Welcome to De-Commissioned, a place for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

You may read and post, but some features are restricted to registered members. Please consider registering to gain full access! Registration is free and only takes a few moments to complete.
De-Commissioned Forum
September 21, 2023, 05:50:09 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT to “Lords” in GCx Churches  (Read 8829 times)
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« on: February 02, 2020, 09:39:31 pm »

PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT to “Lords”
in GCx Churches



Recently, my husband and I saw the movie, “Harriet,” about Harriet Tubman, the “most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad.”  It told of the unimaginable abuses she and others suffered under slavery, and the amazingly brave and divinely directed journey she followed (through much hardship) to finally realize physical and mental freedom for herself and many others from dreadful bondage.  It seemed to stick very well to the facts and testimonies well researched about her life.  I’m unaware of dramatic fictional license used within the movie.  I am basing that on what I saw and read at the museum dedicated to her in Cambridge, MD; which is closely located to the plantation area she grew up on with her parents.  

One of my favorite parts of the movie was her steady trust and reliance upon God.  There is ample evidence that God gave her visions of not only the future, but also what direction to take on her perilous courses to cross into Pennsylvania where she would find freedom.  After living free for a year, God led her back into that dangerous territory to rescue her family, and ultimately 70 others on numerous routes where their capture was highly sought. She also bravely led a Civil War raid to free hundreds of slaves. When the laws were overturned that a fugitive slave could be caught in any state and returned to the slave owner, she and others made an even longer trek for liberty into Canada.

I have no earthly idea of the physical & psychological pain caused by such a horrible institution.  I can not even imagine it.  Such movies as “Harriet” help communicate the truth of this atrocity. But, I do know that the apostle Paul had an inkling from the Holy Spirit of the incredible spiritual and psychological pain caused by those who perverted the gospel, lorded it over their people, exploited and enslaved them for the primary benefit of the organization or “plantation” at stake.  Threatening members not to leave is NEVER for their true personal or spiritual benefit.

Below are real life testimonies of those once psychologically enslaved by the GCx Church “Lords” who employ oppressive doctrine and exert intrusive power.  Please note these stories are still occurring in the later years of GCx, many years after it’s disingenuous “Apology Paper.”  This is because those leaders’ training originated with Jim McCotter, who is the root of False Teaching among GCx Leadership.  He has never been publically rebuked for his sinfully perverted teaching and practices in nationwide GCx churches.  Though less, these churches still continue today.



I have been out of Urban Refuge - Evergreen [recently renamed Hometown Church, Bloomington, MN] for a little over two years.  I had years of confusion there, and wanted to leave much earlier than we did. ...When you are taught that the church is what we need to commit to, it gets confusing. ...I also am married and my husband did not see what I was seeing. ...Now that we have been out of Evergreen, my husband can clearly see the wrong teaching and the wrong focus of emphasis on church commitment, leadership, and mission, not Jesus.
-Heidi    [left ~ 2016]


What I find so disturbing is the analogy of leaving a GCx church to a divorce.  We heard that when we left, and were told that right to our face.  It is so wrong.  And yet, we now see how this statement is believed at the GCx members if that's what the pastors are preaching, sharing with their down lines, and absorbing as truth. It's not Truth.
-EyesOnChrist


When I discussed with our local pastor (before leaving), that was exactly one of my points: you don't trust the Holy Spirit in the believers.  You tell them what to do in every single situation, and don't give them a chance to seek the Holy Spirit for themselves. ... The way he [GCx leader] tells people what to do, points out their sins, REMINDS THEM of past failures in order to 'keep them down', the list goes on.  Basically, he is being everyone's Holy Spirit. ... And if one didn't do what he said to do, one was labelled as "having trouble with authority."
-margaret    [left ~ 2005]


To add-pastors had intimate control over private family decisions.  Heavy involvement into the members lives. It was and maybe still is, very unhealthy.  Instructed how to spank your kids, what tool to use, and when is enough and when is too much and we went to the pastors to ask questions about every little thing we did to make sure we were doing it “right”.
-Shamednomore


When we gave notice (in person) to the head elder of our GC assembly (church), the elders showed up at midnight at our apartment (all of them, unannounced) to accuse us of committing an improper divorce against the church by leaving it.  No need to connect the dots, they meant we were faithless (and they said so) to our marriage to the church because we were leaving.  It was a long ugly night that ended well because they exposed their hidden characters to my wife (a member of GC for much of her life) when she caught them in repeated lies and false accusations. ... Neither of us ever questioned the wisdom of our leaving after that, only the wisdom of ever having been involved.  By the way, just prior to leaving we had rejected their plea to "commit for life to the assembly."  I am smiling right now...
-EverAStudent


GCM’s model of giving was not a God led decision, but an intense pressure cooker for commitment. I continually felt that I had to keep up with those around me, and if I don’t give more (to my absolute limit) that my faith was weak and untrue. In short I was giving for the wrong reasons.

