Monday, 23 May 2011

Derren Brown's Miracles for Sale Show (extract)

It was in mid July last year; just by chance I took a look at my Youtube account which had not been used in ages. I used it mainly to put up a few rant videos and put some of my 3rd Heaven Project music on to get it noticed. Upon looking I noticed an email from a lady named Genna who had seen my blogs (this must have been before I had removed them) and wanted to get in touch about a film that was being made.  I got back in touch and the ball got rolling after many questions and answers. She was very keen for me to come down to London after hearing my story and I thought that it would be a very nice day out and indeed it did not disappoint.

Arrangements were made for me to travel to London by the end of the month. I was informed that everything was to be very secretive so I was not allowed to tell the taxi driver what I was going to be doing which was easy as I did not know much anyways. So there I was travelling by train down to London, something I had never done before and enjoying a cappuccino while gliding through the countryside finding that the electronic music being played thorugh my mp3 player went well with the journey, I was already very grateful for the experience.

After the brief wait for the taxi outside of Euston Station and a journey made very entertaining by the non stop chatter from the taxi driver I arrived at a very large and very well to do school in Norh London. I was greeted by Genna, a real lovely soul and then taken through the process before being told the real reason I was here and filling in of forms.

I had seen a few of Derren Brown’s shows but not enough to make me a “die hard” fan, however; there was a feeling of honour at being able to meet and be interviewed by the rather clever man himself.

After being told what the plan was I was filled with enthusiasm with the idea as I thought that the Christians in the States would be easy to fool. The problem was I did not realize until later on that they were intending to put their preacher man in one of their churches, a all but impossible task as these bastards are as thick as theives and would never allow someone they did not know to preach their bullshit to their followers.

I waited outside for my interview in the lovely afternoon sun and enjoyed a very nice lunch and chat with Genna about my “church days” and then met Mark Haville, the man who made the very interesting “Signs and Wonder Movement Exposed” documentary who had just come out from being interviewed and I found it facinating how he kept looking at my sun-spirial wooden medalion during our brief conversation. Before I knew it I was introduced to the lovely make up lady Jenny who had her work cut out as I had been out in the sun too long and I was a little burned. Before going into the very grand chapel, I had some time to chat to Derren about his former church days and what a nice chap he was as was the rest of the crew. They were a real lovely bunch of people who made me feel very welcome and at home. I was a little dissapointed saying goodbye to them that day.

The interview seemed to last for an age. It was very stop start afair due to external construction workers noise and light problems. As the interview progressed, Derren asked me about my life in the church, the techniques they use to keep people in, the use of music to induce an altered state of consciousness and how they get money out of their followers. To be honest, with the cameras and the people looking on, it did feel a little intimidating for the first few moments, but to be fair to these people, a few encouraging words, smiles and I then settled into it all very nicely.

So the interview ended and as I was leaving the building Derren came across and thanked me for taking part and asked me about my knowledge of the bible and asked if I would, if needed come back and help out. I said I would and then I was put back into my taxi with a military precision and returned home after enjoying an excellent day with some lovely people. Derren and the Executive Producer Dave were a joy to be around and did not seem to allow the stress of a whole days filming to get to them. Genna and Jenny were great company too and I was very well looked after from leaving Bangor to getting home.

I was contacted again and asked if I could go down to London again to meet “Pastor James”, aka Nathan, also I was asked on my thoughts on Derren’s pre written sermon for him, which was very good. It was then that the journey really began.

I had given so much to this cult, time, energy and money. I had for the last four years, been researching, battling crazy American fundamentalists online with their bigoted blogs and comments, I had to go through the process of de-programming myself with no outside help and there were times when it was painful and I thought that I may be going mad, but this was, for me a vindication of all that I had been put through. The moment that interview with Derren began I knew that there was no turning back now, the story I was to tell was never going to be taken back or retracted.

The Leaving Bethel Project had gone from fetus to new born.

(The full account will appear in my book "Leaving Bethel")

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Mind Control and Manipulation the Pentecostal Church

Your journey into this circus could well begin the minute you run into an evangelical Christian. Depending what level of evangelical (congregational to preacher/pastor) you will be confronted with the first seed that will be sown into your subconscious. That seed is “You have sinned and are separated from God”. For most of us that is going to mean Jack Shit to youat that time, but whether you like it or not, that seed is in there and at a certain moment in the future, it will start to grow roots in your mind. That is along with the other seeds of “You are going to hell unless you accept Jesus into your heart” and “You must repent of your sins”.

The moment you are drawn into the circus of faith will happen the moment the shit hits the fan in your life. It could be a divorce, a life threatening illness, the loss of a job or business, extreme poverty or hardship and you will find yourself drawn to the “sowers” of the seed. If you are unfortunate to have friends who are evangelicals, their continuous attempts to convert you will speed up the process. I now fully understand this when my late Mother in Law hit me every single time with her “gospel” and it was this and the fear of being locked in a police cell for the night that were the driving force behind my conversion to this cult.

To be fair to my first church, a very “traditional” Pentecostal church organ driven hymns and choruses (aka hypnotic mantras), it was a very laid back place. However; my late mother in law was being drawn by the bright lights of the charismatic form of Pentecostal. She was now teaching me the prosperity gospel and was very influential in my voyage into the worlds of healing and deliverance aka exorcism.  The more I got into this world, the more confident in my “charisma” I became. All the talk of “I am the head not the tail” and “No weapon formed against me will prosper” I was beginning to feel invincible. The trouble was that I was being programmed to be a good “soldier of the Lord” and a bloody brutal one too.

