One of the staple teachings I had growing up in the Stanton Church of Christ was the idea that truth never changes. Therefore, if any church had ever changed their doctrines, you could be assured it was not the True Church, because 1 Tim 3:15 says the True Church is the pillar and the ground of the unchanging truth.
The only problem is that the church has most definitely changed its doctrines over the years. That’s the purpose of the May Meetings, in fact…to discuss doctrine and reach conclusions for the sake of “unity.” Invariably, each May Meeting creates a flurry of excitement around all the “new understandings” of scripture “brought back” from the meeting.
These “church councils,” which are nothing more than the equivalent of the Baptist convention, where the Baptists get together to decide their doctrinal updates for the year, have produced some remarkable changes in doctrine. However, it’s been my experience that members will not admit that doctrines have changed–ever. To admit this is to admit that The Church doesn’t have a lock on truth, and that other people might just have a better grasp of what is true than they do. This cannot be admitted at any cost, so it’s better in their minds to deny that doctrines have changed at all.
Nevertheless, here is an abbreviated list of doctrines that clearly HAVE changed over the years. I apologize in advance for some sexual references, but these teachings are very embedded into the culture of the church, so they have to be addressed. I’ve tried to do so tactfully. 🙂
- Women didn’t used to be able to wear jeans with a zippered fly because they interpreted a verse in the Old Testament about a woman wearing “that which pertaineth to a man” to prohibit it. Eventually, they reached a “new understanding,” and somehow, without ever changing their doctrine, they could suddenly wear jeans with a zippered fly. My wife and I questioned this doctrine when we first started visiting as adults, and we were counseled that we couldn’t understand this teaching because we didn’t yet have the Holy Spirit. I’ve often wondered, since they now agree with my opinion at the time, who in that room actually did have the Holy Spirit?
- Families couldn’t go on vacations under Merie Weiss, or at best, it was severely looked down upon as very worldly. Now, family vacations are apparently acceptable, but the rules are that you have to ask permission (aka “seek counsel”) from your Teacher, and it can’t interfere with any church function, such as Bible classes, knocking on doors, non-member classes, fellowships, etc.
- It never used to be okay for members to visit another congregation over a Sunday. Now they seem to be okay with it if they get permission (“seek counsel”) from their Teacher.
- They used to actively question people about their private sexual lives (for which they use the euphemism of “uncleanness”) and withdraw fellowship from them based on their responses. They apparently no longer withdraw for this.
- They used to teach that married sex had to be face to face, 6 to 12 inches apart, and a scripture was misquoted from the Old Testament to support this. I called them out on the misquoted verse when we were still questioning the church doctrines in Ontario, and eventually, my wife and I got an apology about the misquoted verse. In time, I believe the “face to face” rule went away (although I’m not positive), but I’m not sure about the 6 to 12 inch rule (or where in the world they got that rule in the first place).
- Married couples were taught not have sex too often, and in a ludicrous use of the English language, they pulled out the archaic King James era word “chambering” for this. Unfortunately, the word really means illicit sex; generally a male wantonly bedding females. [Note: I’ve recently been made aware that this doctrine hasn’t changed, so I may be moving it to another page listing the church’s rules for marital sex at a later date.]
- Married couples were taught not to have sex on Saturday night, because it’s too close to Sunday. I am not positive if this has changed.
- Going into another church’s place of worship used to be completely forbidden. There appears to be some leeway on this doctrine now. Perhaps it requires “special permission” from a teacher? I don’t want to get anyone in trouble here, so I won’t publish details of incidents I’m aware of. 😉
- It used to be taught that an elder had to have a “good reputation within and without” both before and after his baptism. I called them out on this in an email discussion with my mom (years after I’d left, by the way), and she took this back to her Teachers for discussion. Amazingly, they changed their “understanding” and it is now taught as applying to a man’s reputation after baptism. (Of course, this hasn’t changed the fact that, in over 40 years of existence, their churches have not one single eldership in place. The first century church had congregations with elders within the first few years of existence.)
- Marriages used to be broken up under the guise of an “unscriptural marriage,” and they still are, but the criteria have changed. I clearly remember the excitement in the air when, after one May Meeting, it was decided that one man we knew and his ex-wife (whom the church had separated) were able to get back together after something like 10 years of separation. All we could think about was how evil the first teaching had been, and that now they were trying to go back and say “whoops, we’ve come to a ‘better understanding’ now.” The family had been devastated, kids separated from their parents, and faith in God rocked to its core.
- Women couldn’t wear loud nail polish in the old days. This changed sometime in the 90’s.
Kevin, I don't know where you received the understanding that the Church has changed her doctrine. She has changed her judgments. We always knew judgments would change as time went on, but not doctrine. If there is error anywhere in this topic it would be the church embracing judgment as doctrine, because it is not.