When I attended GC, I found myself at constant odds with my adopted, GC man prototype. However, I believed the problem was me. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t doing enough, I wasn’t a good enough leader, etc (I’m sure many are familiar with these thoughts). What I didn’t understand was that GCM was deeply flawed, always asked too much, had bizarre ideas about leadership, etc. Because I could never measure up to the ideal man, I had major issues with self hatred. A part of me was deeply “rebellious” and always at odds with what I thought was the right way to live. This part of me had serious questions about GC’s man prototype. I hated being told what to do, how to live, and how to dream. ... So I think that man or woman, there is a common battle between who GC wants you to be and who you really are. They want to steal your identity, individuality, and dreams and re-forge them into something they can use for the cause. If you’re in GC, guard yourself and fight their attempts to get in. Listen to what your heart tells you and ignore them [GCx leaders] when they say that its desires are corrupt.
-G_Prince


I had a friend who had severe depression in that [GCx] church and the elders counseled him not to seek therapy but to get more involved in leading (he was a deacon).  He was suicidal and eventually needed to be hospitalized.  They shunned him and didn't believe it was anything but sin in his life -- he was told he was selfish.  He found another church and now is doing wonderfully but with no help from that church who he was a part of for over a decade.
-wastedyearsthere


The day I left, I felt freedom. Leading up to that day, I felt so anxious. I had wanted to leave over a year before, but kept slipping into the control mechanisms. I remember thinking, "it shouldn't be this difficult to leave." After some attempts to break bonds in peace, I found myself still in the group 6 months after I first tried to leave and wondering at that point if I would ever be able to get out. ...I once contemplated suicide as a way of escape because I didn't know how to get out of the system. ...I was not the only one who contemplated suicide as a way out. I know that others did too. ...

Funny thing is (in retrospect), all I had to do is walk away. I was rejected, but now I realize that a true friend won't reject you. Some never did reject me and I miss them. The ones that felt I was betraying the movement...well I don't miss them anymore. ...When the day of deliverance finally came, I realized that it was God who had freed me and that is what has sustained me in dark times since.

I too have dreams that I am still in rooms with leaders or that I am somehow still under their authority. In those dreams, I am looked upon as suspect and treated inferior. I used to have those dreams a few times each week. Now, it is less frequent but I think it may be about once a month.
-Outtathere


...people who reported to the leadership on private conversations of other members, resulting in late-night unannounced visits by the deacons to "see how that conversation affected your thinking"; being told after I had started worshiping there that I was now involuntarily committed for life ("God put you in this church, and only God can take you out of it")

...For a very long time, though, I blamed myself for not being godly enough to live up to their demands. It took a long time to understand that it was the demands that were all wrong.
-Huldah


The pattern described here-- the small group leaders passing on sensitive information to church leaders-- is a long time practice. ... I saw extremely negative results in several cases.  It's more than creepy and unpleasant, it's dangerous and abusive.  In one case, I saw a violation of confidence result in a major meltdown in someone's life, and I don't know if she ever recovered. ... Yes, there is an undercurrent of thought that if you leave GCx, you fall out of God's will, you abandon your family, and God cannot bless that.  Thus, in an indirect way, bad things happen.
-lone gone


Shameful confession to others of deep abiding sins was promoted as a means of victory over besetting sin. Of course it didn't work because, as stated earlier, the believer's identity and position in Christ and subsequent need to reckon himself dead to sin and alive to God in His Spirit was never, ever explained nor emphasized, much to my deep, lasting regret.
-musterion


I know in GCM vernacular that when you leave a GCM church you are whispered to have 'abandoned your faith', but that is not the case.
-Gary


I learned the consequences of leaving Candlewood [GCx church], breaking the rules of the leaders, and questioning the leaders. I pondered leaving for a long time, I didn't know if I was ready to be shunned or to have the leadership use me as an example of what not to do.
-Hope    [left ~ 2013]


I helped start 2 churches and was in GCI for over 20 years.  I left in 2003 after a divorce and went to a Evangelical church. After getting remarried, my former pastor told the [new] church [I was attending] to shun me. He never told me or warned me. He then told me I was not allowed to attend my daughters wedding that year.
-Loro    [left ~ 2003]


I am current GCM member. At times, I feel like I can’t get out; and when I question, I feel like the truth is twisted.
-christmadealive


More than once I knew of people leaving by another route....escaping as if from a prison in the middle of the night with not a sign or clue as to where they had gone.  Not something you would find in most churches, or in most strict religious communities for that matter. ... The exclusivity, the confinement of mind and company and; sadly, the arrogance of the church made it clear to me that I had to leave.
-miserere


I was told there was a family that left that way in my GCx church. The church had a weekend conference. This particular family did not go to the conference. When everyone got back, the family had left town. They just packed and moved over the weekend without telling anybody.
-MidnightRider


At later conferences, I often felt quite sad while I was there. I felt like I was surrounded by friends, but somehow I wasn't quite "with them", like there was something wrong.  Now, I think I see that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, saying that GC wasn't right, and I was feeling the inner conflict.  It was like one voice was saying, "I need to get outta here", but another was saying, "I don't want to leave my friends; where will I find friends like this?
-BTDT


...the GCX experience was pretty much as most all here have found it. The exclusivity, the confinement of mind and company and, sadly, the arrogance of the church made it clear to me that I had to leave. I would like to say that this was easy, but as with all of you it was not. The temptation to be bitter and the need to be more fully healed are now and again present.
-Ultreya


