I didn’t know that I would, within less than 2 years of being delivered from Mormonism, need to get delivered again…this time from false doctrine in Christianity! I found myself in an “full-gospel” bible church with threads of Word of Faith and Shepherding winding through it! I thank God thought that he’s opened my eyes to this and I trust Him to take me all the way through it.
Here is more of my story.
After I came out of Mormonism and my husband got saved from his Catholicism, we enjoyed a solid year of growing in the Lord together. We went to our little church with the pastor who is a local “boy” who has an “anointing and calling and a vision” on his life. We never missed a Sunday and still don’t to this day. (I’ll explain more sometime on why I’m still there)
I was starting to have a tough time with Women’s bible study though. I had been attending bible study faithfully for about a year plus and I was starting to notice that I wasn’t getting much out of the studies. It may have been because we DIDN’T STUDY THE BIBLE at these meetings! I mean, we cracked them open and read a few verses, but the bible studies usually consisted of the pastor’s wife teaching us how to anoint our houses with oil and rebuke the devil and his demons or how we are under the pastor’s rule. In all fairness, we did learn other things (like the truth behind Halloween, its not for Christians!) that I’m thankful for but we never really had in-depth bible study.
Women’s “bible study” would start with the testimonies of as many as 30 women. Testimony time could take up to 2 hours as each woman would take a turn and, as women do, unload a lot of emotion and experiences from the prior week. At the end of 2 hours of testimonies, we often times would only have about 10 or 15 minutes spent on the actual “bible” lesson.
I found the testimonies of the other ladies inspiring at first! Many times the sisters were so emotional about what they’d endured during the week. They talked about how they were able to overcome what had “come against them” by their faith. This built me up! I too would talk about my experiences from the prior week and what wonderful ways the Lord had helped me or taught me! But I noticed that I didn’t have the other ladies’ emotional “oomph” added to my testimonies.
A couple times I tried to add some “oomph” to my testimony so as to fit in with the other ladies. I often felt as if the others were being tolerant of my testimony, but really wanted to hear from the sisters with the more exciting testimonies…and we had 2 or 3 in the group that always took up the most time and told the most emotional and uplifting testimonies. Their testimonies always had me and the other sisters clapping and saying “Praise the Lord!”.
I prayed for discernment and about why I didn’t have more of an emotional expression when sharing the wonderful things the Lord has/had been doing for me. I saw the other sisters being so emotional and, although I felt just as thankful and had experienced similar blessings in my life as they, their testimonies seemed so uplifting.
So I prayed and asked Him for discernment. As I prayed for this, over the course of 3 months or more, I began to see things a little differently. I began to see the ways the sisters who delivered emotionally exciting testimonies as more of a cultural quality, a “church culture”. I think each congregation must develop its own unique culture.
In December 2012 or January 2013, as an endeavor to step-out and do more to make friends from church, I made plans to meet a few of the ladies from church for the evening while our husbands would be at men’s bible study. As we gathered, the sweet lady in whose house we were meeting asked if we wanted to watch one of the DVD’s from T.D. Jakes’ “Woman Thou Art Loosed 2012 Conference”. The 3 ladies there besides myself had gone to the conference in October. I had not felt the desire to go to the conference in October and so had ostracized myself further from the “church culture” by not doing so.
We all agreed to watch the DVD. I was interested in it as I kept hearing from many of the sisters at church about how wonderful the conference had been. The other sisters decided we should watch Paula White. I didn’t really care for what I’d seen of her in the past. Once I had watched a few minutes of a video she’d made on YouTube, what she was saying and doing in the video didn’t seem very Christ-like to me. But I thought that the sisters who were there with me had been in the Lord for as many as 20 years and I figured they knew better than I which preachers were of God.
So on went Paula White. I sat the whole time watching not believing a word she said! Gobbledygook mixed with scripture is what it sounded like to me! The other ladies were saying “Praise the Lord” and raising their hands and seemed to really get into what was being said by her. At one point I kind of laughed when Paula was talking about “birthing new ideas” or something similar and one of the other sisters looked at me funny, like why was I laughing?
After that night, I figured there was really something wrong with me! I couldn’t elicit the emotional response to Paula White that the other sisters could and my testimonies were more of a subdued nature than an emotional, exciting nature (I thought maybe this was because of my Mormon background? I have definitely discovered that I’m not a Pentecostal/charismatic but more of a conservative Christian) I continued to go to the Lord and ask for discernment and that he give me His love to show others. Now I also asked that He forgive me my unbelief and help me to believe as He wants me to believe. This included, believing like the other sisters and our pastor believe…as long as it was His will.
The unwritten understanding of which preachers are acceptable and lauded in our church include; Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Morris Cerullo, Benny Hinn, Juanita Bynum, [she did get kicked off of their accepted “list” after she turned gay] Joel Osteen, and Perry Stone…I may be leaving someone out but you get the picture.
Instead of giving me the ability to believe in the afore mentioned “list”, the Lord showed me that those who were accepted by my fellow church members were actually false teachers. I was stunned! It was like coming out of Mormonism all over again! I was a little angry, just like I had been initially when coming out of Mormonism! It hurts to find out that you are being bamboozled. Why can’t the other congregants see the untruth? The lies?
I’ve decided to blog my experience. My journey. I reached out to someone on a blog who had blogged their similar experience and learned that what God was doing was giving me discernment. I hope that my experience can help someone else.
I will be writing more. Thanks for stopping by!