testimonies in public of traumatic-sounding supposed deliverance, social isolation and humiliation in the non SMC world, never fitting in outwith SMC, judging judging judging everyone's place in a spiritual hierarchy from leader to child, shock transition to an adult working world).

For me, the witness accounts told here are a gold mine that will allow me to ping-off and follow whatever train of thought or memory the witness story triggers. I can reflect, grieve over the emotional loss being noticed and move forward again another short distance in emotional healing. So thank you to all of you witnesses, past and recent, and let's keep going in giving our stories, asking for SMC leadership accountability, and supporting each other, even if/when some weird sounding messages do get posted from time to time.

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