My second church is where the real programming began. From the beginning I was exposed to “repetition”. Scriptures, choruses, declarations are spoken or sang and you soon find yourself deeper and deeper into this make believe world of the Pentecostal Christian. I did some strange shit in this church...going on prophetic prayer walks all over the town which included standing outside "significant" locations and just blurting out senseless stuff that at the time sounded really spiritual. I must of been feckin nuts!

In my fourth and final church, the emphasis was on the worship...I mean lots of it!!! Oh yes there was a hell of a lot of indoctrination however: what is strange about this is that the indoctrination just did not really work on the people. I have now put it down to the fact that most of them were from my first church where they had all been there for 20 years or so and being subject to a far more "laid back" version of Pentecostalism, something I now look back on as being pretty innocent. These people did not get the whole "SUBMIT" programming. Maybe there perception of church life was too ingrained into the "turn up when I feel like and give what I feel like). In this respect the pastor of my first chruch was a bit of a success despite being a bit of a control freak.

Those at the top want to make sure that you stay where you are and these preachers/pastors begin to indoctrinate you into the “fear of the Lord”. This evil process put you into the place where as much as you want to see God as this all loving deity, at the back of your mind there is that fear that if you walk away from him you will be destroyed by him.

Here is a list of the thing I have heard from the pulpit to keep you in check:

“If you walk away from the man whom God has put over you, you will lose your destiny and have to answer to Jesus for it”

“If you leave for ****** you will be out of the will of God and everything in your life will fail”

“God has put you here to serve the vision that God has given me, your purpose is to serve that vision and reap the blessing of serving your leader. You can’t afford to leave”

“Silas left Paul and he must have failed, he vanished, he forfeited his destiny. So the blessing went to Mark. He inherited the glory that was meant for Silas, but Silas left his leader”

That last statement leads you into the next dark tactic they use to keep you in check…Do not go against your leaders.

“If you disagree with your leaders, you are telling God that he does not know what he is doing”

“I have known people go against the pastor of a church a die the day after”

“Touch not the Lord’s anointed”

Then there are those hypnotic choruses and the endless mantras coming from the worship leaders and prophets to:

“Let go and Let God”

“If you want more of Jesus you need to die to self”

“I surrender all”

“Lord I give you my life”

“Fill me with your Spirit; possess me with your presence”

“Less of me and more of you”

The list goes on and now after years and years of this brainwashing and manipulation you are now a fully conditioned soldier for Jesus…well the leadership. They want your complete compliance. They cleverly equate obedience to the pastor on the same par as obeying God and if you disobey or question you are punished by exclusion are be labeled as “rebellious”

Not happy with all that, they want your money. That can become easy when you have conditioned followers whom you just have to click your fingers to get an offering but this takes time and I have been in two churches where every bloody meeting there was “offering messages” where we went about “encouraging” the people to give God (my arse!) their money and convincing them that this is a spiritual thing and you will be better off. After many years there are people who are still in the same old pit but they still give, because they have been programmed to and they dare not question.

The “holy ghost” experiences you will experience are all in the mind and they have been brought on by firstly impression. You have seen others raise their hands and mutter out during times of worship “praise Jesus”, “glory to God” and “we love you Lord”. You are exposed to choruses. Always fast and very uplifting and positive and while you are bopping around, unbeknown to you; you are being induced into a state of hypnosis so eventually when the time is right you will have a religious experience. I will deal with the precise workings of this very important tool in their spell casting over you in another section, but all I can say is that it works and because you feel that you have seen and felt it, it is absolutely real.

What will break this spell for you is that at some point you will begin to see that something is just not right. It may be that you have been to many churches and the same issue persists, you can’t settle

To bring home what I have been advising you here are two extracts from the Leaving Bethel presentation which may explain this use of hypnosis and suggestion:

The Birth of Conversion

Conversion is a "nice" word for Brainwashing...and any study of brainwashing has to begin with a study of Christian revivalism in eighteenth century America. Apparently, Jonathan Edwards accidentally discovered the techniques during a religious crusade in 1735 in Northampton, Massachusetts. By inducing guilt and acute apprehension and by increasing the tension, the "sinners" attending his revival meetings would break down and completely submit. Technically, what Edwards was doing was creating conditions that wipe the brain slate clean so that the mind accepts new programming. He would tell those attending, "You're a sinner! You're destined for hell!"
As a result, one person committed suicide and another attempted suicide. And the neighbors of the suicidal converts related that they, too, were affected so deeply that, although they had found "eternal salvation", they were obsessed with a diabolical temptation to end their own lives.
Once a preacher, cult leader, manipulator or authority figure creates the brain phase to wipe the brain-slate clean, his subjects are wide open. New input, in the form of suggestion, can be substituted for their previous ideas. Because Edwards didn't turn his message positive until the end of the revival, many accepted the negative suggestions and acted, or desired to act, upon them.
Charles J. Finney was another Christian revivalist who used the same techniques four years later in mass religious conversions in New York. The techniques are still being used today by Christian revivalists, cults, human-potential training, some business rallies and the U.S. armed services.
Let me point out here that I don't think most revivalist preachers realize or know they are using brainwashing techniques. Edwards simply stumbled upon a technique that worked, and others copied it and have continued to copy it for over two hundred years. And the more sophisticated our knowledge and technology become, the more effective the conversion. I feel strongly that this is one of the major reasons for the increasing rise in Christian fundamentalism, especially the televised variety, while most of the orthodox religions are declining.

