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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: February 16, 2011 10:20PM

I saw that there were definitely differnt personality types in Struthers. Like ThePetitor says they were those who were better academically or at sport or something else. I was a newcomer in 2006/2007 and found that the vast majority of people had been there for some time and my experiece was that quite a few had either been brought up in the Struthers movement or that Struthers was their only real experience of church.

Obviously there is a greater danger of accepting it all if Struthers is all you have to go on. Years ago I recall hearing the son of notorious killer Fred West talking about the abuse he suffered as a child. He never had any real friends and was never allowed to go to other people's houses. so he thought his home life was normal. When you hear of the terrible things that happened you have to ask how anyone could think that was normal, but with nothing to compare it to, how would he know what a 'normal' childhood was. Now Im not likening the leaders of Struthers to Fred and Rosemary West, but I hope this analogy may be helpful.

Again, speaking personally, I was thankful that I did have healthy church experiences to compare with what was happening. I also knew church leaders I could speak to and get some advice. The first time I spoke to my previous pastor, an Elim minister, she said "I dont often advise people to leave a church, but my advice is get out. What they're doing is spiritual abuse."

I would agree with ThePetitor in saying that the rank and file of Struthers appear to be very genuine people who are seeking to serve God to the best of their ability. It is a real shame that they are being exploited in such a way. It was even more alarming to read the financial information regarding how Struthers spends money taken in tithes and offerings from members. According to the latigo site around 27% of giving from members went towards the upkeep of their fee paying school Cedars. It has recently been in the news that each child has been provided with an ipad. I think its bad that some families who cannot afford a computer for their own child should be helping to provide an ipad for children of well off families who can afford a private education. [www.latigo214.info]

I just hope that people do start to see that what is going ion is not normal and not acceptable and are able to come to terms with this can seek help in finding a church where they will be valued

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: February 19, 2011 12:57AM

It seems to me that the more we look at this, the more issues crop up. I hadn't really thought of the financial side, so thanks for drawing our attention to the recent information on the Latigo site. It does indeed seem bizarre that the viability of the Cedars school is based on the ongoing generosity of the members of Sturthers, and on the apparently arbitrary decision of the leaders to allocate a considerable part of the regular church offerings to the school.

Since it is clear from these pages that the leadership are accountable to no-one, they could presumably decide tomorrow not to allocate the money to subsidising the education of the most financially secure in society and instead allocate it to some of the good causes identified in the Bible (for example, looking after the poor rather than the rich). Would the school then have to close, possibly part-way through a year? What would the pupils do if this happened?

I though this was interesting enough to look into a bit further so went to the Companies House website and used the Webcheck service to download the current annual accounts (for £1 - not exactly expensive). I have checked the arithmetic and it seems to me that the Latigo site has all the figures absolutely correct so, assuming the estimated number of members is right, the members of Struthers are each contributing about £500 per annum to the school. Unlike the Latigo site, I however think this will all have been hidden form the members, so they will not actually be aware that this is where their money is going. If I was a member of Struthers, I would be unhappy about subsidising private education when local schools are losing funding for music and other specialist provision. Is there something else going on here that I am missing? Is the school being used as a recruiting ground for future members perhaps? I suppose that might be part of the thinking, especially as it is a single organisation, so the school already shares the beliefs and values of the church.

I see something else that seems quite worrying to me. If I read the accounts correctly, the organisation (as noted above, there is only a single organisation, which administers the church, the school and the bookshops, so they all stand or fall together) only managed to balance its books because of unsecured interest-free loans of over £200,000 due to be repaid after more than one year (see note 10 to the accounts) and loans of £46,000 due to be paid within one year (see note 9 to the accounts). The short term loans are described as "unsecured, interest free and payable on demand". Does this mean that, if the demand for payment was made, they would have to be paid immediately, and the organisation would go under (as they report less than £12,000 in cash at the bank)? If this is the case, do the parents of pupils at the school know that the ongoing viability is based on unidentified individuals choosing not to call in unsecured loans? The accounts are of course historical, so the situation may have improved but, then again, it might have got worse!