A single jab and then a quick step out of the ring. Quite typical of the Church to resist any sort of logical reasoning.
Thank you for sharing your perspective, I appreciate it. Unfortunately, you're using definitions of doctrine and judgments that are neither Biblical nor in keeping with standard English usage. "Doctrine" simply means teaching, and "judgment" means an opinion. When you teach your "judgment/opinion" it become your "doctrine." In this way the church's extra-Biblical "judgments/opinions" have become "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." For Biblical evidence, we just have to go to the very passage where that phrase comes from: Mark 7:5-9 (KJV) – Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of… Read more »
If you "go against teaching" or "go against counsel" you'll be rebuked publicly. Often with your name being mentioned. If you attempt to try and correct the record or defend yourself, you'll be withdrawn from for murmuring, sewing seeds of discord, or railing against the church. If you disagree with that you'll be marked and avoided. I have seen it happen numerous times. So for whoever put that statement up there, that is extremely disingenuous to try and pretend like church judgement and preachers and teachers opinions are not law. Try and find a wife without your preacher and/or teacher's… Read more »
Very, very informative Kevin, as well as extremely accurate. Great post.
Our historian must brush-up on his rules because he missed a few. CONFESSION FOR BEING LATE: When you are late because of your own fault, you must confess both your lateness and also the transgression which caused you to be late in the first place. If you fail to make the double-decker cofession, your confession is technically incomplete and must be re-confessed to include both sins. This one comes straight from the top. GYMS AND WEIGHT LOSS CENTERS: After consuming those nachos and soda pop at the fellowship, do not sign up for a membership at Curves. Gyms are not… Read more »
REPENTANCE: One cannot immediately repent of grievous sins. First, there must be time to overcome. There must be approval from a teacher prior to making your confession. You cannot overcome a big sin in a couple of weeks. More than likely, the big sins (like Peter denying Christ 3 times) will take months to overcome. How did Peter overcome that big sin in just 40 days, then giving one of the most memorable sermons the world has ever heard? Was Peter a little hasty in offering that edification?
This is one of the most shocking and egregious examples of man usurping the authority of God. What human being could ever have the gall to stand in the place of God like that and tell someone they hadn't "repented enough?" Wow.
NOTE TAKING: You must take notes at all classes, sermons and "talks." You will get a talking-to if you are not taking notes diligently. The repeated rationale for this teaching is, "You can't remember everything."
Therefore, since you cannot remember everything said at work, you must take notes at work. Since you cannot remember everything said on the telephone, you must, by extension, take notes, ad infinitum.
LAWS OF MAN: If you violate any traffic law, this is a public sin and must be confessed. There are approximately 30,000 laws in the state vehicle code. You had better brush up, because you are required to know all the laws if you drive. You must signal no less than 100 feet in advance of your turn. If you signalled only 99 feet away, you broke the law. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk is illegal – did you let your kids do this? You may have to consider your parenting approach, and are you… Read more »
Be careful Anon: August 20 2013@1:32am Multiply that by 50 states and other more local ordinances and we will be running just to stay between the lines rather than studying the word of God.
Welcome back David, we missed you. I want to ask you again David to become a teaching preacher and start a church. Many cult (I mean church) leaders start out as cult (I mean church) members and then leave to start their own organization, (and better than the original.) As the founder you would be the highest spiritual authority on earth and no one would be allowed to question you or your judgement's on any matter, and you would have the final word on every subject. Money will be needed so you will have to learn how to guilt trip… Read more »
Ecclesiastics 7:14 teaches us that in the day of adversity consider… When I was very new in the church my teaching preacher started yelling at me for asking him a question. I thought "this is just like basic training with the drill instructor." Some of the classes DS would yell for two hours non stop, face red, veins in his forehead bulging out, and spittle flying out of his mouth as he yelled. (I thought he would surely have a heart attack behind the pulpit) I was intimidated to say the least; I was definitely in adversity with him and… Read more »
So well said. Even as a non-believer I agree "Christianity isn't supposed to be like that"
This church as a tree has been rotted and termite infested with lies and evil intent. Their damage has finally began to show outwardly to those who see clearly. Like a termite infested home it will fall under its own weight leaving it's occupants homeless.
Of course the preachers and teachers will be gone when that happens. What your head!