...about 10 months after we left my husband blogged our reasons. We were feeling quite at peace and ready to move on. Then, two months after his blog post was posted (and was buried by his newer posts), out of the blue, he received an e-mail from a pastor telling him to remove his negative comments about the church and GCM. Suddenly, a year after we left, we were back in the battle. Within a two week period and over a year after we left, three GCM pastors wrote us letters of rebuke! That is weird and totally inappropriate. One (non GCM) pastor who was counseling us about this saw all the letters and mentioned that this was a definite sign of a high control group and went as far as to say that one of the letters was similar to letters he had seen written by Watchtower elders trying to get members to come back to the JWs after they left. Rebukes like that (telling people they are being divisive) are designed to heap guilt upon people in the hopes that they will come running back and beg forgiveness.
-MamaD    [left ~ 2005]


A pastor who approaches a homeless former member, and attempts to secure not only a withdrawal of criticisms but also the identities of other former members with criticism, has crossed the line of his authority.  The line has been crossed in other instances and those pastors go unpunished by Great Commission.  The choices to preserve the power of their authority and the authority of the organization to the detriment of the well-being of individual members is blatant... You're dealing with an organization that requires accountability from its membership at the most personal level.
-Jehu    [left ~ 2006]


I unfortunately was a part of the secret meetings where we ...also assigned where people would live, how small group multiplications would go, who would share bedrooms with who, etc. ...No one could see (or at least said anything about) the strangeness or wrongness of it... I am so glad I got out but so so sad that it took me ten years. I'm sad I can't get those years back.
-escapee


We had an experience where everything we wanted to do spiritually was overtaken by "Official church stuff"  We had people over for worship and suddenly it had to be an official church function.  My husband started getting together for a bible study with some other men and suddenly someone representing the Bible study had to show up for LTC meetings. it seemed that everything the Holy spirit was directing us to do had to somehow become an official church function. Anything we did spiritually had to have the blessing of the pastors;  if you wanted to have people over to worship or have a bible study somehow you were "independent thinkers" and "circumventing the authority" of the leadership. This is so stifling and wrong.
-unsubscribed


Biggest takeaway (other than the amazing love of Christ): study sound theology. If you do (see Phil. 1:9-10), you'll be able to spot the likes of ... GCx, etc., because you will notice they do not actually know much about the Bible or Jesus. They run on power and harnessing the passion of the weak, not knowledge of the truth.
-HolyMoly


I left a GCAC/GCM church in 2005 after several years of involvement. ...The "culture" was beginning to grip me in a very subtle way. ...Slowly, though, the longer I was at GC, the more the pressure to "go to everything" became pressure to justify my Christianity. ...
The resulting guilt I frequently felt is hard to describe. It would keep me returning to GC, cycling between highs and lows. This legalistic thinking tortured me. I never felt good enough for God. There were always more meetings I could have attended, or more ways I could be involved in the church that I wasn't. I never felt joy anymore, like I used to feel at past churches where sermons focused on God's love for me, and doing things for God out of love. With works-based thinking, there were only brief periods of happiness when I "overcame my flesh" and went to a meeting I didn't want to go to. Many of my close friends, most who are still in the movement, went through these kinds of cycles as well. I watched in horror as an attitude of legalism drained people of their joy. Even marriage seemed to be set up this way in GC. You were to prove yourself "good enough" for a long enough period of time, and then a leader would "approve" you for marriage. As if your good works had earned you your spouse!
-puff of purple smoke    [left ~ 2005]


For so long I felt like the holy spirit in my own life was not important because I was not a leader. At GCM I felt so repressed, and really was made to feel like my own relationship with God was of little importance when compared to “counsel.”
-someone


Those who have left have taken a truly courageous step. It is very difficult to leave a movement which has the kind of emotional and psychological hold on people that this one does.
-Columbus Old-Timer


...my gut instinct has been quite uncomfortable with the idea of GCM.  I've thought for a while that GCM is a cult, or at the very least, is an extremely cultish organization... problems I have with GCM and what led me to want to become less involved, as I feel I am rapidly becoming "entrapped." ... Fanatical devotion to the church (whether "home church" or "college ministry") ... Relative judgmental attitude regarding things such as daily devotional time, reading bible, going on mission trips, summer plans, etc. ... Monopoly on one's time - through increasing involvement in activities, etc.
-ender    [~ 2010]


I'm encouraged that my experiences are not isolated, so these posts make me feel better. I really thought I was completely in the wrong, in sin, and not following God. It was quite by accident I found this site. . . well, maybe not by accident. . . the Lord knew I needed this. I'm just now coming out of GCx . . . only a few weeks.  
-esperanza317    [left ~ 2011]

« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 12:23:26 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 08:51:31 am »

Psychological Enslavement to “Lords”
is Spiritual Abuse



Much of spiritual abuse seems to fall under the category of Psychological Enslavement.  Deliberate coercion using false guilt and condemnation for anything less than full submission to men rather than God.  It happens a little at a time, so it’s impact is subtle.  Often excuses are made for it because the subject seems to be God’s Word.  But, a closer look reveals it is actually unbiblical control that is the theme.

