The subject of “withdrawal” is of huge importance within the Stanton churches, because it is so grossly misunderstood, taught, and practiced. In its current form, it is unscriptural, unloving, and unjust, and the fear and dread it brings to those under its threat can silence even the most honest of questions.
Some of you reading this have been “withdrawn from” (an unscriptural term, how Stanton uses it) and others have spouses, mothers, fathers, or siblings who have been, thereby creating an intricate web of rules you or they have to live by.
Others of you have remained silent about your dissent from official church teachings due to the threat of withdrawal, and the dysfunction it would create in your relationships with your spouse or children. My hope is this study will cause you to dig into these verses and learn the truth of what the Bible really teaches about it, not just the doctrines and commandments of men.
The church has been great, as usual, at pointing out how other churches don’t do “withdrawal” right (or at all). That may be true. But I hope to make it very clear that Biblically, Stanton has it painfully wrong, with a one-size-fits-all approach that metes out the same form of church discipline for every offense under the sun, without Biblical authority. It is rather like a parent applying one extreme form of discipline for any offense, great or small, whether it’s defying authority or forgetting to put toys away. This is unjust, at best, and produces compliance only through fear of punishment, not love.
1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. ESV
Their error in reasoning stems from the fact that their teachings pull several disparate verses out of their original context and cobble them together into one category arbitrarily labeled “withdrawal.” When looked at individually, these verses have almost nothing to do with each other. They are largely unrelated teachings by Paul on unrelated subjects arising out of unrelated circumstances. Stanton takes a little from Paul’s letter to Corinth, a little more from his letter to Rome, and still more from his letter to Thessalonica. They then mix these passages all up and put them in parallel with still more excerpts from Paul’s letter to Titus, and again, from his letter to Timothy.
What we end up with is a self-contradictory set of laws, rules, and regulations developed by the imagination of men, not the will of God. Stanton teaches that the spouse of someone “withdrawn from,” who remains in good standing, can have sexual relations with them, eat with them, and have an otherwise friendly and intimate relationship with them. They cannot, however, talk about the church, the Bible, or the terms of their withdrawal. Controlling much?But how about their children? Once their children are baptized, they are expected to “honor the withdrawal” by abiding by rules such as not eating with the parent who is withdrawn from or discussing Biblical matters with them. And what if the “withdrawal” is truly unscriptural and unjust; a mistake? Well, the victim of the unjust withdrawal cannot do or say anything to try to correct the error, because that would be “murmuring.” He or she must suffer in silence, unless your name was Merie. (Merie carved out for herself an exception. She was withdrawn from in 1958 for sowing discord and division, never returned from withdrawal, and went out and started the Stanton sect years later. But I digress.)
Stanton’s rules surrounding withdrawal are completely arbitrary, no different than when the Pharisees legislated rules for their followers on subjects like how far someone could travel on the Sabbath, or whether one should tithe their spice rack (yeah, really). It may sound funny, but there is a real human cost to relationships between spouses and children here, and for nothing better than “teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men.” It’s wrong, friends. These unscriptural practices are destroying family relationships, causing children to unfairly have to pick sides.
I’ve devoted a considerable word count on this study to satisfy both the person with a casual interest, and the one who is really struggling and questioning the scriptural exegesis and applications of these verses. I’ve divided this study into two parts, a short and sweet overview, and a detailed exegesis of each of the passages twisted by Stanton into these unloving and arbitrary rules of men.My prayer, once again, is that the rules of men will crumble beneath the weight of the truth.
I. Overview of “withdrawal” as church discipline
- Withdrawal is a verb, not a noun
- Fellowship isn’t ours to “withdraw”
- Bible words for Bible things
- “Delivering unto Satan” means expulsion
- To withdraw means “to distance oneself from”
- Heresy and schism
II. Detailed scripture study of misused verses
- “Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly”
- “From such withdraw thyself”
- “From such turn away”
- “Mark them which cause divisions”
- “Deliver such an one unto Satan” and “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person”
- “Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme”
- “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject”
I. Overview of “withdrawal” as church discipline
Withdrawal is a verb, not a noun
First, let’s address the fact that “withdrawal” is a
verb. It is not a noun, meaning it is not a state that someone is in. It is an action on the part of the one doing the withdrawing. It is impossible to “withdraw” or continue “withdrawing” for years or decades from someone who has already “withdrawn” themselves from a group.
All of the Biblical teaching on the subject is about either purging the church of wicked people (fornicators, idolaters, etc.) or withholding something an errant brother wants (brotherly camaraderie) in order to encourage him to change his ways. If someone no longer wants to be part of the congregation, both reasons for “withdrawing” are gone. You don’t discipline adult kids who leave the home and want to do their own thing. You discipline and set the rules of the house for the ones who still want to be part of the family, and therefore have a reason to respond to your discipline.
Fellowship isn’t ours to “withdraw”
The subject of fellowship is often understood as spiritual and social interaction, but this is not how the Bible uses the term. Fellowship is synonymous with brother-ship; a brother is a “fellow” disciple, and the “ship” suffix means “state of.” This means that fellowship is a state of “brothership” or brotherhood—a relationship the Lord alone puts us into. Thus to disfellowship someone or withdraw fellowship from him is something God alone can do. We can neither make someone a brother nor declare him not our brother.
Bible words for Bible things
None of the following terms appear in the Scriptures in reference to church discipline: withdrawal, disfellowship, excommunicate, shun. If we are to speak as the Bible speaks, be silent where it’s silent, and use Bible words in Bible ways, then we shouldn’t use these words to describe church discipline practices.
The confusion over these terms came from the miscategorization of a bunch of verses that contain similar instructions but in much different contexts. When they are mistakenly considered parallel passages with 1 Corinthians 5, we end up with bad conclusions where real lives are affected for generations.
Just as we cannot take the word “baptism” and apply it the same way in every verse (since some verses are talking about immersion in water, others a figurative baptism by fire, and still others, the baptism of the Holy Spirit) we cannot take the use of the word “withdraw” as indicating a disciplinary state of “disfellowship.” If we could, then we could say that the Jewish rulers “disfellowshipped” the Sanhedrin: “So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin.” (Acts 4:15) This is silly, of course. You have to look at the context and understand the circumstances he’s addressing.
“Delivering unto Satan” means expulsion
There are two prominent examples of church discipline in the New Testament. The most detailed one is in 1 Corinthians 5, and Paul calls it “delivering unto Satan,” where the grossly immoral person is to be completely expelled from the assembly. Note that the word “withdraw” is not used here at all. When Paul writes to “purge out therefore the old leaven” and “put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” there should be no question about what is intended. The idea is for that person to be completely excluded from all gatherings of the church until he has changed his immoral ways, not meekly sit on a back bench until he demonstrates enough remorse to church leaders.
The second example of a disciplinary action is alluded to in 1 Timothy 1:19-20, where Paul uses a phrase similar to the one he used in 1 Corinthians 5 (delivering unto Satan). He again did not choose to use the word “withdrawal.” Paul used his apostolic authority to expel Hymenaeus and Alexander, apparently for their blasphemous departure from the faith.
To withdraw means “to distance oneself from”
The other verses commonly applied to church discipline use the word “withdraw” to simply mean “removing oneself” from certain kinds of people. These verses are talking about avoiding social interaction, but there are no detailed rules for how to carry it out. We are all supposed to just exercise good judgment about the kinds of people we hang around.
Also in this category is 2 Thessalonians 3:6, which is teaching to stay away from (and don’t be an enabler to) brothers who refuse to work, and who get their sustenance by leaching meals off of other Christians. This is not the same as what Paul refers to as “delivering unto Satan” in 1 Corinthians 5.
1 Timothy 6:5 is similar, and it is saying to stay away from those who dote about “questions and strifes of words.” Again, there is no instruction here to expel them or “deliver them unto Satan.” We are simply to avoid the kind of people whose goal is to produce factional strife.
