Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 03, 2011 06:49AM

To Seekingsusan, I apologise for getting it wrong about Annihilationism; I didn't realise the full meaning of the term. On thinking back, I have actually heard leaders in SMC say that someone who goes to Hell will eventually cease to exist and we won't have any memory of them. So I guess this is, by the definition you give, Annihilationism. I had never thought of that before, so thanks for that.

I also agree with you about Revival, that it would mean masses of people being saved and born again. You're right that there hasn't been much of that happening over the years in SMC and, in fact, in most of the branches, they don't do a lot of outreach or evangelism. Many who join are already Christians who are looking for a deeper experience in God and think they have found it in SMC.

To English, yes, many of the SMC leaders are still school-teachers and many up and coming leaders are also school-teachers.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Biscuits ()
Date: June 06, 2011 03:10AM

Rensil, pretty sure there were about three acceptable professions in SMC - teaching, physiotherapy and photography. Leaders attempted to steer me away from my chosen career in favour of being a teacher, and I know it still happens... another form of control!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 09, 2011 07:19AM

I didn't realise that leaders tried to direct young folks' career choices in this way, but I am not really surprised.

In the 1980s there were a lot of young people in SMC who had joined while they were students, because SMC held outreaches at that time in the various universities and colleges including teacher-training colleges. The result was that after a few years, there was a high number of professional people including many teachers, physiotherapists, as Biscuits mentions, and nurses, plus many musically gifted people. We were encouraged to stay in places where there was a SMC branch-church and not to move away or go down to England or abroad because this would be "taking us away from the Church". I see now the control behind all this but I just accepted what we were told back then and believed that going away from the churches meant going away from God. I think many people's lives have been blighted by the effects of this control and insularity which began in our youth. Fortunately, many have also now found freedom, but not all.

That teaching was/is an acceptable profession in the eyes of SMC leaders is perhaps because the long summer holidays mean that people can devote that time to attending all of the Camps, also being off every weekend means you don't miss any meetings. Or is it the general philosophy behind teaching that one is in control of people (a class of children) and thence transferring that to the control of adults i.e. church members of all ages? Normal and necessary classroom discipline and control taken to a wrong extreme of making people (adults) do what you tell them without question? Or is it a looking up to the leaders who are school-teachers? Nowadays of course, SMC has its own school and it needs teachers from within the church to teach there.

I don't know for certain why teaching is so acceptable; these are some possible reasons. Any ideas?

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 09, 2011 05:22PM

I am not sure that there are many positive reasons for encouraging people into teaching, I think they are more negative reasons (no surprise there).

First Mr Black was of course a (head) teacher, so that made it respectable, (which is a positive reason actually). Second, we all know that one thing Struthers suppresses is independent thought. That probably stops most people from setting up their own business or getting involved in the creative arts. The preaching against everything from alcohol to television or popular music reduces the number of possible industries people can work in, so choices get narrowed down further. We then have the point about people being encouraged to stay where there was a church, so any job that involves extensive travel is obviously unspiritual.

I think there are other factors as well. The church does not want to have to deal with people in real life situations like being made redundant or their business going under, as that might imply that they had not made the right decision when accepting the job or setting up the business. Very naughty, and obviously not in line with the guidance of the spirit, which comes through the infallible leaders, so people are guided into options that are unlikely to lead to the real world problems that don’t exist in the Struthers fantasy world.

Teaching or physiotherapy or any of the other jobs mentioned are fairly safe in this regard – sensible choices that are not likely to lead to redundancy or anything that could be the fault of the individual. Any problems are the fault of the pupils or of society.

One thing I also want to say is about the "outreaches" mentioned by Rensil.


In the 1980s there were a lot of young people in SMC who had joined while they were students, because SMC held outreaches at that time in the various universities and colleges including teacher-training colleges. The result was that after a few years, there was a high number of professional people including many teachers, physiotherapists, as Biscuits mentions, and nurses, plus many musically gifted people.

I think these “outreaches” are very interesting, and very different from what most churches would think of as outreaches. In every case I know of, the outreach has been by a young Christian in Struthers engaging with other young people. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but:

a) It does not actually seem to be part of the church outreach, more an individual directly engaging with people – let’s call then young personal evangelists.
b) The approach used is based on personal interaction, yet the Struthers doctrine is to avoid such personal interaction. The result is that these young personal evangelists are only effective during college years, they dry up once they start work.
b) the leaders have little or no direct involvement with this work, so I am not sure they should be claiming any credit for it.

In my book, there has not been any effective outreach or evangelism in Struthers since Mr Black was directly engaged in this. All other “outreaches” are basically young Christians being effective not because they are part of Struthers but because they are acting AGAINST the advice of Struthers. Ironically, the most effective way to bring people into Struthers is for young people to work in ways that are not approved of. This brings people in, because it is based on personal discussions and interactions. Once these very effective young people “mature” into the full Struthers doctrine, they cut themselves off from others and become ineffective. What a terrible loss to Christianity!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: June 09, 2011 09:49PM

I personally know a SMC member who went to university specifically in order to become a teacher.

Other members of this persons family voiced doubts, concerns and reservations as to whether this person actually had the personality and psychological makeup necessary to become a successful teacher.

However any such misgivings and pleas to consider a different career fell on deaf ears. This person was very much "under the wing" of two SMC "rising stars" ( both now very prominent in the church ) who - it would appear, along with another family member who was also a member of SMC - stood 100% behind this persons plan for a teaching career. Judging by what others have posted recently - it now makes me wonder if this person had actually in some small way been "groomed" by these SMC leaders to pursue a teaching career.

The SMC leaders at the time clearly must have prayed, "discerned" - hey - maybe even prophesied - that this was indeed Gods will and all would be well.