Anon11:41- I totally agree with you on silence being the worst possible reaction to oppression in a cult ("church"). What I have also realized is that this cult teaches its members to BURY any and ALL emotions. This enables its members to leave family members in "unscriptural marriages", to detach themselves from having pride in their children's accomplishments, to move across the country leaving needy parents behind, to withdraw from family members unscripturally, and MUCH, MUCH MORE. One of the most damaging results of this de-emotionalizing of its members is that it paralyses the individual from making "gut" or intuitive… Read more »
Here's a link to that song for those who don't know it. I think it has a great message for many here:
If you have been under oppression (and most SCOC members have) then you have been corrupted, Christian. Drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, and hatred are all equally corrupting influences in the life of a Christian. How can you overcome the corrupting influences of oppression when oppression is accepted as not only as normal, but a necessary part of you church experience? You have to separate from the oppressor and oppressive influences to be able to think clearly. Once free from the oppressor you have to study to realize that oppression is not the way of peace, and develop defenses against oppression.… Read more »
Sigmund Freud teaches that symbols mean things. The symbol of a tree, whether in a dream or in a drawing or painting means a helper. In Psalms 2 David writes that the tree grows stronger the more it ages. As Gods trees we are his helpers here on earth and the older a christian gets the stronger they become. The wicked cut down trees and Satan destroys Christians as well, but in the afterlife one has a reward and the other a punishment. Learn to use the experiences of life to motivate you to do well for God. Take a… Read more »
I appreciate the sarcasm and good points, actually, of Anon 12:15, but please leave names out of comments like this in the future. To the point, I think there is much about a "personalized" heaven or hell that has merit, believe it or not. I believe the fires of hell are in all likelihood metaphorical—if there is no physical body, isn't fire a physical "thing" by nature confined to a material world? I think a Biblical case can be made that heaven is being in the presence of God—our Creator—the true source of all that is good and loving. Hell,… Read more »
The creed of cult leaders is "your relationship with me is your path to God." This unspoken belief is what traps so many in an abusive relationship for so long, sometimes for life. In Mathew 7:15-20 Christ teaches us to identify (and reject) a false teacher by their behavior. Those that abuse others are not the path to God and you should end the relationship with an authority figure when the abuse starts.
One thing to consider is: should I give into the collection plate on Sunday if the money is not being used for scriptural purposes? If the needy saints are not being helped or helped very little, if members are required to finance the starting of new churches themselves, then just who is getting the money put into the collection plate? Church leaders. The Lord's treasury is being used primarily to finance the lifestyle of church leaders, not entirely, but primarily, then should a member really be giving into the collection plate knowing that you will have needs your own self?… Read more »
I agree with the oppression. It doesn't always have to in your face and aggressive. I have seen a lot of subtle oppression. For a lot of years I studied hard and not only for classes. I listened to a lot of talks, almost every day. I started seeing seeing it and it started a wedge between me and a lot of brethren because I wouldn't just follow what they said to do. I knew enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I did start saying something, for a few years, and it got me even further from… Read more »
Thank you Lynn. I also saw that the only people that mattered were the teacher or preacher of the respective congregations. The women and children were neglected and even abandoned by their husbands, so the husband could become a sidekick/mule/sharing preacher for the teacher/preacher. I was at DS house one day and his oldest son, age 10, asked me to fix his bike, because his father did not have time to do it. I looked at the bike and saw the chain was loose so I just loosened the nuts and pulled the rear tire back until the chain was… Read more »
American business is filled with stories that epitomizes the fallacy of leader worship. In January 1966 Studebaker motors had no idea that just six months later they would be bankrupt and out of business. To get promoted you had to take care of the boss and attend to his every need. To be in business tomorrow you had to take care of the customer today, and sell him a car. Studebaker executives were receiving huge salaries until the end; but no one noticed that they weren't selling any cars. I was baptized into a church of Christ and was quickly… Read more »
The bible is history and history does repeat itself, not exactly but it does repeat. This holiday of Thanksgiving started with the american settlers having a meal with the natives indians; but in reality it was only one native indian, a man named Squanto. Squanto walked out of the woods spoke perfect english and taught the settlers how to survive. Seems improbable but ten years earlier Squanto had been enslaved and taken to europe where he learned english and eventually excaped and snuck aboard a ship to the colonies to return to his tribe. When he got to his native… Read more »
I have a question about the above statement:
"Marriages used to be broken up under the guise of an "unscriptural marriage," and they still are, but the criteria have changed."
They taught that only adultery or death were grounds for remarriage. What has changed on that understanding?
I can't answer that personally, I only know that the criteria have changed enough that marriages they once had deemed "unscriptural" were later given the green light…although many years after the family, in particular case, was broken up. I'll let someone with more specific knowledge answer in more detail.
Thank-you Kevin! I would appreciate it.
The Stanton COC is filled with obsequious sycophants who believe their heavenly destiny is predicated upon following orders from people who neglect to follow Gods orders. It is a sort of spiritual extortion confidence game. If you unquestioningly follow orders, theirs is the earth and the goodness in it, but if you happen to disagree with an unscriptural teaching, woe to the blaspheming heretics!!