In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, “From such turn away” is clearly parallel to “from such with withdraw thyself,” yet no one feels that
unthankful people should be “withdrawn from.” This shows that “withdrawal” has been completely misunderstood as church discipline, when it is really an action to be taken by individuals. We’re simply to avoid such people—don’t be influenced by them—don’t make a habit of being around them.
Romans 16:17 is also in the category of avoiding certain kinds of people, in this case, those who cause divisions. The idea Paul is trying to convey is again not a formal disciplinary measure, but an avoidance of people who are divisive. People who seek to separate one group of Christians from another are constantly seeking alliances and making political factions out
of groups of Christians. We are to avoid associating ourselves with this kind of person.
Heresy and schism
Avoiding schismatic people fits right in with Paul’s instructions in Titus 3:9-11 – “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.” When we properly understand the word “heretic” as meaning a divisive person, it is clear that we are to remove ourselves far from schismatic people so that we don’t contribute to their influence on the body of Christ. To give them social standing in the church just lends them credibility.
In no case do I find an example of people being disciplined by the congregation and continuing to show up at the assembly with rules like not talking, not eating with others, not taking the Lord’s supper, etc. At best, those are human-contrived rules which are “doctrines and commandments of men.” At worst, they are a twisting of various scriptures out of the context of what the original authors meant by them.
II. Detailed scripture studies of misused verses
“Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly”
This phrase in 2 Thessalonians is one that is frequently taken out of context. In fact, it is most often used to “withdraw
fellowship” from people for the wrong reasons, and rarely used to justify dissociating from someone for the correct reasons given by Paul when he wrote it:
2 Thessalonians 3:6 – Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
If we are to understand what he means by the phrase “not after the tradition which he received of us,” in verse 6, we
should take the time to understand what those traditions were that the Thessalonian Christians received from Paul. Fortunately, he explains in verses 7-9.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 – For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make
ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
He is clearly telling the Thessalonian Christians to stay away from someone who is lazy and refuses to work for their own food. In fact, he defines precisely what he means by “walking disorderly:”
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 – For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
His intention is that people disengage socially from someone who refuses to work, but is constantly begging food from the brethren. Don’t invite them for dinner and enable their laziness. Don’t bring the busybody into your house to tell you all his or her latest gossip. To these people, he gives a command:
2 Thessalonians 3:12 – Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
Then he goes back to addressing the brethren who had to deal with such people, telling them not to be discouraged from doing good just because some people abuse their generosity.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 – But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
He follows this encouragement with specific instruction on what to do with the person who refuses to work and insists on living off of the bread of other brothers in Christ:
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 – And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
So let’s review what Paul said and did not say in this letter:
- This brother remains in “brothership” or “fellowship” and is to be treated as such.
- The tradition the church received of Paul is very clearly defined in verses 7 and 8 as working for a living rather than relying on the generosity of the saints.
- “Walking disorderly” is also clearly defined in verse 11 as “working not all.”
- The path to follow, according to verse 12, is to command and exhort these people to work and to eat their own bread with
- Those who still refuse to obey the instruction to work for their own living are to be noted and excluded from social settings for the purpose of shaming and admonishing them.
- There is nothing here about not talking to them, or not eating with them at the same table, or in the same room, etc. We are just to obey the spirit of this instruction; in order to shame and admonish them, we are to avoid making them feel a part of the congregation’s social circle. A social get together implies acceptance and usually includes food, and that would just be another occasion for a lazy person to get a meal without feeling admonished and without having to work for it. In other words, don’t be an enabler.
- There is nothing here about a formal “withdrawal meeting” or “delivering unto Satan” when the whole church is gathered together. The instruction is merely to avoid these people socially in order to discourage their bad behavior. If the person’s
behavior changes from Sunday to Monday, and on Monday, he lands a job, there is no meeting of the church required before a brother could invite him over for dinner.
“From such withdraw thyself”
Paul’s letter to Timothy has also been construed to mean that we ought to “withdraw fellowship” from certain people.
1 Timothy 6:5 – …perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
The most obvious thing to note is that Paul is writing to Timothy to stay away from these types of people, not ordering him to excommunicate or deliver such a person to Satan, so to speak. This is a personal exhortation from Paul to Timothy.
Taking Paul’s comments in context, I’ll start at the beginning of the chapter:
1 Timothy 6:1-2 – Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
Apparently, the poor of the churches were rebelling against their Christian employers and masters. There was apparently some “class envy” going on. But Paul instructs Timothy that servants should not despise their masters, but serve them all the more because they are brethren and fellow heirs of the benefit of salvation. Then he warns against those who might continue to teach that slaves should rise up against their masters:
1 Timothy 6:3-5 – If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
There were apparently Christian servants at the time who felt justified in despising their Christian masters. But Paul says they were engaging in strifes over words, railings, evil surmising, and perverse disputing. He further says that these people supposed that “gain is godliness,” and urged Timothy not to get caught up with such people. That is what I think he means by “from such withdraw thyself.” He’s instructing Timothy, as a man of God, not to get involved in taking sides with the factional infighting of Christian against Christian, which invariably led to envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, etc.
He goes on to clarify and emphasize the same point about the deceitfulness of riches and those who follow after it in the rest of the chapter.
What we learn from Paul’s letter to Timothy about this subject is:
- As with Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian church, there is no law given here about formal church discipline, or a
“state of withdrawal.”
- Paul is simply telling Timothy to stay away from people who insist that gain is godliness. There are people today, many of whom are in the inner cities, who preach class hatred for poor Christians against their “rich” employers. Those are precisely the people Paul is telling Timothy to stay away from.
“From such turn away”
This passage is often overlooked when looking into the Bible’s teaching on “disfellowship.” Yet clearly, “from such turn
away” is equivalent to “from such withdraw thyself.” So in whatever way Timothy was to withdraw himself from those other people, he was also to avoid these types of people:
2 Timothy 3:2-5 – For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This emphasizes to me that “turning away” from such bad characters (particularly those who call themselves believers) should be the individual, natural response of a faithful believer. There is nothing implying that all people fitting the above character traits are to be formally expelled and “delivered unto Satan,” although a number of these character traits could
easily rise to the level of such action.
I have known of unthankful people who call themselves Christians. Is Paul teaching us to cast out such person, or to simply avoid enabling and learning their unthankful ways? Avoiding clearly could not have meant “excommunicating” in Paul’s mind.
On the other hand, a blasphemer and a lover of pleasure (particularly sexually immoral pleasure) could easily find himself “cast out” of the assembly, considering Paul’s strong instructions to the believers in Corinth and his example in dealing with Hymenaeus.
“Mark them which cause divisions”
This passage is relatively straightforward: make note of those who are out to cause divisions and lead people away from the teachings of Jesus Christ and avoid them.
Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
The next verse fills in a pretty good picture of the kind of person he is writing about:
Romans 16:18 – For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
The people to be avoided are people who are evidently not out to serve Jesus Christ, but their own appetites for glory, power, etc. There is nothing in this passage that indicates a congregational “trial” of any sort. When Christians cross paths with brothers who are divisive or egotistical, we are to simply make note of them and avoid them. In other words, don’t give them an audience. This is what the Spring Valley church should have done to Merie. Instead, they gave her a seat of prominence, and the rest is history.
“Deliver such an one unto Satan” and “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person”
This passage is one which urges very explicitly the “casting out” of a wicked person from among the group. It is clearly an act of “church discipline” done for the purpose of purging sin and reproving the sinner to bring about shame and repentance.
1 Corinthians 5 – It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Note that this passage is unlike many of the other passages that simply tell us to avoid certain kinds of unsavory characters. This is not an avoidance of social interaction, but a complete expulsion from the group. “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person” is a pretty strong statement and does not imply that someone continues to come to the assembly and quietly sits in the back row. That is nothing more than a tradition of men.
I also think this implies that there is malice and wicked intentions on the part of a sinner who calls himself a Christian. Jesus ate with publicans, and adulteresses in the hope of reaching them with his message of forgiveness and repentance. This is clearly a different situation with someone who professed Christianity but flagrantly lived opposite to its ideals.
“Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme”
Hymenaeus and Alexander were apparently two individuals who “rejected faith and a good conscience,” resulting in blasphemy.
1 Timothy 1:19-20 – Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Paul personally “delivered them unto Satan.” Hymenaeus apparently was teaching that the resurrection was already past, “overthrowing the faith of some.”
2 Timothy 2:16-18 – But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Since 1 Corinthians 5 is the only other example of someone being “delivered unto Satan,” and that example is where a fornicator was to be put out of the congregation, we can infer that this must be what Paul meant by the phrase.
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject”
Paul said this to Titus:
Titus 3:9-11 – But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
This is a case where the choice of the word “heretic” in the King James translation (like the word “Easter” in Acts 12:4) makes Paul’s meaning less clear; but it is not impossible to figure out, given the context. In verse 9, Paul is clearly advising Titus to reject divisive people who engage in unprofitable, foolish strivings and contentions about the law. The subject he is addressing is contentiousness about opinions (being schismatic), not having or teaching an incorrect opinion about them (being unorthodox).
The meaning of the word translated “heretic” in Titus 3:10 is clearly “a schismatic person.” This is borne out by the following verses, where the words heresy and sect (which is a schism or faction) are all translated from the same Greek word: Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5,14; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; Titus
It is also borne out by the American Standard Version translation of the Titus passage:
Titus 3:9-11 – 9 but shun foolish questionings, and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; 11 knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned. (ASV)
Far from instructing Titus to “withdraw fellowship” from people who have an incorrect opinion, Paul is telling Titus something a lot simpler: to have nothing to do with people who have a factious attitude. There are those in the church who are out to splinter it into fragments, and Titus was to stay away from such people.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The only reason this church exists is because certain Christians in the 60’s and 70’s decided to split off from other Christians. This should raise some red flags for current members. Do you know your history and your Bible as well as you think you do? When you read Merie’s letters, did the Spring Valley church divide from El Cajon and other congregations in the San Diego area in righteous indignation over “church heresies,” or were they the ones being “heretical” (factious, causing division)?
Biblically, the truth is that Spring Valley was itself the faction, and its leaders were the factious brethren that the rest of the congregations at the time rightly decided to ignore. Whatever moral authority Merie and other leaders thought they had, even if some of their concerns were valid, was sacrificed when they decided to create a faction out of God’s people.
I totally agree with your blog, Kevin. You are such an eloquent speaker-writer, as this subject has affected so many families and will for years to come if it continues. I pray that eyes and ears will be opened before more families become "separated" because of Stanton's teachings. I know it has affected our family and makes for uncomfortable and sometimes anger (out of love) to those that have caused the division to the family unit. I still believe God will show those willing to study this will see the teachings of Merie for what they are. Thank you again… Read more »
I think you are totally wrong about this subject. even the mainline coc practice withdrawal.
Can you elaborate on where you think I'm wrong? I don't suggest this is a cut-and-dried easy subject, but I do think if we stick to the scriptures we can figure out the right Biblical approach for situations that might call for "church discipline" of some sort.
The error in you reasoning in your fifth paragraph touches on part of the problem. One of the "secrect's" of their understanding is to study the bible by topic rather than by context. This study by topic produces many error's because without the contextual understanding only wrong understandings come forth; for example their are lies in the bible: whenever the parisee's made statement like John 7:52 no prophet comes out of Galilee it was a lie and it was foretold in the old testament. If you study only by topic you will mistake many recorded lies as truth a contextual… Read more »
Sounds like you are agreeing with me Anon 12:07 that the error Iies in their reasoning in correlating certain verses out of context.
Are you the same person as Anon 10:58 who said you think *I'm* "totally wrong about this subject?" I'm confused.
I am anon 12:07 and not anon 10:58 and yes I was agreeing with you and trying to highlight the pride of the pharisee's understanding that because they study by topic and not by context they believe they have understandings that no one else has and yet some of their understandings I was taught make no sense when studied in context. Example: Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God.. I was taught that this means that Christians don't have car accidents or Christians can't win the lottery. And when… Read more »
Ok gotcha. Thanks for the clarification Anon 5:22/12:07. 🙂
As for Anon 10:58, I'm still interested in a clarification on where I'm wrong in breaking down the subject of "withdrawal." What verse am I understanding wrong, specifically?
Anon 3-31-15 @ 5:22PM. If Job went through his trials in the modern age in the Merie Weiss congregations they would tear him apart in a heart beat! But God with his saving grace held him up because he kept his trust in God and not his accusing brethren!!!
I have seen this to many times where preachers/teachers won't give full attention to those they deem unworthy. It is as if you don't fill a certain expectation that their relationship with you is very limited. I have thought of this, if we are all just brethren and that we will all be the same in heaven, they why all of the varying status levels and why do a lot of the older brethren hold other older brethren in a higher esteem than the younger brethren? If we are all striving for heaven then wouldn't we want to help those… Read more »
I wanted to point out a couple of things too, Kevin, if I may?The main problem that I had, and still have, when it comes to how this sect practices "withdrawal" is in the practice itself.By that I mean from beginning to end. For one, when someone is brought up for withdrawal, there is not usually two or more witnesses. Then, the person who is being brought up for withdrawal is not given a chance to speak, or explain anything. As a matter of fact, I have heard them being told to be quiet, that this is a time for… Read more »
The current rules for withdrawal were instituted by the evangelist in SV after the withdrawal of his predecessor. During the withdrawal the evangelist, Jim was his first name I think, defended himself and the withdrawal took over four hours since then those brought up for withdrawal are not allowed to "defend" themselves, so says the current evangelist in SV.
One of the largest problems is that anybody can accuse somebody else of something they "thought" was wrong and in many cases you have to sit there and endure correction, open teaching, and sometimes even open rebuke without them checking with you to see if it is correct. If you try to shed light on the matter you are accused of being defensive, stand offish, etc. We were told if the castigating was right then take it, but if it wrong then still take it as we are told if we are buffeted for things we didn't do it makes… Read more »
Lynn I believe what you are describing is the sect's tactics of evil surmising. It is used on a continual basis and the way they control their members. It is horribly abusive particularly when done in front of others in a controlled setting when you are the target and not in a position of authority to defend yourself by causing a disruption in a class or worship service. Their dismissing these evil tactics saying it will make you a stronger christian to hear it even if it's not meant for you is simply more double-talk to shut you up and… Read more »
To Anon at 5:18You are so spot on!! After I first left, I was able to step back and look at quite a few things, and that was one of the things that I saw! It was difficult for me to admit at first, after all, these were my brethren. But after more study on evil surmising, I came to that same conclusion.what disturbed me, and still does, is that they believe it's ok for teachers to do it!I know some do it on purpose in order to control their congregation. But I also believe that there are some teachers… Read more »
FYI to all: It was when I was in Lakeland, FL that I decided to start listening to Merie's tapes. In one of those tapes she explains how she came to the decision to leave the "mainstream church of Christ" and start another one. She said it was when she was withdrawn from for the third time, and she was wondering why it had happened again. It suddenly occurred to her that God was telling her to leave the church, withdraw herself from them. She believed they were starting into apostasy, teaching things that weren't scriptural.The understanding the Stanton group… Read more »
It is really an outrage on withdrawal. Our nation says everyone gets a fair trial and the right to present their side, there are two sides to every story. In the Stanton Church, the teacher tells the story, and the person they accuse is ALWAYS guilty. The accused party NEVER gets to state their side. There is no appeals process. If the preacher says you are guilty, then you had better learn humility and get over your pride and learn to agree that The preacher is ALWAYS right, and I am ALWAYS wrong. You'd better learn that not only is… Read more »
Martin, you stated the preacher (GP I assume?) said you were withdrawn and excommunicated. What does that mean? I remember withdraw but I don't remember excommunication.
GP was the evangelist and I respect him and the local preacher a lot. Excommunicated means you can't even come to church anymore. I was withdrawn from 9/21/2008, and after sitting in withdrawal for nearly four years, they excommunicated me on 8/1/2012. Exactly a half hour later, completely out of the blue a million dollar business was sold to me. The Stanton church will say it was Satan:). You may judge for yourself.