How Revivalist Preachers Work

If you'd like to see a revivalist preacher at work, there are probably several in your city. Go to the church or tent early and sit in the rear, about three-quarters of the way back. Most likely repetitive music will be played while the people come in for the service. A repetitive beat, ideally ranging from 45 to 72 beats per minute (a rhythm close to the beat of a human heart), is very hypnotic and can generate an eyes-opens altered state of consciousness in a very high percentage of people. And, once you are in an alpha state, you are at least 25 items as suggestible as you would be in full beta consciousness. The music is probably the same for every service, or incorporates the same beat, and many of the people will go into an altered state almost immediately upon entering the sanctuary. Subconsciously, they recall their state of mind from previous services and respond according to the post-hypnotic programming.
Watch the people waiting for the service to begin. Many will exhibit external signs of trance -- body relaxation and slightly dilated eyes. Often, they begin swaying back and forth with their hands in the air while sitting in their chairs. Next, the assistant pastor will come out. He usually speaks with a "voice roll.“
A "voice roll" is a patterned, paced style used by hypnotists when inducing a trance. It is also used by many lawyers, several of whom are highly trained hypnotists, when they desire to entrench a point firmly in the minds of the jurors. A voice roll can sound as if the speaker were talking to the beat of a metronome or it may sound as though he were emphasizing every word in a monotonous, patterned style. The words will usually be delivered at the rate of 35 to 60 beats per minute, maximizing the hypnotic effect.
Now the assistant pastor begins the "build-up" process. He induces an altered state of consciousness and / or begins to generate the excitement and the expectations of the audience. Next, a group of young women in "sweet and pure" chiffon dresses might come out to sing a song. Gospel songs are great for building excitement and involvement. In the middle of the song, one of the girls might be "smitten by the spirit" and fall down or react as if possessed by the Holy Spirit. this very effectively increases the intensity in the room. At this point, hypnosis and conversion tactics are being mixed. And the result is the audience's attention span is now totally focused upon the communication while the environment becomes more exciting or tense.
Right about this time, when an eyes-open mass-induced alpha mental state has been achieved, they will usually pass the collection plate or basket. In the background, a 45-beat-per-minute voice roll from the assistant preacher might exhort, "Give to God ... Give to God ... Give to God ..." And the audience does give. God may not get the money, but his already wealthy representative will.

Source: FOR YOUR MIND, Persuasion & Brainwashing Techniques Being Used On The Public Today by Dick Sutphen

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ten Pentecostal Superstitions

Right, here we go...

1.   If you sin or continue to sin you will become demonized or unclean and may miss out of heaven or lose your salvation.
2.   If you criticize the leadership of the church you are criticizing God and will be punished, even die.
3.   If you have an occult object in your home or anything that is classed as “unclean” your home will not be blessed by God and could be cursed.
4.   If you do not tithe you will not have money and the devil or the devourer will to steal your money.
5.   If you speak anything “negative” about yourself or others you release negative forces upon yourself and others.
6.   If you go into another place of worship or take part in any ceremony that is not Christian you will get a demon or become cursed.
7.   The reason that you are sick or poor is because of your lack of faith in God.
8.   If you mix with the wrong people you are disobeying God and will become like the wrong people you mix with and dragged back into the sinful world.
9.   If you walk away from the church you are in you will walk away from your destiny and be out of the will of God, thus meaning strife in your life.
10.  If you do anything that is not a “God idea” it is doomed to failure.

This breed of Christianity boasts that its followers are free. Well I seriously beg to differ. It has created superstitions that bind people rather then free them. It has at least ten superstitions that bind it’s people in fear. Let’s take a look at them:

If you sin or continue to sin you will become demonized or unclean and may miss out of heaven or lose your salvation.

This was a standard teaching in both my second and fourth church. With these two houses very much swayed by the Word of Faith, spiritual warfare doctrine and jargon it became a steady means of controlling the “flock” and ensuring that the reputation of the church and its pastor is kept intact. “The soul that sins will surely die” was the of pet scriptures plus many more which just happened to be repeated many times over periods of time to make sure that the “flock” either behaved themselves or if they did not, they would come running back screaming for forgiveness and then a good dose of casting out of them demons they had picked up on the sin quest…all in front of the flock of course to set an example.

The fear of losing your salvation is also something that the church is divided on. There are the “Calvinists” who insist that “once saved; always saved” and there were many who claimed that the bible taught that not only can salvation be lost by the believer, but they will be punished even more on the day of reckoning. This was a teaching that was exploited in my second and fourth churches. Not only did it work but it also crippled the struggling believer with feelings of guilt and of not being of any use in the church. It is no mistake that these people would often be found sitting at the back of the church every Sunday.

The people’s fear of becoming demonized was exploited also.

“If you have sex with a woman other than your wife, the demons in her with be transferred into you as the word says that you become one flesh. God’s word forbids this union and this gives the demons the legal right to enter you through your sin”

This was a quote from my second pastor during a counseling session with a young man who was struggling with sexual urges. It was also alleged during this session that he had a “spirit of homosexuality” because he dressed too well and he has picked this demon up through one of the many women he had confessed to having sex with. After a deliverance session which had no lasting effect he left feeling bewildered and not long after left the church, never to return.

I have known women who have in the past had abortions still struggling with the guilt because of some of the teachings of the movement. Oh yes, they say God will forgive you, but the poor women still spends the rest of her life in the movement struggling with the guilt and no matter how many times they are “ministered” to they never get free from these crippling feelings.

As you will find on many occasions the blame is always put on the individual and not the leadership. Your sin becomes the focal point for all the sermons these preachers preach and sin also becomes the prison you soon find yourself in and it is a bitch to get out of because even though the God of this belief system forgives, you are the stuck with the sometimes terrible consequences.

If you criticize the leadership of the church you are criticizing God and you will be punished, even die

“Touch not the Lord’s anointed”

“If you criticize the leadership of the church, you are telling God that he does not know what he is doing by putting us here to lead you”

“I place a curse on anyone who comes against this ministry…I place a curse on anyone who speaks against this anointing”

“I have known men and women who have gone against those whom the Lord has put in leadership die…”

“If you go against the leader, you go against God and make an enemy of him”

“You have a rebellious spirit”

These are just a few of the remarks I have heard down the years through many of the leaders and a few famous names within the movement.

