Is IFB a cult?

Binaca Chugger

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I have issue with the IFB being called a cult because it is hard to leave. I believe this to be more in the imagination of those leaving than anything else. Yes, there are some churches (Tom Neal) that actively tell people not to have fellowship with those who are leaving on a critical note, but those are really rare. I think that those who leave are leaving offended and have a presumption that everyone is against them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. For those who grew up in Hammond or another such place, leaving is difficult because you are walking away from everything you have ever known. These people don't know anything else and have a hard time walking out into a world that is not like anything else they have experienced. This doesn't mean that the church is preventing you from leaving. It means that leaving is hard because you are choosing to say goodbye. Leaving any stage of life is hard, but that doesn't make it a cult.
What about the severed relationships? Let's be honest. Most relationships in a megachurch are very superficial. We talk to each other because we see each other. Most relationships in church only happen because we have church in common. When you choose to leave a church, you no longer have a commonality about which you can relate. Hence, you have severed the relationship. When you sever the one thing that unites you with someone, you should expect the relationship to essentially end. This is common and not cultish.
But those people didn't pursue me as I was leaving! And? So what!?! You made a decision to leave a church and they didn't go with you. I believe this response is rooted in pride. When somebody works up the nerve to walk away from all they have ever known, they are frustrated and angry. They believe themselves to be right, but really crave validation. When their former friends say "sorry to see you leave" instead of "you are right and we will go with you," the people who are leaving get their feelings hurt because they are not receiving the validation that they crave. It really is a self-assuredness issue more than a cult issue. It really is like unto a long term employee who is frustrated with the boss. He complains to his co-workers and they all agree. Then he quits, but nobody walks off the job with him. He is hurt and angry and thinks they all sold out to the boss. In church circles, these people respond by calling the church a cult and the people deceived. In reality, you chose to leave. So just leave.
But it is so hard to leave! No, it isn't. Just stop going. See? Simple. Nobody is threatening you. Maybe they will call or make a visit to see if you will come back or talk about why you are leaving and explain their side. If so, it is termed as "manipulation" and "mandating that everyone conform to their rules" and "cultish control." But, if the church doesn't follow up on you it is called "not allowing people to be friends with me" and "they didn't care about me." Stop belly aching about it. Nobody forces you to leave or not leave. There is no armed guard that you must pass to leave the church. You just simply stop going! The only hard part is your decision to walk away from the church where you have so many years invested.
 

Ransom

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Not sure why all the formatting stuff is in my reply box.
Basically, there's a template or something that styles the buttons into a more useful toolbar, which has gotten broken. I don't know the details--I don't deal with the back end of the forum, and I'm not sure I could diagnose the problem even if I did. My Web programming skills are sketchy. From what I've seen, it looks ugly but hasn't taken away functionality. The webmaster is aware of the problem.

Update: OK, yeah, some functionality is broken. The buttons that were drop-down menus (font, text size, lists, etc.) don't seem to do anthing.
 

tmjbog

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For those who grew up in Hammond or another such place, leaving is difficult because you are walking away from everything you have ever known. These people don't know anything else and have a hard time walking out into a world that is not like anything else they have experienced.
I don't strongly disagree with most of what you said, but if walking away from an organization and living in the real world is a shock to your system there's a good a chance you've been part of a cult.
 