Martin, sorry to keep inquiring on the subject of excommunication, but this is a new one for me in the Stanton churches. I became a member in 1973 and in all that time never saw this kind of thing put into practice. People would be withdrawn from for years without being totally removed from attending. Can you give me more details?
Martin, are the church teachers using the term excommunicated? I have heard the term 'marked and avoided' but never have I heard the term excommunicated to mean the same thing.
The church in Des Moines tried to withdraw from tjc and dwc and when a few brethren would not agree to their withdrawal GP suggested the church 'mark and avoid' them and anyone unwilling to withdraw. Mark and avoid came to mean 'not allowed in any assembly'. Martin was also marked and avoided in Vallejo for not honoring his withdrawal which he disagreed with. The churches received a letter stating this young man was marked and avoided. Brethren are instructed to collectively leave the building if he enters and refuses to leave.
Seeker, you are right! I had forgotten that the congregation in Des Moines didn't actually withdraw from those two members. I remember, now, that we were to mark and avoid them, have nothing to do with them. I remember also that dwc emailed some of us, to send "letters" throughout the congregations. We were instructed to not read those letters! Even at the time I knew why they didn't want us to read them.I didn't and still don't agree with all dwc was doing and teaching. However, I also don't agree with how the withdrawal proceedings went. The Des Moines… Read more »
Thank you Seeker. Debby said the tapes were non existing so no one could really get the details from those meetings. If I remember correctly there were seven Christians that did not agree with withdrawl and they then were told if they didn't agree the entire congregation would be withdrawn from. Sounds like a Kangaroo Court to me. And sad to say the unscriptural practice of excommunication came from it hurting still more Christians. Sounds like Catholicism.
Certainly concerned, their basis was Romans 16: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. If you disagree with a teacher you qualify to be marked and avoided. I was initially withdrawn from in 2008, and then made the mistake of sending text messages to the teachers about disagreeing with them, that was grounds for marking and avoiding. I call it excommunicating, since it amounts to the same thing. I was raised a child of christians, so as you can imagine it was not a… Read more »
I was the one in DM who would withdraw from tjc and dmc. Brethren in DM kept asking tc and gp to take dmc and tjc to Billings regarding the charges brought to them as the charges came from Billings. I asked why Terry and Jennifer Laxton were flown down to FL to face the charges brought against them from the FL congregation (from DM) but we won't do the same for tjc and dmc?The ordeal took place for two days. At the end of the second day it was asked if anyone objected to the withdrawl. I raised my… Read more »
You are right, Seeker, you are quite knowledgeable. Yes, they are, they are told I have serious issues and to avoid me at all costs:-). I can hardly think of a single person who did anything for God who wasn't treated the same way at one time or another. The church somehow thinks if you have sins which you have changed, that you are branded for life. Too bad they don't know Les Miserables because it totally describes them. They would look at that as carnal, never mind we have 10,000 teachers in Christ, we don't have that many people… Read more »
Wow, Marci, I remember hearing about this, but so much for consent of the church. You said you had an objection and you were overridden. Glad to see the will of the church was obeyed. Funny, I always suspected objecting would have painful consequences. I see it is far more than a reality.
I understand it happened to you as well. gp took crossed a line October 31, 2001. Seems he has become as Diotrephes in third John. I was surprised to hear that to "mark and avoid" has become a practice. Shame on our brethren. Pride is a powerful narcotic it's what took satan down, if our brothers don't see what they do is wrong it may take them down.
Yes, it took a lot of courage for you to stand up to the three teachers of the day and say you object. In a church where no resistance to the decrees of the top leaders had really been seen in the past twenty years, to actually think about a topic objectively and not forced to take a position that aligns with the ruling leaders took not a little bravery.
Next someone hurriedly came up and said the police had been called and were on their way. "Really?", I said, "brother goes to law against brother"? Paul specifically forbade this in Corinthians. I fully intended to stand there all night, since I believe injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and I am tired of people just submitting to the nonsense that they insist on unjustly enforcing on innocent people. Tired of business as usual, and gradualism, and tired of watching one church knock on 216,000 doors, have only one person from the world, not related to Christians, get… Read more »
Satan is a leader, just like God. In the war in heaven Satan lost and was cast out and took a third of the stars of heaven with him. God exercises authority over his righteous followers and likewise Satan exercise authority of his wicked followers. You can tell the difference in the two authorities by their behaviors toward their followers. God is a good shepherd to his flock and Satan is a wolf over his flock: feeding on his followers. As Christians we are taught to study the bible daily, and we should also study our preachers and teachers as… Read more »
Fool for Christ, my husband and I experienced the same kind of thing with new members.We found that we would invite people to the non-member class, and then the teacher would spend a lot of time bashing other religions, or talking about sexual perversions, or about the evils of rock and roll groups. This made those people leave quickly, as it was not the gospel that we had talked about when we invited them!Before we left, we had been working with a young couple who had a daughter. We had been doing home studies with them, and the couple were… Read more »
Today many of the converts are children raised in the church which makes it easy for the teachers since the new converts lready know the outward rules and they already know how dangerous it is to question the rules or go against teaching.
Seeker, you hit the nail on the head. It's very sad to see yet another generation being sucked into the vortex of Stanton's unbiblical teachings and dysfunctional church and family dynamics.
My hope is that this blog and the newer voices we're hearing from helps rescue some of the younger generations out of it by helping them to see that the pretty picture of Stanton history they've been painted is not accurate.
There is hope, there is actually a rebellion going on right now amongst well known leaders children. Cannot elaborate, but the gist is that no matter what any "teacher" says, if it is not in scripture it is not valid.
Very good to hear. That one determination alone, if they have the guts to stick with it to the bitter end, will eventually lead them out of the wilderness–whether they realize they're in one or not.
Yes, very happy to hear this as well, Kevin. I am certain this blog has caused many changes to be speeded up. Truth is never afraid of a lie, the more light is shed on matters that many try to cover up, the sooner night passes and a new day dawns.
I have been withdrawn from before. I was around 18, immature, and got no help from the congregation. I was supposed to figure it out myself. I talked to much, so I was withdrawn from for being a talebearer/murmuring. I wasn't complaining about teaching or rebelling. It was done to shut me up. One of the times I tried to come back the main teacher started accusing me of things that were untrue and refused to listen to me because I was getting upset over the castigation. It seems it is used as a punishment rather than to help our… Read more »
Amen Lynn, One evangelist, may God forgive him, announced at a trip that he knew it was unscriptural to withdraw for uncleanness, but he did it anyway since he wanted to be united with the brethren. He thought unity with the church was more important than being united with God's word. I thought a leader was someone who did what was right no matter what the consequences were to themselves? Valuing unity with brethren more than with God's word is nothing more than the fear of man and man-pleasing, sad to say. Exactly how is being united with anyone on… Read more »
I agree that David didn't harm Saul. I don't harm any of them either. Also, forgot to mention it, but when I visited the 2015 May Trip, which apparently they didn't like too much, MY CAR WAS SPRAY PAINTED THE NEXT MORNING! I don't suspect any Christians, but I do suspect their children. My car has never been spray painted before. What I wonder is what a Christian could tell their children about a man who merely tried to walk in their building in sit down, to cause their children to spray paint the mans car. I had a $0… Read more »
Please be careful Martin, unless you truly know it was one of their children, don't say that it was. They are no doubt looking at the spray painting as a sign from God. Don't stoop to their level of eviil surmising by making possibilities into fact. You will give them ammunition to castigate you even further for unsubstantiated accusations.
