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My Experience In A Cult

Updated on November 3, 2015
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The word CULT conjures up images of college-aged kids leading isolated restricted lives under a harsh guru; newly independent they are easily hoodwinked. While true, it doesn't represent the entire picture.

I Know: I've Been There.

There are actually over 5000 cults in the US at any given moment, the vast majority of which never make news. People of all ages, races, and walks of life join cults. The one thing they all have in common is that they were recruited at a vulnerable time in their lives. Also, not all cults are isolated communes; they can be as innocuous as the church down the street, where members meet once a week. This is the type of cult I joined.

Because my story has numerous sensitive events, I have changed some names and locations. However, it is very much true. I am a Seventh Day Adventist; some people call the whole denomination a cult, but it has many positive aspects. It places great value on education, having the second largest parochial school system in the world (only the Catholics have a larger one). It also has a worldwide network of hospitals. We love nature and healthy wholesome adventures, and have a network of summer camps as well. Many of my happiest memories were made at SDA summer camps.

I will say this story takes place in Los Angeles County. I was shacking with my boyfriend, and struggling with my job situation. I was in my mid 30’s, and we were still climbing out of the recession in the early 1990s. I started attending a new church; because the pastor had a strong, intimidating presence, I felt he could help me with my situation. Pastor Walt said he could not accept my church membership, because I was “living in sin”, and I drank alcohol on an occasional basis. So I gave up drinking, and over my boyfriend’s tearful protests, moved into a room in a house owned by a couple named Martin and Eliza. Pastor Walt arranged for me to be re-baptized. He also appointed Tallony as my spiritual advisor. She was 16 years my senior, about 10 years sober, and divorced more than once; she too had “struggles with immorality”.

Why did I do this? Because I was at a vulnerable point in my life. I was 1)Struggling financially, 2) involved with a boyfriend I felt uncomfortable with, because he was into drugs and had a violent temper, and 3) felt strongly I was going nowhere fast in life, and couldn’t help but wonder if hell awaited me at the end. Pastor Walt was always available to talk to me, and he had a very reassuring quality about him. There are the makings of recruitment into a cult right there.

After the church service on that day, a group of us drove to Malibu, where Pastor Walt baptized me in the ocean. Tallony played the ukulele, and we sang a bunch of Christian songs.

That Thanksgiving, Pastor Walt’s wife invited me to their home for dinner. The meal consisted almost entirely of fake meats, and the guests sat around discussing their grandchildren. Being only 36 years old, without even children, let alone grandchildren, there was no way I could relate. Something was VERY wrong with this picture, but I ignored it.

When your intuition tells you something, LISTEN!

(Regarding the fake meats – Adventists are famous for being vegetarians. So where were the vegetables???)

Martin’s behavior became erratic, so I found another place to live and gave him notice. He was startled; apparently, he enjoyed keeping people nervous. As I was on the porch, moving the last of my things, Martin came out and physically attacked me. He threw a box of my tapes off the porch, then grabbed me by my t-shirt and started shaking me. I screamed as loud as I could, and knocked his glasses off to defend myself. He twisted a couple fingers of my left hand. At that time, Eliza came out to see what was going on, telling him to calm down. He ran back into the house, yelling he had no idea what was going on. Then he threatened to find a hose and beat me with it. I managed to rescue my tapes, and got out of there as fast as I could. He threatened to “press charges” if I called the police. I couldn’t see what he would press charges about. I had a cell phone in the car; I drove around the corner and called 911. The police came right out and told me to leave; they’d handle the situation. I drove to my new residence and spent a sleepless night there. The next day, I had a shift to work. I couldn’t find my toothbrush, so I chewed gum and drove to the person’s home. My car still had my things in there. Later, after I had unpacked my things, I called Pastor Walt and told him what had happened. He seemed sympathetic.

My chest and 3rd and 4th finger of my left hand felt sore, so I went to the doctor. He told me I had bruised joints, and to soak them in hot water. To this day, the top joints of those two fingers are still bent. I was told it would last a lifetime.

