I know how touchy people are with “religion”, so that’s the reasoning behind the read more.
SO, let’s get started. This could be very long. Probably will be.
The IFB: Independent Fundamental Baptists
Don’t let the name “baptist” fool ya, kids. This isn’t a church. In fact, every single aspect of it screams cult. I’ll provide a list later on, hold your horses. Until then, I’ll tell you my experience with it and a few others.
A few years ago I came to Ohio to visit my aunt and uncle. He(at the time) was the “pastor”s assistant. Basically his job was to do all of his bitch work and endure constant belittlement and ridicule in front of the entire congregation every single day.
But let’s not get off track here. Long story short, I came to visit but ended up staying because it’s what I needed. They offered their help with the problems I had faced my entire life and I took it. I knew God had seen me through my whole life and I wanted to “surrender” to him. Little did I know, they were under a spell. The very spell I would fall under within a matter of days. I thought, “my life is finally on the right track. I’m doing the will of God and I’m living my life the way he wants.”
My heart was in the right place but not in the right hands.
Before too long, they(the pastor, his wife, my aunt and uncle, and numerous others) had convinced me that I was a whore because I wore pants and form fitting shirts. They pushed me to cut off relations with anyone who wasn’t “like them” because “we’re supposed to separate ourselves”. This included family, friend I had known my entire life, and any man/guy that tried to “seduce me”. Men and women who weren’t married were not allowed to be in the same car together without another person. Me even being in the living room with my uncle without my aunt sitting in there was “an opportunity” for my uncle to sin because he was seduced by something I had done or worn. Even when I dressed exactly the way I was “supposed to”, it would still be considered my fault if someone had a wondering eye. This wasn’t just me, it was all women. We were the reason men lust. We were the reason men rape and molest and sin. The Tina Anderson case that was covered on 20/20 was actually about a young lady who had been raped by a church member, gotten pregnant, sent off by them, and made to apologize to the congregation for “seducing” her rapist. This was also an IFB cult. You can watch the story HERE.
After about 3 months of living with my aunt, she began to drift away from me, we had always been close. Her husband and the pastor sat me down in his office, like a child, and told me they thought it would be best if I moved in with the widow of the church. So I did. It was hell after the first week. She never let me eat her food, she made me pay her 200 dollars in rent out of the money I busted my ass to get, just to sleep on her couch and take a shower. She wouldn’t even let me wash my clothes. Every 2 weeks or so, she would ask if I needed anything washed and she would only wash about half of my clothes. Not only did I have to pay her rent while living with her in her full paid for home, but I had to do all of her chores. Dishes twice a day, vacuuming, dusting her cluttered ass house, sweep off her porch, clean her kids room, clean the bathroom, scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors on my hands and knees, etc. The only thing I didn’t have to do was wash clothes. She wouldn’t let me near her washer and dryer. Ever. I worked a full time job+ overtime and still had to do all of her shit. Not to mention being at church 5 days out of the week for hours upon end. During the time I lived with her, I had been outcast by all the core members and was basically forced to sit in the sanctuary alone all day(unless I had work) while they gossiped, plotted, and pitted everyone against eachother.
The goal of this cult is to deprive you of sleep, emotional nurishment, and brainwash you completely. Your job as a “core member” is to bring in more people so they would get more money. If you weren’t bringing in people or working your ass off to please the pastor, you were outcast. I tried to keep up with it but after about a year, I realized that they weren’t doing what God wanted. That realization alone took so much courage because I truly believed that if I went against the pastor, God would kill me. “God” had killed at least three other former members that had gone against him and I didn’t want that happening to me or my soon to be husband. Oh yea, I met my husband and his entire family in this cult. They suffered under him and that place for 9 years before his parents opened their eyes. I was the person who finally helped open them.
Once I realized shit was not going well, I wanted out but considering all of my family was 600+ miles away and I could not afford a plane ticket, I had nowhere to go. I was stuck. Plus, I didn’t want to leave Justin or his family. After living with that tyrant bitch(who we now know was having an affair with the pastor and believe the pastor had something to do with her husband’s death), I found my own apartment. It was glorious. It wasn’t long after that, Justin’s family decided to leave and I went with them. The final straw was Justin’s dad trying to calmly discuss the issues within the “church”. This resulted in the pastor sending his deacon and P.A. out to try and beat him up. Quite literally. Justins dad was a threat and he had to take care of it. So he sent his goonies out to do it. That didn’t work out very well.
Since that day, we haven’t been back and I only started speaking with my aunt and uncle again this past year. They broke away from it about a year after we left and haven’t looked back.
Their story is a bit more abusive and nauseating. While living here in Ohio, they had a son, by the grace of God, and the pastor thought they needed severe help in raising him. This help consisted of “breaking his will”. This is a very common disciplinary system followed by IFB. They start before the child is even 6 months old. They believe a baby’s cry is a sin because they are lying. Any baby is a liar as soon as they’re born. In order to break their will, you must spank them until they are too “broken” to move or cry any longer. I’ve witnessed these beatings multiple times. Most of them going on for over an hour and consisting of hundreds of very very very hard swats. Leaving bruises, blood, welts, and dislocated joints. My uncle dislocated my sweet baby cousins arm while beating him at 6 months old once and didn’t take him to the hospital because of the bruises. My mother-in-law saw this. This was the way things were supposed to be. No one ever reported it because it was “God’s will”. Once I realized what was going on, I called CPS and reported my aunt and uncle. The reason I called was because I found out they were punching him in is genitals when he did something wrong. I cried so hard when I found this out and I struggled with turning them in but I knew I had to. I know without the manipulation of that horrible evil man,they would never have dreamed of doing anything like that. That doesn’t excuse the actions but it makes me sympathize because I personally know how manipulative he is. I had already left the church when this information was given to me. I don’t know whatever came of it.
Not long after that, they finally left the church.
After leaving the church, we found out the pastor was having an affair with one, possibly two of the core women. One a widow and one was my uncles sister. She was married and had 4 children. The widow is also sleeping with a 17 year old boy.
The pastor’s wife recently left him and is rediscovering herself outside of the cult. I feel so bad for her and her half ruined life. I was lucky. I came out wiser and I gained a husband and daughter.
Justin’s family is badly badly wounded and still dealing with it. They did so so so much damage to their family. His grandparents still attend it and refuse to leave even knowing what the pastor is doing.
I know I promised you a list so here it is. This isn’t just to show you how it was but for you to read and pass on to anyone you believe may need help. Please help open their eyes to the IFB and their cruelty. This list isn’t just about the IFB. It’s about the characteristics of cults and the IFB just so happens to fit every single one of them. Perfectly.
Checklist of Cult Characteristics
1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money.
3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.
4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members’ doubts.
5) The group’s leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.
6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it’s leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).
7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.
8) The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).
9) The group teaches or implies that its “superior” ends justify means that members would have
considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).
10) The group’s leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control then
11) Members’subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goats and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups.”
12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
If you have any other questions about my story, Justins story, or anyone for that matter, please ask.
There is TONS more that I haven’t included because we would be here all.day.long.