You are right. I thought of this as well. According to them, this is just retribution from God. While I suspect their children, and it is perfectly rational to do so, I do not yet draw conclusions, and realize there could have been another explanation. Even if they did it, it doesn't bother me, it actually harms them more than it does me. Whoever did it, has to go to bed with themselves knowing they are a vandal, and that is a way worse punishment than anything they've done to me. The greatest accuser is their own conscience. I will… Read more »
Martin, could you possibly send Kevin your story so it can be published as a separate blog entry for comment? Please start at the beginning when you were first withdrawn and the details that lead to your being marked and avoided. Do you have any written documentation concerning your charges? Who did you try to contact concerning your withdrawal when you disagreed with it? Were you allowed to defend yourself during your withdrawal? Did you contact only teachers or did you contact other congregants or children of congregants? Were you present at the meeting where the church decided to 'mark… Read more »
I always admired the human that was completely and totally honest and hid nothing. That showed their flaws and their virtues, and cared only for what God thought of them. That is rather dangerous in Stanton. If you did what David did you would be permanently debarred from church. God help the poor soul that is guilty of their prince of sins. You could commit fornication, adultery, theft, robbery etc, and you'd be o.k. but if you are guilty of the prince of sins, you are permanently lost. 1) no written documentation, though I asked for it. Was withdrawn from… Read more »
You sound like a lawyer, Seeker. Makes me nervous.
4) Did you contact only teachers or did you contact other congregants or children of congregants? In August of 2008, I was uncomfortable about four points that had happened, which involved my teacher and felt they were unjust. I went to his house, never breathed a word of it to another soul on the planet, and spoke to him in private letting him know I had observed these issues, and wanted to bring them to his attention. He said he would look at them. I never heard another thing from him about these things, but a month later I was… Read more »
6)What grounds did they use to mark and avoid you? I was teaching contrary to the church. If the whole church agrees on a teaching, and one member doesn't that member is to be marked and avoided. I had merely sent a text message to the preacher, hadn't contacted any other brethren, but that was bad enough. 7) Not once, with the exception of the class on 8/1/2012 where I was marked and avoided, and wanted to make a point. Other than that I said nothing. I will admit, at times, particularly when I was being compared to a bisexual… Read more »
9)During your withdrawal did you ever try to make confessions to the collective church or individuals of the church?Never, the church demands confessions be reviewed with teachers first. Mine were never satisfactory to the teacher. I don't mind confessing my faults to the church or to people I trust who I know love me and will help me. But I have serious objections telling people who refuse to keep confidences and use my confidences to keep me in line. 10) Also, concerning the sin that was held against you from your past, have you repented of that sin? (I am… Read more »
AM, dear person, your heart is full of matter. If you continue in this fashion you will be judging with the root of bitterness in your heart and will not be able to see clearly. Any church has the right to be what it wants to be. We, as individuals have the right to get up and leave it behind and leave them to their own destiny. I know the Stanton Churches very well. In order for me to survive spiritually I had to give Jesus Christ my burdens and take his yoke on me, which was much lighter. And… Read more »
To Concerned, please don't be nervous, I assure you I am not a lawyer. I had a hard time following all of the comments and replys to the replys to the replys. I believe I have the 'full un-interrupted' version of Martin's side of the story now. Thank you Martin and thank you all for your patience.
Martin Luther, I encourage you to stop proclaiming what God will do or will not do in your former congregation. Your prophecy falls on deaf ears and gives them ammunition to discredit you simply by the fact you are making those types of prophetic statements (even if what you're saying is true). Our little finite selves really shouldn't declare such things.
Very good and wise counsel Anonymous. We may only find peace through God's grace and love not the "getting the story right" or being justified with those that falsely accuse. Move on, Give it to God ~ I have found that when I do I find peace and the answer as to why I was so angry or bitter over any particular circumstance.
I don't mind stating what history already shows is going to happen. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. They ignore what history says to their own peril. You can't withdraw and discredit the truth no matter how unified you are. I'd rather fail in a cause that ultimately succeeds than succeed in a cause that ultimately fails. When a man does not have a purpose he is willing to give his life for, he isn't fit to live. Addressing truth is a duty of all, and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Silence is… Read more »
This is what love is, notice especially the final four clauses, how love bears all, endures all, hopes all, believes all. Love never leaves, it corrects and it never ceases to correct until it remedies the problem. 1] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I… Read more »
Can anyone shed more light on the statement that there is a rebellion going on with some of the teachers children (I am assuming they are Christians), that if it is not in the Bible, no matter who is teaching it, it is not valid? I pray that this is the case and wonder how that is going and if anyone can shed more light on this for me.
Wow, that would be fantastic!
The difference between a religion and a cult is that a religion exalts and follows a set of laws and a cult exalts and follows a leader. People are recruited into a bible based cult due to their interest in the bible but after a certain point realize that they are not following the bible at all; but rather the leader. I have heard many people say "I knew Merie!" but few can say that they know God through the writings in the bible. It is a subtle difference and only when you see the group not following, or going… Read more »
Tracy, What rebellion did you hear of?
Yes, I can, and by the way, I wrote a response to your article Tracy, and my computer wasn't working good, will redo. Very much enjoyed your story. I heard from a reliable source, and I will preface this by saying this has not been verified, that a revolt of sorts has been going on in the South. The evangelist on the East Coast has a son who started Charleston. Apparently, one of the leading, if not the leading woman teacher in the SCOC, was visiting Charleston and noticed the evangelists son, who was moderating, was chewing gum. She apparently… Read more »
I listened to one of my old friends, bless his heart, get up at the May Trip to inform on me as being a trouble maker, who makes babies cry, and who it's best to keep out of their midst. First of all, I love all children and was raised around many siblings. Second of all, children often do begin crying when they see conflict, though I was always peaceful. It's really not my fault a church decided to unscripturally withdraw from me and then excommunicate me. So when I walk in, as I make a habit of occasionally doing,… Read more »
Martin Luther, I would very much love to have a copy of the 2016 talks. I have my own library of many years of talks. Please let me know how I obtain them. Thanks
No problem Lynn, just e-mail Kevin, and, if he doesn't mind, he or I can send it along.
Martin Luther, I would love for the talks to be published to this sight!
Martin Luther, thank you. I will contact him.
One of the subtle perversions of a cult is the removal of normal boundaries and replacing them with church boundaries. The removal of the family boundaries is very quick and is replaced with the church family. Welcome to the family is what new members were told after being baptized. Children in the church are considered community property and any adult can discipline your children, even in front of the parents. One man, who was a preacher, in Phoenix would get up and go over to what he thought was a misbehaving child, take the child by the hand, who was… Read more »
Another big "wow" reading these comments especially from Marci and what took place in Des Moines. That I never remember hearing being shared about what had taken place. That you would anyone who would not withdraw from the two would be marked and avoided. Clearly a case to intemidate and cause fear in the members. I'd like Gary, Tom and Kim to answer to why? Very disturbing to read all this. Merie's churches sure have an ugly history.
Withdrawal offence – If a member in good standing talks to, or otherwise fellowships with a withdrawn from member, they too will be withdrawn from. They are accused of walking disorderly and not after the tradition of the apostles. Walking disorderly is used for anything the church wants to pin on someone for withdrawal. What a harmful and sad misuse of scripture.