I also went to the police station to see what was being done about the case. They were indifferent, saying it was my word against Martin’s. I said others were renting rooms there, and they just said indifferently, “They’re adults”.

I tried calling my former roommates to warn them, but Martin answered the phone the first time; I hung up. Eliza answered the second time, and demanded to know where I was. I hung up on her too.

Two days later, I was taking part in the Christmas performance at church. I sang in the choir and played a flute solo. After the service, I went to put my flute in the car, and a police officer was standing next to it. He handed me a note; it was from Eliza. She accused me of vandalizing their property and stealing money and a gun! The police had me sign a restraining order Martin and Eliza were placing against me!

As I came back from the parking lot, Tallony approached me and told me to comfort someone. I told her I was too upset to do so, and showed her the note. She told me to show it to Pastor Walt, so I did. He told me he knew Martin, he had actually done work on the church building, and said Martin had called him and told him about “what I had done”. Then he yelled at me, “Let it drop! Let it drop! Let it DROP!!!”

The next day, I contacted my brother, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. He said I needed a lawyer. He also advised me to take out a restraining order against Martin. I went and did this. The people taking the order said they were going to send a SWAT team to his house.

I flew to the BigIsland and spent Christmas with my brother. The next day, he had me talk with his secretary, who connected me with an attorney in the LA area. I contacted him, and he took my case, though he found it hard to believe. I had been ordered to talk with a private investigator, but my attorney talked with him, and had that case dismissed.

As you can see, I was dealing with a professional criminal. Let’s see just how much power the great and intimidating Pastor Walt has here.

The following Sabbath, I informed Pastor Walt and Tallony about what was happening. Pastor Walt said I should have dropped the case, like he said. He said I lacked faith in God, then went on praising my musical skills – as if that had anything to do with this situation! Tallony said I must have said something to make Martin mad, and she heard I’d slapped him. I was too stunned to respond.

I’ve been injected with mental poison.

The restraining order hearing was held on New Year’s Eve. My attorney went with me. My papers against Martin were served at the courthouse, instead of at his home. He argued with the judge, trying to set another date for the hearing, saying he had no time to prepare for my restraining order against him. The judge refused to reset the date. Martin acted up all through the hearing. He said I had given him a false name when I moved in, and showed him some mail with the name on it. My attorney said I had never gone by that name, and he recognized the mail as ordinary fliers. The judge asked to see my license, to verify this. Martin asked the judge for my social security number, and the judge refused to give it. Martin kept saying I needed anger management, until finally the judge snapped, “No!” Then the judge went on to OK both restraining orders, but Martin argued he lived in an isolated area, and couldn’t afford to give up his 5 guns, because what if I came after him with the “stolen” one? So the judge denied my restraining order. I said what if he stalked me? The judge said I could file another one. So much for justice! At least my attorney was able to put “without prejudice” on Martin’s restraining order, so it wouldn’t go on my record.

Again; a professional criminal at work. In spite of his poor behavior, he still won.

Martin stormed out of the courthouse. Apparently, he didn’t do nearly as much damage as he expected to be able to do. However, he was free to try that on someone else, and would be better equipped to do so next time.

On the Day of Epiphany (when the Magi visited Baby Jesus), I got a visit from Eliza. I was transporting a client to the hospital for an appointment. The garage elevator stopped at a floor and opened, to reveal the open elevator across the way, and who was standing there but Eliza. After leaving the patient with his doctor, I returned to my car, to find her standing there with a security guard. I jumped into my car and hurried to my attorney’s office, feeling extremely shaken. He filed a restraining order against both Eliza and Martin, but 3 weeks later, heard nothing. He wound up retracting the restraining order.

So I had a “Passion Week” over the Christmas holiday. Except unlike Christ, it lasted over 3 weeks, and served no purpose.