Below is a link to an article from Christianity Today about unbiblical control in some church groups:



https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/february-web-only/steve-timmis-crowded-house-spiritual-abuse-acts29.html


« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 08:36:29 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
blonde
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 350



« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2020, 02:48:03 pm »

You mean, Mark Darling?
Logged

We must become the change we want to see.
-Mahatma Gandhi
blonde
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 350



« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2020, 02:50:37 pm »

You mean, Brent Knox?
Logged

We must become the change we want to see.
-Mahatma Gandhi
blonde
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 350



« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2020, 02:51:08 pm »

You mean, Mark Bowen?
Logged

We must become the change we want to see.
-Mahatma Gandhi
Vince Capobianco
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 97



« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2021, 02:45:32 pm »

X
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 08:59:18 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged
Vince Capobianco
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 97



« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2021, 02:47:27 pm »

X
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 08:58:59 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2021, 10:32:23 am »

This abuse seems often overlooked, but is crucial in being a shepherd after Christ’s own heart. Remembering that Jesus commanded Peter to take care of His sheep, for they are definitely NOT Peter’s sheep for his own use and disposal.  Shawn Nelson highlights this in his booklet, “Spiritual Abuse: Unspoken Crisis” below.  Quite sadly this abuse was very much a part of operation and growth of GCx Churches; and especially under the guidance of their founder, Jim McCotter.



People Being Used.
The people’s needs go unmet; the church’s needs are more important.  The majority of activity is related to the expansion and operation of “the ministry.”  Families are reduced to “giving units.”  There is a continuous emphasis on financial giving.  People feel manipulated into serving in greater and greater capacities within the church.  The bulk of energy is given to retain new families while older families are ignored.   There is a high turnover rate in staff.  People once “on mission” become disillusioned or “burned out.”  If there are a “pile of dead bodies behind the bus” it is safe to say something is very wrong.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 10:38:15 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 06:42:34 pm »

The LORD or Lords Working?


Someone in my life approached me recently about getting together.  When I’m listening, God points out their preciousness to me.  I feel he impresses on me something like, “They are fragile, please handle with care.”  The Spirit seems to be communicating to my spirit (not in actual spoken words, but in a way I understand) not to be aggressive or put them under certain expectations, but to let him guide.  That I must respect the journey God has people on which is rarely my timetable.

This is someone I long to be able to share a common faith with, and as a result, can overshare spiritual things, a lot.  I cannot bring about any work of God.  But, he can choose to let me be a part of it. He teaches me to listen intently because what they have to say is more important than what I might say next.  Their perspective, their history, and their struggles are paramount in getting to know them.  Their Creator cares very much about these things, so it seems His spirit causes us to care.  

When it did seem to get closer to us having a faith in common, that their own interest in spiritual things might be growing; God spoke to my inner spirit clarifying I AM WORKING (not you).

I thought about how God presses us when we are selfishly impatient with people, putting them on our own schedule.  He really opens our eyes to their great value; like the scripture says, ‘truly counting their interests as more important than our own’.  

When I look back at the experience of being in a GCx church with it’s founder, I recall the “shepherding” of condemning harassment, manipulating guilt, and power robbing that he passed down to his disciples and those under them.  How in the world can these christian leaders who claim to be listening to God and walking by the Spirit be SO continually CARELESS and HEARTLESS toward those who seek to follow God? Our Father has got to be really really upset over that.  Perhaps that’s why Jesus says “If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6) than likely to stand before a living God to make account for their actions.


« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 08:20:40 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2021, 12:38:06 pm »

Pouring Out Our Hearts to Him

Journaling Therapy


Feeling the Spirit urging me to pour out more of my heart this morning in ways I felt wounded by my disciplers while in GCx. This is not something that I even consciously think about in my day-to-day life, but it came up as I was processing what action I would have taken had I not been heavily influenced by unhealthy soul ties (described under “Walking Out by Sheer Faith”).  Unfortunately McCotter was quite successful in passing down his abusive treatment toward people who were sucked into his “church”.  The yeast of his false teaching and practices that formed into “doctrines” in GCx produced a lot of “slapping down” by very inappropriate rebukes and shaming.

Thus, he had not only his appointed “elder” disciples doing his bidding, but those under them - the “leading sisters and brothers”, and those wishing to be.  As a result, there was much intrusion and shaming toward the personal lives of members by such “up and coming” leaders to manipulate their “disciplees.  Sometimes the elders would throw these “leading” people under the bus saying, “Oh, they did that independently of us elders.  We never “taught” that.”  They may not have said it in public, but they did behind closed doors and in private.  They encouraged these people to rebuke their underlings more, that they weren’t doing it enough.  That came straight from the top - from McCotter.  The new members weren’t following “the ‘divine’ plan McCotter had, and needed to be become more subservient and efficient to his cause - to enlarge his church.  So that we unfortunately did, day and night.  

The tragic result of “slapping up” and putting down their disciples was that they never felt good enough.  Many sadly and wrongly concluded that their inadequacy forfeited them from being used by God. GCx’s weighty expectations and disparaging criticisms of members translated into their understanding of God as harsh and burdensome. I can’t emphasize enough this devastating outcome on the little people, the underlings. Correspondingly, I would like to share a few examples from my own experience.