I saw withdrawal used as a tool to force an unruly member into submission. The preacher would make up his mind this person needs to be withdrawn from and then start looking for an excuse to have a withdrawal. We were told that withdrawal was so a person could see their sin but in practice it was to have total domination and control of the member. I used to think it was a game of mercy that is forcing the lesser member to give but in reality it was to gain total control over the person. After the withdrawal the… Read more »
Lucky guy that could chose to fall away rather then be withdrawn from. Rare indeed. I've seen people withdrawn from that did not attend their withdrawal and never darkened the door again but were stuck in perpetual withdrawal. I have also seen one person withdrawn from days or weeks after falling away because the church was trying to stop other members from communicating with that person. As mentioned above, it's an effective form of control and stops members from trying to get all the facts etc because they would be withdrawn from for communicating with a withdrawn from member. Only… Read more »
They used withdrawl to shut people up. If they can't control you they would withdraw from you. With this looming over your head it was a control. The bad thing about this is that they don't work with people who need it. People are entering the churches from all sorts of backgrounds and things they allowed to rule in their lives that they need help with. It is as they just tell you what to do, but don't help you to understand it or how to overcome it. The last time I went to counsel over something I was blasted… Read more »
I would not call it luck but rather hypocrisy. The man who was a teaching preacher took great delight in church discipline; he smiled the most broadest when he got to withdraw from a member under him but he himself was above church discipline and would not go through a withdrawal. The preacher from Albuquerque was above God's law it did not apply to him, but he gleefully applied it to others: he had the spirit of a Pharisee. One practice was to lead members into temptation and then mock them when they gave in. I told the preacher from… Read more »
I guess I really do not understand withdrawal hanging over your head the rest of your life. By whom? The teachers and preachers are nobody's who think they are somebody's or a church /cult that is so dysfunctional? Who would want anything to do with this cult? I know if you still have family members going it is a sticky situation and now that I know the truth about it things are not quite the same but otherwise life goes on. Stand tall, contact the friends and family in your life before you ever got mixed up in this….they will… Read more »
If a person is withdrawn from and has no family members in the church then they can just move on if they choose to fall away but that is not the case when they have family members in the church. Parents and children, sisters and brothers could spend the rest of their lives estranged from each other.
Jo you don't understand the social pressure of withdrawal. A member is publicly humiliated by withdrawal, all of your faults are made public, every disgusting detail. A member is taught to go to the teachers preachers for council in dealing with life's problems and advice is given but what problems or experiences you share with your teacher is used as ammunition against you later on. I made the mistake of confiding with my teacher that I was molested at age seven and he held this against me ever since. I am not, nor have I ever been, a pedophile, nor… Read more »
Anon 7:10..I'd love to hear GP'S excuse for all this sick and twisted stuff.. Unreal.. I'm sorry you went through this..
Also, is the man that made the comment about men with big foreheads still in the church?
The tow truck/real estate preacher, now councilor, one of the four leaders, is the one who was saying "men with big foreheads are probably gay" It is not out of character for him to throw blows below the belt, this is how he has always been. On the personal work when he would debate with a Jehovah witness he would point out missing scriptures in the Jehovah witness bible (New world translation) and when the Jehovah witness would say he did not know about that the two truck preacher would retort: how come I know more about your religion than… Read more »
I am sorry to hear this anon 7:10 PM. I talk directly to God about my past sins and not to anyone confidentially as I have seen too many things accidentally passed on over the years I have been alive. Your teachers/preachers must be very busy trying to keep their nose in everyone's business and control them. Doesn't anyone work? Oh that is right…some are on welfare or live off the members? What a farce ! What a joke!
Yes nothing is really private and the past you share can be used against you. And not just preachers but also other members you share with that you think love you. Once you leave there, it's open season on you. I have heard plenty about others who left and I am sure there's talk about me and my husband. That's their constant self -righteousness that they confuse with righteousness. It's interesting that other cults, such as Scientology, use the same method of using your past against you. So sorry about the incident as a child, anon. Same happened to me.… Read more »
I realize now to end blackmail you must reveal any and all secret information so it cannot be used to extort you. It does not bother me how little people think of me, I would rather have the secrets that I have shared with my teachers/preachers known and be free of any blackmail. I have no desire for evil and have done no evil. In life I have seen homosexuals adopt their drug addict siblings children and raise them in a healthy home; the fear of homosexuals is greatly exaggerated. Though I am not a homosexual I have seen homosexual… Read more »
I should add the time frame also. I revealed the fact that I was molested as a child to my teaching preacher in 1990 and in 2017 a full twenty seven years later he is trying to use it against me. The tow truck preacher taught us in Phoenix that "God forgives but he does not forget" and neither does the tow truck preacher forget.(which is not true God says he will blot out your sins and remember them no more) He will bring up what ever you have told him in confidence for years to come, until he dies… Read more »
So sorry to hear about your experiences, Anon, both as a child and as an adult in the SCOC. People who treat victims of childhood abuse like that have no place in front of a pulpit.
Anon 9:06. The tow truck/ real estate preacher is not one of the main counselors. The head counselors remain the same four; TC, KS, GP and PP. Tow-truck-preacher is living in Phoenix again. He went there to fix the problems after the main female teacher was withdrawn from for oppression. Later, tow-truck-preacher himself was not preaching nor did he attend the 2017 May meeting. I heard he is 'getting back up' but I don't know the details.
Anon 10:43 how can DS be the problem fixer with a past like his? Just goes to show you how dead Meie's cult is if he is even considered more or less chosen to help another congregation. He is no preacher. I'd laugh in his face if I ever encounter him and call him what he is. He does have a wonderful wife and all my experiences with him has been good. But hearing what I've been hearing the respect is gone.
Strange to hear Satan is back in Phoenix. His anger that would rise into a rage behind the pulpit and was the seeds of so many child abusers in the Phoenix group. Many took on his personality after he departed to start the congregation in Prescott, many members developed uncontrollable anger that turned into uncontrolled rage with first their own children then others children. If you were small and weak you became a target of the many bullies in Phoenix. Add to the congregation a teaching preacher from Albuquerque who sowed seeds of discord and members blossomed into full blown… Read more »
Kevin @ 8:07 am. Christianity was a blessing to me. Forbidding to commit fornication was new to me, every person I knew in the military committed fornication or adultery it was the norm. Do not commit uncleanness was new to me too as in the military it was joked about and accepted as normal as well. Christianity taught me the morals and self control that I never had before and I am a better person for it. If Christianity can help someone as wicked as me then it can help anyone. I wondered why with such powerful precepts that is,… Read more »
Anon 6:07 thank you. You read the scriptures. The scoc is not Christianity. Sure they teach the scriptures some right, some wrong as they also add and take away from the word of God. Thus they have not God. Hey but they do have Merie.
The evangelist in Spring Valley went soft on sin in the Phoenix congregation at some point. I have tried to figure out what was the turning point was and the closest I can pin point is when Phoenix started paying him well. With the tow truck preacher being generous toward the evangelist with the Lord's treasury here in Phoenix we started not only paying Phoenix's part of his support but the Stanton congregations portion as well. When the evangelist called and asked for 1000.00 toward 3500.00 for a newer vehicle the tow truck preacher volunteered the phoenix congregation to give… Read more »
Anon 6:07, Craig is right, you are equating Christianity with SCOC and implying that non-SCOC is non-Christianity.
It's awesome that you have respect for the Christian faith. It's also true that there is a moral code, and society is better when we follow it. And hopefully you understand that this blog does not argue against Christianity and it's moral code, but for it.
the bmoc is back!! that's not "big man" on campus, but "big mouth" on campus. Luv your rants and ravings. Entertaining as a soup opera as always. keep up the good god-man work
Monsuir administrator: why do u allow this stuff from kf?
Note: Please avoid all personal attacks, names and initials. If you see something that you think crosses the line, please contact
Sorry KF, dial it back, please. 🙂 And thanks to those who emailed me with a heads up. I can't be screening comments 24/7 or I'd drive my family nuts. lol
Anon 5:48 I missed what KF said but the soap opera started 50 years ago by Merie Weiss. Let us not forget how this cult began. Tapes I heard of her nothing but a big mouth false teacher of a false religion who has and continues to somehow deceive. To bad she is not still alive, maybe she would have some courage to answer her fake religions way. So unlike the cowards who continue to follow her her her. Yep not God but Merie.
Speaking of cowards… my ex told my child that if I put my pride down and return to the church, he would have my older daughters (of age) move back with me. Of course, much like I wouldn't want them back involuntarily, God wouldn't want me to be sitting in their pews involuntarily. Interesting how it works there and so obvious. Nothing about "loving God" or anything even scriptural. He sees it as my "pride" that is the issue. It really just gave me the opportunity to show what he and they are all about: if you don't go along,… Read more »
Seeking wow they are amazingly well I'm running out of nice names to call them. Just can't understand why they won't take on a challenger like me to answer my questions. Fear of man. Fear of a nonmember man. You have the truth what is there to fear scoc. Being proven wrong? That you are living a lie? My conclusion is this cult is leaderless.