sawthruglassclearly

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I have issue with the IFB being called a cult because it is hard to leave. I believe this to be more in the imagination of those leaving than anything else. Yes, there are some churches (Tom Neal) that actively tell people not to have fellowship with those who are leaving on a critical note, but those are really rare. I think that those who leave are leaving offended and have a presumption that everyone is against them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. For those who grew up in Hammond or another such place, leaving is difficult because you are walking away from everything you have ever known. These people don't know anything else and have a hard time walking out into a world that is not like anything else they have experienced. This doesn't mean that the church is preventing you from leaving. It means that leaving is hard because you are choosing to say goodbye. Leaving any stage of life is hard, but that doesn't make it a cult.
What about the severed relationships? Let's be honest. Most relationships in a megachurch are very superficial. We talk to each other because we see each other. Most relationships in church only happen because we have church in common. When you choose to leave a church, you no longer have a commonality about which you can relate. Hence, you have severed the relationship. When you sever the one thing that unites you with someone, you should expect the relationship to essentially end. This is common and not cultish.
But those people didn't pursue me as I was leaving! And? So what!?! You made a decision to leave a church and they didn't go with you. I believe this response is rooted in pride. When somebody works up the nerve to walk away from all they have ever known, they are frustrated and angry. They believe themselves to be right, but really crave validation. When their former friends say "sorry to see you leave" instead of "you are right and we will go with you," the people who are leaving get their feelings hurt because they are not receiving the validation that they crave. It really is a self-assuredness issue more than a cult issue. It really is like unto a long term employee who is frustrated with the boss. He complains to his co-workers and they all agree. Then he quits, but nobody walks off the job with him. He is hurt and angry and thinks they all sold out to the boss. In church circles, these people respond by calling the church a cult and the people deceived. In reality, you chose to leave. So just leave.
But it is so hard to leave! No, it isn't. Just stop going. See? Simple. Nobody is threatening you. Maybe they will call or make a visit to see if you will come back or talk about why you are leaving and explain their side. If so, it is termed as "manipulation" and "mandating that everyone conform to their rules" and "cultish control." But, if the church doesn't follow up on you it is called "not allowing people to be friends with me" and "they didn't care about me." Stop belly aching about it. Nobody forces you to leave or not leave. There is no armed guard that you must pass to leave the church. You just simply stop going! The only hard part is your decision to walk away from the church where you have so many years invested.
IFB’s tell you how to live your life and then follow you around to make sure you do what they want. You spend time looking over your shoulder to see if they’re going to catch you “breaking the rules”. Work doesn’t do that. The real world doesn’t do that. A lot of people come to FBCH not knowing anyone, not having a job, or much money. The church relies on that for control.
I never cared one whit about what they said when I fled. They said plenty, but I did not care and I said so. You have to have somewhere to go when you leave. I don’t mean church, but you have to be ready ahead of time for the real world. Most people in IFB’s aren’t ready. Add to that the church owning your house, car, and paycheck, Poof! You’ve got “100% Hyles’ers.”
 

illinoisguy

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It's not always that easy to leave an IFB church. Sometimes the church will initiate extradition proceedings to force the escaped member to come back. The pastor and his cronies in the ministry will call your new pastor to demand that you be kicked out of your new church and forced to go back to your old church and "get things right" with the Mannagod. If your new pastor refuses to throw you under the bus, he (and you) will be blacklisted. I have personally experienced this, and I'm not the only one. For documentation, go to Jerry Kaifetz blog and click on Archives - December 2015.
Then again, I suppose if you just stop going to your abusive IFB church and do not try to attend or join any other church, then, in that case, yes, it's easy to leave.
 

Ransom

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Sometimes the church will initiate extradition proceedings to force the escaped member to come back. The pastor and his cronies in the ministry will call your new pastor to demand that you be kicked out of your new church and forced to go back to your old church and "get things right" with the Mannagod.
Amazing how local church autonomy gets thrown under the bus when it's a wayward member leaving the church, but not when it's a wayword, kiddy-diddling pastor's son escaping to another church.
 

GeneFrenkle

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I have issue with the IFB being called a cult because it is hard to leave. I believe this to be more in the imagination of those leaving than anything else. Yes, there are some churches (Tom Neal) that actively tell people not to have fellowship with those who are leaving on a critical note, but those are really rare. I think that those who leave are leaving offended and have a presumption that everyone is against them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. For those who grew up in Hammond or another such place, leaving is difficult because you are walking away from everything you have ever known. These people don't know anything else and have a hard time walking out into a world that is not like anything else they have experienced. This doesn't mean that the church is preventing you from leaving. It means that leaving is hard because you are choosing to say goodbye. Leaving any stage of life is hard, but that doesn't make it a cult.
What about the severed relationships? Let's be honest. Most relationships in a megachurch are very superficial. We talk to each other because we see each other. Most relationships in church only happen because we have church in common. When you choose to leave a church, you no longer have a commonality about which you can relate. Hence, you have severed the relationship. When you sever the one thing that unites you with someone, you should expect the relationship to essentially end. This is common and not cultish.
But those people didn't pursue me as I was leaving! And? So what!?! You made a decision to leave a church and they didn't go with you. I believe this response is rooted in pride. When somebody works up the nerve to walk away from all they have ever known, they are frustrated and angry. They believe themselves to be right, but really crave validation. When their former friends say "sorry to see you leave" instead of "you are right and we will go with you," the people who are leaving get their feelings hurt because they are not receiving the validation that they crave. It really is a self-assuredness issue more than a cult issue. It really is like unto a long term employee who is frustrated with the boss. He complains to his co-workers and they all agree. Then he quits, but nobody walks off the job with him. He is hurt and angry and thinks they all sold out to the boss. In church circles, these people respond by calling the church a cult and the people deceived. In reality, you chose to leave. So just leave.
But it is so hard to leave! No, it isn't. Just stop going. See? Simple. Nobody is threatening you. Maybe they will call or make a visit to see if you will come back or talk about why you are leaving and explain their side. If so, it is termed as "manipulation" and "mandating that everyone conform to their rules" and "cultish control." But, if the church doesn't follow up on you it is called "not allowing people to be friends with me" and "they didn't care about me." Stop belly aching about it. Nobody forces you to leave or not leave. There is no armed guard that you must pass to leave the church. You just simply stop going! The only hard part is your decision to walk away from the church where you have so many years invested.
Absolutely spot on!

