"I grew up in the UPCI. My father was a minister. The negative impact that it had on my life has been so hard to get past. Thank God I am free now, after I finally married a man who helped me to become a positive person, that was not in the UPCI. I did not raise my children in the UPCI and guess what, they all turned out to be positive and wonderful adults full of faith and joy in their lives. My sister is still in the UPCI and crys all the time about how she is sad and has no happiness. She tells me that she cannot leave the UPCi because of what people would think of her. This is costing her her health and her dreams. I now have great freedom to work for God in His true spirit and love. The UPCI people are the most judgmental and harsh people I have ever been around. God help these people..."
"I left the UPCI church in 1991. I became a member when I was just 14 years old. It amazed me years later how controlling that church is. It is wrong giving people a grocery list of what they can and can not do. Ladies did you notice that the women were the ones with the can't do list? The men had theirs, but it was nowhere near what we couldn't do; don't cut your hair, no makeup, no jewelry, no nail polish, no dancing, no pants, and no shorts. What got me were year by year things changed as far as it being a sin or not such as going to baseball games, dancing, watching TV. The Bible says we should all work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but the UPC doesn't seem to allow their members to do that. John 3:16 says For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever shall believe on him shall not parish, but have everlasting life. It doesn't say you have to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to receive eternal life. Being baptized is a good thing and Christians should do it. This should not however be considered part of your salvation. I could go on and on about this holy than thou church. For the people like myself who have left please don't stop your relationship with God go to another church. The body of Christ is quite large. I now attend an Assemblies of God church."
"I've been reading the UPCI portion of your site, and have noticed some inaccuracies and some things that need updating. One thing that stands out the most is that you post an article from June 2007 that says the UPCI has 17 million members. This is not true and never has been true. The UPCI claims to have 17 million members worldwide, but there are less than 400,000 members in North America, and their numbers are declining rapidly. Also, this article claims the UPCI is growing and cites the increase in ordained UPCI ministers over the last several years. As a former UPCI member, I can assure you that all this means is that the UPCI encourages people to become ministers because it's the only way to attain favor and attention within the organization."
"Five years ago I left the UPC after having only been in for four years. I was amazed at how indoctrinated I became in such a short time. I can't begin to fathom what it must be like to leave after having been raised in it, generation after generation. The condemnation, shunning, the unspoken message that a person has been deceived by Satan for leaving. To 'backslide' is to choose to stop living for God, not to choose a different faith. I have struggled with guilt and a sense of having failed God, though He continually is faithfully answering my every prayer."
"I just left a UPCI church a month ago and feel like I have been set free. The pastor there always cut people down and was very mean. After I left and went to an Assemblies of God church some of the UPCI members said we couldn't be friends. These are some of the most unloving people I have ever met in my life. The people 'in the world' they call 'sinners' show more love than they do. The UPCI teaches that only they have the 'truth' and every other denomination is not saved. But when I started visiting other churches I saw God working and people loving and worshipping Him. Now I am working on not judging people by what they may wear, makeup or their hair. UPCI women might look 'holy,' but they are some of the meanest people I have ever met. Thank you Lord for opening my eyes."
"I went to bible college at Stockton, California and threw away 25 years of my life in the UPCI. My biggest observation is that its pastors are mostly tyrants without scruples. These men often put down women, sabotage free thought, are unable to defend 'Holiness Standards' either biblically or historically, have no scriptural depth, little education and are full of egotistical aspirations. There is a definite hierarchy amongst the 'priesthood' and founding families, which cannot be penetrated."
"My wife, children and I finally broke free from a UPC church eleven months ago. We have gone through hell emotionally and socially after leaving, but it is worth it. I was on the board of elders under the pastor for years. Our former pastor has to be one of the most extreme. He was controlling, manipulative, demanding and isolated us through constant intimidation and fear. The pastor and his son drive Lincolns, live in expensive homes, go on cruises and wear thousand dollar suits. Doctors thought my wife had MS because of her nervous condition and health problems. But after leaving in only a few months the symptoms were gone. My daughter and I suffered from depression. It has helped to find your web page and learn that there are so many other people like us out there, who have also suffered under this type of religious teaching."
"The church I was a member of for 13 years was and extreme one. My church felt that it was so ultra-holy that it would not even fellowship with other churches of the same denomination. We held our own 'Holiness Conference' every year composed of a select few other 'like minded' churches and ministers. Of course the UPC in general feels that 'without Holiness it is impossible to please God.' It is their definition of 'holiness' that is the real problem. Holiness often means the way people dress, but their rules are not even bible based. They often make rules like no moustaches or beards, women not allowed to cut their hair, wear jewelry or makeup etc.When I left the church I was told, 'There is no hope for you.' It is a church filled with fear and judgment."
"I find this site very informative and well put together. I was raised in the UPCI and was a teacher there. I don't currently attend any church and my mother also got out. She now attends a church without cult-like tactics of control. I don't believe that all of the UPCI churches or pastors would go to such extremes, but they all claim that only Oneness believers will enter heaven. However, they use songs and teaching materials from non-Oneness believers. If non-Oneness believers are not saved why sing their songs and read their materials? I never got that."
"One thing to remember about the UPCI, is that some of their churches are worse than others. It mostly depends upon what kind of minister they have; some are frankly mean and nasty, while others might be a bit kinder and more liberal. I remember back in the early 1980's when my brother and one of my sisters moved to the Atlanta, Georgia. We visited them and attended their UPCI church. My parents were amazed that the men there could and did wear moustaches, which was of course a big 'no-no' in the UPCI churches in our part of the USA. My parents have loosened up a bit since I was a child. They now have four televisions in their house. I saw my mother mowing the grass in her back yard wearing an old pair of worn-out jeans to protect her legs, but she still had a skirt over them! When I was in college my mother would leave notes in my textbooks saying she was praying for my soul, because there was no way she was going to stand by and watch me burn in hell. The UPCI is certainly a living nightmare of a church. Some outsiders may be taken in by the apparent 'sincerity' of UPCI members, but I take a much dimmer view of what they do."
