Since Jan 11, 2003
I found redemption through Jesus Christ when I was 19 (33 years ago), and I have stumbled more than a few times along the way. Only recently did I come to terms with a terrible need for approval that was inside me - a need that made me susceptible to being in a cult. Not only to be in one, but to be active and "successful" in it - a pattern of living that had helped make me "successful" in most areas of life.
30+ years ago I was a member of a non-denominational congregation that turned abusive. I had been a member of that congregation for about 4 years when the head pastor changed. The new pastor led the congregation toward a brand of charismatic chaos established by Hobart Freeman. By destructive, I mean a mean and rigid culture that: relegated women to servitude (including my wonderful wife who knew it was bondage from the beginning); demanded rejection of medical treatment (leading to the death of babies); incorporated outrageously false prophecy; sent out large numbers of freshly minted young pastors to travel and speak at meetings over a wide area; and much more. I hang my head in shame now as think of it, and of my part in it, however small.
My wife and I left that church before too long. However, I did not come to terms with how hurt I was for about 20 years. I could not face facts about how painful and destructive it was to me until about 4 years ago. The testimony of recovering Mormons helped me the most. Their testimonies helped me admit to myself that I had been in a cult (though not a Mormon one). Most importantly, their testimonies helped me to see the terrible need for approval that was inside me. Testimonies about the confusion, pain, anger and guilt were very similar to my own experience. Though the theology was quite different, I recognized the controlling and manipulating behavior of the leaders. The denial behavior of the congregation was also very similar (me included - or should I say especially).
By mentioning these things I hope to have partially explained why I choose to post the way I do. My weaknesses and failures allowed me to live in a cult. I lived in pain from it for a long time. I was helped by reading the testimonies of former Mormons. Cults are cults and they're destructive, so I will talk about it in hopes that it helps someone. The truth has set me free, and keeps setting me free.
I've already gone on too long, but there is something else I want to explain: My mother was Roman Catholic and my father converted to Catholicism, though raised Lutheran. I was raised Roman Catholic, and received Baptism at Our Lady of Grace Parish, Ballston Lake, NY. I received First Communion, and Confirmation at Holy Family Parish in Syracuse, NY. I was catechized and otherwise educated in Augustinian tradition through graduation from college at Villanova University. As a boy, I was strongly influenced by the charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. As I now think about it, I see that the charismatic renewal made it easy for me to look outside the Catholic Church, and I did so as a young man. I was baptized again in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost (as with Roman Catholicism), but this time by full immersion in a public swimming pool in 1978. In the non-denominational, charismatic chaos of the late 70s, I met my wife-to-be, and we were married in 1982. Even though I would like to discuss returning to the Roman Catholic Church, my wife wont discuss it, period.
The last part may explain why I post in some Catholic threads. I hope that my desire to participate in both Protestant and Catholic threads does not offend anyone. I also hope that I have explained my confession ("denomination").
Written and posted on Mar 11 2009 in FreeRepublic Religion Forum thread, "No degree for creator of Mormon caledar."
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Quoting Jim Robinson:
"Not at all. Just having a hard time accepting some of their threads (like this one for example) that I find extremely offensive. Im at the point that Im not going to allow any protected LDS/Mormon Caucus threads on FR. You cant post offensive stuff like this and expect Christians not to object to it. And Ill be damned if Im going to suspend or ban or deny any Christian from objecting to what he believes is the false prophecy of Joseph Smith. Whether Mormons will feel welcome here after this or not is completely up to them individually."