Like I said, I've never followed anyone around. Never cared if they ended up at another church. Taking it personally and actively working against someone are two different things. As a matter of fact, a couple (who was reached, saved, baptized, discipled, taught, and led in our church) ended up in a church of like faith across town: I gave the couple a glowing review then told the pastor, "Don't feel obligated to tell me when someone from my church goes to yours". Pretty cultish, eh?
The whole purpose of my initial comment was in defense of people left behind in churches: they are not in the wrong for not reaching out to you. They are hurt, too. But we tend to lump all of our blame and hate on the church and people (most of the time good people) who don't leave.
 

illinoisguy

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I have known good IFB preachers like Gene Frenkle who treat their members with respect and not like serfs, and that's great. Keep up the good work.
Even in the Middle Ages, a serf who escaped to the city and was not caught after a year and a day became free, and could not be extradited back to the manor. Maybe we can have a rule like that for escapees from abusive churches nowadays.
There is one terrifying ritual that some church escapees have to undergo, and that is the dreaded ordeal of the Exit Meeting with one's former pastor. But there are ways of getting around that. When I left one church, that pastor howled about how I had not "handled things right" by asking for a permission slip from him, bestowing on me the privilege of leaving. He did not contact me personally with his grievances, but he put the word out on the grapevine that I had refused to meet with him. As soon as I became aware of this, I sent a letter to him, his assistant pastor and his deacons, agreeing to meet with all of them. I included a lengthy list of topics that I wanted to discuss, and invited my former pastor to invite all his preacher friends to come to the meeting and watch him vanquish me in open debate. He could tell that I was not cowed or intimidated by him, and nobody ever got back to me to schedule the meeting. When I had to leave another abusive church, it was the same deal - the pastor asked me to meet with him. I sent him a letter agreeing to meet, and including an agenda of discussion topics that I would give to all participants in the meeting. Instead of scheduling the meeting, he responded that "since you have repeatedly refused to meet with me, I do not want to have any more contact with you."
Bottom line - when the abusive pastor demands the Exit Meeting, let him know that you are not intimidated and will respond to all his lies. He will reflect on that and decide that the meeting is not necessary after all, but he still may have his obedient congregation excommunicate you.
 

Binaca Chugger

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I don't strongly disagree with most of what you said, but if walking away from an organization and living in the real world is a shock to your system there's a good a chance you've been part of a cult.
I get what you are saying there. But it only applies to large churches such as Hammond and the people who grew up there. It certainly does not apply to the average IFB church of less than 150 people, because they don't have all of the everything. For those who grew up there, it is really all they knew. Every activity was church related. School was part of the church. Church had their own little league, boy scouts, everything. For some, leaving means dealing with people who are not a part of everything they have ever known. I would compare it to someone who grew up in a small town where you knew everyone who ran everything and all of the kids in the town knew each other by name. You know how the town operates and all of the business between every person. For such a one, leaving and going to a new place like New York City can be a shock to their system. This doesn't make the small town a cult, it means that you are leaving everything you have known and this can be difficult.
 

Binaca Chugger

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IFB’s tell you how to live your life and then follow you around to make sure you do what they want. You spend time looking over your shoulder to see if they’re going to catch you “breaking the rules”. Work doesn’t do that. The real world doesn’t do that. A lot of people come to FBCH not knowing anyone, not having a job, or much money. The church relies on that for control.
I never cared one whit about what they said when I fled. They said plenty, but I did not care and I said so. You have to have somewhere to go when you leave. I don’t mean church, but you have to be ready ahead of time for the real world. Most people in IFB’s aren’t ready. Add to that the church owning your house, car, and paycheck, Poof! You’ve got “100% Hyles’ers.”
Most IFB churches don't own your house, car and paycheck. You must have come to Hammond as an adult, eventually joined the staff and found it wasn't a utopia. It is not uncommon for a church employee of Christian denominations to be given a parsonage. It is not uncommon for a church employee of any group to be given a paycheck. It is unusual for a church to have enough money to lease a car for you, but that was negotiated as part of your salary. If you choose to quit a job that is providing your house, car and paycheck, then you would obviously lose your house, car and paycheck. That isn't a cult. That is common sense.