Once again the gun is turned on you. If you are quiet, responsive and agree with everything they teach then church can be an easy place to be in. However; if you begin to question, if you begin to say “Hold on, something wrong here”, then you can be assured that you will be taken aside and “encouraged” to do one of two things…conform or leave. It can be argued that the good book is one the leader’s side when it comes to what they term as “rebellion” but this is very clearly abused. The “rebel” is often told he or she has a rebellious spirit and any hope that you have of climbing up the church ladder are gone. Believe me they are watching you all the time for any type of rebellion and it rarely goes unpunished.

From the leader’s point of view, it’s a potentially easy gig. You have people all following you and what you teach, you have the instruction manual to back you up and any form of rebellion can be easily snuffed out.

On the other side of the coin I have seen a church torn apart by rebellion and it is not nice, but you can only suppress feelings for so long and on this occasion it was very ugly. Instead of discussions, Pastor B was always right, God was leading him, he had a mandate and nothing was going to move him away from it even if it meant that people were suffering.

It is quite something when men and women used a fictitious deity to exert power over another, but it is happening all over the world. This is one of the reasons that this movement is nothing more than money generating businesses run by many a power hungry man or woman. The other word and a familiar one is a cult…easy to walk into but a bitch to get out of.

If you have an occult object in your home or anything that is classed as “unclean”, your home will not be blessed by God and could be cursed.

I remember an incident going back to 1992. There was a book circulating at the time called “Pigs in the Parlour” by Frank and Ida Hammond. It was a book of the “hip” subject at the time “demons and spiritual warfare”. I have never read the book despite reading a lot of books on the subject of demons and spiritual warfare so I am not going to judge the book but one thing is for certain it did do, like a lot of books on the same subject, create some strange behaviour in people.

My wife at the time and myself were visited by one of the more “Senior” members of church B. She was the wife of a man who was a bank manager, property owner and former Word of Faith church leader. In other words, you could say a successful couple. You could not mention anything negative around there people lest you were very quickly put in your place. They were that kind of couple. Incidentally he ended up running off with his secretary and she ended up having a number of breakdowns and had to leave the country at one stage…anyways back to the story.

We went though the motions of having a cup of tea and a chat about all things “godly”. She happened to mention that she had just finished reading the book and what an eye opener it was to her about all things “demonic”. As she was leaving she noted the amount of pig ornaments that my ex wife had on display in the front room, “you know you are going to have to get rig of these abominations” she bleated out with a firmness that was disguised behind the humour.

We took the remark with a pinch of salt until Pastor B came to the house and saw them. He must of read the book as he and his wife had been to our home on a number of occasions and never said a word. I cannot remember exactly what was said by the pair of them but it went along the line of that these objects were blocking the blessing of God on the house. We got a little teaching on the old testament principle of not having any “unclean” or “abominable” object in your home and how you can be cursed and allow demons to legally enter your home. Up to that time I had been cruising on the crest of the spiritual warfare wave for three years, it was one of the reasons I parted company with Pastor A and I had read an believed a lot of weird teachings on the subject, but I, for the first time realized that something was not right. You could say that this was the first, even though a tiny one, nail in the coffin of my faith. By the way, she did not remove the pigs! This is a fine example of inducing a superstition.

In 1989 I remember converting a former witch and after hours of casting out demons telling him that he had to destroy all of his occult objects and books, which he did so. I told him that the devil would come and take him back if he had those objects and books in his house. Those articles must have cost him a lot of money and now I look back wondering what the hell I was thinking. My only defence was that it was what I was told to do, not by Pastor A but a very influential figure during that time, my late mother in law.

If you do not tithe you will not have money and the devil or the devourer will to steal your money

If you received a knock on your door and you opened that door to find two very well dressed men who told you that they represented a Baron who wanted 10 percent of everything you had plus many generous gifts in return for protection from gangs and if you refused he would let the gangs come and destroy your money, family and home…what would be the first two words that would spring to mind?

Yes you guessed right…Protection Racket.

Also seeing that the God of this belief system is regarded as a “loving father”, what kind of father would do this to his kids?

The Book of Malachi is often used as the benchmark for this evil scam, plus plenty of Old Testament examples of “giving to receive” which has always worried me as I have read the New Testament God knows how many times and all I find is references to putting money into the church according to what is in your heart and not a rigid ten percent. There are many of this scams proponents who are living in luxury on the financial misery of others. Feeding them dreams of giving in order to receiving, preying on people’s own greedy ambitions in order to line their own pocket and then hiding behind loopholes in the laws of their land.

“I was in my car one day when I saw a sticker on the back saying “Honk if you love Jesus” and I though “Tithe if you love Jesus”

“If you do not tithe, you have no right of say in the church.”

“The reason you broke is because you do not tithe”

“How can you say that you love God when you cannot give him ten percent?”

“Your level of spirituality is measured by the amount that you give”

“I tell you that money is a very spiritual thing”

This account is not about naming names so I won’t but you have only got to look and research some of these famous names in the Pentecostal/charismatic world to note that questions, allegations of corruption or abuse of power, fraud and sexual scandals are not too far away. However; it is the money thing that people most associate with televangelists.

It was money or absolute lack of it that was the reason given for the demise of church 4 in 2006. slightly off the beaten track but considering that God had told these two to come over from what appeared to be a lucrative and lavish existence and set up churches, he did not think it a good idea to finance them, but then the blame goes on to? Yes, you guessed it…the people. They did not tithe or give enough. It may not be the fact that the leadership that is including myself, failed to “inspire” the people to give into the mission to save these lost souls, but no it is the people’s fault.