I saw very clearly a selection process once people became members. Men were chosen and groomed by the teacher. Those who were obedient were promoted and those who resisted were rejected and persecuted out. Those that were chosen quickly started ignoring their responsibilities as husbands, fathers, and providers. The men chosen to preach stopped paying child support, stopped fathering their children, and stopped spending times with their wives. The commandments of God were not taught nor followed. The motto "We speak were the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent" is not true either. DS studied… Read more »
More on the grooming process later…
God teaches us so much that we don't realize what we are being taught. In survival psychology there are two kinds of people; those that live and those that die. When catastrophe strikes many people freeze in unbelief and do nothing and perish,a few however will take immediate action and save themselves. How do you tell the difference between these two kinds of people in daily life? There are those with the victim and complainer attitude and those with the learner and adapter attitude. The victim complainer is the first to die while the learner and adapter will survive. This… Read more »
Anon Nov 27 at 10:25I'm not sure what your point is? I do agree that it is better to figure out what went wrong and how to correct a situation than to merely complain about it.However, a person can only change their own actions. We cannot change others, all we can do is be the example and encourage others to change.With the Stanton group, it's the leaders that cause a lot of the harm. What this blog is about is to open the eyes of those in the group-so that they can find their way back to God. When I… Read more »
The point was the greatness of God and how he does things. Just being in the word you pick up things without realizing it. In the Stanton group they teach that once you leave them you have left God, which is simply not true, they themselves are separate from God. In the Stanton group very little in the way of understanding was shared it was mostly carnal rules and regulations with no reasoning behind it, i.e. Merie said we don't go to movies, so we don't go to movies.(and why is that? shut up Merie said!) If I am corrupt… Read more »
It is easy to criticize the SCOC and their totalitarian tactics; but if all I have is criticism, then I am really no better than they are. Every chance I get to point out the greatness of God I do. Sometimes it is his great wisdom that I see, sometimes it is his great mercy that I see. I was never taught to praise God in the SCOC, I was never taught to count the blessings of God in my life. I was taught to see God in the horrible events that happen; God was behind the tornado, hurricane, or… Read more »
Researcher Ben Radford wrote about the phenomenon of clowns in history and modern day in his book Bad Clowns and found that bad clowns have evolved into Internet trolls. They do not dress up as traditional clowns, but for their own amusement, they tease and exploit "human foibles" in order to speak the "truth" and gain a reaction. Like clowns in make-up, Internet trolls hide behind "anonymous accounts and fake usernames." In their eyes they are the trickster and are performing for a nameless audience via the Internet.
Bad Clowns? 17.99 on Amazon, an interesting book I will read. Humor has long been used to hide the true intent of evil people. Mockery and ridicule are used by the arrogant to bully others, The arrogant say something insulting and when you call them on it they will say "your taking it the wrong way." I saw this as the main method of "teaching" in the COC. With a big smile on their face the preacher would reveal something personal about you to the congregation in an attempt to publicly humiliate you. The preachers expected you to take them… Read more »
I know I was marked and avoided. Not because I wouldn't accept teaching, but because I wouldn't accept unscriptural teaching. The preachers/teachers would never put out in classes or sermons anything that I did in particular, but would just be generic in saying that I wouldn't take teaching, standoffish, and/or justifying myself, when I would tell them that they are not handling it correctly. I.e. they rebuke over one sided information. One of the biggest things I learned was that if I didn't understand something doesn't make it wrong. I believe this is called evil surmising. This is what I,… Read more »
Lynn, were you told officially that you were marked and avoided or are you just assuming? I see a marked increase in the aggressions of the SCOC first they persecute people until they leave the church, then some are withdrawn from, some are marked and avoided, some have hostile take over of the relatives funerals, what is next? Violence is the next step in aggression, just like Jim Jones, when they cannot silence their critics so they will kill them. The SCOC is not a true church of christ but rather it has been corrupted into a cult, with one… Read more »
I have to say unequivocally that I don't believe violence is in this group's DNA. Stanton's M.O. is to use social ties to manipulate and intimidate. Spoken or unspoken, the fear of you or your loved one being withdrawn from for merely speaking out loud a dissenting opinion is enough to control members.