As for having to have somewhere to go - no. If the average person chooses to leave an IFB church, they simply stop attending. They don't have to sneak out at night and have a rescue house with alternate identities set up for them. C'mon, man!

As to the church loyalists following you around town. Yeah, that happened at Hammond and a few other places. I can recall people actually following my friends and I around to see what trouble I would get in to. But I was an odd case. Most people who got in trouble, it was found out because someone happened to see you somewhere, or you talked about it to others who tattled on you. Either way, that part is odd. This tends itself towards the pastor's feeling that he should control every aspect of people's lives. I see it in the mega churches and the little MOGs that run around. It is not at every IFB church, but prevalent enough to feel a little cultish.
 

Binaca Chugger

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It's not always that easy to leave an IFB church. Sometimes the church will initiate extradition proceedings to force the escaped member to come back. The pastor and his cronies in the ministry will call your new pastor to demand that you be kicked out of your new church and forced to go back to your old church and "get things right" with the Mannagod. If your new pastor refuses to throw you under the bus, he (and you) will be blacklisted. I have personally experienced this, and I'm not the only one. For documentation, go to Jerry Kaifetz blog and click on Archives - December 2015.
Then again, I suppose if you just stop going to your abusive IFB church and do not try to attend or join any other church, then, in that case, yes, it's easy to leave.
I think Jerry is viewing things through discolored glasses. I was terminated from an IFB church because I discovered the pastor embezzling money, though at the time, I didn't realize what I had discovered. All we knew was that we had been fired. We went to another Baptist church in a different denomination who told us we need to get things right with our old pastor before becoming a member of that church. They wanted a letter of recommendation like in the early church that would show we were not destroyers of churches. That experience hurt. It wasn't an IFB church and the two churches were not in league together. It was just the policy of the new church. We chose not to try attending there. Instead, we found an IFB church without associations in town that loved us and helped us heal.

Yes, if you just leave, it's easy - not a cult. Leaving is simple - just don't show up.
 

Binaca Chugger

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I have known good IFB preachers like Gene Frenkle who treat their members with respect and not like serfs, and that's great. Keep up the good work.
Even in the Middle Ages, a serf who escaped to the city and was not caught after a year and a day became free, and could not be extradited back to the manor. Maybe we can have a rule like that for escapees from abusive churches nowadays.
There is one terrifying ritual that some church escapees have to undergo, and that is the dreaded ordeal of the Exit Meeting with one's former pastor. But there are ways of getting around that. When I left one church, that pastor howled about how I had not "handled things right" by asking for a permission slip from him, bestowing on me the privilege of leaving. He did not contact me personally with his grievances, but he put the word out on the grapevine that I had refused to meet with him. As soon as I became aware of this, I sent a letter to him, his assistant pastor and his deacons, agreeing to meet with all of them. I included a lengthy list of topics that I wanted to discuss, and invited my former pastor to invite all his preacher friends to come to the meeting and watch him vanquish me in open debate. He could tell that I was not cowed or intimidated by him, and nobody ever got back to me to schedule the meeting. When I had to leave another abusive church, it was the same deal - the pastor asked me to meet with him. I sent him a letter agreeing to meet, and including an agenda of discussion topics that I would give to all participants in the meeting. Instead of scheduling the meeting, he responded that "since you have repeatedly refused to meet with me, I do not want to have any more contact with you."
Bottom line - when the abusive pastor demands the Exit Meeting, let him know that you are not intimidated and will respond to all his lies. He will reflect on that and decide that the meeting is not necessary after all, but he still may have his obedient congregation excommunicate you.
I have had the "exit meeting," but it looked different. I was on staff and explaining what new ministry I was heading to. I never really voiced my displeasure, even though I had displeasure. I tried meeting with a pastor where I was a member but not staff once to warn him about the heresy he was proclaiming and the dangers of megalomaniasm. It didn't go well. To his credit, he allowed me to pull in the deacons. After allowing me to speak, he proclaimed all of my faults that I had confided in him and how I could not be trusted and how the church should consider revoking my membership which would prevent me from the blessings of God until I repented and was seen as a good member again. Time frames and documents were ready for me to sign. Like I said - it didn't go well. We ended up leaving within a month. FWIW: this experience was not in an IFB church.