Why didn’t I leave the church and return to my boyfriend? Because I had been indoctrinated from birth that THE CHURCH IS ALWAYS RIGHT. At 36, I still had to learn this is not necessarily true. That kind of thinking is what leads people to join – and stay in – cults.

Six weeks later, I lost my job. This catapulted me into a nervous breakdown. I called Pastor Walt from the psych ward, telling him. Later, he informed me his wife had laughed so hard when he told her, she almost had to go to the hospital herself. (By the way, his wife is a nurse. She has an LPN degree. Pastor Walt loves to tell the story about how she was denied a promotion because it’s only a 2 year degree, then wound up being promoted over her own supervisor. “See what happens when you have faith in God?”)

Tallony called me while I was there, and repeated that I must have said something to make Martin mad. I got upset over the phone, slamming it down, and the assistants there came over and helped me calm down. The next day, Tallony visited me. At least she didn’t say anything bad during the visit.

Still, why was I letting her visit me?

After being discharged from the hospital, I was put on Prozac, so once again I quit drinking. I took a temporary job doing data entry, and moved in with a care home owner I had worked for before losing my job with the agency. I knew she was bad news; the agency had dropped her because she refused to pay her bills, and she wound up losing her state license for not operating the care home properly. But I felt I had no choice. It was either that, or move in with more strangers, and risk running into another Martin and Eliza.

Of course, I could have gone back to my boyfriend too. That’s what I should have done, but my mind was too fucked up to do so. Predictably enough, he sneered, “Boy, the Lord is sure being good to you, isn’t He?” I couldn’t answer that one. Tallony said that was a mean thing for him to say; that’s usually how church people respond to such a statement. But to this day, I feel like it was a major insult to trade him in for the monsters I was dealing with. Maybe being around him with his drug use would have led me to become an addict, and perhaps with his hair-trigger violent temper, he would have eventually hit me. But the bottom line is, he never did these things, and the mess I was going through could have led me to become an addict anyway. I still feel tremendous guilt over giving him up for this.

As it was, the Prozac, and the other psych meds I took over the next 4 years, made me pack on 50 pounds, and could have gotten me hooked worse than any alcohol or illegal drug addict. A good friend of mine suffered a seizure because of over use of psych meds. For the rest of her life, she will have to get Botox shots in her mouth, to make her speech understandable. She has suffered multiple nervous breakdowns; one year, she had 4, all related to psych meds. Personally, I think they’re worse than the illegal stuff. I have since quit them, and will never take them again.

Maria, the care home owner, decided to move to Seattle, where the laws regarding care homes were allegedly more lax. Tallony was also planning to move to the Pacific Northwest, to be with her sons in Roseburg, Oregon. She invited me to move with her, but I declined. I said it was because she was moving to a small town, and I preferred to be in a big city. While that was true, the other reason is I didn’t trust her because of her victim – blaming qualities. She said since my data entry job had lasted 4 months, I should get back to that, since I was clearly destined to do it. She continued to hound me this way, even though I pointed out it takes more than 4 months of data entry work to support oneself for a lifetime.

At least I had sense enough not to move over 1000 miles away with someone who blames the victim!

Cults (Straight Talk About...(Facts on File))
Cults (Straight Talk About...(Facts on File))

This book explains the basics about how to tell if a particular church or group is a cult.

 

Maria hoodwinked a 95 year old woman into going to Seattle with her, promising to charge her only $500 a month for her care. She also “borrowed” the cost for the move from me. I sensed I would never see it again, but I was so desperate to get out of LA, I didn’t give it much thought.