Not good enough was often how I felt “under” my disciplers.  Disdain was sometimes the feeling that was communicated.  I was told the way I spoke softly on the phone sounded seductive, so I was reproved.  What?!  I was expected to change my voice tone.  On that subject, another girl was reproved that her prayers were monotone, they needed to have a more umph.  What?!  If they were ever listening, that’s how the girl talked naturally.  More than once, disciplers listened in on my phone conversations.  This is a common occurrence among those in a dangerously oppressive environments. They needed to have the upper hand if they thought you were dissenting.  They would be encouraged to report back to their leaders your activity and faithfulness to the group.  On one occasion, I was speaking on the phone with my parent who had never in their life asked me for money, but this time they were in need.  This is a single parent who gave of herself and sacrificed to take wonderful care of me and my siblings for a good part of our lives, who would never ever turn us away.  After I hung up the phone, the “leading” sister appeared from around the corner and lectured me on how wrong it was to give money to my parent; saying it’s money that could go to the church. That one was right out of the Pharisee playbook, but I didn’t know it at the time.  I’m sure they were encouraged to report this juicy type of admonition toward their disciples to the leaders.  I don’t really remember whether I gave my parent the money or not.  This parent was more proactive than they were given credit for, so they may have made this request as a test to see if my church was indeed cultish.  Nonetheless, it should have been a flashing red light to me.

Being watched and judged is not a freeing or relaxing way to live.  Occasionally on Saturdays, I would go out for a walk in my neighborhood, but feel guilty doing such because I wasn’t serving someone.  One of the reasons was one of my disciplers scolded me for trying to get time alone.  She likely parroted what she had heard of twisting and taking scripture out of context in rebuking me quoting, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire”.  It was shamefully implied I was sinning by being taking time alone.  That was quoted to me in chastisement a number of times.  Considering I had a personality that needed to relax and unwind after continually being surrounded with people and talking so that I might have time & space to refresh and collect my thoughts; I very sadly and mistakenly took on the mantle for myself of “selfish Christian” (because of how God naturally made me).  I concluded maybe that was why I was depressed.  God was punishing me.  WRONG!!!  But, I didn’t know enough about Jesus’ real love and expectations toward me to know that yet; or the difference between true introverts and extroverts.  I believe GCx tried to squeeze introverts into extrovert molds so they could “sell themselves” faster, but it was a painful and pressing load for those who weren’t energized through constant people-multiplication relations.

Another twisting of scripture that was woefully passed down, was that of “faithfulness”, a precious fruit of the Spirit.  It was a term used to guilt many a person into performing duties that weren’t of the Spirit in the first place.  In my case, one discipler used it to shame my forgetfulness.  I was forgetful.  Looking back, it was probably from the stress I was under there.  Needless to say, disciplers in GCx seemed to be motivated from leadership to never miss a chance to reprove.  So, I was often accused of “Unfaithfulness” because I might forget about something.  I think if we took time to view a replay of all the wearisome reproaches from “higher-ups” toward ourselves, we might have high-tailed it out of there, but honest critical thinking about how we were often looked down upon would have been too negative, and thus “sinful”.

To be fair, I myself thoughtlessly, uncaringly, and selfishly practiced some of these things that I was taught by example and instruction to carry on in the prospect of ‘catching and manipulating people to join my “righteous” church’.  I was in idolatry by doing their bidding, seeking the approval of men rather than God which caused me to wound and sacrifice (use) people for personal ambition to gain status in my idols eyes.

This lack of freedom and oppressive castigating became increasingly depressing.  My future started looking more and more bleak. McCotter created a monster in GCx with an appetite hungry for tearing at and belittling others to elevate oneself and please their idol.  It would be best to let God slay that monster, rather than trying to hide it, or rebuild it.



I hope reading this frees someone up who is suffering under this type of oppression; or has falsely concluded they are selfish and don’t love God because they are afraid they’ll have to do christianity the GCX way.  That was NOT BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY!!!



« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 08:26:47 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2021, 09:04:24 pm »


Journaling Therapy

Bondage & Burdens



I did just a little journaling therapy tonight. It took about 10 minutes. I asked some questions good Christian counselors would probably ask about my time in GCx (in magenta). I tried to go beyond the surface and remember how I really felt then. My answers are simply an example, but honestly mine (in black). Examining such things and what God has to say about them helps to free me from being caught up in that type of thinking again.



Did I realize the bondage I was under in GCx?  


In the very beginning not long after receiving Christ I honestly felt a sense of weirdness or darkness hovering when I was told “we don’t date”, and when I was constantly shadowed by a “discipler” in nearly everything but my job. I know after a year and a half there in GCx, I began to feel a weight that only got heavier the longer I stayed. I was strongly persuaded (by the leaders and their underlings) that GCx was more REAL Christianity than nearly all other Christian churches and groups so I thought the growing unhappiness and confusion in me was due to some sin of mine or lack of devotion, but I didn’t sense any specific recurring sin.



Was I more concerned about pleasing God or men?


Probably men. Thought they (GCx “elders”) were giving “God’s standard” of devotion to God. I couldn’t ever measure up to it though.



Why did I believe I couldn’t I measure up?  Why was I so disappointed with myself?


Because I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t really want to be like those people. (Their lives lacked spontaneity and buoyancy, especially the married women.) I thought that meant I didn’t really love God enough because I couldn’t sincerely succeed in loving him as GCx required. I often faked being like them to be accepted.



Why did I believe I didn’t love God enough?


Because I tried, but I didn’t want to witness to strangers everyday. I didn’t want to spend every free minute talking about God. I didn’t want to be consumed with calling people and visiting them to try to hound them to join our church. (By design God had made me an introvert.) I was mad at myself because I knew I didn’t want this yoke on me. What I didn’t realize was that it was THEIR YOKE, NOT JESUS’! Hallelujah, I was not rejecting Jesus’ commands, but Great Commision Church’s commands!




In freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore
and do not be entangled again in a yoke of slavery!

Galatians 5:1



« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 07:11:22 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2021, 08:04:28 pm »


Journaling Therapy

Taking On the Wrong Yoke



What was the yoke I learned from GCx that I needed to wear in order to “follow” God?


#1 - A Heavy Weight of Guilt to Talk about God or “Witness” to Strangers Incessantly.

A constant obligation to “witness” to strangers on a highly regular basis, sharing the gospel incessantly EVERYWHERE I went. In the checkout line at the grocery store, to the clerk in the department store, to a passenger on the commuter train, at any family event, to anyone I went to lunch with at work, to every neighbor, to someone on the bus, to the person sitting next to me on the airplane, to the electrician or plumber who came to fix the house, to nearly anyone who I suspected didn’t know Jesus produced a burdensome weight under the law rather than the spirit.

I do remember hearing GCx members say back then that they felt guilty coming home from these type of situations having not “shared” with anyone. That was a heavy burden most of us too often slumped our shoulders over.

Too many times these “witnessing” encounters were unnatural and forced. However, there were times (while in GCx) when the Spirit put on my soul a prompting to share with certain people at certain times and I could sense God working and intervening, and producing joy in me. Those were times that will make a difference for eternity. Otherwise, I felt like a cultish weirdo.



« Last Edit: August 23, 2021, 07:05:37 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2021, 06:22:54 pm »


Journaling Therapy

Taking On the Wrong Yoke - Part Two



What was the yoke I learned from GCx that I needed to wear in order to “follow” God?




#2 - I must obey GCx “leaders” whether or not they are following God and perverting His Word.

Somehow I was persuaded that what people who were loyal to GCx told me to do, I needed to do to demonstrate “humility, teachability, submission”, and die to anything THEY considered “worldly” which cut out any semblance of living according to your own conscience and the Holy Spirit’s personal guiding. Oh, I was dying all right. I was nearly ordered to wear someone else’s “old ladyish” polyester shorts probably not more than a week after I accepted Christ. I was manipulated into trashing “secular” records, my non-Christian friends, much family time, and nearly any pursuit not including this new group very soon after my conversion. This condemning pushiness took away a part of my soul. After all, God had not convicted me in any of those things yet. God calls us to die to sin; NOT to our own personality, interests within his will, God-given desires, and life outside GCx. It was my right and power to make my own decisions that was stolen from me. No wonder people said we acted like robots - we copied EVERYTHING only a few people (who were considered “holy”) were doing instead of forging our own path to individually follow Christ through His very personal and unique guidance. That’s the vitality a relationship with Him properly produces. When we gave up listening to his voice in order to “obediently” follow GCx men we gave up the joy of his personal communication and adventure for us. Some indoctrinated folks would surely give you disapproving looks and even rebuke you (even though they hardly knew you) for not keeping the “GCx holiness”.

These unwritten but very real rules were Pharisaical things like wearing very little or no make-up, weary frumpy clothes, hardly ever watching TV, keeping away even from other christian authors, not talking to the opposite sex too long as singles, spending very little time with people outside the group, attending EVERY meeting including Sunday service, bi-weekly teaching nights, conferences, frequent outreach, prayer meetings, public relations events, promotional projects involvement, not to mention the rest of your waking moments contacting possible recruits to bring into the church. I say “recruits” because they often included “following-up” people who were already believers in another church! Our souls became burdened with a responsibility that was NEVER ours - the pyramid of “recruits” to build the Kingdom of GCx,  not on our RELATIONSHIP with Him. God is the one who makes us fruitful for His Kingdom alone as we get to know him and live in his promises and his presence. We cannot produce fruit on demand as if in a factory. All God really required of us was to trust him and follow his lead, NOT MAN’s.

God never expected us to go from brand new Christian to super-saint overnight! No wonder many of those who went to GCx don’t want to belong to a church. The problem was that the GCx culture that Jim McCotter created pushed and shoved, overworked and abusively manipulated people into THEIR service. This is NOT THE YOKE of Christ! It is labeled properly as “Lording It Over”!

So, it became apparent that their spiritual exploitation was DEFINITELY not what God wanted or approved of. Their yoke was so heavy it was destructive to bear. It nearly crushed many of us. It was indeed not the yoke Jesus described as His. Now, I realize some of these men’s hearts were not truly following Christ because Jesus does NOT lead us to deceive and abuse other believers, nor lure us away from following Him to serve their own selfish ambition.



“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—
watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me
and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


Matthew 11:28-30    The Message


« Last Edit: August 23, 2021, 07:10:08 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2021, 05:20:46 pm »

84 Titles on Spiritual Abuse


This evening I came across this list of 84 books on spiritual abuse. Don’t know a thing about many of them, but some are well worth looking at. Thought it might be helpful to those trying to navigate their very confusing and traumatizing experience. Here is the link:


https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/chronology-of-books-on-spiritual-abuse-and-recovery


« Last Edit: August 22, 2021, 10:17:14 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2021, 10:00:14 pm »


Journaling Therapy

Taking On the Wrong Yoke - Part Three



What was the yoke I learned from GCx that I needed to wear in order to “follow” God?



#3 - I must be a Super-Saint to meet the approval of God.