Leaving that church was difficult because we had friends there. Some of those, even a staff member, I see at our kid's games. We talk and are cordial. IT was difficult, but it was easy. We just left. I went one last time, said good by to some friends. They understood and I left. Easy.
 

ALAYMAN

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A lot of good thoughts here on both sides of the issue. I'm a firm believer that one central role of the church is for accountability. Without getting wordy, accountability is a two-way street. When somebody leaves a church, which is a family, there ought to be an understanding that is clearly communicated from both parties on the reasons for leaving and an attempt to clear the air, so to speak. That allows the pastor to either correct any misunderstandings and heal the wounds, or inform perspective congregations of potential areas of concern, or communicate with any future Church that the matters have been at least attempted to be bridged.
I understand that some Churches/pastors are overbearing and manipulative. You can't control what others do but you can control your own actions. If I was leaving a church I would have a meeting with the pastor and if he was not willing to be open and sincere in efforts to leave on good terms then I would go without his blessing and not lose a moment sleep.
 

tmjbog

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Most IFB churches don't own your house, car and paycheck. You must have come to Hammond as an adult, eventually joined the staff and found it wasn't a utopia. It is not uncommon for a church employee of Christian denominations to be given a parsonage. It is not uncommon for a church employee of any group to be given a paycheck. It is unusual for a church to have enough money to lease a car for you, but that was negotiated as part of your salary. If you choose to quit a job that is providing your house, car and paycheck, then you would obviously lose your house, car and paycheck. That isn't a cult. That is common sense.

As for having to have somewhere to go - no. If the average person chooses to leave an IFB church, they simply stop attending. They don't have to sneak out at night and have a rescue house with alternate identities set up for them. C'mon, man!

As to the church loyalists following you around town. Yeah, that happened at Hammond and a few other places. I can recall people actually following my friends and I around to see what trouble I would get in to. But I was an odd case. Most people who got in trouble, it was found out because someone happened to see you somewhere, or you talked about it to others who tattled on you. Either way, that part is odd. This tends itself towards the pastor's feeling that he should control every aspect of people's lives. I see it in the mega churches and the little MOGs that run around. It is not at every IFB church, but prevalent enough to feel a little cultish.
I've only seen senior pastors that were provided parsonages. It does seems that providing the house/car/job does give the pastor a lot of control over an employee. In the case of somewhere like First Baptist you can't quit your job until you are ready to leave your friends, your job, move, and have made plans to buy a car while between jobs. I can't say if it was specifically done for control or not. Maybe someplace like FBC get cars donated. Maybe they have bought property for future expansion that all ready had houses. All of this may just allow them to offer a greater compensation package without it costing the church as much. However, being that Hyles was known to find ways to control people I am skeptical. The good news is that you are right, there are only a few churches with the resources to this sort of thing.
 

sawthruglassclearly

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Most IFB churches don't own your house, car and paycheck. You must have come to Hammond as an adult, eventually joined the staff and found it wasn't a utopia. It is not uncommon for a church employee of Christian denominations to be given a parsonage. It is not uncommon for a church employee of any group to be given a paycheck. It is unusual for a church to have enough money to lease a car for you, but that was negotiated as part of your salary. If you choose to quit a job that is providing your house, car and paycheck, then you would obviously lose your house, car and paycheck. That isn't a cult. That is common sense.

As for having to have somewhere to go - no. If the average person chooses to leave an IFB church, they simply stop attending. They don't have to sneak out at night and have a rescue house with alternate identities set up for them. C'mon, man!