Violence takes many forms, child abuse is violence, domestic violence. I did see child abuse from pinching, to slapping, to physically beating with a belt. The lack of self control leads to worse and worse forms of violence. Anyone is capable of violence, men, women and children. What happens when the verbal abuse does not work to silence the opposition? More and more force is used against the opposition. Children who have been abused grow up and repeat the cycle of abuse against their own children. The scriptures are very clear against violence John the baptist told the Roman soldiers… Read more »
There are precursors to violence and should be learned by all. Verbal abuse is a precursor because it allows the abuser to devalue the person to be abused, and once devalued it is acceptable to abuse them. Anger is another precursor to violence, once a person gives over to anger then violence is the next step. The making of threats is another precursor of violence, there are empty promises and empty threats but you can never know when a person will act upon their threat so all threats have to be taken seriously. I have seen all these behaviors and… Read more »
How can you get any real constructive conversation going on here? One person may ask a question; a anonymous may give a tangible response but after that you have to many anonymous putting comment up that the subject you started with gets dragged through the dirt and back again. One cannot even follow the dialogue or reasoning. Personally I would prefer to see truth with clarity than what may be considered babbling with duplicity. Another words it is hard to understand so many anonymous blog verbalizing on here. You do not know where one idea starts and another ends. Confusion… Read more »
I understand the frustration of so many anonymous people, and I encourage people to post transparently, but that has to be their choice. Many people still have relatives in the group who could feel repercussions from "teachers" if it became known that their relative was commenting here. So everyone needs to make that choice for themselves based on their circumstances. The best way to understand the dialogue is to keep up with it, but I also understand that not everyone has the time to do that consistently. Even I don't, from time to time. We all have to make a… Read more »
David, I can understand your frustration too. But you need to understand that folks have various reasons for posting as anonymous, but mainly out of fear. Some of the ones posting have relatives still with the group, but some also are themselves still in the group.They have their reasons-just as you do for not revealing your last name. Kevin doesn't use his last name because we all know it.And please, do not feel you need to reveal your last name. I am only making a point-that you have your reasons for not posting your last name. And we honor that… Read more »
Anonymous December 8 No, I was not told that and there was no assuming as I greatly experienced for years. There was nothing to officially withdraw from me for as I was not sinning. I disagreed with some of their stances on certain situations and would call them on it. Since it wasn't murmuring there was nothing they could do, so the preachers and teachers would constantly bring it out in classes and in person. Since I knew that that they were wrong and would not conform they started ignoring me. By what they were telling the congregation they eventually… Read more »
"Mark and avoid goes both ways"
This is exactly why I left. I did as Jesus taught in taking it them, then bringing witnesses, and then taking it before the council in that I involved the Evangelists and it actually backfired.
Since I knew that I couldn't get what I needed from them I left.
This is one big step in wisdom: the separation of good and evil. In Proverbs 1:7-9 It implies that the first step in wisdom is obedience to authority. The first authority mentioned in Pr 1:7 is God and the second authority mentioned in Pr 1:8 is parents(which is church groups and family groups). If you don't practice obedience to authority then the implied meaning is that you are foolish. The third authority mentioned in Pr 1:10-19 is evil authority. The implied understanding is reversed: obedience to evil authority is foolish and the disobedience to evil authority is wise(Christ disobeyed the… Read more »
David, did you reply then delete it? I was going to answer your question, but can't find your comment.
Kevin, I posted my comment and your the one with control over this site. The question did you move or delete my comment. If you did then I guess that could make you a scoundrel and if it were a computer glitch then accept my apologies.
David, why would you accuse me of being a scoundrel when I'm the one that noticed your comment was missing and posted asking you about it? Yes, I admin the site, but it's using tools developed by Google, over which I have very little control.
My time in the SCOC was not a waste, I learned one very important lesson: you must put up boundaries against those in authority. There have been, and there will always be, those who are totalitarians. Some, once in authority, believe they have no limits and can act however they please, often to the destruction to those around them. In the SCOC the leaders I knew had no moral boundaries, no respect for those they were responsible for leading. These totalitarian leaders would ask the most personal questions and then use the answers for public humiliation. I learned not to… Read more »
Kevin, I posted my comment and your the one with control over this site. The question did you move or delete my comment. If you did then I guess that could make you a scoundrel and if it were a computer glitch then accept my apologies.
I say that because I posted the comment more than once and it had disappeared. My comment was proper and truthful, so there should have been no reason for you to have moved it or delete I, if that is what happen.
Secondly if you did delete it or moved it and then inquired if I had deleted it that I believe would be tantamount to deception. So please answer me Did you delete it?
David, I received your comments by email alert as the admin of the site, but when I tried to find them, they didn't show up. I have no idea why…one theory is that maybe there are too many comments on that thread and it won't take any more. But I haven't checked into that theory to see if that might be the case. So no, I did not delete or move your comments. I will answer your question when I get some time to respond.
I did not accuse you of anything. I stated "If that is what happened". Point of reasoning. But as I stated I did post twice and those posts seem to have disappeared. The end dialogue was it was posted. I am going through some things right now. Pancreas. You already answered the most important issue when you confirmed you did not delete my post, so thank you for that. An interesting blog was posted to my Facebook. It reads… To continue to seek a dialogue with those who vow not to continue to reason with you is like administering medicine… Read more »
Address to the above quote by Thomas Paine.
Wanted: groupies for a religious leader. Bible based organization seeks groupies to follow leader blindly. Must be willing to give all of your financial resources and all of your time to the fulfilling of the leaders desires. Persons with home repair skills or auto mechanic skills are encouraged to apply. Persons will also be required to end all other relationships, including with spouses and children, to maintain full attention on the leader. Persons are not required to study the Bible rather they will be required to listen to cassette tapes of leaders instruction and quote the leader frequently. In return… Read more »
I was wondering if someone could be more specific on the divorce/remarriage teachings that changed. What was the teaching originally? How did it change?