I loved Seattle from the start. I began attending an Adventist church there, and it was wonderful. Pastor Mayor was even a lot like a camp counselor I had a huge crush on at summer camp. This proved to be very important, because less than 2 months later, Maria showed her true colors. She jacked the elderly woman’s cost of care to $1500 a month, and when she couldn’t pay it, she threatened to dump her on welfare. She even put an ad in the paper, advertising for another client. Then she became abusive towards me, even getting physically violent once. I sensed I was heading for another situation like the one with Martin and Eliza. I contacted Pastor Mayor, and he told me to meet him at the church. There, he called a bunch of people, finally finding someone who was willing to take me in sight unseen. Then he made a few more calls, finding someone with a van, and I was moved out of Maria’s place that night. The next day, I filed a report with APS, and they rescued the elderly woman, putting her in another care home in the area.

Most Adventist churches are like that. You look in the yellow pages, attend the nearest one, and they’re instant family. Few of them are abusive cults; that’s why it was so easy to overlook what was going on at Pastor Walt’s church.

Long story short: I eventually had to leave Seattle under grievous circumstances I won’t get into here. Wonderful as Pastor Mayor’s church was, it could not save me. My brother rescued me, and brought me to live with him on the Big Island of Hawaii. To add insult to injury, shortly after I arrived, Tallony sent me a cheerful email rubbing in my face all the fun she was having and I was missing in the Pacific Northwest, and saying I should return to my job destiny as a data entry clerk and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (I quit drinking for nearly 2½ years on my own, choosing to go back to it when I realized past a certain point you can’t bargain with God). I fired back that if God had truly made me a new creature, it shouldn’t matter which job field I went into. Then I dumped her for good.

Wait – there’s more. Cults aren’t so easily escaped. After all, what if it’s true that hell awaits those who question and don’t blindly accept?

After moving in with my brother, I tried to attend the local Adventist church there, but picked up the same weird vibe I’d had at Pastor Walt’s. However, I kept going, because my brother’s 16 year old daughter developed a crush on the assistant pastor, who was 21.

I felt pleased; how can a girl go wrong, developing a crush on an assistant pastor?

This is how; he led her to drop out of high school and give up a plum job working the front desk of a dental office to work for free in a cult he had formed. He was having 8 college-aged kids sleeping in a room in the church building, and going around selling Bible-based literature.

My brother tried to make her go back to school, but at 16, she was free to make her own decision regarding that. I recognized the organization as a cult (though it would take awhile before I realized I’d been in one myself) and tried warning her about it, but it was like speaking in a foreign language; she had no concept of what a cult is. Incidentally, the assistant pastor had no interest in her; he just used her crush to manipulate her.

That’s what it took to finally get the message through to me.

What is the final outcome? Even though this happened nearly 20 years ago, I still suffer from PTSD – not only because of the attack, but because Pastor Walt and Tallony turned their backs on me when I was in danger. I feel like a total idiot for giving up my boyfriend for this. We all need community and guidance, but I have a hard time trusting any church. Christian music, which I’ve always loved, now irritates me.

As for my niece, because she never got her high school diploma, she could not enter a public university or qualify for a scholarship. She found a private university willing to take her, and attended there for 5 years on student loans. Because she didn’t graduate from high school, she didn’t know how to study, so she took an easy major. Today, she owes six figures to the government, and has a college degree she can’t use. She survives by breaking a Biblical rule; she’s shacking with her boyfriend. He has an excellent job, and takes good care of her – something no cult can or will do.

The help I really needed was to become the new creature that the Bible promised Christ would make me, but that didn’t happen. This may sound blasphemous, but it leads me to think the real fault lies not in individual churches and denominations, but in Christianity itself. So why did I name my HubPage “Say Yes To Life” and promote Christianity on it? Like Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, I’ve come to the conclusion that while religion should not be blindly trusted, it has much to offer and its ideas are worth listening to. I still consider myself a Christian – even a Seventh Day Adventist – but never again will I go against my better judgment in blind obedience. My motto is:

Find a church

Make no demands;

Take what they offer,

Give what you can.

And leave it at that! Come to think of it, with the exception of those who have had near death experiences, no one really knows what lies beyond this life.

Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults
Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults

This book, written by a former cult member, teaches how to overcome mind control inflicted by a cult.