As to the church loyalists following you around town. Yeah, that happened at Hammond and a few other places. I can recall people actually following my friends and I around to see what trouble I would get in to. But I was an odd case. Most people who got in trouble, it was found out because someone happened to see you somewhere, or you talked about it to others who tattled on you. Either way, that part is odd. This tends itself towards the pastor's feeling that he should control every aspect of people's lives. I see it in the mega churches and the little MOGs that run around. It is not at every IFB church, but prevalent enough to feel a little cultish.
I grew up there. I didn’t have what they called a “name”. The “name” guaranteed you a spot on a team, or a squad, or an office. I watched very closely and listened to my Mother, who gave me a play by play and stopped attending early in my life. My father was not employed in any fashion by that organization. He had a great job elsewhere. He just suffered from the charismatic Hyles syndrome. The stir I caused when I left, left him shunned by those he knew there and embarrassed because I left with no explanation and didn’t offer one when asked. I had to hang around a while after my life-altering awakening, so I spent a few years facing the nosy, two-faced, lying, ignorant, Holy folk who thought they knew the score. I spent that time studying that place and looking under the big lumps in the rugs where atrocities had been swept, quietly offering help to others who found themselves to be in a situation like mine or similar to mine. I never said a word until Hyles couldn’t wield his power over me anymore. By then, my ladder was finished, and my exit route was clear. I just talked with a lot of trapped employees there and they explained the hold Hyles had on their financial situation. Don’t forget that if you head out into the world from there, all of your education is non-accredited and is worth zero unless you start over in an accredited school or certificate program. I was never “ tattled on” because I didn’t do things to bring attention to myself. I never once thought that place was a utopia. I found it to be a prison and a cult from which I successfully escaped. I went on to get a real education in the real world, a good job in the real world, a good spouse in the real world, good friends and neighbors in the real world, raise a family in that real world, and retire in my forties in that same real world. I didn’t have to change my identity, but I would call what I’ve accomplished akin to a witness protection program! That will be the last I say about my personal life here in the forum. Boo!
 
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Binaca Chugger

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I grew up there. I didn’t have what they called a “name”. The “name” guaranteed you a spot on a team, or a squad, or an office. I watched very closely and listened to my Mother, who gave me a play by play and stopped attending early in my life. My father was not employed in any fashion by that organization. He had a great job elsewhere. He just suffered from the charismatic Hyles syndrome. The stir I caused when I left, left him shunned by those he knew there and embarrassed because I left with no explanation and didn’t offer one when asked. I had to hang around a while after my life-altering awakening, so I spent a few years facing the nosy, two-faced, lying, ignorant, Holy folk who thought they knew the score. I spent that time studying that place and looking under the big lumps in the rugs where atrocities had been swept, quietly offering help to others who found themselves to be in a situation like mine or similar to mine. I never said a word until Hyles couldn’t wield his power over me anymore. By then, my ladder was finished, and my exit route was clear. I just talked with a lot of trapped employees there and they explained the hold Hyles had on their financial situation. Don’t forget that if you head out into the world from there, all of your education is non-accredited and is worth zero unless you start over in an accredited school or certificate program. I was never “ tattled on” because I didn’t do things to bring attention to myself. I never once thought that place was a utopia. I found it to be a prison and a cult from which I successfully escaped. I went on to get a real education in the real world, a good job in the real world, a good spouse in the real world, good friends and neighbors in the real world, raise a family in that real world, and retire in my forties in that same real world. I didn’t have to change my identity, but I would call what I’ve accomplished akin to a witness protection program! That will be the last I say about my personal life here in the forum. Boo!
Good for you! Sounds like you accomplished quite a bit. Honestly - I am not attacking - I am curious. Why would you say your experience was akin to a witness protection program? Did you fear for your safety after leaving? Honestly, I don't get it.

Maybe my experience was just different. So many of my friends left the IFB long before I did. They just quite coming, got jobs in the area and went on with their life. Looking at their Facebook, it appears many of them enjoy sharing a pint while talking about old times at local establishments, but I don't think they are in fear. I know some who talk about living a phony life and how when they left to live as they really are, many people snubbed them, but again, I wouldn't call that a cult. None of those people are living in hiding. When I joined an SBC church, many people were shocked and some of my family were hurt. Some people in the IFB don't really want to have much to do with me. I don't take that as cultish, I think we are just different and the thing that united us is no longer present.
 

Binaca Chugger

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I've only seen senior pastors that were provided parsonages. It does seems that providing the house/car/job does give the pastor a lot of control over an employee. In the case of somewhere like First Baptist you can't quit your job until you are ready to leave your friends, your job, move, and have made plans to buy a car while between jobs. I can't say if it was specifically done for control or not. Maybe someplace like FBC get cars donated. Maybe they have bought property for future expansion that all ready had houses. All of this may just allow them to offer a greater compensation package without it costing the church as much. However, being that Hyles was known to find ways to control people I am skeptical. The good news is that you are right, there are only a few churches with the resources to this sort of thing.
Back in the day, Key staff members were given a lease car that the church provided every 3 years. Most staff also had a second car that was a beater. JH taught that you should pay your staff such that they continue to be reliant upon God. Then, the church can swoop in with extra gifts at needed times to help build unity and appreciation for the church offerings. Yeah - you could say that was manipulation and control.
 
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