Any more examples of how families were affected? I just remember an older one mentioning a couple times that because of the initial teachings she didn't remarry but under the new teaching she could. Problem was she got too old, she said. She seemed a bit sour about it, but accepting that it was God's will.
I can't speak authoritatively on this, because I've been away from Stanton for so long. But I have a great deal of knowledge from my childhood of how they weighed in on the subject of divorce and remarriage, and how they have modified their views over time. I know that they used to say that divorce and remarriage was only OK literally "for the cause of adultery." In other words, if the official divorce was due to something else, but there was also adultery, before, during, or after the divorce, it didn't matter. No remarriage for the innocent party. Remarriage… Read more »
Hello Kevin and Seeking. I remember one May meeting in which marriage and remarriage was discussed and the understanding was changed.When I first entered the group in 1985, it was taught just as Kevin said-you could only remarry if your (divorced) spouse had either died, or your divorce was due to adultery committed by your spouse. I remember being confused that you, the innocent party, could remarry-but your guilty spouse could not!?!I do believe it was 1989 that the teaching changed-that if the divorce was due to another reason BUT you discovered your spouse had been unfaithful during the marriage(committed… Read more »
There are some who would like to oversimplify a very complex subject like divorce and remarriage in order to make a quick and simple "rule." I've found this way of viewing the scriptures (asking "What is the rule I need to follow?") to fail almost every time in getting to the heart of Jesus' intent. It's not surprising that boiling divorce and remarriage down to a rule or three has just created more confusion, perceived loopholes, and overall brokenness on the part of those trying to live by those rules. I recommend everyone stay in their marriages for life and… Read more »
Yes, that definitely is confusing. So sad that teaching of these judgements/doctrines are just excused with new "understandings" and everyone is happy but the children involved can be so affected. And they wonder why so many kids are out on FB "bashing the church." The sad thing is I am sure many of the younger ones have doubts on teachings but the "system" Merie set up causes change to happen so slowly due to fear of withdrawals and loss of relationships. It's quite the catch-22. Somehow somewhere down the line your lack of courage to get out will cost you… Read more »
Reading a downloaded copy of that book. The second example in the Intro is surprisingly similar to a situation one could end up with in the SCOC.
Getting out did not cost me dearly; rather it made my life better. My children are no longer suffer abuse and the threats of abuse from various church members here in Phoenix. I no longer have to suffer the extortion, that is threats of violence, from the Penzoil truck driver. I no longer allow others to mistreat me; I have learned to set boundaries on how I will allow other to treat me. I am no longer falsely accused of committing uncleanness. I no longer have to support lazy christian men, who financially and emotionally abandon their wives and children,… Read more »
One day you will realize that Merie Weiss was not the son of God. The power and authority of the SCOC, is not from the scriptures but rather from the founding member, Merie. The constantly changing understandings are like the constantly changing sands; truth is like a rock and never changes but lies are like sand and are subject to every whim of the leader. Jesus Christ is the son of God and it is the bible a person should study and not cassette tapes. So many exalt themselves as superior by saying "I knew Merie" and the next generation… Read more »
My very beginnings around the church 20 years I'd be bothered by the many Merie references. They continue to this day as it was just a few months ago at a Sunday fellowship I heard 5 comments about Merie even hearing the one say the first person they wanted to see in heaven was Merie. Wow and after continuing my research of this organization it only solidifies these are Merie's churches.
Merie has become greater in death than in life. So many things have been credited to her by "Merie said" that she must have been talking from the moment she was born to the moment she died. What you realize after a time is that most things accredited to Merie are in fact just the opinions of the person who does not have any scriptural basis for their assertion, but in a weak attempt to sound credible the teacher slaps "Merie said" onto their opinion. Merie did not say half of what is claimed, but it is just another departure… Read more »
Around the year 2000 the church finally came to the conclusion that they would stay out of the members' lives and leave it up to the members to determine if their marriages are scriptural or not.
Also, I could see the imprint that was let in members keeping to certain understandings that Merie left. I had read a book written by a COC member 100+ years ago on the book of Revelation and was talking to another member about their findings and they said that Merie already taught on that and we basically follow what she said.
One topic that needs to be discussed here is drug use. In Phoenix the church meet at the Arizona center for the blind and right next to it was a conveniece store called circle K. On Sundays during the 15 minute break between the worship and morning bible class all the teenage boys would take off for the circle K but when they got to the space between the two buildings the teenage boys would fire up a joint and pass it around. In the morning class the boys were very docile, sometimes just staring a a spot on the… Read more »
Lynn the church has not stopped checking/teaching on unscriptural marriages, trust me. Mine was deemed unscriptural in 2009 and I was still less than 2 years a babe. Got divorced the next year. Several kids involved. One of us is not free to marry. True story. 😉 This one comment probably gives away my identity but I think I'm alright at this point. My mind is made up.