 

© 2013 Yoleen Lucas

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    • Say Yes To Life profile image
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      Yoleen Lucas 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      UPDATE!!!

      After 3 years, I sent my Seattle pastor an email telling him I was doing well, getting counseling for my PTSD, and am even slated for early retirement I told him I was attending regular worship services (not mentioning they are with Baha'is, instead of Christians). After waiting 2 weeks and receiving nothing from him, I emailed him again yesterday, apologizing for laying such a heavy burden on him, thanking him for virtually saving my life twice, and telling him I was going to count my many blessings and move on.

      He finally responded! He said he had been swamped with work, and had just returned from a vacation; that is why he hadn't gotten back with me. He said he wanted to let me know he hadn't forgotten me.

      That makes me feel A LOT better!

      I'm still an agnostic, but I know now to mind my manners. Once I retire and return to the Mainland, I can socialize with Seventh Day Adventists as well as Buddhists and Baha'is. I just simply won't flaunt my beliefs about God, which ultimately is no one's business but my own.

      Seventh Day Adventists are adventurous nature lovers. I really miss that element in Hawaii, where the church is extremely corrupt. It's great to know I can have it back, soon as I'm free to return to the Mainland.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
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      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, word55. Did you check out my series on the world's 10 most practiced religions? It is a four-part hub, titled, "What Takes More Courage than Rebellion? Considering Another Point of View".

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Yo, I'm glad that you have recovered from such traumatic experiences. I hope it has all made you a much better person. The SDA church is not a cult. There are are people that are not what they pretend to be. You should not judge but measure a man according to his works says the Bible. See, the Bible is ours for justification. Satan is responsible for all the bad things that happened to you. He is the one that was behind your niece's unfortunate situation. JC is not to intervene unless He is summoned by prayer of the individual including prayers of intervention by numbers of others. To walk with Jesus consists of being totally righteous. Because of His sacrifice for us Jesus has the right to command that we follow in his straight and narrow footsteps. Also see, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genes...

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      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, Besarien. Cults are not well understood; I think one reason is that Christianity teaches that it is Absolute Truth. All a Christian cult has to do is say they teach the REAL Truth, "unlike the other churches, which are apostate". That's how Harold Camping (0f Doomsday May 21, 2011 fame) led so many people astray.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      That church sounds so messed up. I'm so sorry you had this experience. Hopefully by telling your story you will help people who were in a similar situation or better yet to recognize the signs something isn't right before they get hurt. I am glad you are in a better environment with people who have your back.

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      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Hendrika - I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. Dealing with a cult member can be very difficult. Directly confronting them tends to push them away. If you can, stay in close contact with your friend. Ask her non-confrontational questions regarding the cult; the type that can lead her to draw her own conclusions that it is harmful. Perhaps you can get assistance from a counselor, since some forms of counseling are geared towards getting the clients to solve their own problems rather than having answers given to them.

      When cult members are recruited, from the very start they are taught that they have a privileged status and information, and they are to expect "persecution" from the "world", all of which is going to hell. That's why it's not good to directly confront them, because they will see it as "persecution". Instead, they should be led to see for themselves that they are in a cult.

      Most cult members eventually realize what they're doing and leave on their own, typically after a year. What's important is for that to happen before lasting damage is done to them. I had a talk with my niece a couple days ago. She has joined a volunteer group with the local police force, talking with teens, telling them to stay in school and live healthy and wholesome lives. She wants to make sure no one follows the path she did.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 2 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      This is really scary and confirms my suspicion that someone I know is in the clutches of a Cult that are seemingly innocent but leading here astray messing up her whole life,

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
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      Yoleen Lucas 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Brenda - here is where I get my statistics:

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

      It appears that Christians expect God to solve their problems, whereas atheists know it's all up to them to make a marriage work. Also, there's considerable pressure in the church to marry, especially towards women, whereas the World doesn't care whether you marry or not. Many non-denominational churches offer Singles Ministries, geared towards getting people married, which I believe is one reason why they rank highest in divorce statistics. I have checked out a few of them in various churches; all of them put out a pretty negative vibe. My 3-part hub, "Rhapsody and Remorse", tell about a woman who joined one and got married. Notice in Part 2 that when Raven attends that church and goes into the social room after the sermon, she sees a bunch of fliers there offering divorce recovery workshops.

