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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Anonymous43762 ()
Date: June 22, 2011 11:01PM

Hi. I discovered this forum after searching for Struthers Memorial Church. I wanted to find if anyone else had the same experiences as I had, and boy, did I find more than that. I attended this church in the 1980s on a regular basis as a young child upto my early teens. My family was very much indoctrinated into the SMC way of thinking. We were told that TV was evil, modern music was evil, certain clothing was evil, hairstyles were evil etc. As a result, I grew up in the belief that all these things were evil and would corrupt me and my life would be ruined. My family often told me to either bring my friends into the church or to shun them as they weren't in the church and as a result, I lost a number of good friends.

I attended Glasgow church on Sunday mornings / evening and Friday evenings. We attended Greenock on Saturday nights.

I do have some happy memories of visiting Wiston Lodge every year and 'doing the assault course' or 'doing Tinto', but as I grew older, I moved from the youth programme into the adult meetings at camp and that when it really started to get disturbing. The pastor at the time was Mr Hugh Black assisted by Miss Mary Black and there was someone called Miss Taylor and I remember being absolutely terrified from her. She seemed to be very disturbed and almost maniacal when she preached.

The indoctrination has lasted into my adulthood and I took a lot of anger and resentment about this church. I consider myself a christian and I try to follow a christian life, but I frequently find myself in conflict with the teachings I took as a child from this church with what my beliefs are now.

There were frequent occasions when I was a child when I questioned the church and the people who lead the church. This frequently resulted in severe whippings when I got home as questioning this church is considered sinful and evil and noone should ever question the guidance of the leaders of this church. I believe this is not what the bible teaches. Doesn't the bible teach us to question things and to love one another. Not beat them. I would then be bought before Mr Black who would then 'lay his hands' on me and 'heal me', even though there was nothing wrong with me.

Before I found this forum, I actually felt that all churches would be like SMC and, as a result, felt some resentment against christianity in general, however, now I realise that this is not the case and my resentment is only directed towards SMC. Trust me, when I discovered this forum, so many posts hit home and reading some of them had me in tears as I now realise I'm not the only one who feels this church abused it's position.

My family still attend. They are not well off, however, they feel they must contribute to the collection which I am aware pays for the private school which only the priviledge few are able to get any advantage from. Shouldn't this church be helping the local community with the fundraising they do and the contributions from the members?

I feel that if I discussed this with my family now, the conversation would go the way of me being sinful and the motives of the SMC should never be brought into question, but I tell you, this church works on the power that a small number of leaders have over the congregation and the amount of control they exert over their lives and they will never release that hold. This is completely out of line of the bible teachings.

A surprising result of finding this forum and reading the posts is that I would actually like to start attending church again.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Archbishop Laud ()
Date: June 23, 2011 12:39AM

Hello everyone, and especially the new kid on our spiritual block: Anonymous 43762!

It is heartening to read of someone else who is going to restart going to church, having discovered this website. Well done, Rick Ross.

I should like to ask a simple question. Can anyone tell me who exactly benefits from lifelong attendance--perhaps 5-10 times per week--at SMC?

Young men? I think not. They are suspect from the start. Only a very few pull through, like lucky tadpoles, to become spiritual frogs! The majority are somehow marginalised.

Older men? Definitely not. They, for the most part, are demoralised, bewildered, frustrated. They put on a brave face--all credit to them--but many are basically very unhappy indeed. Most SMC sermons are aimed straight at young people, a serious imbalance in the whole ministry; but if men are mentioned, it is usually to get another cheeky kicking from the platform! (At least, this used to be case.) Why do they put up with it?

Older ladies? I suspect not, generally speaking. Some, of course, find themselves in major or minor spiritual leadership--which perhaps has as much to do with their personal contacts as with charismatic gifts--and that presumably brings some satisfaction. But they pay a high price for the privilege, arguably beyond what the Bible is actually asking.

Young women? Ah, there you have it. Struthers Memorial Church was designed for such. Just read Mr Black's Trumpet Call for Women. As it happens, I personally have no problem with moderate feminism. But even though SMC is perhaps unique in the entire history of Christianity in the extent to which it promotes women, we should remember that it is still only a minority who flourish.

If this analysis is correct, it would appear that SMC, while it can certainly help people at some stages of their spiritual journey, is no place to make a permanent home. At least not for the majority.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: June 23, 2011 05:20AM

Thank you anonymous43762 for your post and I do sympathise with the desperately bad impact Struthers had on yet another family. I am delighted by what you share about feeling that it may be okay and safe to look at other churches now.

