Friday, 2 December 2011


It happens all the time. Some charismatic preacher sets up a church and claims to have direct revelations from God Almighty. Instead of targeting unbelievers, these wolves dressed in shepherd costumes prey upon naive converts.

Forty years ago, I was one of those wandering sheep. No mature Christian discipled me so I had no idea of what was true or false. This excerpt from my How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir shows how I was seduced by a false teacher.


Three people looked me over as they sat at a rickety, brown card table in front of the pulpit.

"This is Sister Roberta and Sister Eileen," Jay said as he gestured toward a silver-haired woman wearing a flower print dress and her brunette daughter in a beige blouse and slacks. "And this is our minister, Brother Herald," he gestured toward a short, bullet-shaped man at the head of the table who sat with his back to the pulpit. He wore gold wire-rimmed glasses, a brown dress shirt, and grey suspenders with matching dress pants. His greyish-brown hair and moustache made him appear younger than his sixty-six years.

"We're about to start the meeting," Sister Roberta announced. "You better pull up a chair and sit down."

At first, Brother Herald's teaching style perturbed me. He spoke in a low monotonous rumble for many minutes, then his voice abruptly rose in volume and pitch as he pounded the table for effect. After startling us all, his voice dropped back to its normal level. This, and his laboured breathing, made listening a challenge in the beginning but I soon adjusted to his mannerisms.

By the end of the meeting, this man's preaching captivated me. I can't remember the subject of that particular lesson but I recall thinking that he explained arcane mysteries which ordinary ministers never preached. Only Garner Ted and Herbert W. Armstrong taught such revelatory doctrines on their radio and television programs called The World Tomorrow. Like Christ's audience when he finished preaching the "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 7:28 and 29, a sense of awe gripped me.

Though I gave my life to Christ at a Vacation Bible School in 1969, nobody discipled me until that evening. This was Thee Church, and my spiritual home, as I came to think of it.


How I Was Razed is my testimony of how charismatic house church elders misled me for more than fifteen years. After leaving that congregation and turning my back on God for almost a decade, due to the lies that the cult taught about him, he revealed his true nature to me. I now realize how blasphemous that house church's doctrines were.

Check out my previous memoirs here. You're also welcome to contact me directly for more information.


  1. This took me back to a time when I had a negative brush with religion. It all started in the sixth grade when a friend invited me to Sunday school and a service at her Baptist church. I found that I enjoyed singing songs and talking about the Bible, and I even liked the service, although the preacher was given to raising his voice during the sermon. Finally one day after a sermon about Hell, I told the preacher's wife I thought my mother should go there. When my mother found out, she hauled me out of there. I was so embarrassed by my statement that I never went back. She took me to a Presbyterian church, and I found I liked that better. Although their Sunday school classes were boring, I loved the service because there was a choir and the soft spoken minister never yelled during his sermon. I joined the choir and youth group and was happy.

  2. At least you went to a Baptist church. This cultic house church taught all sorts of blasphemous doctrines and kept criticizing me for not receiving my sight. My only consolation is that the church only had a few members. As far as I can tell, it's now closed.

  3. You're right. The Baptists never criticized me for my visual impairment, but I'm still embarrassed about the way I let myself get caught up in their thinking about Hell.

  4. With all due respect, hell is real and it lasts forever. That cult I joined taught it didn't and people could get out of it once they repented. The Bible teaches otherwise. Not only that but we must respond to God's offer before we die. This is why the gospel is such good news. Those who repent and give control of their lives to Christ will escape the sentence of hell that we inherited from Adam. This isn't my opinion; this is what God says.


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