      When I was 10 years old, there was a woman who taught Sabbath school at my church. She got married at age 25, which was considered old in 1970. Her husband "joined" the church, making a big production of getting baptized, then soon as they married, he turned into an absolute monster and never set foot in church again. She stayed married to him for 8 long years, and I saw how it aged her. Unfortunately, the only thing he did NOT do to her was the one sanctioned reason for divorce; he never cheated on her. Finally she couldn't take his abuse anymore, and divorced him anyway. Lo and behold, the church members backed her up through the whole ordeal. She remarried, and last I heard, lived happily ever after.

      Incidentally, though the pressure to marry is greater on women, they're the ones who file for divorce in 2/3 of the cases. I wonder how much of that is due to the woman more likely to rush into it without careful consideration. She wants the status, and to avoid disgrace - but in my opinion, divorce is far worse.

      As for what the Bible says about this - remember, it was written in a different place and time. The Middle East is backwards enough even today. Imagine how horrible it must have been 2000 years ago!

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 3 years ago

      Maybe that's the definition of a cult to some people, but I think of a cult as a group that deceived people into thinking their way is Biblical when it is so obviously not Biblical.

      There are bunches of them, "religious" and not religious. Most, I reckon, are religious because that way they can ride the coattails of true Christianity easier, get tax breaks, make its members think that the leadership knows everything.

      All a person has to do is read the Bible for themselves! Most of the fallacies of a cult could be debunked that way, instantly. Just like I debunked the SDA. Their disclaimer says the doctrine is subject to change by the General Conference. That's silly. The Word of God isn't legitimately subject to change by a group of "church" leaders! And if SDA'ers would read the Holy Bible instead of using Ellen G. White's messed-up writings, they'd be personally able to debunk that Church themselves.

      As far as why non-denominational Christians have the highest divorce rate in the U.S....................well, I'm not aware of those statistics or where they came from, but just to humor the asking of the question, I will pose a challenge to you as well. If you're a Christian, and you're concerned about this issue, why don't we both go seek the wisdom contained in the Bible and see if we can come up with an answer? Does that sound good?

      Common knowledge gives us some hints. For instance, atheists aren't commanded to be in this world but not OF this world, now are they? So their standards as far as the Bible are lower than Christians' from the get-go. Perhaps they're more willing to put up with a straying spouse's unChristian behavior (which, incidentally, affects the whole family and their learnings) than Christians are. Isn't that possible?

      Let me know what you think. Two Christian heads are sometimes....sometimes.....better than one!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image
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      Yoleen Lucas 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Brenda Durham - thanks for your comments and your concern. I am fullly aware of the information your links provide. In fact, Tallony gave me "The Clear Word" as a gift when I was rebaptized. Having been raised in the SDA church and attending an SDA high school, I know its doctrines. I have often heard it referred to as a cult, so that comes as no surprise either. A popular belief is that a cult is a faction that splits off from a mainstream church, and has additional beliefs and practices onc considers strange.

      While I don't follow all the SDA rules, I do support their healthful, clean-living lifestyle. That wasn't my problem here. My problem is that the Bible promised accepting Christ would make me a new creature, and that didn't happen. Therefore, I can no longer be impressed with a church that claims to follow the Bible exactly, because it didn't work for me. That's why I'm faulting Christianity, rather than the SDA church.

      I have found that though SDAs are not perfect, they do tend to be more ethical in business than most churches. That's why I'll gladly refer to people sending their kids to an SDA school and summer camp. As I said above, those two churches are the only bad experience I've had with SDAs. I've attended churches of other denominations, and have run into trouble.

