Friday, 7 August 2009

"the rest of the story."

In my previous blog post, I wrote about an event that changed the direction of my life and eternal destiny, namely surrendering control of both to Christ. As Paul Harvey used to say, here's "the rest of the story."

After leaving Mrs. Blacklock's Vacation Bible School, nobody contacted me or my family about attending church. I didn't even receive a Bible or New Testament to study after I put my faith in Christ. In fact, I had no idea of how important those disciplines were to the development of my faith. Back at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind that September, I attended the same Anglican church I had gone to since I was first exiled to that institution in Vancouver five years previously. The government allowed me to attend public school in Edmonton the next year but the family who I boarded with never went to church. As a result, I listened to Christian programs on the radio each weekday evening and became enamoured with the teaching of Garner Ted Armstrong. His authoritative style and the things he said seemed so much more intelligent than the usual preaching I heard.

The second family who I boarded with in 1971 introduced me to a most remarkable man. At his house church, This "anointed teacher of God" taught us about humanity's pre-birth existence as space aliens, how the Holy Spirit was actually a force of millions of departed saints, that every other church had only portions of the truth, and that a city of refuge in the Northwest Territories' Nahanni valley awaited vulnerable Christians escaping the soon-coming mark of the beast. Additionally, he allowed the spirits of deceased Christians to inhabit his body and teach advanced members of the congregation arcane secrets. He also prophesied Zaphnathpaaneah's (Joseph's) resurrection and subsequent conquest of Canada, Quebec's imminent secession from Confederation, and part of downtown Edmonton slipping into the river valley. As I had no discernment training, I believed it all.

Throughout the 15 years that I faithfully attended Thee Church, the elders continually condemned me. My passion for CB radio and rock music were despised as evil, my purchases of an open reel deck and stereo were considered wasteful, and the assistant minister often prevented me from "bothering" our minister with questions. Most devastating of all to me, my chronic failure to be healed of my poor sight was considered by the elders to be a sign of hidden sin, a lack of faith, and unconfessed ancestral sins. The non-stop criticisms and hypocrisy of the church leaders caused me to leave in 1987. I turned my back on God for 9 years before coming to my senses. Thanks to a blind friend in America who sent me good Christian radio shows on cassettes, I deprogrammed myself of all the lies I'd been taught and learned the truth about Christianity.

Condensing more than 40 years of my life into a single blog post is difficult. I've had to leave out many important events for the sake of brevity. Telling the full story is why I'm currently working on my next book, How I Was Razed (and How I found Authentic Christianity). Millions of people are lured from Bible-believing congregations by those who promise them secret knowledge and power while preaching things that are manifestly bogus. My hope and prayer is that my testimony can help those people, as well as the ones hurt by cults as I was, to learn the real character of the Heavenly Father. God willing, this book should be in print next year.