You are the 21st person coming onto this forum with similar concerns about SMC. The experiences being shared indicate that the SMC leadership have been observed by many people to act in the following ways:


extreme controlling behaviour and plain nastiness
abuse of position and power in church
use of the pulpit to belittle and humiliate people deemed to be misbehaving
banning people from attending public church meetings
damaging relations between parents and children
damaging marriages
arrogant resistance to mixing with non Struthers people
financial folly and lack of clear accountability
accusing people of sin on the basis of no evidence
abuse of scripture - always in the direction of shoring up the power of the tiny elite at the top of the organisation
avoiding accountability by claiming questions are always criticism and teaching God will punish it
no record whatsoever of any act of understanding, sympathy or acknowledgement of any fault, wrong or failure by anyone in leadership.
resorting to lies to avoid having to answer legitimate questions
publicly accusing people who have left the church of multiple sins and faults up to and including witchcraft
claiming to be fully open and have no secrets a few days before removing public access to all online Struthers sermons

And in all these things claiming that if someone doesn't see things their way that is proof that they are Godless and unspiritual.


Can I once again ask the Struthers leadership and members – who are well aware of what is on this forum and read it avidly – what is your response to these accusation now made by many, many people? You have avoided this for years by pretending to each one of us that we were the only person with concerns. That was not true at the time and is plainly not true now.

There is no place any more for pretend dignified silence. Your silence is simply a continuation of the refusal to answer questions we all asked you and you failed to answer. More failure does not help. What is your response to these accusations from multiple people and many more (as the leadership well know) who have left unhappy, hurting and feeling spiritually abused?

The only public response so far on March 12 was basically that the source of all the concerns we are sharing here is the devil so they are not needing to be answered. That is a self serving lie. The source of these concerns are people who used to look to you for help and guidance towards God. As the testimonies show you have made it harder for them to find God. Never forget – you took all the responsibility for those people lives. You told them you knew what God wanted for them better than they knew themselves. They had no permission to disagree with you. If they have subsequently suffered pain – or are still in pain tonight – it is because you failed them as a leader. You demanded power over their life and you failed to use that for their good, but used it to promote your own good. As soon as we were no longer happy to be mindlessly servile to your selfish agenda, you wanted nothing more to do with us. It is often claimed people have to obey (submit) to leaders as you will be answerable to God for them. What will your answer to God be for each of the 21 people who have posted on this forum? We believe you are still answerable for your actions towards them as a leader.

With reference to the comment from anonymous43762 - we also ask that you clarify to the families in the church if you teach it is okay, for example, to beat a child for questioning Struthers leaders? We all know the answer. We are waiting for you to say it publicly so it can never happen again.

They should also remember this. As anonymous43762 has shown – if you Google Struthers this growing forum is what people now find. That will continue. Look at the forum on the former Struthers branch now called Kirby Christian Fellowship. Their thread now runs to 622 posts and 5 years. This is not going to fix itself.


Some of the current leaders in SMC are at the age when they are inevitably nearing the end of their time in ministry. We think that it would be right before God for these issues and the pain they have caused to be acknowledged and addressed and resolved for all those who have been affected by it. We also believe this is important for their own sake.

If not just go on being Struthers people gathering on Saturdays and at camps and praying for another blessing for yourselves while these horrendous problems caused by the leadership remain ignored and unresolved. Don't ever ask the membership what they think should be done to sort this out.

So, Struthers people, as you gather for this weeks Saturday meeting, and as you prepare for a happy time at your exclusive tiny camps this summer - what is your response? Perhaps you will just carry on as always. More sermons claiming the leaders are doing well and the members are doing badly. More sermons demanding loyalty and energetic financial commitment. Perhaps the fact that this pain the leadership have caused, and still cause, is now being openly discussed is of no interest? If so – what is your Christianity for? What would Jesus do?

We will all see what the SMC leaders think Jesus would do by their actions now.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 23, 2011 06:07PM

Hi Anonymous43762, and welcome to the forum. It looks like you had had a very similar experience to the rest of us here – confusion, hurt and being made to think you are the only one that has any questions. Well, as Chesterk55 has pointed out, you are not. There are 21 people who have confirmed right here on Rick Ross that they have had a similar experience, and I am sure there are a lot more out there.