I don't know about drug use all that much. The younger generation seems to have learned some, at least where I was going. But I have seen smoking at the building by a relative of the teacher. I wouldn't want to say who or what because I have nothing really against the people. I love them, actually, and do believe most love me too and are striving to please God. What I do agree with here, among other things, is that judgment is taught as doctrine, and that Marie's system is not scriptural. Not only is teaching specific judgements not… Read more »
What I observed was arrogant people playing domination and control games over their respective congregations. We were not taught the strength that comes from virtue nor the weakness that come from vice. We were taught that righteousness was allowing your teacher to dominate and control you; this was "obedience." We were not taught to look out for signs of substance abuse or how to morally fight against it, we were defenseless against Satan in our "obedience" to our teachers. Many marriages were loveless due to the meddling of an older woman, the wife of the Mercedes mechanic. I was married… Read more »
Seeking…April 16, 2017 at 7:27 PM
That speaks great volumes. We are to be of the same mind and same judgement, but there are a lot of things that are not upheld the same throughout the churches. I do remember this being taught and am so sad that it was not upheld where you were/are. The basis for this and sins like uncleaness was that they church was to stay out of the private lives of the members.
I just want to point out that one big problem with Stanton's interpretation of scripture is their understandig of what it means to be "of the same mind and same judgement."
Please see the following articles on this subject:
Speaking the same thing
The Problem With May Week
Rabbis, Teachers, and Freedom of Conscience
You are correct, Kevin, my point was that what was being allowed in one congregation was being condemned in another. Why would something be just in my congregation, yet a sin elsewhere? Whether right or wrong, the May Weeks were supposed to do something that apparently wasn't happening and lives were greatly affected and/or horribly damaged when they didn't need to be. Years after the questioning of the mind was to be halted it continued. I see that years after marriages were supposed to left a lone they are still being questioned. If they are all Churches of Christ, they… Read more »
This difference in teachings is what leads to "church shopping" that is looking for a better set of teachers to be under or a better congregation to be over. The fastest transfer allowed is for the reason of "health" either of self or of a relative. Why suffer under oppression when the next congregation over is 100% more spiritual? Some congregations have reputations of oppression, Phoenix and Tacoma come to mind and should be avoided. It would be great if someone could post a review of each churches reputation so church shopping would be easier. I am personally looking for… Read more »
I'm from Tacoma and you can read my story under Jeff Hernandez. You are correct, they are very oppressive. I have tried to bring out numerous types only for it to backfire. I eventually took it to the two Evangelists only to be ignored by one and be thrown under the bus by the other.
Thank you Jeff, we had two different women come to Phoenix, with their nonmember spouses,from Tacoma and they told us of the horrors there. After being under oppression, one of the female councilors for the church, visited and told the congregation that "they were just to sensitive" and that the leaders were not being oppressive and just added salt to their wounds. Oppression is the main method of control over its members. I have been threatened with withdrawal several times, mark and avoid once, before I had enough and left. The history of the SCOC is one filled with cruelty… Read more »
Church shopping…I highly suspected people came up with all sorts of approved reasons to move due to unhappiness in the current congregation they might be in. I witnessed at least 3 people/families move due to illness. I had never heard of that before. But it's an approved reason, so hey… Anyway, I think it leads people to deceive themselves and others. I'm not saying that they weren't sick. All I'm saying is sometimes the additional sickness may have been due to unhappiness in the current location and a feeling of being trapped.
Oh, and all 3 instances were unrelated, and all within about a 2-year period. For congregations that aren't big, that's a high rate of moving due to illness.
AnonymousApril 18, 2017 at 5:14 PM Be interesting to know who they were. Study is so crucial to knowing the difference between right and wrong and it really did set me free. What I was studying was NOT what I was seeing and experiencing. I left after much prayer and study asking myself if this is what God really wanted the church to be. These things didn't just happen to me. It is that I won't speak for other people and what they are going through, but will say that this has been going on since I came back in… Read more »
Kevin, This blog is so eye opening. I am living with my parents at the moment and until I move out I am forced to attend the church. Also I would like to confirm that yes entering another churches place of worship is still forbidden. Many things are still changing with every May Meeting the grip on the congregations tighten and privileges such as group texting between congregations are forbidden. Instead of focusing on actual problems they choose to pick apart small petty things and force members to bend to their will. We have men who emotionally abuse their children… Read more »
This is so scary as I still have 3 family members I love attending ….we cannot just keep our heads in the sand and pray they will break away but what can we do except pray they will see the light? Thank you for your comments. I am so happy you know the Truth! I am realizing now why members rent their basements to the young men was not really an act of love but to keep them close and with the church.
