By A Former Member

I am an ex-member who walked away about 3 years ago, after four years of membership in the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI).

The reason I left was because my pastor asked me questions about my sex life with my husband. I thought he'd crossed the line by asking me such questions. I told my husband about the pastor's questions, who never went to church with me except on special occasions.

After I told my husband what he said, I left and when I did the pastor called me and harassed me twice. He said my life would be worthless if I left. It was a horrible experience. I felt like I had been raped.

I used to work with the pastor's wife, I considered her a friend. My two children had left the church with me and it hurt them as well.

My daughter was a friend of the pastor's daughter. Once she wanted to spend a Sunday night with her dad instead of going to the church. I told her fine, but I took my son and attended services. When we arrived at the church the pastor's daughter wanted to know why my daughter had stayed at home. We told her that she wanted to spend time with her father. Her reply was that my daughter loved her dad more than she loved God!

Many times I've seen people leave the UPCI because of what was said from behind the pulpit. The United Pentecostal Church is a very controlling group. We had to get permission from the pastor for everything. God forbid if you had your own thoughts! I remember asking the pastor's wife if I could join a swim club, to take my children swimming, her reply was we must be "in the world, but not of it." I wondered why her family had season passes to an amusement park.

I thank God for removing my blinders and revealing to me the true love of Jesus Christ. I'm now involved with a support group in Charlotte, N.C.called "Break Free." It offers support for ex-members, as well as support for families who have loved ones in cults. Our support group also does seminars for churches about the dangers of cults and speaks to youth groups.

I don't blame God for what happened to me in the UPCI. I look at my experience as an education that led me to an opportunity to warn others.

By the way, my family now has season passes to an amusement park and I've started my own cleaning business. After all, I got a lot of practice cleaning the church for my pastor and sometimes his house too.

And to think my pastor said my life would be worthless if I left!

Copyright © Rick Ross
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