I may be misreading this of course, as I am not an accountant. Is there anyone out there who can confirm or correct my understanding of the accounts? It all seems a bit obscure to me, but the entries about the loans are certainly there, and must mean something. I would welcome any insight form those better informed than myself.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymousfornow ()
Date: February 28, 2011 12:46AM

I am beyond ecstatic to have found this forum. It sounds strange I know, but for a good two years I though it was just me. Clearly not. I had some really bad experiences in this Church, and I would post about them but they were quite specific and I wouldn't be happy to be identified just yet, but I'm glad to have found others with similar experiences.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: March 01, 2011 05:19AM

Hi anonymousfornow

Welcome to this forum. It doesnt sound strange to me at all how happy you are to have found this forum. I felt exactly the same. I searched for years to find a safe place to talk about my experiences and it was a massive relief over the following months to find out that I wasnt the only one and it wasnt all my fault. I think, from reading the posts of other ex Struthers members that they feel exactly the same way.

Many here are in the same boat or at least have been at some pont. Another thing is that people have come out and have proved that there is 'life after Struthers' Whether or not you eventually feel comfortable sharing your personal experiences or not I really hope that you find some answers here and some peace at last.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 06, 2011 02:44AM

Hi anonymousfornow, and welcome to the forum!

I can totally understand how you feel. I think there are many people out there who felt they were the only one - I certainly did! As this forum confirms however, that is not the case.

I know that one of the things I struggled with was "how could I be right and everyone else in the world be wrong?" Now that I look back, that is of course part of the strategy. The "everyone else in the world" that was my reference point were all people from Sturthers, because the whole approach is to cut you off from anyone else. You are therefore left with no reference point other than Struthers teaching, and you are certainly not encouraged even to study the Bible and think for yourself. It is all meant to be a one way process from the leaders that cuts out other philosphical insights, other Christian advice, independent thought and, to be honest, even cuts out God Himself, leaving the Stuthers leaders in His place.

I have a fairly simple test for whether Stuthers really is offering something that is wholesome in the long term. How many adults have left to attend other churches then years later relised it was a mistake and gone back to Sturthers? I think I would be pretty safe guessing the answer is zero, or very very close to zero. That tells you something.

If you want to share on a more private level, the forum does also allow direct contact, so you can contact any of the contributors without making info public. For example, one of the contributors (treetop on p2 of the thread) has said they know 50 named individuals that have suffered from the practices of Struthers. I do not know Treetop at all, but he or she has obviously had a lot of contact with people over the years.

(Although, now that I think of it, everyone may not check their private messages - I know that I don't check mine often!)

All the best anonymousfornow - glad that you have found the forum and can read of others experiences.


Albus Petitor - also not my real name!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 10, 2011 11:59PM

Many of you will have noticed that a new article has been added to the Latigo site [latigo214.info]. As always, some really interesting points are made, but I would like to add my own thoughts about one point that Latigo has not particularly covered. That is the insight into the nature of the speaker herself.

The sermon quoted makes a number of statements about human nature including:

“every human being seeks to find another category of people to whom they are superior that they can look down on”

“the pride and arrogance that abides in the human heart”

“there is this thing within the human heat that wants to dominate”

Now, I am no student of psychology, but one thing is clear. In stating that EVERY human being has these characteristics, the speaker is including herself, so is admitting to exactly these traits. Interesting, and something I will return to in a moment.

First, let me state that I cannot believe that any student of human nature would conclude that all human beings have the same characteristics or desires. I do not believe that "there is this thing in the human heart that wants to dominate". I am sure that will exist in some people, but it will certainly not exist in all. There are many people in history who have put others first, from famous martyrs to quiet mothers who sacrifice their own health for their children. To treat all humanity as having the same characteristics, personality and motivations is naive to the point of absurdity.