      BTW, Non-denominational Christians hav ethe highest divorce rate in the US ( Atheists have the lowest). Use the Bible to explain that one!

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 3 years ago

      And I am sorry if I'm offending you with this, but I must say this too----------it isn't just one particular SDA church that's a cult. It's the whole system of SDA Churches! Because if that's the doctine (the link I posted) that they go by, then it's the official set of beliefs for all the churches, and it's wrong, period, because it touts a prophetess whose predictions aren't parallel with the Bible, and it has that General Conference where they decide whether or not to change their "rules", even, at their discretion! That's not right.

      True Christianity is free; it goes by the Holy Bible, not by a group of people who think they have the ability to change church doctrine on the basis of some "prophetess" or prophet whose writings are different from the Bible, or by their own whim, and they expect all church members to take their word as Gospel!

      Sister, you were being seduced by a bunch of people who think they own you.

      Yet, you are owned by Christ if you're born-again! And nothing can pluck you out of His hand, unless you let 'em!

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 3 years ago

      If you really did give your heart to Jesus, then AMEN and I'm so glad!

      It seems you've been sidetracked, however, by joining a Church that's religious but not necessarily Christian.

      There's a difference between the Christian religion and just being simply a Christian. When we get saved, we automatically become a part of the Spiritual church of Christ's; we are His; every person who's born-again is part of His church.

      I would suggest you read up on the beliefs and doctrines of all the major denominations including those links about the SDA.

      I've been to several different churches in my lifetime. I now go to a non-denominational church that goes by the Bible and not any other writings. The reason I don't go to a Separate Baptist one is because there aren't any close to me. And I've found that most preachers expect people to take their word as Gospel. Yet many of them speak things contrary to the Gospel from their pulpits.

      I follow no preacher blindly anymore! I always compare what they say to the Bible's words and intent. And especially I refuse to allow any Church to hold sway over my livelihood or my life or my beliefs. There are just too many impure churches and ones who've veered off into a wrong course. Churches like the SDA and the Jehovah's Witnesses are easily debunked, easily exposed as cults. Some others are not.

      But please don't keep blaming Christianity! It is the founders of churches and the leaders of them that are responsible when they veer off course. It isn't Christ's fault!

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 3 years ago

      http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/

      There ya go.

      Their statement at the top of the page is very revealing, after it's re-read..........they basically say the Bible is the authority, BUT that the "General Conference" may change that! Pay attention to that.

      A real Christian church won't allow for any "change" in authority. They will go by the Bible as the ultimate written authority.

      Yet, as I read all the points down the page, I was even liking their doctrinal points.................UNTIL.......the section about prophets where they named Ellen G. White. Ahhh.........one of the co-founders of the SDA Church.

      I have a friend who has researched this quite well, and he says (just like that first article says) that the SDA Church "judges" the Bible by Ellen G. White's writings (which are often much different from the Bible) instead of using the Bible to "judge" Ellen's writings.

      That's one of the more obvious makings of a cult.

      A true Christian church will use the Bible instead of any church founder's writings.

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      Brenda Durham 3 years ago

      Say Yes To Life, it's sad that you were abused by church members.

      I'm even sadder that you've formed the opinion that Christianity is at fault and not individual Churches and people.........

      Because I can tell you personally that Christianity isn't found in a Church necessarily.......

      Christianity is simply Faith in Christ (the Word in the flesh) and in His literal word (the Holy Bible).

      There ARE some denominations and Churches that follow that doctrine (Christ, the Holy Bible) without all the surrounding "religion" that sullies the true Faith. I was raised in the Separate Baptist Church and it remains the most closely-pure Church that I've found as far as their beliefs.

      As far as the SDA Church...........as soon as I read your statement about that being the Church you were in (and still are "in", correct?).......I knew then what you meant by a cult, because I've known about them for a long time.