Glad the forum has helped you – it certainly helped me to understand I was not the only one, and that was after 20 years of pain and trauma.

The list of observed behaviours given by Chesterk55 is also so useful. Well done for summarising what people have been saying over the last 23 pages. There are others things I could add – betrayal, claiming false authority, contradicting scripture, bullying and more - but I think the really interesting thing is that the points are, quite correctly, listed not as issues or questions or differences in doctrine, but as OBSERVED BEHAVIOUR.

There is no way the leaders can get away form that. These are not our opinions, differences in doctrine or misunderstandings, it is what has been observed by over 20 witnesses. And these are all Independent witnesses – that was guaranteed by the way Struthers forced us to cut all contact with others. If we had been allowed to retain friendships, we might have got together to agree some complaints, but from all I know and all that has been said on this forum, it is clear that people suffered alone, often for years, before coming independently to this forum to provide their evidence. Twenty-one people who have not got together to plan anything, and have not been approached by any central group but are truly independent witnesses to a pattern of behaviour that has spread over 20 years and half a dozen branches. That is actually a significant quantity of evidence.

My message to Struthers is exactly that – this is clear unquestionable evidence, not some sort of delusion or different world-view. We are not the prosecution, we are THE WITNESSES to the horrible abuse you have inflicted. Twenty one witnesses of the hurt you have caused, and plenty more out there. It is not the case that this would go away if we changed our thinking, or even gave up thinking entirely and became passive recipients of Struthers doctrine. The things that happened would still have happened.

You can wriggle and squirm all you like (Mr Black’s words) but you can’t get away from that. This is not about different interpretations of how to find God, this is about things that actually happened - “Observed Behaviour”. No matter how you try to twist it to make it look like the witnesses are at fault, these things happened. Stop pretending they didn't.

Scripture tells you what to do when witnesses come forward. It is not “tell them they must be deluded” and it is not “go into a room and pray until you feel good” it is listen to the witnesses and put things right. The only honest and decent response I can see is, “good grief – I never realised that we had caused so much hurt – we will have to do something about this”.

I really hope that is the outcome of this record of evidence. I look forward to your response in terms of your actions as well as your words.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 25, 2011 08:34AM

Hi Anonymous43762
It was great to read your story and to know that you have found reassurance through reading this Forum about other people's bad and unhappy experiences in SMC. I hope you can now realise that Struthers church isn't representative of many, even of most, evangelical groupings and that you won't find what you have described in other churches. I hope you will take that step and start attending a healthy church. I can assure you that there are many such churches out there and many loving, caring and sincere Christians serving within them. I discovered this after I attended other meetings, outwith SMC, which I didn't know existed as we were instructed not to go anywhere else, because if we did, we would be "contaminated" (yes, that word was used). I feel for you, having been brought up in Smc, but it's good that you did stop going.

To Archbishop Laud: The problem with SMC being as you describe, designed for young women in particular, is that young women become older women and what happens to them then? They usually get cast off and told to make way for the next generation of young women. I agree, it doesn't make any sense. And where does it say in the Bible about age differentiation in churches? Nowhere that I can see. I think people would make SMC their permanent home if it was a healthy church and they felt fulfilled and could make progress in their calling. Some do stay in it and seem happy to do so, but I really think fear keeps them from questioning and from leaving. They assume it is fear of God but it is basically fear of leaders. I really believe there is a spiritual hold on the members which keeps them from looking at anything outwith SMC and from thinking for themselves. Let's hope more see the truth and get out.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: susie ()
Date: June 27, 2011 06:59PM

Hi Rensil

Yes you are right there is a strong spiritual hold on the people in smc. The people there have bought into the lies that the SMC leaders teach. Along with the unholy soul ties that are being made between the people and the leaders, that would create a very spiritual stronghold. Not all soul ties are wrong. David and Jonathan in the bible had a soul tie, but it was of God (ist Samuel 18-1). Although the bible does not use the word soul ties, there are many examples of close spiritual bonds.

To follow any leader without being completely sure of where they are going is a dangerous thing to do. If you do not have the right directions you can be sure you will end up where you least expected to be and yet this is what the people in SMC are doing. I wondered at times if the people in SMC really wanted to know the truth, knowing the truth comes with a responsibility to do something about it.

To examine the church or investigate any evidence that points to the truth would mean having to face up to the fact that they are living a lie. So many people in SMC have been there for years and have put there all into this church as well as the fact they have put their own life on hold to follow the leaders, making many sacrifices along the way.

