Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: July 13, 2023 01:02AM

Hello all ,

I have been silent for many years and I'm sorry for that . Reading the terrible things that are still going on in Struthers has made me want / need to reply .
My factual tale is still on the forum,for those of you who haven't read it .
The damage happened 37 years ago when my husband and I were members .

I am thankful to say that we have lived a wonderful life,surrounded by the love of family and friends . Yes ... there have been "ups " and " downs " and life's hardships to bear ,as we all have to .

I can say , though , that the mental scarring of what Struthers did to us ,as a couple was truly awful .

Thankfully , we survived and are able to tell our tale . Some didn't survive .

I've always had concerns about the " school of excellence " . Not even certain that the staff are g.t.c. registered .

I wish ,for everyone , the way forward , to survive , live your life ! Enjoy each day ! And feel good about yourself !
All the things that a loving God wants for us !
I spend my days , enjoying life , and praying for karma .

One day I hope that all the " good people " will stand up against them and leave to live the life that was truly meant .
Thank you for listening .

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: July 13, 2023 04:11AM

AlDuff – yes, plus-sized Pentecostalism may indeed be quite an appropriate strapline.

It will be interesting to see if anyone does report the incident of a pupil being struck. According to the church policy, any member of the church who is aware of an incident should report it, so any current member reading this thread should of course report the (alleged) incident.

To do so would of course require integrity and courage, neither of which are encouraged in Struthers, so it is unlikely to happen. Current members – does this not tell you something about the kind of organisation you are in, if you are scared to report something because you are afraid of what the leaders will do?

Rensil – it is interesting (and not surprising) to hear that Alison Spears leaving has left gaps in the church (including the role of safeguarding co-ordinator by the way, they will have to update that).

The problem is of course that they have no way of dealing with conflict: their whole message is that God speaks to them directly every single day, telling them where to go, who to speak to, which job to take, what to say etc. In this regard, they are obviously more advanced than Peter who needed a vision to tell him to go with Cornelius, and Paul to tell him not just to eat with the Jews; and also more advanced than Philip who needed an angel of the Lord to appear to him to tell him to go south to the road to Gaza to meet the Ethiopian eunuch. (And, referring back to the issues of plus-sized Pentecostalism, does God tell them what to eat as well? How does that work? Let’s not go there.)

This “divine instruction approach” leaves them with no way to manage different views. If you have a differing view you are simply labelled as less spiritual and side-lined so, as AlDufff points out, everyone other than the leaders end up as powerless sycophants.

It will be interesting to see how this is applied in the case of Alison Spears who was of course identified as a super-spiritual person and given lots of platform time. Will that narrative now subtly change? Will the story in a number of years be, “we always knew she was not all that spiritual?” Who knows?

Either way, as Rensil says, “Maybe, good will come out of this if it makes people realise that they belong to a church which has just the same problems as some other churches and workplaces and is not the holiness-filled church that we keep getting told it is.”

Absolutely. No church is super-spiritual in the way Struthers pretends they are, which is why we are told in the Bible to do things like test the spirits (yet another verse you will never hear a Struthers Sermon on).

That is actually the way it is meant to be, as a disagreement is not necessarily a problem, it can be a way of opening up new thinking and reaching solutions that no individual would have reached on their own. That is presumably why the apostles ask for a collegiate decision in Acts 6, and why other decisions in Acts are generally based on wisdom, not specific guidance. If you are interested in this idea, Matt Perman has an interesting article about decision-making in the book of Acts at []

After all that: Lintar – welcome back, it is good to hear from you. It is so sad that many, many people can echo your statement that, “the mental scarring of what Struthers did to us… was truly awful.”

I suspect there are more people scarred by Struthers than are currently in it, yet the leaders simply do not care. As Matthew 23v15 says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: July 14, 2023 08:42PM

Hello everyone,

It's wonderful to hear such amazing encouragement from you all. Cedars is likely to have many similar tendencies that occur throughout Struthers, which, as you can understand, is a horrifying experience for the children who are taught and practically raised in the school.