In fact church 4 happened to be a place with the whole regions collection of lazy, ignorant, apathetic and stingy people. So as leaders we tried to set an example of giving. We tithed everything we had and gave a monthly sum to the leaders. No-one else seemed to go with it and to be honest looking back now I am glad as I think that collective monster would still be around today.
So, the tithing and offering scam is the thing that keeps this movement afloat. Without it, who knows? Maybe these well lived pastors will have slum it a bit and live like the rest of us. They will have to forfeit their big houses, the nice holidays and two cars and the ministry or eldership they are setting up for their children to make sure that they are set up for life and keep the business in the family.

Still with the spin that they spin about what will happen to your money and possessions if you don’t pay into the club is proclaimed as often as possible without coming across as pimping. It is done is subtle ways, though in church 4 it was a compulsory thing that a short teaching was given prior to the offering bag going around. Something that I began to do but as time went by I would just skim past it when I was asked to officiate at the meetings.

If you speak anything “negative” about yourself or others you release negative forces upon yourself and others

The Word of Faith movement must hold its hands up and take responsibility for this evil superstition. It has for many years taught about the power of the words that you say and how they can bring good or evil to you. You may think that it all sounds innocent and they don’t mean every word, but no, they do mean every word.

In the early 90’s I was working with a colleague who happen to also be in the same church as me, My second church which because of it’s Word of Faith inspired teaching seemed to attract these “name it and claim it” crazies. We were having lunch in my little and rather grim office and he just happened to sneeze. He muttered something out and then got back into ripping into his lunch. I was a little curious about what he had said, so I asked him.

“I am healed by the stripes of Jesus” he said to me. “My body is a temple of the Lord and disease has no place in it”.

I was amazed. I had heard a few of the pet doctrines of this WOF crowd but this was a new one. I asked him to elaborate on why he had said it. He told me that if he was to accept even a sneeze without counteracting it with speaking the word of God, he would be invaded but not only a cold or flu, but the demon behind it.

The Pressure on these people not to get sick is immense. When I was involved in assisting in my second church I picked up the Shingles which is a nasty virus which is known as a grown up Chickenpox which put me in bed for two weeks. I did not receive a pastoral visit during that time and when I was back in the church after missing two weeks I was taken to one side and reprimanded for not praying enough otherwise I would of not been away from church, plus I set a bad example to the rest of the people.

I remember one couple in the church correcting me on my use of the word “take care” when saying goodbye to them.

“We don’t take care; we only take blessings” is what she came out with to my shock, but this is an example of how much to have to be careful about what you say.

“Don’t say “it is my arthritis” it is not yours, it is an invading force. It has no place in the temple of the holy spirit…Don’t dare say that it is yours”

The term “I am dying to get there” or “I am dying for a drink” is a no-no with these people as they say the term “I am dying” is you proclaiming your own death and allowing the spirit of death to attack you.

If this is not a superstition, then what is?

If you go into another place of worship or take part in any ceremony that is not Christian you will get a demon or become cursed

This can even go as far as “If you watch this TV programme” or “If you read this book”. The church do not like you “mixing it” with anything that is not bible based. Halloween is counteracted with “anti-Halloween” parties for the children to keep them away from the evils of that day and I have known some Christians given a serious telling off for taking part in a trick or treat, which means many Christians have their door locked and lights out in fear of having to deal with trick or treaters. We were one of them people. Halloween was a time of dread and in our minds it was a time of witches, devils, evil spirits and all things bad.

Entering temples that are not Christian can land you into trouble. The spirits that reside in those temples (which are leading the people astray of course!) will attach themselves to you if you enter these places and you will be possessed with “religious spirits”.

Although they won’t say it directly, they want to keep you away from anything that takes your eye “off the ball”, to make you think or consider “other options”, ideologies, paths and directions in life.

This can also be said of who “hang around with” with the “heathen”. The writings of Paul forbid you hanging with such people and the church ham it up saying that if you do associate with such people you will become corrupted by them. Well I would prefer the word enlightened not corrupted.
The reason that you are sick or poor is because of your lack of faith in God.

This has to be the absolute master stroke of these crooks and insecure Pastors.

The believe must always feel that he or she is the one whom is responsible for everything in life…everything from financial and social success to health and inner wellbeing.

The movement is always trying to promote a God that just loves to heal the sick, make you happy, give you money and make you shine like the sun. However; the question remains is, how many of God’s people inside the movement flourish in the way that the church boasts?

During my time in all four churches and my associations with other churches, I have come into contact with good people, who are trying to live the “kingdom” dream who are clearly struggling and in some case very depressed and frustrated with their inability to be financially secure, have good relationships, good health or a decent relationship with their Jesus. When they confront their pastor, preacher, evangelist, prophet, they are always hit with the same old evil, bullshit excuse. The ywill say it is because of your lack of faith or the second sick excuse of there is “unconfessed sin” in their lives. No way will they admit it is the fact that the Pentecostal God does not exist and all their hypnosis, suggestion and spin just does not produce the goods. However; the people strive on, going to meeting after meeting, playing spiritual groupies to the big name preachers in search of the “breakthrough” that will never come with their state of mind. Putting your trust in a God that is not there is a bit like riding your bicycle down a very, very steep hill with no breaks on and are hoping that the bike will stop before you hit the wall.

Another excuse they may give to you is your lack of “commitment” to God. This commitment covers many things but they will point out at least one of the flowing reasons:

You have not given God your tithe, your 10% and this is at the very least. (They would like you to give offering too)
You don’t pray enough
You are rebellious towards your “god-given” leadership
You are not giving God your 110% aka you have not given your all to Christ
You lack the faith in God for him to work on your behalf

So it is your fault…never the pastor, the preacher or even the god of this belief system…it is always YOU.