Sadly for this person all the doubts and misgivings voiced by non-SMC family members on suitability for a teaching career proved correct. This person - after several years in college - having failed to meet minimum practical and course criteria set by the university, never became a professional teacher at all. In addition it also appears that the person underwent a period of psychological trauma during the years spent pursuing this futile line of study.

One wonders whether those SMC leaders later apologised to this person for getting things so wrong and in addition had the courage and honesty to admit their error to their congregation. Did this have any humbling effect on those same leaders?. Appears not - considering the same leaders stand accused of similar error by others on this forum.

Maybe these SMC leaders who had so confidently "discerned" and assured this docile ( and "to the letter" ) follower of all things SMC - as to the right career path- later came up with some excuses to account for the "discrepancy" - such as that the person had "unresolved issues" to sort out which meant they weren't "quite ready" for the Lords "calling" for a teaching career "quite yet". Such obfuscation is of course too common in these circles.. Anything that lets the SMC leader off the hook basically.

Isn't it strange how these people - SMC leaders or Harold Camping - always start off so 100% - nay 1000% - sure of their "inner witness" on such and such - and then when LATER shown to be clearly mistaken - ONLY then - bring out the admission that "no ones perfect".

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Stephen ()
Date: June 10, 2011 10:19PM

I guess teaching is a safe profession for SMC. I suppose prostition would have been out of the question, as there is not so much time off. I agree that where there is obviously false prophesy that apologies should be given, as this is bordering on horoscopes, and cold reading as given out by spiritualists. I feel very sorry for this individual, it is so unfair to set her up for a fall, when she sees that she is unable to achieve. Was it the persons life ambition, or do you know if she had other dreams when younger. for example, languages ( not speaking in tongues ).

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: June 11, 2011 11:25PM

If there ever was any such ambition at the start, it appears to have been successfully quashed by circumstances, the desire to abide by all things “SMC”, and very likely the leaders themselves.

I strongly suspect that strong personal traits, such as ambition, independence, and thinking for one self are only encouraged if it can be seen to serve the ends of the SMC leadership.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 06/11/2011 11:38PM by Clive.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: June 12, 2011 02:52AM

I agree Clive

One of the things that first struck me when I joined the church was how other members were totally comfortable with giving total deference to the leaders in every area of their life. Jobs, college, family life, marriage, where they lived, etc. One of the first things that struck me was when an educated woman in her 50s, was saying how she had asked permission from Diana to miss a saturday night service in order to go for a meal with her family who lived some distance away but were visitng for the week end.It was said in such a way so to believe that if permission hadn't been given she would not have questioned that decision and would not have gone for the meal.

I found it incredulous that firstly people had to ask the leaders what to do in every little area of their lives and secondly that everyone accepted this a perfectly normal. Surely leaders should be teaching people to learn to hear God for themselves, to make their own decisions and to develop common sense. Instead they want members who are cocooned within the Struthers movement, terrified to step out into the big bad world of having to make their own choices.

Just before SMC took their sermons offline I heard a message from one of their key leaders who was telling the young people not to consider getting married. She said that if God wanted them to get married, then he was big enough to let them know.

I presume that the translation from Struthernese to English would be "We control every aspect of your life. IF we are interested in you enough to even care about how your life turns out and IF we think you are good enough to mary another one of our chosen few, we will tell you who you should get married to and when you should get married, when we are good and ready. We will probably even tell you if you can have children and how many you should have. Once born we will decide whether or not we will pay any attention to them, but wither way we will make sure that we map out their lives for them just as we are doing for you"

I just wish the leaders would have the guts to come right out and say it instead of trying to spiritualise everything. At least that way folks would know where they stood

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: June 12, 2011 03:29AM

Hi Covlass,

I can recall several times being told - even warned - by a SMC member of the “spiritual errors and dangers" of the “Shepherding movement “ - which was briefly popular among some charismatic churches some time ago.

Whereas the shepherding movement was for many charismatic churches a fleeting fad that quickly passed, it is ironic and deeply hypocritical that it now appears that shepherding is well and alive and kicking in the Struthers group of churches.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2011 03:31AM by seekingsusan.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 14, 2011 08:21PM

You're right, seekingsusan, I also heard warnings given in SMC, from the leaders in my case, about the dangers and wrongness of the Shepherding movement. We were told SMC does not use heavy shepherding, we are not like that, shepherding is wrong, they said. However, as the above posts outline, our natural secular lives were strictly controlled regarding jobs, time, marriage, place of residence etc.

Over the years I heard lots of stuff on marriage and how it could take you away from God and His call on your life. This resulted in young men being afraid to ask girls out or even talk to the girls, which is a very unhealthy and immature way to live your life. We were told to keep the company of our own sex. Going out with someone from another church was of course a 'No No' and indicated backsliding, so we couldn't meet someone who went to another church either. Result over the years is many single people in SMC. Because people felt they were giving all to God, even the healthy, normal sexual part of themselves, they went along with this teaching and didn't dare to question it. Result is that members are held in closer to the church and are more easily controlled. Guilt is the consequence if you step out of that line.

I also heard several times over the years the same teaching which Covlass writes of above, that young folk shouldn't be seeking marriage or thinking about it but that God is big enough to let them know. So that is not new either.

Related to this, re the "outreaches" held by SMC in colleges and Universities in the 80s and 90s, many folk who joined SMC from these were already Christians and were in other churches. We were told that SMC was a far better church and would take us far deeper into God and into great holiness of living and we should forget all other church life and activity, mission work etc and join SMC. So you're right, The Petitor, these weren't really outreaches but more like recruiting techniques similar to those used by cults on impressionable young folk.

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