They are not doing it out of love.. They are doing to to keep them tight in the church's hands and rules.. The group texting rule is sad.. Making sure nothing of this sort gets into their hands.. It's amazing how scared they are that members might read stuff… Should print and hand out flyers… Ha.. But sad
I'm wondering if I'm the only one that has made this page an icon on my phones home screen as a shortcut 😉
The controlling of the information to members is part of environmental control. Members of each congregation only know what the preachers/teachers tell them, and they are told only what the teachers what them to know. To allow outside information; even from other SCOC churches loosens the control teachers have over local congregations. Different SCOC's allow different things; i.e. we had a husband wife team come down to Prescott from Great Falls MT and immediately the wife started teaching that we do not let our children play with toy guns even if it only has water coming out of it, and… Read more »
What kind of mind (besides prudish and nuts) can even think to tell a married couple when they can and cannot have sex..I read about this in some earlier posts where Saturday night was off limits (or used to be) too.. Haha.. I've personally seen where the churches teach totally different.. It affected me and I left because of that for the most.. This is one of the reasons they lose members is because of these petty rules that they think up in their nutty minds… This is almost insanity. Being a member is like being stuck in a very… Read more »
Well maybe I shouldn't have said "born" as that's a wee bit early to become like this.. Lol
As much as they try to control everyone there is no way the preachers/teachers are not reading this blog. They need to stay in control of the flock and their money I'm sure.
I think it is great that they are reading it, however, they may do something abusive to those still in the church if it threatens them. I remember I was told we do not use the word "proud" when complimenting our children. I can't remember why now so I stopped a couple of times and then thought this is nuts and I will not let someone know I am proud of them. Just another man made rule!
You are much too kind to use words like prudish and nuts. Try words like Lurid, Lascivious, Deviant. Words like cruel, imprisoning, devious.Prudish , Nuts There's plenty of those among us. These leaders purposely threaten their members to the point of tears for fears. They have caused lasting damage to my children's peace of mind by inflicting them through direct and indirect doctrine and bizzare interrogation. Their mother is a 30 yr + member now , obediently following the TWERP of Spring Valley. They fought hard to corrupt her mind and succeeded. Through two decades their infiltration into my family… Read more »
Anon July 3, @7:56 It is not about the money, yet. There is a gradual evolution in arrogant lead groups. First step is to establish dominance then establish control, then proclaim supremacy. Once an arrogant group proclaims supremacy the early leaders lead for ego gratification, that is the feeling of being superior. The latter leaders will stop and ask if we are the supreme group why are we so broke? And then the pursuit of riches follow. The arrogant leaders will say "we deserve this" and grant themselves every pleasure and luxury the group can afford. This pattern can be… Read more »
KF.. They did steal away my family but in a different way than what you went through.. I'm sorry you have had all this happen to you.. They really liked to toss my other half under the bus to me too.. It took only a few days of being in that I saw the gossip and the busy bodies running wild.. I can't say on here what I'd really like to do to them all 😉
As money is previously discussed here concerning Merie's cult. Let us not forget the changing doctrine of the two so called "evangelists" who are actually dictators/paid preachers will be supported for life. This was determined May meeting 2014.
On this Fourth of July Be Thankful to All Americans who respect one another's right to their own beliefs and show tolerance to those who think differently than we might.
The SCOC will not last long in a world of educated Free Thinkers
That is the key "educated free thinkers". They keep you in fellowships and church and related bible studies and personal work so you have no time to yourself thus cannot learn or think for yourselves. I gave out the blog address out to two more people toda y!
Good job Anon 144!
Educating the public especially the communities where Merie's cult resides will be key. No different than the media attention given to other cults recently. Hopefully more and more members will be educated as well concerning what they are really involved in. Most are not aware of the evil past and present. They simply go with what they are told. Been there, done that.
Im staying anonymous to protect myself as my mom still belongs to them and has for about 27 years now…i didnt have to go anymore once i turned 18 but those 18 years i did have to attened really screwed me up i was mentally and physically abused for years i was beat with a belt in front of a preacher and his wife im in therapy and have to take anxiety medication because of the awful long term effects i still deal with from being raised in such an awful place i too was controlled with fear and i… Read more »
How did you find the blog? I am asking because we want to reach more and more people. I am so happy you are out of there. I pray for those who have made it out to find a healthy church and make new loving friends. You have learned a very distorted religion. God loves you!
Anon 10:04 it’s very disheartening to hear what you were subject too. Authorities should’ve been called and people arrested period. This cult has swept other very disturbing situations under the rug. Very sickening to say the least. The very reason I’m going to do all I can do to make sure this cult is exposed to its fullest. Many members have no clue what they are involved with as the disingenuous leadership keep information from new converts which is a shame. This blog hopefully will be spread coast to coast where congregations are located so members can read as well… Read more »