If you mix with the wrong people you are disobeying God and will become like the wrong people you mix with and dragged back into the sinful world

I have just touched on this but this is a serious issue and places this belief system over into “cult” status.

I have heard of believers be separated from their families, their friends and so on. Even in my own time in their all the friends that I grew up with or got to know prior to my entry into this circus I turned away from and the ones that did hang around must of thought I had gone mad or been brainwashed. The fact is they were right.

The church does not want to lose you. You are precious to them. Alright…the truth is your use to them is based upon:

Your ability to do work form them without having to pay you
Your ability to fund to pizza dream of the pastors and also that nice house on the hill away from the town God called them to.
Your presence also gives the ego of your pastor a real boost as he or she can boast of the numbers when they meet up with their peers during leadership conventions and you never know, if the numbers keep going up they may be elevated to one of those big named preachers with their own entourage and all the shit that goes with it.

The more you hang with people on the outside, the more the chance is that you may listen to reason. Someone may challenge your attempts to evangelize them and thus making you reconsider your place in this circus. 

If you just happen to find someone who is able to talk you down and you leave. The leadership always come out with the same old spin, “They have been taken away and corrupted by the devil, if they don’t come back to Christ, they will be judged by God and will be punished in hell”…Lovely !!

From my own personal experience I found myself “removed” from my friends, from my Sunday league football team and eventually away from reality. This is obviously not the case in other churches with in the Christian sphere. However; within this movement there is a tendency in many of its divisions, to display this type of this cult like behaviour 

If you walk away from the church you are in you will walk away from your destiny and be out of the will of God, thus meaning strife in your life.

It is this teaching, ideology, train of thought that not only puts this movement in the cult section but also just goes to show what a complete protection racket this movement is.

I have heard this evil bullshit many, many times down the years and boy does it work. From my own experience it worked, it produced enough fear to stop me leaving pastors who where clearly taking the piss but it was engrained in my that if I walked away I would fall into that dark place where:

I have left the protection (or cover, the word they like to use) of my God-given leadership  
I would be open to attacks from the devil on my health, my money, my mind and my family
I would lose my sense of purpose in life as without the Pentecostal God, I have no purpose
I could incur the wrath of God for turning my back on him

Leaving a Pentecostal or evangelical church either for good or to move on to another is a traumatic experience. I have only done this once and bloody hell it is not easy. The guilt you feel is terrible and you feel like you have let God down, then however you convince yourself that you have obey God by leaving and justify that decision by finding a treasure chest full of faults with the former church and then all is hunky dory!

In March 2007, I was informed by my senior pastors that the church in my old hometown of Flint was closing down. I was a bit hard to swallow at that time as only the month before my wife at the time said goodbye and went off to Canada to live. The doors were closed for the last time after a very emotional meeting. I cried like I had never cried before as I knew that this was the end of my Pentecostal journey was over. Down the years I have seen, heard and experienced enough to tell me that the Pentecostal God was not there and if he was, he was one sick puppy.

So despite “encouragement” from my now former senior pastors to find another church, I resisted. My relationship with my Jenni was becoming more and more moving down the “love” line. She was very instrumental in me having the courage to face up to the incredible fear and guilt that was eating away at me during the first six months of me leaving “Bethel”. It was at least two years before I finally realised that the Pentecostal God was not going to smite me or curse me or allow the hordes of hell to drag me to hell kicking and screaming. For those two years I spend looking over my shoulder, waiting for the shit to hit the fan in my life but it didn’t…in fact my quality of life improved and continued to get better.  Ideas formed and I felt drawn to look at and study other points of view when it came to spirituality, something that was completely forbidden in Pentecostal circles. I was alive and my expansion of the mind continues to this day.

For those who are thinking of saying “no” to this protection racket masquerading as a holy belief system, I encourage you to walk away, to leave, to take that step and see what is out there. You will experience the fear and the guilt I felt but you will get through it and if you can find someone to help you with your walking away that is even better. You will get your ex-peers trying to such you back in but keep firm and you will eventually experience a freedom you will not believe. Then you will be free to find God for yourself or whatever path you set your mind to.

If you do anything that is not a “God idea” it is doomed to failure.

Right…Let’s get this straight…

There you are…a born-again Christian…you think…you do.

However; according to this belief system, your thoughts, your ideas, your plans and the plans that become substance are worth nothing unless God dropped the idea into your head.

What is the point of even existing?

This is madness!

Does God have to do everything for you? Why does he just not get off his bloody throne and do it all himself? I

It appears to me and correct me if I am wrong, but is not the whole ethos of this religion to create robots whom become possessed by this deity and do his will and his will alone?

That is frightening!

The focus of the teachings, the praise and the worship is for you to die and Christ to live in you. If you really think about this concept, the more open to manipulation this is.

In the dream world that these people live in. God gives ideas, via a number of mediums (dreams, visions, impressions) but the harsh truth is that these ideas are from you and you alone. I have found it almost funny down the years in the movement that people who just happen to have these “God” ideas, it just happens to be something that they really deep, deep down want to do. I know this from my own time in the movement as I have on a good number of occasions have used this to get my own way. The will of God can be a convenient way of getting things done to suit your own agenda.

The more disturbing feature of this superstition is that you are not allowed to enjoy your moment of victory; you have to give the credit to a deity that actually did not physically do anything to assist you in your triumph. You have to give it to him. It is very much like a slave driver who makes you build his house then he tells all his peers that he built it or people that get the credit because of their position for a project where all the work was done by someone else of less importance.