Gee, let me place some pillows down for their tender heads to lie upon and hand out handkerchiefs for everyone to cry in, because of the harshness of how I've treated these people who have disturbed my life, my family, and scared any faith in so called Christians.
Calling out Evil does not need to be nameless. Looks whose "Gone Soft"
Are you withdrawing from me? Not my Concern!
Ex spouses are difficult at best to deal with. A spouse when tired of the marriage will make up all sort of lies of being abused, will villify the faithful spouse in an attempt to justify to themselves and others their their unfaithful behavior. A look at how Israel treated their faithful God is a prime example. The Romans come promising riches and kind treatment allowing nations to keep their religion and unfaithful Israel went right into the arms of Rome, how different were God's people of Daniel's day who keep themselves separate from the world during their occupation.
Oh KF, sorry if your tender feelings are hurt. 😉 You know the deal here. No one's withdrawimg from you, and no one blames you for being angry. You're welcome to have a productive conversation, just keep the name calling and personal attacks out of it. I realize you're not a believer, KF, but have you ever wondered, "what if Christianity really is true?" Not the Stanton sect, not some other specific sect, but Jesus himself? What if God is the ultimate good father, creating us with the ability to choose to do good, or to choose to walk away… Read more »
Deleted an anon comment trying to predict KF's future. C'mon people.
I grew up in most of the 70's in AZ and was planning on moving there for health reasons. All that I keep hearing I don't see me reaching out to that congregation if I do. It probably wouldn't be to long before they withdrew from me as I won't stand for what I am hearing. I'm glad I am reading a lot of the posts here to see this.
The Phoenix congregation under the tow truck preacher was a miserable place. One of the cruelest thing he did was to teach us to question our own sanity with saying like "something is wrong with that person's mind" and then describe one of your behaviors to you. His abuse was my springboard into psychology. The tow truck preacher created his own doctrine out of the bible teaching that uncleanness was the root of all evil. He had a list of "fruits" of uncleanness that changed every week. What ever behavior you exhibited that week became his fruit of uncleanness for… Read more »
Too bad I missed that vision some Concerned member must have had for my future. Truth is it's looking far more better that my ex's who is still a believer in the cult leaders. So as long as you are Concerned, consider your own future with blog full of complaints and a history of lying to and abusing children, Who do think would be worried. Now Kevin do I wonder "What If" Sure when i do the answer is less believable than "What If It's not What Christians Think" No I think the theory being teach only to control is… Read more »
KF, I'm a student of truth, and want it as much or more than you. I am pretty well-read on atheism, theism (Christian theism and otherwise), and even alternate theories of mythological gods such as the Nephalim. I haven't read Alan Alford yet, but I'm open to it. I see from the Amazon description of "Gods of the New Millennium" that he shocked his readers when he recanted one of his theories in that book a year after publication. I am not one to put a lot of weight in speculative theories that may or may not be true, however,… Read more »
Reminds me of having chains attached to people and teachers and preachers yanking the chains. What a pathetic life to live and they twist it around somehow to make you think you will go to Heaven?
Exactly anon 7:15 that's why after it was determined I was a nonmember I could read this blog and comment with my name attached. Attend worships to spend some of Sunday with family and shake my head in disapproval with the hypocrite preacher in Portland. So happy to be away from the prison of the scoc even though they withdrew from me anyways as a nonmember. I guess they thought this would put chains on me. Just been to busy with real life to go on the offense. So sad these deceived people think they are right in all the… Read more »
The more I read about this crazy cult it sickens me even the more so. Just can't believe I gave these clowns a sniff more or less 20 years of my life. The leaders of this cult really do need to be stopped and the cult disbanded. I can't wait to get this blog out to the Portland new members and the nonmember spouses. The leaders are so lost in their pride it's scary. How many they are leading astray from God. Just the way they practice withdrawal is sin. The leaders all should be withdrawn from and marked and… Read more »
Craig, if I knew who the grandmother was I'd be going to her and letting her know. Those porn detectors are so easy to get around. Thing is with teens now, most are way smarter than the parent and know how to around things. I'd hate to raise my child like this.
Anon 1:10 the grandmother was who the Nannie Cam was being suggested to use on. Not sure if was ever used. Porn detector was how the hypocrite preacher monitored his own kids electronic usage and would suggest others use it on there own electronics. Dude is a snake!
Yes I do know who the grandmother is. Be funny to tell her in front of the snake. Haha. He also made a comment how her nonmember husband couldn't stand him. Can't say I blame him I don't like snake either!!
Revelations 21:8 as the scripture discusses the fearful I think would apply to the leaders of Meries cult.
For those who comment who believe members of Meries cult are Christians would you not also have to conclude Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons likewise are Christians?
I conclude none are Qualified to even be called a church. They are cults. But since I have been reading this blog and starting to partially understand the teaching of SCOC this cult is no where near being a church full of Christians. I mus t admit they teach some good things like respect and manners but think about how they teach them? They twist the scriptures into manipulation and emotional and sometimes physical abuse. The teachers and preachers who are not educated by none other than a wicked old woman think they are God and the evangelists? Give me… Read more »
I truly believe some of these people WOULD jump off a bridge.. No joke.. Specially the ones that disown their families.. They have fear and not love..
Well a cliff, not a bridge 😉
Actually I'd have to say I have more respect for witnesses and Mormons then I do leaders of Merie's cult. Much more. At least leaders of the JW's and Mormons can not hide from there history and they have to own up to it. Do they threaten the memberships with disfellowship and ex communication if they look into the history books and learn what they are involved in? To you the fearful GP Rev 21:8 come on coward let your membership in on your dark dirty secrets of this cult.
A book on this cult would be wonderful to get the news out to the multitudes,
Hmm, what would be a good title of a book for the scoc?
In a book on cults you would need a chapter for each doctrine that is practices. One doctrine that is very quickly taught in cults is the doctrine of alienation. New cult members are taught to be separate from their families and spend the holidays with the church family instead of their real families. Undue influence is another chapter where a person is put under psychological stress usually in the form hostile behavior until a person reaches a point of self betrayal and then the oppressor offers kind new way to live life. Reeducation is a process where the group… Read more »
I nominate you anon 8:17 to write the book.
A book on cult life would have to be a collective project with many members sharing their experiences under each doctrine. I was told early on in the church that "I am going to break you spirit" The mandate to break a new members spirit is brainwashing just like the Chinese do, the forcing through coercive methods, the will of another upon you. I was told Proverbs 15:13 through sorrow of heart the spirit is broken by the tow truck preacher and so he tried to be as mean as possible to me but having been in the military and… Read more »
The military has a training program called SERE and it stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. The resistance section was ordered by President Eisenhower after the Korean war. The Korean war was different from previous wars in that POW's were seen as a continuation of the battlefield by the Koreans and prisoners were exposed to the communist doctrine of reeducation. The Chinese were able to successfully convert american prison's to communism and several chose to stay in North Korea after the war and not return to their home in the US. How did the Chinese achieve reeducation without physical… Read more »
Don't really need a book.. This blog is much better than a book.. But let me tell you it takes alot of ink! I've printed and still printing
Thank you. I've considered putting the "best of" articles into an Amazon Kindle e-book, maybe even recording an Audible.com version. Audible is my new favorite way to make it through my reading list. 🙂 Just no time at the moment, have to pay the bills.