To follow a path all your life without investigation of where it is leading is folly!!! to say the least. The word tell us to prove all things.

I know how hard it would be for people who want to leave but are afraid, it would be better to cut your loses now rather than later.

Lloyd Corry said: "the chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken"

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: July 05, 2011 07:55PM

Quote
susie

Lloyd Corry said: "the chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken"

Lloyd Corry ??? I think you mean Samuel Johnson.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: July 06, 2011 08:44AM

The quote is very appropriate, whoever said it, Susie.

In case anyone reading posts here still thinks that SMC is a loving, healthy upbuilding church which adheres to the Word of God, I'd like to share something.

In the early 90s SMC produced a church magazine about 4 times a year and I had kept some copies. In one of them, I read someting which I found very disturbing. The entry, which had been written by Mary Black was entitled "I will Purge the Rebels Out from Among You" (with no Scripture reference given).
In the first part she decribes how the above word is a necessary part of the process of revival and how a common pattern in the aftermath of revival was a church which gradually lost its ardour and became lukewarm and carnal and that from this grouping a remnant arose who refused to accept the coldness and who fought to maintain revival fire. This remnant are ultimately driven out by the pressure of a cold-hearted congregation and cold-hearted leadership.

In the second part she turns the idea right round and describes a church where the leadership are on fire and fighting to maintain revival despite people bent on backsliding. She then writes, "Those who exit are not the revived, but the backsliders who in the face of the growing light of truth coming through an uncompromising leadership, eventually feel under pressure to leave since their carnality can no longer be hidden. In this case the remnant are those who remain rather than those who go".
(Incidentally, the scripture reference for the above word is Ezekiel 20 v 38 and the chapter is about rebelliousness in Israel.)

The first part of her entry seems to refer to how the SMC movement came about, when a small group left a large church which they considered to be cold and backslidden. Then in the second part she refers to those who leave SMC because they are backsliding and carnal, and judged to be so by an "on fire" leadership!
If this isn't an example of twisted scripture and re-interpretation of a Bible verse to make it fit what you want, I don't know what is. Also, I know several people who have left SMC and they are on fire for God, some in Christian leadership positions, others ministering and helping the weak, living holy lives, preaching the gospel etc. How can SMC leaders justify what they say and write, because it is erroneous!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: July 10, 2011 10:40PM

Does anyone here know anything about the struthers branch called "The Refuge" down in England ?. Someone is asking about childrens activities there under a new topic specifically about that church group. See here : [forum.culteducation.com]

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: July 11, 2011 06:44PM

Quote
Rensil

The first part of her entry seems to refer to how the SMC movement came about, when a small group left a large church which they considered to be cold and backslidden. Then in the second part she refers to those who leave SMC because they are backsliding and carnal, and judged to be so by an "on fire" leadership!

If this isn't an example of twisted scripture and re-interpretation of a Bible verse to make it fit what you want, I don't know what is.

Absolutely! But that is always the way with Struthers - do not try to understand scripture. Instead, take your peculiar world-wiew, find a single verse that can be used to illustrate that view in some way, and twist everything to fit. They really have now lost any sense of the authority of God or scripture. They no longer even make a pretence at looking at how a topic is addressed across scripture and instead try to relate everything back to their own (imaginary??) "deep experience of God".

The idea of an on-fire leadership is such a joke, They do not actually do anything - just talk about how bad everyone else is. They have had 30 years or more to sort out this "cold-hearted congregation". Can you imagine a football manager surviving that record? "Yes, I know we have not won anything for 30 years, but it all the fault of the players. We have excellent managers that are the best in the world, but the players on the pitch just aren't pulling their weight." Nonsense.

Try encouraging, motivating, setting an example and being a bit less arrogant, that might work. Or get out there and deal with some real people with real problems, whether these are relationships, substance abuse or financial difficulties. If you look at organisations like "Christians against Poverty" you will see countless lives being changed in the UK by Christians who are living by faith and practicing what Christ preached - being a good neighbour to others. That seems to me to be more in line with the calling of Christ than buying ipads for privileged kids.

Re the Refuge - my understanding is that is just the name of the building used by the local branch of Struthers. A number of answers to the question that was posted have also now been posted on the new thread on the refuge. It will be interesting to follow that and see how things develop there.

Finally, going back to the Rensil comment, does anyone know how the "cold congregation and cold leadership" Struthers left behind (presumably the Elim church in Greenock) got on?

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