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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: RedRoad ()
Date: June 17, 2024 08:27AM

Oh dear.
I reached p157 and Clive's post with links to "Sam's interview". Interview starts off very bitty with sound cutting out but settled down after a bit, so persevere if you decide to listen to it. His description of how he joined SMC matches what I had seen of the Greenock Friday night progression - fun youth club for primary kids, younger secondary kids, then heavy sessions for students. I was hit hard in my gut at the 53 minute marker.

P157
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Clive () August 21, 2023 04:11AM
Check out this interview with "Sam" - who was in the Pudsey group.
"Hello and welcome to The Cult Vault's first ever live in-person interview. I am chatting with long-time friend Sam. I was completely unaware that he had experienced this until I started diving into the podcast and Sam informed me that he himself had experienced such coercion."

[www.youtube.com]

I am so relieved I left of my own free will when I could at the end of high school, before Hugh Black died, before DR was given the platform for Wednesday night specials at summer camps. I am grateful the extent of the spiritual abuse meted out to me and my peers was social isolation and humiliation, attempted control of thought and behaviour through all of our school years, overly much physical punishment (by parents, but encouraged as a good child rearing practice in a Christian household by HB to parents). This concurs with Archbishop Laud's assessment early on in this forum:

P30
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Archbishop Laud () August 25, 2011 04:51PM
[[i]I would suggest that Mr Black's background in the Exclusive Brethren explains much about what is wrong with Struthers. He claimed to have been liberated from it when he was baptised in the Holy Spirit, but I am not sure the liberation was thorough enough. I think he imported most of their doctrines and forms of life straight into Struthers, which can, as a result, be classified as a a kind of Pentecostal Exclusive Brethren. Or rather Pentecostal Exclusive Sisterhood -- because brothers are very much in the background there.[/i]

also see

P146
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ThePetitor () October 27, 2017 07:02PM
an interview about the Exclusive Brethren, which was the church Hugh Black was brought up in. I think there are some interesting parallels here
[www.independent.co.uk]

It was in the 80s that repeated descriptions of supposed deliverances began to be given week in, week out, but as a child and teenager, I did not have to experience outright terror before and during the "meeting". This is very very serious, and must be surely be causing mental illhealth and imbalance, encouraging one to snitch tidbits of gossip against another in the hope that you remain in favour and are not similarly publicly humiliated. The snitching and public humiliation, shaming and bullying sound like historical Communist purges.

Sam's interview describing a "camp" around 2008 almost identically matches Free@Last_sometimes description of a Wednesday night at "camp", which I infer to be around 2018 from the timeline described, a full 10 years later!

p174
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Free@Last_sometimes () April 23, 2024 07:58AM
And boom. Wednesday night. A tap on the shoulder came. In a room of 400ish people, I’m pointed out. And it’s not discreet, I was middle of the congregation and the wee helper had to squeeze past loads of people. I sat and cried. Absolutely ashamed. My friend hugged me and told me it would be ok. That I could be fixed. This was a good thing.


If this all began after Hugh Black died, then we are talking 20+ years of a different scale of spiritual abuse, something much darker and more de-stabilising than the 70s 80s version. Alison Speirs won relaxation of social humiliation and clothing rules when she was given leadership, but this deliverance obsession being mainstreamed into "meetings" has ramped up psychological terror and control instead. Which generation has had it harder I wonder?

I would suggest that there is a pattern established that the worst accounts of the non-safeguarding adult and children have DR as part of the story. CovLass first explosive post in 2010, Lintar123 posts, also early on, and numerous recent posts of witnesses all name DR as the bullying leader in their traumatic experience. And that leader is now listed on Companies House as the "person with significant control". This is not right.

As I said in my first post, it is up to the "good people" in Struthers who have professional knowledge around safeguarding, whistleblowing, corporate governance, risk assessment to step up and ask for, demand even, change. Accountability and safety. This is the hugest ask ever, I know, I really do, with massive personal, family repercussions and ostracisation. It would be the end of your current life as you know it, but you will have done the right thing. A thought out strategy and emotional support will be needed! Ask an external organisation for help. Take your time to get it planned as well as you can but DO IT. [thirtyoneeight.org]

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: June 21, 2024 05:07PM

Oh dear - looks like we've lost some recent posts! Wonder what happened?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 23, 2024 02:25AM

Yeah, I noticed that too. Three or four post seem to be missing. @rrmderator can you help?