So in conclusion, life in the movement is very difficult and very oppressive. When you look at these superstitions you can appreciate how forced in you really are and how much your world view is so closed in. Despite the boasts made by the movement of the freedom of its followers, the reality is far different. If the believers in the movement are really honest with themselves they will see what I mean.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Attack on the Self

One of the things that as the years progressed within the movement, that not only puzzled me but disturbed me was this religions’ obsession will “killing the self”.  Really all the fingers have to be pointed on the teachings of Paul when it comes to this psychological self mutilation and its effects on his follower, that is, of course, you are in leadership.  It is almost impossible not to have a sense of “I know, I know…I know I should not think this but yes, it is all about me”. You can see this in the way that these self proclaimed idiots are advertised. The term “Mightily used by God” really means “I am really bloody good” and all the other spin that they spin to enhance the profile of the preacher.

So my problem had a two fold question to it…
1)     If God loves us so much that he accepts us as we are, then why after we accept him, does he go about destroying you and replacing you with a copy of his son, Jesus?
2)     Why does he have to have the credit for everything that we do, thus making us nothing more than puppets that he moves around at will?

I worked out near the end that this belief system was trying to kill me…not in the physical sense but in the psychological sense. I was not allowed to take any credit for anything good I had done or anything good that happened to me. What was the point of me existing or doing anything? It was not making sense, in fact it did not make any sense for years but it was not for me to question, this was a “faith” journey but as the years passed, the more it nagged at me.
So in a sense the entry into this belief system is fraudulent. The potential new cult member is told that God loves them, yes they are a sinner but he will accept them as they are and then he will go through the process after of “cleansing” you. What you are not told is the price of this “salvation” which is your very soul and from the moment you are “born again” into this madhouse, those above you begin the process of “erasing” the “sin” in you a.k.a. wiping your sense of individuality and sense of self out of you because in their eyes and the teachings of Paul…the person that is you is EVIL and the only person worthy to be living in that “sin ridden” body of your is Jesus via the Holy Spirit. The more I think about it, the closer to the brainwashing techniques of the much maligned cults it becomes. 

I now put it all down to an “invasion of the mind”. There you are minding your own business and trying to do the best with the life you have been given with all it’s complications and trials to have someone come up to you and tell you that:

1) God loves you
2) You have sinned aka you are scum and deserve to burn
3) You cannot save yourself because you are scum
4) You are going to hell if you don’t repent (change your state of mind to his state of mind)
5) You MUST accept Jesus as your saviour or go to hell when you die

If you are stupid, like me, enough to accept the offer then the terms and conditions expand from then on:
1)     You MUST attend church or you will lose your faith and go to hell.
2)     You MUST read (program yourself) the bible daily.
3)     You MUST repent of all sin done since your conversion or else God won’t hear your prayers.
4)     You MUST give in to the work of the Holy Spirit in getting you out of you and Jesus into you.
5)     You MUST not question your leaders as God put them over you to save you from “yourself” and by doing so keeps the devil from snatching you back into hell.
6)     You must become more and more like Jesus and not like you. He must increase; you must decrease.
7)     You will continue this process until the day you die as whatever YOU do is NEVER enough.

Classic sayings that cement this destruction of the self:
1)     If he is not lord of all then he is not lord at all
2)     Let go; Let God
3)     Yield to the Holy Spirit
4)     Lay your self on the altar of God as a offering to him
5)     The reason you are struggling is that you have not let God take 100% control
6)     I surrender all
7)     Let my flesh life melt away
8)     Less of me and more of you
9)     Everything you do in your own strength is unacceptable to God
10)  You MUST have the mind of Christ

So realistically in the mind of the pentecostal/charismatic the only person getting into heaven is Jesus, not you. This has to be the case according to the teachings of Paul, you are trash makes it quite clear that the “sinful” will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. So to conclude, this is one real confusing belief system. It has sinners who roam the earth who are saved by accepting the son of God and are then turned into him in order to get into heaven. What is the bloody point of that?

There is a point to it…it is about you, being the part of the machine. Born again Christianity is not a fan of individuals. It prefers collective drones with a very rigid authority structure. What they mean by the eradication of the self really means the eradication of your ability to think for yourself, beyond the parameters of the bible and the teachings of the preachers and to question the “god given” authority of the leaders. That is why self in this belief system must be destroyed.

Here is an example of the stupidity of this system of beliefs…
Charlie has been training long and hard to pass an exam. He has revised and revised and revised. It also helps that I love the subject and am very enthusiastic on the subject and works hard to be the best.
He goes to the church on the Sunday morning before the exam and asks for prayer for God to grant him success in the exam. He takes the exams and finishes it with time to spare and feels that he has possible answered all the questions correctly and leaves the examination room feeling very confident indeed, Weeks pass and eventually he get the results. He has not only passed but with a distinction too. All that hard work and hours of revision has paid off. Hour he could of spent out having fun. He goes to church to tell the church of “his” success and is quickly cut down by the pastor. “Glory to God…but just remember young man, it was God who did this, not you! He gave you the power to do this. If you did it in your won strength you would have failed”. Charlie looks bewildered.  Well if that was the case God could have done all the revising for me while I went out on the piss. The question is what is the point? Charlie clearly made his own success but it had to be given to a God that did nothing at all to gain the success.

I have come across this many, many times. I have had successes which I have know I had achieved solely by myself based on abilities I have had to train and work hard at only to find that “it wasn’t me, it was God working through me” and to add insult to injury I must thank him for it. This belief system does not want you to take the credit for anything; it really hates “you” despite the claims of it being a religion of love.

