An Open Letter To My Former Religion

Dear United Pentecostal Church members and leaders,

I am one of your poster children for a model UPC home. My parents were at your churches every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, Friday youth service, and Monday prayer meeting. I attended every camp, convention, and conference for a total of 25 years of my life. I Bible quizzed, memorized thousands of Bible verses, was baptized in Jesus name, sang on the praise team, cleaned the church, taught Sunday School, was married in one of your churches to my husband who grew up in a similar UPC home. I had two babies in your church, my children were baptized by your ministers, went to every camp, convention, and Bible quiz tournament possible. Your church organization consumed my entire upbringing and life until I was 33 years old. All of my friends and family were there for lifetimes and longer. It was literally all I knew.

And then a light went off in my head. God gave me a revelation of grace and I left your organization.

While in the process of leaving, I tried to do everything right. I was terrified to lose every relationship I ever had. And terrified for good reason. I knew I was always taught, if not directly, indirectly my UPC friends and family would rather see me sitting on a bar stool than attend another denominational church. I went out of my way to reach out and try to make peace with everyone I knew I was going to hurt by leaving, but they no longer looked at me as a friend, but a soul to be saved. Years of history and friendships of people who were supposed to be closer to me than family were lost as I tried in desperation and loneliness to create a new life in a new church alone.

I say all of this to get to the point: “backsliders” don’t come back to your churches for good reasons. And I don’t mean coming back to attend as a member, (although this applies in that situation as well) but coming back to your building in general for fundraisers, weddings, showers, birthday parties, things of this nature.

And I’m going to clue you in as to why.

Number one: we no longer agree with your hyper aggressive oppression. Which is ultimately why most people leave to begin with.

And,

Number two: and this is a big one, your attitude of arrogance and hatefulness toward those who have left your organization and moved on to another church denomination.

You can say it isn’t there, but it is alive and well. Trickling down from leadership all the way to the children. Just ask my kids, they will tell you how their “friends” responded to our leaving.

On top of ministry calling and telling my close friend I would be a bad influence on her if she continued to be my friend (happened multiple times) I have been told things personally such as:

I made someone nauseous.

I am going to hell and taking my kids with me.

They hope I never sleep again.

I am being rebellious and need to come home.

These are just the few that come to the top of my head. But, (after much prayer) I can’t blame these people for saying such things. It is what they have been taught by their leaders to say.

Recently, it was brought to my attention a post made on Facebook by an Apostolic Pentecostal minister. In this post, while describing us people who have left “the truth” he calls us “rotten”, “disgusting”, and “monsters”. He then misrepresents several Bible verses and ends by saying we will pay a “terrible price”.

Let me ask you this: In my shoes, would you feel comfortable visiting a church where this is the common attitude of the leaders? A place where they think you are literally a monster?

IF in fact you have the “truth”, and people attending your churches are the only ones going to heaven, why on earth would it seem to be a good idea to treat others in this manner?

When my extended family left after dedicating their lives for years to the benefit of your organization, they were treated to the same behaviors my husband and I were. To this day no one has even contacted some of them to let them know they are missed. People whom they saw week after week, year after year, decade after decade just dropped them like a hot potato. It hurts and it takes years to get over the scars it creates.

All of the love bombing in the world wouldn’t make me come near one of your church services again. And the only reason I can walk through a United Pentecostal Church door for non-services is by the grace of God Himself. The unwavering, faithful love of Jesus Christ and the healing power of the Holy Spirit has been washing my wounds from your so-called churches and allowing me to heal in His time.

When a church creates these types of scars to it’s most faithful members, is it really truth bearing or is it truth stunting? Jesus himself is the the way, the truth and the life, and to imply that a man made religious organization is the “truth” is heresy at its finest.

I sincerely hope that your organization tunes an ear and listens to the thousands of people who have left your churches. People who you consider “monsters” that now according to your own teachings face an eternity in hell, and see why they are never coming back. Instead of blaming those who have left, maybe the problem lies from within.

Sincerely,

A “rotten, disgusting, truth-hating monster”

17 Comments on “An Open Letter To My Former Religion”

  1. Truth. Our leaving was almost 30 years ago. People we’d been friends with for years would turn their grocery cart around in an aisle and go the othr way , rather than have to ignore us when we gave them a friendly greeting. I always forgave them , as I knew they ignorantly following the orders of Pastor Mitchell. Those poor people would have drank the Kool aid if he said do it. I am so thankful to be free from the this oppressive and legalistic form of religion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. BRAVO! I am very happy that you are finding your voice and speaking out. I wish you and your family all the best as you explore what life outside is really like. I lived inside the church cult for 20 years, and in my expedrience, the first 5 years out were the hardest. Keep writing and sharing, I know people appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just left a year ago after being in UPC for almost 50 years. There is a freedom I have experienced like never before. Not in my outward appearance as some would guess I am speaking of, but in worship and relationship with my Savior. I am no longer living in fear that I am not doing things just right or dressing just right or conducting myself just right. Condemnation, judging and being judged is what I lived under in the UPC. Jesus is who I answer to now and his Word is my guide.

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  4. I am 51 years old age. And have been in this for nearly my whole life. 3 years ago I was tired of all the man made rules etc. I have freedom in christ and we don’t need to be pressed down like that. I have been shunned from family and friends. Unbelievable. that’s not what Christ would do. Hang in there and be who God called you to be. be blessed

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you for finally breaking free! The UPC system is very oppressive, especially to women! It is a breath of fresh air to not have to conform!

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    • Man made rules? They are set by God not man its not what you have to do its what you get to do for all that He’s done it’s not much to ask to God Christ act like Christ walk like Christ to be like Christ as what scripture says and that’s what we’re striving to be if you don’t want that that you love me and one day that all will fade away without Holiness no one will see the kingdom of God follow God’s rules that deal with what the world has.

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      • I feel bad for you that you feel that Jesus’s sacrifice alone is not enough to make you holy. There is absolutely nothing us as humans can do that will bring us holiness or righteousness. If there were, Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:21)
        Personally, I am thankful the burden of salvation lies not on my shoulders, but on His.
        And, if you tragically feel like the “rules” aren’t man made, I suggest maybe doing a history lesson on the origin of the UPCI and also reverting back to the original Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts. It is very plain the organization’s ideals are flawed.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello,

    I am a former UPC/Apostolic. I have a blog about those impacted by cults and I would like to interview you. Please go to my site and use my contact form. I will email you some questions to answer then post them on my site. I admire your courage and would like for your voice to be heard and for your story to help another. Thank you for sharing this, it inspired me.

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  6. I’m now 60, left when I was 49. I live In the most awesome Grace of our Lord and Saviour. I grew up in a UPC preachers home with 10 siblings who are all either still a part of that group or have moved on to another with stricter man made views or enlightened views. (Men have beards woman wear pants) it’s all a disguise. I’m glad your out and are using your gift of writing for the Glory of God and growth of fellow Christians.

    Liked by 1 person

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