Too many of the people in the group from the time I first attended smiled excessively, and talked overly sweet. Having been around a few believers prior to my experience I did think it was weird. Not too long after I was informed these people were "very spiritual"and were held in high regard. In fact, many people were feverishly trying to spend time with them to imitate them. A little shadow fell over my new joy in Jesus. I didn't want to give up my personal intonation and cadence that belonged to me to become like them. But, I was sadly persuaded by those on a "higher level" that my personality needed changing to be "godly." In fact, teachings bragged about how "young ones" who were being discipled by others began to laugh, gesture, and sound like their discipler as if this were a sign of true transference of growth and "godliness." I felt something wasn't quite right about that. It tore at my dignity and I didn't like it. The leaders would even quote scriptures about people imitating Paul, so we should be imitating our discipler in ways that went abnormally beyond the text. They used verses like "Follow Me...” to imply some disciplers could "command" their disciplees to follow where they spent their free time and energy.

The Truth was God gave each of us differing desires and gifts and personalities! These were not only ignored, they were discouraged and even condemned. If one wanted to be "more spiritual" he was then in a quandry if these things didn't match the leaders' vision. Most of the members, of course, "learned" to duplicate the leaders because they were "imitating" them. They called it multiplying. I’d call it stupefying. If someone sought advice about such quandaries it was clearly stated that no counsel would be better than the GCx Church leaders. Counsel outside this group was STRONGLY DISCOURAGED even for life-changing decisions. It was rare that a GCx leader encouraged them to pursue dreams or even spiritual callings away from the GCx Church Organization. So, what's a member to conclude? He must be "selfish, or prideful, unteachable or rebellious; and definitely unspiritual" because that's what he heard from the leaders and their loyal disciplers. MANY a person including myself reckoned themselves "not spiritual enough" when they desired a different path; or didn't look forward to what was set before them in giving up such a core part of themselves and their future. They might even ask God to help them be more "spiritual" as I did.

People like me sadly surmised, since the "Super-Saints" were smiling and talking sweetly they must be good with all this, so I just need to give up my "selfishness" and "unteachableness" and "follow" so I can finally earn God's approval. I was convinced the elders held that in their power. I did many things that went against the grain of my personal make-up. I kept trying and straining, working and striving to be a "Super-Saint." I was "denying" myself. Only thing I didn't know was that if I was truly dying to myself according to God's will and intention I would find a deeper contentment with who he made me to be and the unspeakable joy and peace that goes with it. That was not the result. The result was frustration, exhaustion, and resentment toward a god before whom I could never be “approved”.

The Truth is I was serving a god who laid on me the impossible yoke of "Super-Saint". But, all God, Our Father, required of me to please him was simply to believe Him and walk by faith.



it is impossible to please God without faith

Hebrews 11:6



« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 05:51:53 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2021, 11:34:02 am »


Psychological Enslavement of GCx Leaders

God’s Response to Them




“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!”

Isaiah 58:9



« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 06:20:24 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2021, 08:10:55 pm »


PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT in GCx Churches

Toxic Language



A very good book on Spiritual Abuse, “Twisted Scriptures”, gives examples of how controlling groups pervert scriptures to manipulate their people to do the abusers will. One chapter from this book, “The Language of Enslavement” discusses how even certain words found in scripture are twisted to psychologically persuade it’s members to perform according to their wishes. One word or label used to control was “selfish” as I mentioned in my Part Three post above. The first one, “struggling”, in the group at the bottom of the page was represented in GCx as “tubed out”, “not following the Lord” or other such common slander when the person left the GCx Church. It is interesting and sad to see how many of these scriptural words were also used in GCx Churches to abusively coerce its followers.

The exercise the author suggests surrounding such words may help us recover from PTSD that assaults us when we are triggered by them. Such twisting of scriptural words seems to so affect our mind that we can be paralyzed by them. From misuse, they can produce traumatic feelings in us. Here are the excerpts I choose from Mary Chrnalogar’s book.



SELFISH

Many times, in abusive discipleship, “selfish” is used to label disciples who are not conforming to the group’s or the leader’s will. Many of these disciples would hardly ever question their discipler’s judgment. If their discipler said that their motive was selfish, they would repent from whatever they were wanting to do. Using “selfish” to label followers whenever they do not conform is a great controlling mechanism. ...

Loading words with emotional impact can give the discipler more influence over the lives of disciples. If a certain word elicits strong negative or positive feelings and is linked to an idea, then disciples most likely will respond in the way the leadership wants. Former disciples say that, prior to group influence, they did not have an emotional response to words like “commitment,”“obey,”“rebellious,”“doubt,”“selfish,” and “independent.”


WORDS THAT GIVE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE

How can you tell if words or ideas are being altered in these ways? Are there certain words that cause you to feel more intensely? What is the subject? Is there a certain word that puts you in ecstasy that didn’t before your group involvement? Try out these words and ideas on others not in your environment to see if they stand the test of validity outside your group.

Many common words or phrases are loaded with feeling or altered in meaning. Just a few of these twisted concepts and words are listed below. Circle the words for which your group has altered the meaning from the way they are meant in the Bible. Add other words that are manipulated in your group. You might have a hard time thinking of words. Instead, think of the words that were more frequently used than in other churches you’ve attended—these have likely been manipulated.

Make three columns. In one column, write how your group defined the following words and phrases, in the next column write the Biblical usage of each, and in the last column, describe your emotional reaction to hearing them.