There was an assembly not long before I left the school, and I believe a teacher named Miss Emma Rukin (who is now the current head teacher) was lecturing about how she wasn't a certified teacher. She had mentioned that when the school first started, she volunteered as a history and social studies teacher. She then stated that she had completed several teaching courses but had never obtained a certificate. I'm sure she's not the only teacher that doesn't have a degree.

Concerning teachers constantly being a part of the church, it got me wondering about how they promote staff positions. When I switched schools, the current one was continuously posting on social media or putting up signs everywhere when they needed a new teacher. When Cedars required a new teacher, they went underground and most likely didn't communicate anything openly. Is it possible that they only communicate this type of information with church members?

Alison Speirs and her family have left the school, however I have heard that the family did not want to leave Struthers and that they do not accept Mrs Speirs' decision. Along with other families who have made the decision to leave Struthers and the school.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymousfornow ()
Date: July 17, 2023 03:00AM

Hi all,

Thanks for the recent posts - It's really interesting, saddening, and not at all unexpected to hear about these experiences at the school. This is much the way young people have been treated in the Struthers churches, evidenced by so many of the posts on this forum.

It's also unsurprising to hear the leadership are having difficulties, and that such a significant figure in the movement would leave. There are so many contradictions in the teachings of SMC, and so much harm inflicted by them as an organisation, I think it's becoming increasingly difficult for anyone involved to ignore it. I heard Grace Gault had recently denounced the online criticism of SMC as slander in a sermon, and whilst it's sad to hear that's still her position after all this time, it doesn't matter what she, or anyone in power in SMC, thinks - Beyond this forum we see blogs, podcast interviews, websites etc. with ex members sharing their experiences in public spaces that can't simply be shut down from the pulpit or by coercion from a minister.

If you are someone who has been reading these forums and thinking about sharing your own experiences, I would encourage you to. The more noise that is made about SMC, the more we will see accountability prevail, and mutual support for ex-members grows.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2023 03:01AM by anonymousfornow.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: MW89 ()
Date: July 17, 2023 06:03AM

I attended Struthers for a few years as a school child from 1983, and again as a young adult from 1989 to 1991.

I noticed on Facebook a year or so ago that Stuthers were involved in some kind of multi church project to help people with addiction issues. Being surprised that Struthers were cooperating with other churches, I Googled them and came across this site. I read the Struthers thread from start to finish.

I don't think I am able to add much to what has already been said by other people, except to say that my experience was similar.

I am pleased to read about so many other people's similar experiences though, as it shows that that is just the way Struthers is, rather than the issue being my lack of committment and lack of holiness as a christian, as had been drummed in to me during my years of attendance.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: July 17, 2023 07:29PM

Hi MW89, and welcome to the forum.

Thanks for your comment which really does say it all – “my experience was similar”. That is exactly the issue. It there were only two or three people, it could possibly be dismissed as an anomaly (although I would argue that the parable of the lost sheep would still require the leaders to seek out the person and deal with them kindly, not in the usual callous way).

It is however not just two or three people, but is pretty well everyone who has ever been part of this organisation. It is indeed “just the way Struthers is”.

I hope the fact that others have had a similar experience goes some way to helping you and other readers recognise this is just a horrible way to treat people and shows callous indifference rather than the compassion Christ would show - and would expect his church to show.

As for Grace denouncing the online criticism in a sermon anonymousfornow, I would love to hear that. I suspect it will just be a judgemental “they are all wrong and have bad motives” kind of statement, or even “it is an attack of the devil”, but the evidence shows the opposite, as any criticism on this forum is substantiated by dozens of witnesses. The kind of statements Struthers makes – that we are all terrible people, are full of bitterness and have evil motives, are totally unsubstantiated.

The law around slander in (which by the way is different from libel in English Law, but not in Scots’ law) is interesting. It clearly would not be appropriate to offer legal advice in the forum but it is worth noting that, to succeed, the person making a claim under the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021 must show that the person committing the alleged offense (i) made a false statement and (ii) published the statement.

There are of course other details, but that is the core requirement and is pretty well what you would expect. The thing is, I have read over the pages on this forum and I do not see anything that constitutes a false statement. (Opinions are not covered by the way, it is only statements purported as facts.) If Grace thinks that a particular statement is false, she can come onto this forum and ask the author to correct it. That would in fact be a normal expectation in these circumstances – to give the author a chance to correct anything that is factually wrong. I have had a couple of things pointed out to me in the forum and have happily withdrawn them, and would of course do so again if there was anything I said that was factually incorrect. If there are any false statements, why not try to correct them?