If you prefer to come at it from a Biblical point of view, you will reach the same conclusion. “The man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12 v 3) and David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13 v 22 and 1 Sam 13 v 13-14). If David was a man after God’s own heart, and the Stuthers leadership sees the human heart as described in the quotes above, we come to a very interesting conclusion about how they see the heart of God. (If this is their distorted view of God, it would however explain a few things.)

I want to return to the point above however, that the speaker clearly admits that the desire to dominate, to look down on others and to be proud and arrogant are characteristics of every heart - and hence specifically of her own heart. If these statements do not, according to scriptures and elementary psychology, apply to the whole human race, why does the speaker identify with them so much? The leaders only have three things to base this conclusion on (1) the own experience of their own heart, (2) the experience of others who study human nature and (3) Divine revelation.

It is clearly not some sort of Divine revelation that leads to their conclusions, as the message contradicts what scripture says. Neither is it the view of others, as it does not reflect accepted wisdom, and the leaders would not listen to them anyway. So what does that leave? Ah, their experience of their own heart. Now that is revealing. Could this whole sermon perhaps be classic displacement activity - attributing the speaker’s own characteristics to others?

The more I look back on my own experience in Struthers, the more I see that a great deal of my time was spent trying to correct these "characteristics of the human heart" which didn't really have particular relevance to me. Not that I was -or am- perfect, but it seems to me now that all the talk of arrogance and pride (or of desires or selfishness, or anything else) was just another example of the leaders pretending they knew something about me that wasn't actually true. Most of the members of the congregation are not full of arrogance and pride, but are actually quite humble - which is why they are willing to listen to someone being so critical of them.

The leaders are not aware of this however. Since they do not actually listen to others, they naively think that what is in their heart is also in everyone else's heart. It might be interesting to hear more of these sermons about "the human heart", as I think they are in fact very revealing in terms of the nature of the speakers.

I do feel sorry for the congregation however. If you are part of the congregation and are reading this, please do recognise that most ex-members do not see you are full of pride, arrogance and a wish to dominate, but as fellow-human beings who have faults and failings, but also have a desire to find a loving God. When you listen to the words of the leaders, recognise instead that they are, without knowing it, revealing more about themselves than they are about you.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Uncertain ()
Date: March 12, 2011 08:12AM

I am currently attending one of the branch churches. I recently started attending another church too after various restrictions were placed on me. I have been told that I need to repent but I do not know of what I need to repent.

I have also felt very intimidated by control. I was told I was putting family first when I missed a meeting to attend a family birthday party.

I am very drawn to the standards of holiness in Struthers and I enjoy the deep presence of God in the meetings and the singing. However, I am concerned by the excessive control and the way that the discernment of the leaders is expected to be accepted unquestioningly.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 13, 2011 04:36AM

Hi uncertain, and good to hear from you. It is good that you are enjoying the presence of God, singing with others and indeed the shared aspiration for holiness. As C.S.Lewis says, “joy is the serious business of heaven”. Others on this forum may disagree (please do – we like different views!), but I cannot see anything wrong with enjoying a sense that God is giving to you, and that you are returning thanks and praise to Him.

When it does become a problem is when individuals are telling you that one single place is the only place that you can do that. What sort of God only exists in one building? What sort of God would cut you off forever/ abandon His plans for revival/ move you onto a lower path if you missed one meeting?

I was a member of Struthers for a number of years, and found it very difficult to reconcile the two sides of my experience – the bit that said “this is a real experience, the leaders must be right” and “there are things here that cannot be right”. I certainly did not find it easy to choose between these two apparently contradictory positions.

What I realised (many painful years after I left) was that the first statement; “this is a real experience, the leaders must be right” has no basis at all in scripture. There is no place that is says that a real experience proves that the leaders are right. In fact, it says quite the opposite. Time and time again, the Bible shows the faults in the leaders, demonstrating without any doubt that doing something for God does NOT make you perfect. Other than Jesus himself, all of the leaders are shown with their faults, and we are never, never encouraged to follow them blindly.