Was there perhaps a backup and restore tbat led to these posts being lost?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 23, 2024 02:27AM

Yeah, I noticed that too. Three or four post seem to be missing. rrmderator can you help?

Was there perhaps a backup and restore tbat led to these posts being lost?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Phoebe 2 ()
Date: June 23, 2024 10:01PM

It's a while since I've contributed to this forum, although I do check in from time to time, and would have to say that I've been increasingly perturbed by the experiences that have been shared over recent months. I tend to agree with Redroad that there seems to have been a downward spiral in some areas since the death of Mr Black, especially in relation to the "discernment" of demonic activity and the way "deliverance ministry" is practiced. Having said that, it will be apparent from my previous posts that even back in the days of Mr Black and Miss Taylor's regime I had strong reservations about some SMC theology and practice and in fact spoke with Mr B during one of the Wiston Lodge camps about a particular incident where it seemed to me a testimony of excorcism describing a noisy floorshow had brought more kudos to the Enemy than glory to God.

It seems incredible that such practices are allowed to continue, especially with the present-day emphasis on safe-guarding measures, as well as the constant exposure of abuse and bad practise in both the secular and Christian press (E.g, the Iwern camps/John Smyth saga). My own (Baptist) church has stringent guidelines for those working with youth, the vulnerable & the elderly, including appropriate training and rigorous checks.

I was never a member of any SMC branch (my exposure was largely through attending Camps back in the Wiston days) and so have had no real experience of its regular congregational life. However it's nevertheless been painful for me to have to review and amend some of my attitudes to the church and admit to myself where its beliefs and practices are seriously flawed. How much harder it must be for those who have committed a lifetime to it - perhaps almost impossible for those who have family ties of love and loyalty, especially within the leadership. I do also still believe that many members, past and present, are true followers of Christ, however misled, and have a sincere desire to love and serve Him.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Phoebe 2 ()
Date: June 24, 2024 02:54AM

Some further thoughts following on from my last post.
As indicated in my earlier posts (see e.g.p.140)and as suggested by others, I firmly believe that the mishandling of so many pastoral situations as well as misguided exegesis and application of Scripture can be traced to at least two factors. Firstly a lack of the kind of rigorous theological training that most churches require for those involved in pastoral ministry and secondly an insular mindset that has lacked interaction and exposure to the wider Church with the perspective that brings. The leaders in accepting the "mantle" of their predecessors have unthinkingly accepted the beliefs and practices passed down to them and - apart from a few superficial changes such as dress, holidays, etc. (!) -- have continued with the status quo. All of this has resulted in perpetuating an unBiblical leadership structure with no accountability outside of itself.

I don't believe that the SMC leaders have deliberately set out either to damage their flock or tto build personal empires (though I'm not denying self-aggrandisement and a love of power may have crept in where some individuals are concerned). I think the best of them are genuinely surprised and even bewildered at the hurt and pain they have caused and - for the reasons above - have absolutely no concept of how far removed they actually are from Biblical theology and best practice in terms of both preaching and pastoral care/counselling. Nor have they any idea of how to resolve the crises they have created.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 25, 2024 01:39PM

Just a quick note to say I have messaged the moderator to ask about the missing posts. They apparently moved everything across to an another server and that is why the posts were lost.

They are looking into it to see if they can restore the messages.

I hope they do, as people do not always keep a copy of what was said, and I thought there was some useful stuff i these posts - even if I cannot now remember the detail!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: June 25, 2024 05:48PM

Petitor - thanks for taking that on. Much appreciated.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: July 09, 2024 05:35PM

All quiet on the western front. How's everyone doing?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Phoebe 2 ()
Date: July 10, 2024 04:41PM

Can I recommend a book by Paul Mallard: "Invest Your Disappointments" (published by IVP). I think chapter 7 is very relevant to our discussion here: "When church distresses us & leaders shock us". Some paragraph headings by way of illustration: "When Church becomes toxic"; "When leadership is lethal";"The stain that remains" . . . There's also some wise counsel about how to move on (or move out!).

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