I would love Struthers to try to take someone to court over that sort of thing though, as they would have to try to show that the statements and opinions made by dozens and dozens of witnesses were all false. If the statements from all these people are largely true, (and I am convinced they are all true as, apart from anything else, they are all so similar), then it is perfectly reasonable to draw general conclusions about how Struthers treats people. That is not slander, that is a reasonable conclusion and a simple statement of fact.

Interestingly, the act says that an offender has to “know the imputation was false or recklessly indifferent to the truth”. No accused person who has read these pages could ever be accused of “knowing” the issues with Struthers were false – how can they be false with so many credible witnesses!

The reverse however is very provable. If the leaders of Struthers say someone has mental health issues or is full of bitterness, or is acting in anger, or has the wrong desires, or any of the other things they say, then they have made a statement that could well be slanderous. In my view, a quick review of this forum makes it clear that the leaders have no evidence for the sorts of statements they make and no regard for the impact. That seems to me to be pretty close to a textbook definition of acting with “reckless indifference”. (In fact, I love that phrase so much that, if I ever write a book about Struthers, I might use that as the title!)

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: July 22, 2023 05:57AM

Thanks for all your recent posts. It’s good to see more ex-Struthers members and ex-school pupils having their say here on this Forum.

Welcome to the Forum, MW89. Glad you found this Forum when you were googling for information on the church, even though it’s some time ago when you were part of Struthers. Experiences of Struthers can still affect us years later so I hope you’re now doing well.

MW89, you mention Struthers being involved with projects to help people caught in addiction. In actual fact, Struthers has a long history of involvement in such projects going way back to when Mr Hugh Black was leader of the Church, because of some of his Brethren relatives being involved in helping drug addicts and working with the Teen Challenge organisation. One of his cousins set up a rehab centre in Renfrewshire which does excellent work. However, Struthers only had minimal involvement back then because, as you say, they don’t like working with other churches and Christian groups. Mary Black, and those who followed her, especially did not like to have links with churches or groups outwith Struthers. It was mostly Hugh Black who did so and I think he and his daughter, Mary, clashed over this.

In more recent years, Struthers has had more involvement in addiction work, forming more links with Teen Challenge in Greenock. Struthers Cumbernauld does similar work. But what we have to remember is, in order to qualify for charitable status, a church must show that it is helping the local community in various ways. If it isn’t, then charitable status can be withdrawn. Struthers are desperate to keep their charitable status as it is in their interests financially. So what better way to tell OSCR that you’re helping the community than to get involved with addiction projects, which are run by Teen Challenge or other local Christian groups. Call me cynical, but that’s how I see it.

Bye for now.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: July 28, 2023 06:36AM

I’d like to add a couple more things in response to curiositykillsthecat’s post above.

The Cedars teacher, Miss Emma Rukin does have a full teaching qualification. She has a degree plus a postgraduate teaching certificate. She might not have completed these when you were at the school, but she definitely does have these qualifications. She is currently Depute Head of the School. The Head Teacher until the end of June just past, was Mrs Jennifer Offord. I do not know who will be appointed Head when the new session starts. As yet unknown.

Also, curiositykillsthecat, I’m not sure what you mean when you say people who have left the church did not want to leave. If people leave Struthers, surely they have made their own decisions to leave. Do you mean they left just because of Alison Speirs leaving or were told to leave?
Thanks again

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 06, 2023 05:24PM

Hi Rensil,
Yes, I looked at the Register for Teachers, which is publicly available, and Emma Rukin is listed. No idea if she was always qualified or obtained that qualification recently, but she is certainly currently registered.

As for your point about people leaving, well, in theory, anyone can of course leave at any point, but the leaders do make that very difficult by the way they put loyalty above anything else, including integrity and kindness to others.