You may be experiencing God, the leaders may be experiencing God and even working wonders, but these are NOT the tests the Bible recommends you use. It certainly does recommend that you do test the leadership however.

If you are doing so, you should make sure you are clear about the nonsense spoken about the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” verse. If you have a look, you will see that there are lots of sites with info about how much that line is abused. (I got 132,000 when I typed the phrase into Google). Have a look at [smallvoices.net], or just do a search yourself. I am sure you will find lots of interesting info about the meaning of that verse, and how a variety of organisations abuse it.

So, I would say – read what the Bible says about how to judge leadership, read what this site says about warning signs (see [www.culteducation.com]), and, as Jesus himself said “FEAR NO MAN” (or woman!)

All the very best uncertain. I hope and pray that you will continue to enjoy the presence of God, and that you will not let any human being stand between you and all that is good.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Treetop ()
Date: March 14, 2011 04:24AM

Hi Uncertain,

I agree with your unease about putting church events before your family. How are we ever going to win our family and friends for Christ if we don't spend time with them and demonstrate our love to them practically? Also, I think God wants us to enjoy the blessings of family. Struthers leaders seem to ignore the fact that the family is the model for christian brotherhood – not the other way round.

Please take heart about holiness teaching and high standards - many other churches have these too. Since coming out of Struthers I've been amazed at the level of commitment and holiness in other churches – I'd been led to believe that Struthers was special in this respect. Well, it's simply not the case!

I also identify with your heart-felt seeking for God's presence. I was reluctant to leave Struthers because I didn't want to loose the chance to feel that presence. But I was really worried about the control of people's private lives (my own included) and the questionable Bible teaching, so in the end I did leave and I actually found myself growing in spiritual life and understanding of the Bible. I hadn't realised that I'd been in limbo for years. It was so scary to move out the 'fold' and try to settle in to another church, but it was the best move ever. I've now got pastors, elders and trained counsellors, who see their role as being there to support me to grow in God. I don't worry about being judged or feel guilty any more. I just feel happy and free and I think that's the way Christian life is supposed to be!

I think many people are confused because God's presence can be felt deeply during meetings in Struthers. It's easy to assume God's presence is a confirmation of all the teaching from the platform. But when you read the Bible, it says all you need are two or three people gathered in God's Name and He will be there too. God's presence can be deeply felt in other churches too.

I wish you all the very best in your journey.
From Treetop

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Archbishop Laud ()
Date: March 14, 2011 04:27AM

All very interesting. The commentary on the possible use of church funds to subsidise the church school are of particular interest to me. I vividly recall the announcement on a Saturday night that SMC had been led to start a private school. The speaker that night, one of the main leaders, took the opportunity not just to talk up private Christian schools but also to talk down mainstream state schools, suggesting they were seriously compromised by Satan.

I was horrified, for the following reasons:

1. I believe it is God's will that Christians should be 'in the world but not of it'.
2. Putting Christian children into a holy huddle seven days a week is not in their interests.
3. Evacuating Christians from mainstream schools can only damage these schools and make them even worse than SMC was saying they were.
4. I personally believe that private education is wrong. Rich and poor (as well black and white, Christian and Muslim, etc, etc, should be educated together. That for me is the meaning of 'education' (leading out of ignorance).
5. It was actually not the Struthers way. One of the strengths of the church had been its teachers and headmaster serving out their vocations in mainstream schools. Suddenly a new policy was in vogue...

I put these points to the leaders. They rebutted me. They were certain they had been led to start Cedars. Therefore, my points were of no account; indeed, I was the voice of opposition, of Satan.

Whoever was right on the substantive issue, the leaders' response was, I suggest, the opposite of Christian.

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