Let’s move on to the subject of “love”. A big word in the Christian vocabulary but unfortunately they haven’t a clue how to express it. “I love you in the Lord” is a common saying but what the hell does that really mean? Every church unit has a number of people who need to learn, despite all the “warts”, to get along with each other. I have seen born again Christians do terrible things to each other. I have heard countless stories of behaviour going on in the so called “church of the living God” that would give the heathen a good run for their money. The question is why? A religion, well some of the new testament, that teaches its followers to love one another seems to on so many occasions produce the opposite.

I have seen leaders fall out with each other, sex scandals, financial irregularities, cliques, rebellions and have heard some of the most poisonous remarks made about people. I have to say also that within the movement there are a lot of very nice, well meaning and sincere people who would give you the shirt of their backs (though some I really would not want that!. thank you!) and these are the people who if they lead the church, it would be a much more honest and decent place.  The problem is that most churches are lead by the least amongst them. If you think that getting a degree in Bible College gives you the right to tell people how to live their lives than you are badly mistaken. Instead you have ego driven ministers who love to preach the death of the self to their minions, yet live like kings and behave like devils, while their followers struggle not only to survive but to live up to a standard they cannot live up to.

Repression is the word that I now associate with this belief system. I believe that is the reason for the somewhat negative behaviour that goes on inside the four walls of the churches is the repression of the self, the constant closing of doors of opportunity to explore and discover things in life which is blocked time and time again in the name of “becoming more Christ like”. From the pulpit “freedom” is preached “freedom from sin”. Well that all depends on your concept of what is sin. The word freedom is one of the main sales pitches for this movement to its sales base, the “unsaved”. Well ok…the picture I get is freedom, is freedom to choose…good from bad and right from wrong based on my own conscience and empathy with the world I live in. That is not the concept of fundamentalist Christianity, where it is based on the laws of God. So the freedom of the believer is based upon obedience to the rules of the book, the bible. So that is freedom, with parameters or fences based on a moral code given by a “deity” that seems to say one thing but do the opposite. For example “You shall not kill” and jealousy is a bit of a no-no too. However you would think being a God that wants to lead by example, he would practice what he preaches…No way Jose’! He kills at the drop of a hat and if his people just happen to give another deity the eye, they are as good as dead. So even the almighty is a victim of the very belief system he created.  That is why there are Pentecostal Christians in every church struggling with “sin” issues. That is a fact as every travelling preacher I have ever seen and heard has always done an altar call for “those in Christ who are struggling with that sin that is binding you and you need a breakthrough tonight”. That machine keeps rolling into town every now and again and I have know Christians for over 20 years who are still struggling with issues they should not be having to struggle with and are crippled by the guilt of not been able to let it go and be more “Christ-like”.

So there you have it…a belief system that tells you that God loves you and wil accept you as you are, then it makes an enemy of your self calling it evil, it has rules that repress the you to such a degree that “sin” is imminent and no matter how you try to “let Jesus in” it is never enough.

Now I look back and wonder about my own struggles, with my “self”, with “sin”, with just not being good enough. I had been accused by many down the years (none more so than my ex wife, who herself was caught in the web and its strange way of thinking) of not giving God my 110% and they were all right, I could not do it. Deep down I believe that despite my many hang ups and quirks, which we all have, I was not an evil person on the inside who was for no fault of my own separated from God as they teach. Again, you have to point to the teachings of Paul and his “original sin” concept for that psychological trap. The thought of someone taking over me to do his “good works” was to be honest, frightening and also for a almighty, all powerful, all knowing god, very unnecessary. He can jsut come down from his throneroom and do it himself....surely?

It got to the point that I used to punish myself because I was just not good enough. Not the man God wanted me to be, not the husband God wanted me to be, not the father God wanted me to be and not the preacher God wanted me to be. Well meaning people in the church all pointed it down to the one thing that I have not “fully” submitted to Jesus and because of this he can’t change me into “superman”. This mode of thought began to trigger bouts of depression and other thoughts that in Christian eyes would be a no-no. They forces began to grow in me and in the end all that was turning up for church and preaching was an empty shell of a man wearing a “Christian” mask. The amounts of times I had come close to breakdowns I could not count.

The self was, according to the preachers, “always being watched by God”. You are watched at work, at rest and at play. When it came to work, I hated the whole concept of work. You end up using all your valuable time to work for another in a situation that favours them much more that you, doing the same old shit day in and day out. However; in the Pentecostal Christian world that is your “mission field”, “your witness for Christ” and you must die to yourself (your own desires and wants) and work for the Lord and he will reward you. I beg to differ…it does however make you a “tither” and keeps the cash flow of the church going and the pastor and his family can continue to live in comfort. The rest side of things was always a battle for me. I wanted to do so much resting and gathering my thoughts but there was never the time to do it as I had the “good Christian” responsibility of being both good husband and good father, none of them I ever became successful at. The play side of things was a controversial thing in the church. I was never happy that I had to give up my favourite pastime, football for God. So I came up with a compromise, I would bring football to God. This was to become an explosive thing. For some reason my”self”, Jesus and football produced became a dangerous mix. I don’t recall ever being this aggressive playing football, but from the first church match to the last the beast would always come out to play. One of the first matches I put the very preacher who “lead me to Christ” on crutches for weeks and the victim list grew and grew as the years passed. My excuse at the time was that I was “free from the fear” but I think I was just one angry puppy, who when chasing a ball turned into a bit of a pit-bull.  I saw the football pitch as my means of “letting off the steam” of my entrenched life. My first Pastor refused to go on the pitch with me, my second Pastor played the hard man and threatened to flatten me as he had done a bit of ice hockey…he lasted ten minutes and was off working in his shop for two weeks.

If you hate yourself that much, then this form of Christianity is for you. Given them your undivided attention and you will be their good little drone robot in no time…on yes a holy and obedient drone robot. This system hates you, it sees to kill the real you, bury you in the waters of baptism and turn you into one of their own.