Former UPCI Member Speaks Out

July 25, 1997

I am writing in regards to the United Pentecostal Church [UPCI] or "Oneness Movement." I have read the testimony...about [Kathy] Tonkin, but personally I went through some bad abuse myself.

I can't believe a grown man would be treated the way I was. I have serious medical problems, the complications of diabetes. However, I can still drive, no amputations THANK GOD. I was introduced to the "Oneness teaching" seven years ago and I attended a [UPCI] church.

What really hurts and still does, [is this incident]. I broke by foot and I couldn't make it to church one night. But the pastor insisted that I attend anyway, so I did. When the song service was over and the sermon began his first words were "there are people who just drag into church," at the same he mimicked someone limping. Of course, I was the only person with a broken foot there.

I felt ridiculed and stopped going to that church and there was more than this incident that was unjustified. After that service, about three weeks later, I went to an auction and saw a woman from the church. When she saw me, I was shunned, and she turned her head up and away. I thought would Christ do that?

Later, I listened to a taped sermon that the pastor preached and realized why I was treated that way. The pastor said "be proud of who you are hold your head up high, if you come across someone who leaves the truth, walk or run the other way." I know that's why I was shunned and to this day I am still shunned. It's been real hard to trust anyone, get back to God, or even find friends. I am still seeking people I can trust in a church. I feel my mind was raped and still carry around a lot of excess baggage, burdens, fears and guilt.

I have noted that there is no treasurer [in my former church] and no one knew how much was taken in in tithes and offernings. I also noticed that the pastor had a fifth wheel, a supercab pickup, new van, car, house and other property. I wonder about all this.

Copyright © 1997 Rick Ross
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