Kevin, that would be awesome! I don't know how you keep up with all that you already do
Totally Agree this blog would get the attention of the Social service and Law enforcement communities interested even more in the goings on within this cult. They are going to hide as the slithering snakes they are behind their "Pillars" ( those who contribute the most). Do not let them! Keep this light shining on them so more will see the danger and they will be properly exposed to those who can enforce the law of man on them. If you ask me "God has let them get away with evil too long, Time for Man to take over" This… Read more »
We'll have to agree to disagree, KF. But I won't delete your comments for disagreeing with me, only for attacking people and name-calling. 🙂 Your goal is different than mine. And if you wish to pursue that agenda, you're welcome to do so. My goal is not to give a man a fish, nor to take away his ill-gotten fish, but to teach him how to fish. If all of the offenders in Stanton reformed today and decided to truly follow Jesus' teaching of love, I'd be happy as a lark. Assuming larks are happy. 😉 And hey, I've done… Read more »
A false doctrine of cults is the "culture of confession." Kevin touched on the tip of the iceberg with the unscriptural practice of public confessions but there is much more to a culture of confession such as members are taught to self criticize and this serves as an information source to leaders when members tell on themselves about things teachers have no knowledge of. The biggest part of a culture of confession is when members are required to inform or "confess" on other members. When the entire cult is informing on each other to the leader, this gives the leader… Read more »
Are you saying your wife would tell on you about the way you drive to church. Would she tell on what kind of underwear? This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of and calling themselves a church and Christians when the spouse betrays the other spouse? Am I hearing this right? Sorry I could not live with anyone who betrayed me. What kind of a life is this? Of course. If you are raised in this crazy cult and always with a small group of followers you would know no better. I have seen with my own two… Read more »
Spouses in the SCOC tell on each other all the time, Jo. It's yet another form of control. The interesting thing is that you're not learning how to deal with issues at a deeper level there. And of course, it really tears up the bonds of trust and therefore love. My husband and I are having to now work things out without constant counsel and telling on each other. It feels great and liberating! He admitted to not trusting me because instead of working out concerns with him, I would tell on him, hoping for help. But really, it's laziness–we… Read more »
Yes Jo, spouses tell on each other-as do roommates! I had a roommate that asked me why I wore a black t-shirt underneath a black shirt that I wore. I told her it was because my black shirt was getting a little thin, and I didn't want anything underneath showing. Teaching then went out about how that those of us who are white needed to wear only white or beige underclothing-that wearing colors was a sign of trying to be sexy!Seeking, my husband and I had stopped telling on each other long before we left. We both stopped counselling too.… Read more »
I'm really happy to see your marriages grow as a result of leaving the sect, Debby and Seeking.
Stanton's disregard for the special nature of marriage and family in God's design has always been troubling to me. They treat marriage and family like they are "worldly" institutions, and they are not. They are sacred.
A false doctrine of cults is amateur teachers and preachers are sufficient. In a professional organization leaders are held to ethical standards and one of the first standards mandate is "to do no harm". The tow truck preachers personal motto is "I love you so much I will hurt you." Professionals are taught to be patient in spirit and not proud in spirit. Amateur leaders are proud in spirit demanding instant change or instant understandings which is not possible. When a child is molested the result is the child becomes sexualized. When you have a sexualized child it is the… Read more »
Very disturbing how the uncleanness aka the "m" word also known as masterbation wow I said it lol was such a focal point of this cult and how it was. John Harvey Kellogg's writings and this cult add up. It was told once that masterbatiom was more addicting than herion. Interesting never given no proof it was just said. People like the tow truck driver DS that yes does have a large forehead haha but he does who talked and questioned others so much about that practice maybe they themselves were the ones with the issue of practicing it. This… Read more »
One step of people leaving a cult to realize that they have to take control of their own lives. A cult dominates and controls members so much that the members forget they have a say in their own lives. Many leave cults only to return again not knowing how to run their own lives. Counseling and training in basic life decisions is necessary even for aged adults. Investing in a retirement plan, socializing with family, putting children into regular school not home school are basic life functions that cult members do not know how to do. It takes diligence to… Read more »
Back around 1986 I lived with a young preacher who had been in less than I was. Wow, was he a picky person. He would tell me for what it seemed to be every little thing I did. Most was nothing at all and the rest are just things we are working out in our Christian walk. It was taught that people who had dirty homes had dirty minds. I got "told on" when I left a dirty glass in the sink or on my study desk. This eventually led to him telling the teacher at the time that we… Read more »
Lynn, my ex who has been in the church 30+ years always said that too: dirty house, dirty mind. He got that from there. He's not the cleanest person so maybe he knows something about himself.
But once again, it's always about the outward things. Not that it's ok to have a constant pigsty, but seriously, it's yet another non-spiritual thing to judge one another with.
Thank you Seeking.
I was "sat down" and humiliated over somebody else's conscience. I feel sad for anybody that has ever had to go through "questioning of the mind".
Christian roommates are in theory a great idea but in practice not so much. I have had several roommates in my time in the church and they all turned very quickly into church spies reporting my daily activities to the teacher. One man, the volkswagen mechanic from Oxnard told me that they had people in Oxnard with an overeating problem so "maybe that's your problem" I could not tel him the real problem is that I hate men who abandon their wives and children which is what my father did when I was seven years old and what he was… Read more »
Kevin You hear this pain and you think your agenda is the way to stop it. We will have to disagree.Do I have an agenda? Yes and it is nearly complete. This blog has given me the information I need to act forward now. I do hope more exposure of abuse by this cult is revealed here, as evidence to be investigated. If your agenda can turn this around, then you have got a lot of turning to do. Survivors are those who break out and realize they are independent of the cult. If you want to stop or reverse… Read more »
I understand your viewpoint, but education and persuasion are the tools in my toolbox to encourage people to leave their abusive relationship with the church. The other goal of this blog is to encourage spiritual recovery for those who have experienced years of cult-like thinking patterns.
A doctrine of many false religion is church royalty. Current members who are related to the founding members are considered above all others members whether they have done anything or not. In the Jehovah witness members related to Charles Taze Russell enjoy privilege status within the organization. In the SCOC those who can say "I knew Merie" enjoy special privileges and today in the SCOC those who can say "I am a loyalist to the evangelist" enjoy special privileges. Special privileges include access to top leadership at any time, above being reproved except by top leadership, fast track to becoming… Read more »
Craig @ 7:38 I too thought for a long time the tow truck preacher was unclean with his short temper and constant talk about sexual related matters but that's not the case. In reality he is a "Sensational" preacher, talking about topics that get attention. While his sermons and lessons were entertaining they had little edification in them. I took 1 Thess 5:21 and applied it to his lessons. The tow truck preacher would use many examples from Alexander Campbells book "Christian Baptist" so I got a copy of that book and read it but could not find the examples… Read more »
If I could finance this book about Merie's cult I'd love for you to be the author of it Kevin. #1 best seller? Wow the exposure that would be generated. Simply if nothing more to warn people what they are or about to get involved in. For the scoc to reform I'd think the number one thing that would need to be done is to denounce the claim as the only true church. I really believe they would have to join real churches. Be rebaptized as they all only got wet and yield all of Merie's off beliefs. As Merie's… Read more »
I do agree with KF in believing social services and law enforcement would be interested in the practices of Merie's cult. The damage that their unholy withdrawals can do to a family for one would catch the attention of certain agencies. At what age can a little one be spanked with a wooden spoon or belt? The practice of covering a child usually a little ones mouth as they are crying or screaming which could alter there breathing. Just for starters here others may have other practices of this cult that would draw the attention of the proper authorities to… Read more »
I read an article on gaslighting. A mindset of a narcissist. I thought how fitting for some of the preachers and teachers of Merie's cult and certainly for the dictatorship of this evil group.
Gaslighting was in my experience done by only one preacher, the tow truck preacher. He would give a diagnosis of a mental health problem when he would say "something is wrong with your mind" but he had not training nor certification in the mental health field. He taught around 2000 that sickness came from sin, again he had no medical training nor certification of any kind but felt free to give medical advice with this teaching. Amateurs are dangerous leaders knowing no boundaries and respecting no boundaries of others. Professionals are taught not to go beyond their field of training… Read more »
One area that needs to be taught on but never was is the ethical use of wisdom. Christ told his followers of his upcoming suffering and resurrection (Luke 18) and they understood not but the Pharisee after Christ's death went to Pilate and asked for a guard to prevent the theft of his body because they said Christ had foretold of rising again. The Apostles did not understand but the Pharisee's did. Why did these Pharisee's understand when no one else did? The pharisee's were wise in the scriptures having studied them out faithfully and had developed understandings but they… Read more »