I do not know anything about the circumstances of Alison and others leaving, but I don’t have too much of a problem with the statement that people have left who do not want to leave. This is after all exactly what we get in cases of “constructive dismissal” where individuals say, “I really did not want to leave the organisation but was forced to because of some action they took (bullying, incomplete payments, discrimination etc)." It may be something along these lines. People are complex!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 07, 2023 01:21AM

On a totally different note, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association lists a number of personality disorders including Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I suspect most of us know at least one person who has some of the traits of a narcissist, and recognise narcissistic behaviour when we see it.

More recently, psychologists and other behaviouralists have been asking not just what a narcissistic personality looks like, but what a narcissistic organisation looks like. One article in Psychology Today for example took the criteria used to determine whether an individual suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and adapted the wording to reference organisations rather than individuals.

According to the Standard used to diagnose individuals, a person who meets five or more criteria similar to those below (i.e. criteria applied to individuals rather than to an organisation) would be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I have taken the liberty of considering how these criteria might apply to Struthers as an organisation (not the individuals, but the organisation as a whole).

Criterion in the Diagnostic Manual        My opinion about how this 
(DSM -5) applied to organisations         might apply to Struthers
=====================================     ===============================

A grandiose sense of self-                Not sure they do a lot of 
importance—                               PR, but corporate image is a
excessive attention to PR and             thing – I am not sure many
corporate image.                          people have Facebook for 
                                          example, as that might allow
                                          the public to see members 
                                          doing things like going on

Preoccupation with fantasies of           I don’t thing I need to add
organizational power and success          anything here.  Sums it up 
at the expense of attention to            beautifully.
employees and daily operations.           

Management’s belief that the              They certainly believe the 
organization is “special,”                organisation is “special” 
habitually associating with and           and take that last bit even 
playing up to celebrities and high        further than most as they 
status people.                            claim a unique contact not 
                                          just with high status people
                                          but with God.

The organization requires                 Yup.
excessive admiration, loyalty, and       
24/7 devotion from workers,       
denying them balance in their             
personal lives.            

The organization acts with a sense        See for example the recent
of entitlement, expecting                 post by Free@Last_sometimes
unquestioning employee obedience          In my view that is a very 
and compliance with corporate             clear (and regrettably all
demands.                                  too common) experience of 
                                          trying to force compliance 
                                          with “corporate demands”.

The organization is exploitative,         See most of this forum 
takes advantage of employees              including the above.
using guilt, threats, or        
admonitions about “the common        

The organization lacks empathy.           I cannot find the words to 
Its policies and procedure are            express how strongly I think
inflexible when dealing with              this applies to Struthers.
employee needs. It treats workers       
like replaceable parts.       

The organization is                       Not sure about the “envious” 
overly envious of other                   bit, although it is 
organizations, driven by                  certainly the case that the 
underlying fear of competition and        leaders are the ones with 
financial anxiety, resulting in           big houses and financial 
stagnant wages and major cuts in          security: see the recent 
operating budgets and benefits            post from the 
while maintaining high levels of          truthneedstobetold at the
pay for upper management.                 top of page 155 as one 
                                          example of this: “Owners of 
                                          Rolex watches (always posed in 
                                          photos), 16 houses in total, boats, 
                                          thousands of pounds-worth of 
                                          jewellery, lavish cars down the 
                                          years, designer accessories… ”

The organization demonstrates             I think most people on in 
arrogant attitudes toward                 this forum have been there.
employees, becoming harsh and        
vindictive when workers propose       
alternative approaches or question  
the status quo.
As noted above, according to according to the standard diagnostic tool “DSM-5” a person with five or more similar criteria would be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (APA, 2013). You can see my thoughts above. Other opinions may vary slightly, but I cannot really imagine that anyone would argue that at least five criteria apply directly to Struthers as an organisation.

Again referencing earlier posts, this is not some sort of slander or denigration, this is the application of clear objective criteria that form the professional standard for a whole profession. The question is not about my motives or opinions, it is about whether this is true. Those in Struthers are after all meant to believe that things can be true or false, not that there is no such thing as truth and everything is just subjective opinion. So, I put it to you:

1. Is it true these are the standards used to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder? That is easy to check.

2. Do any of the above Criteria apply to Struthers as an organisation? How many? Five or more?

3. Does Struthers suffer from Organisational Narcissism? Is it a narcissistic organisation?

All very simple questions that can be answered by anyone with knowledge of the organisation.

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