"Thanks for your website! I really appreciate the information I have found through it. I am a part of the growing list of ministers that have pulled out of the UPCI and find that information really pretty good and fairly accurate."
"I was a member of the UPC for about 10 years (age 17 to 27), but left when I learned our pastor had been having a sexual affair with a 14-year-old girl. He also used church funds to satisfy his own pleasures. In the church I lived within a strict framework--then suddenly I had no absolutes, felt totally lost and very afraid. This, and the consequences of having married another member led to chronic depression and divorce. Another ex-member recently contacted me and said she continually has nightmares about committing some unforgivable and unpardonable sin while in the group. I am not saying that all people once involved with groups like the UPC become tragic victims. Most of those with whom I 'fellowshipped' though were young people searching for answers, who are so often the targets and victims of destructive groups."
"I'm a former cult member of the United Pentecostal Church. Keep up the work helping others. I'm still messed up in the head and have been deprogramming myself for the last four years. It's hard to get that stuff out of your head."
"Having been a member of the UPCI for eleven years my heart aches for the people in each article because I saw a part of myself. I experienced that same control once, over every part of my life. I also know the hurt, which follows when you realize you have been deceived by people you thought loved you and had your best interest at heart. Also, that feeling of inadequacy, when you feel unable to make a simple decision on your own. I had to build my life all over again, which took me four years to accomplish. I don't believe the UPCI is a 'cult,' but I do think that there are a lot of misguided, power hungry, and controlling people within that organization."
"How bittersweet it was to read the many testimonials of people forever changed by the controlling, legalistic practices of this organization. I was raised in the UPC and left about nine years ago. I have an older brother who still attends and my mother has since given up on the UPC and found an even more legalistic church to join. If only people would seek out truth for themselves. I still struggle to this day with keeping the right perspective of God. When you are taught fear, poverty and control for twenty five years, it can't be replaced with all the right stuff overnight. I do appreciate your website and all you are doing for awareness on these fronts. Keep up the good work."
"I am a former UPCI member and found your site today. It is very helpful. I was in the UPCI for nearly four years and only left a year ago. It has been a hard transition to make. I suffered from depression, but it became unbearable the last year in the church. I am now sorting through this. Part of my recovery is trying to figure out just how much of my depression was connected to the church. My husband is still a member, but he has not pressured me to return. He has been very loving and respectful, for which I am thankful. One thing that helped me to admit to myself that something wasn't right a year ago, was Robert Sabin's letter. Thank you for your site."
"I stumbled across your website while just doing some research on Pentecostalism. I was raised in this mess and was damaged from the whole experience. I can relate to everything said about this religion, mind control, emotional abuse, threats and the ostracizing of people that leave. It's true. Please keep up your work."
"I am an ex member of the United Pentecostal Church International and glad of it. I was kicked out of after I questioned some of the doctrine and refused to allow these people to rule my life. I was involved for about 4 years and they were the worst four years of my life!"
"I do appreciate the work you are doing exposing the truth about this very corrupt organization, which has cult like practices. It's interesting how the congregations never know how much their humble pastors get paid. Most deacons are appointed by the pastor. Wow what a cover up."
"I grew up in the UPCI and married a minister. After 15 years I find myself divorced, now educated as a social worker, and pursuing a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology. I was always told what I could/could not do, who I could/could not date/marry, wear/not wear, and who I would honor/not honor, and at the age of 33 I had enough. I wanted out. The UPCI tried to make me a carbon copy of 'Perfect Patty Pentecost'! I got sick of the men saying 'women keep silent in the church.' In my observation there would be no churches without the women who built them, despite the men who consider themselves 'spiritual heads.' The UPCI does not have a monopoly on truth, and has lost its focus on the simple message of God's Grace."
"I am a 30-year-old man--who at 16 got involved with the United Pentecostal Church. I had a spiritual experience and wanted to be around spirit-filled Christians, so I simply got out the phone book and looked under Pentecost. I picked the UPC--it sounded good. I do believe in Jesus [despite] the oppressive torment I endured. I know those years I was a zombie at the UPC I had no joy 95% of the time--just horrible condemnation. A simple thing like looking in a phone book for a church cost me years of life. I have read recently your information on the UPC--I am writing to thank you for being there."
"I am another ex-UPC church member who thanks you for this site. I got into it at 19 and was involved for about 10 years--then I 'backslid'. I finally read and thought my way out, think and read for yourselves."
"My fiancee and I were brought up in a UPC church. We were very much impressed with some of your articles on the UPC. I broke free of their grip about 10 years ago, but he is having trouble since his parents still attend that church."
"I just stumbled upon your page about the UPC, which I left three years ago. I was once the youth leader at a UPC church. I was often made to feel ashamed of many things during my years there. My husband and I ended up divorced--in a church of only 200, 8 couples divorced. By the grace of God my husband and I are now back together. At first we continued to be members at this church, but we later left because we were not allowed to make our own decisions. They didn't want my son to play any sports, no swimming--the last straw came when they were upset over us putting our daughter in a Christian school (she was in public school) because we didn't consult the pastor first. It is more clear to me now--what a number they did on me and my family. I once had many friends there, but when we joined a new church I was told, 'You need to find new friends at your new church.' Sometimes I miss being there--the services were fantastic, especially the worship. My heart has had a very hard time healing. I miss my friends, but I know they are brainwashed just like I used to be. I don't ever want to become bitter. Thanks so much for taking the time to make this web site."
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