STRUGGLING, TRUST, OBEY, COMMITMENT, SUBMIT,
OBEDIENCE, SELFISH, CARNAL MAN, DYING TO SELF,
BROKENNESS, JESUS IS LORD, FAITH, REBELLIOUS,
BAD HEART, QUESTIONING, HARD-HEARTED, SIN, DOUBT,
LED BY THE SPIRIT, FALLING AWAY, UNITY, NOT OPEN,
INDEPENDENCE, DIVISIVE, FACTIOUS, DIVISION, BEING OF
ONE MIND, SURRENDER, ACCOUNTABLE, PERSECUTION,
SLANDER, WORRY, FEAR, UNEQUALLY YOKED, VIRTUE,
ADVICE, CRITICISM, DENYING CHRIST, CHRISTIAN,
COMMITTED FOLLOWER, SELF-CONFIDENCE, BEING PROUD
OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND HUMAN PERSPECTIVE



Link to Book:

https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tLP1TcwLzZOSi8wYPQSKinPLC5JTVEoTi7KLCgpLUotBgCnTQsr&q=twisted+scriptures&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS741US741&oq=twisted+scriptures&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j46i512j0i512j46i512j0i10l2.15905j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8


« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 08:51:59 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2022, 10:23:59 pm »


PSYCHOLOGICAL ENSLAVEMENT in GCx Churches

Take Back Your Mind!



This line from the inspiring movie, “The Great Debators”, really moved me as the debate coach (played by Denzel Washington) elevated his voice and cried loudly,


“I am here to help you...find...take back...and keep...your righteous mind


Even more so, does the Holy Spirit call out to us to do the same.


Just as we in GCx, the students in that debate class needed motivation because they had been regularly beaten down psychologically by abusive treatment. The coach completes his statement by ending with the declaration,


“...because obviously...you have lost it!”




« Last Edit: February 03, 2022, 07:06:40 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2022, 09:22:46 pm »

I realize at first glance what I want to share here today may come across as strangely exaggerated by me, but I think there is more truth to it than portions of our old “brainwashed” psyche may be able to process all at once. I am basing my probable conclusions on Jesus’ strong identification of spiritual teachers of the Bible.



Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.

Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.…

Matthew 7:15-17


The false prophets of the Old Testament and the false teachers of New Testament quoted scripture. In fact, that is part of their disguise to cloak their evil schemes. That will be no different today until Jesus returns. Tragically, they USE the WORD of GOD and borrow his name to exploit God’s people for their own voracious appetite for power and fame, as the scripture above says —they ARE RAVENOUS WOLVES. I believe they TWIST GOD’s WORD by demonic temptation and influence.

Instead of being nourished, strengthened, and built up by godly and accurate deliverance of divine truths, which seem to be the “grapes and figs” referred to in the verses above; the sheep are trapped, wounded and weakened by “thorns and thistles”. The people end up choking on twisted scriptures like eating thistles, feeling confused and injured by “God.” They feel hurt by harsh and impossible demands that they are told are without question from “God.” They become manipulatively persuaded they cannot question or leave.

Though at first they had great joy and freedom in living in God’s Spirit, now they are learning a different Jesus - one of demanded traditions, commanded silence, and a VERY NARROW and depressing lifestyle to supposedly carry out “His DICTATED WILL.” Their new boundaries are scarily stifling. Without recognizing it, they have been caught and trapped in the thorn bushes. They have become prey for the wolf’s feeding. No wonder life is feeling gloomy.  

Thistles and thorn bushes are most certainly the identifying bad fruit of wolves by which they are recognized. Some others take orders from the wolf INSTEAD OF THE HEAD WHICH IS CHRIST. They too can be agents knowing or unknowing who hurt and wound others in the wolf’s scathing commands.

I personally think Jim McCotter is a wolf in sheep’s clothing evilly using scripture to his own advantage and gain. I now believe he selfishly used all kinds of wonderful things in the scriptures and twisted them into something very destructive. I believe he may even have exploited the gospel to hook people into his church empire. But God has the upper hand in that he used that intended evil ambition for good by so many hearing it and believing it for themselves. I think McCotter used the concept of “discipling” to control people and hold them captive in his church organization. I think we could fairly guess his goal was to aggrandize himself in what he hoped would be a church that would rival most others by sheer size. Because of this he turned “witnessing” into a tremendous burden because it demanded the effort and hours of a full time job. He attached to it immense guilt for not practicing it incessantly. I personally don’t believe now that he was burdened with others’ salvation, but with their joining his ranks.

He most definitely is a tree bearing much bad fruit. How can someone who so lacked Jesus’ authentic love and compassion actually be abiding in him? You don’t need to look any further than this site to recognize the destructive fruit he bears.



« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 09:25:03 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1775



« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2022, 10:33:23 pm »




Jesus said, “Beware of the false prophets (the pseudo prophets) who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15). They look like the sheep category and behave like the wolf category. Their accurate or orthodox words ARE the sheep’s clothing.


The test of the prophet is not found in the prophet’s words. It is found in the prophet’s life. A superb and brilliant preacher, theologically orthodox, who bullies, is rude, dismissive is leaking fruit.  Jesus says beware of such people.

-Tweets from Diane Langberg, PhD, February 14, 2021




« Last Edit: February 01, 2022, 10:36:08 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.1.1