      I can offer some information if you'd like to read it.

      http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/S...

      and I'll be back with another link that confirms my belief that the SDA Church is a cult.

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      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thank you for your kind, considerate comment. Yes, Pastor Walt is an SDA pastor. I am fully aware that he is an exception to the rule. I have been to many SDA churches in numerous states, and he and the pastor who led to my niece's downfall are the ONLY negative cases I've come across. So I know better than to judge the SDA church based solely on them!

      I attended an SDA high school in violence-riddled Oakland; it saved my life. I was taught many healthful habits, mental as well as physical, that have helped me tremendously since. That's why to this day, I still have my health, sanity, even youthful vitality.

      Thank you for the Bible verse! The SDA church teaches many things that help people prosper. In fact, while immigrants to the US may take 3 generations to achieve the American Dream, SDAs take only 2 generations, because they're not sidetracked by vices.

      Again, thanks for your comment!

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      Yves 4 years ago

      Was Pastor "Walt" a member of SDA? I wasn't sure in reading your hub. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I do not see SDA's as a cult religion - primarily because they have excellent universities and the prestigious Loma Linda Hospital, not to mention a very good message about healthy living. They also believe in the Trinity. At any rate, if this Pastor Walt was an SDA, he certainly was a horrible example. Abusers often seek positions of authority. They can be policemen, military men, ministers, fathers and mothers. They are everywhere. How horrible that you have encountered such abusive people. Whatever you think, please let go of your guilt about leaving your boyfriend. He was an addict - and abusive. Women have no business being with men like that for any reason whatsoever. If he decides to change, it is up to him. There is absolutely nothing you can do for him except to pray. I wish you well in life from here on out. A bible verse that I appreciate is Jeremiah 29:11. Look it up if you care to.

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      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      "Having someone manipulate one's thoughts to a point where they believe they are powerless to survive without the (group) is what keeps people there. Even those who "escape" often return at the first sign hardship."

      Amen to that!!!

      Also, you're right that people who are satisfied with their lives (happy) don't join cults.

      I think teaching a course on the 10 major religions of the world is an excellent idea! It should be offered at all schools, especially religious ones. With 7 billion people and 5000 nationalities on Earth, there has to be more than one way to think. So teach the kids early, and let them choose which religion works best for themselves.

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      dashingscorpio 4 years ago

      Maybe religion is best learned as a correspondence or independent study course! It seems like the people who are hurt the most are those who (trusted) others within an organization. The truth is anyone can talk to God on their own without the help of a "middleman" or organized religion.

      I'm not saying this is the case for you but there are many (sheep) or (followers) that want to put their life in the hands of others to take care of them. This is especially true of those that join cults which are isolated from main society. They just want to get away from all the stresses and demands of day to day life. However everything comes with a price. Having someone manipulate one's thoughts to a point where they believe they are powerless to survive without the (group) is what keeps people there. Even those who "escape" often return at the first sign hardship.

      Happy people generally do not join cults.

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      Rayne123 4 years ago

      Ah yes I am with you on that I understand completely how they keep themselves hidden. There will be a story on that. Sad that people are so brainwashed to these hidden ones, then through karma find out the truth, sometimes when it is too late.

      thank you

      Laurie

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      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Also - Martin is not a famous criminal, in case you're wondering that. Professional criminals know how to keep themselves hidden. The ones you hear about are either stupid or really outrageous.

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      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is characterized by flashbacks, reliving a traumatic experience especially when reminded of it through anniversary dates or similar situations. A person can experience nightmares or sleeplessness. They tend to obsess over it, and can't think of anything else.

      Martin is the landlord who attacked me when I moved out of his house. Apparently he had made friends with Pastor Walt and several members of the police force, which is why he got away with that.

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      Rayne123 4 years ago

      Great story, but what is Ptsd and who was Martin, I know names have been changed, but just wondering if he was a guest there also.

      Glad it worked out

      Laurie