Note from Admin: As usual I am very thankful for all the testimonies submitted here but especially this one because of the specific content it is very timely and I am sure it will be particularly helpful to someone the Lord sent to me a few months ago to try to help out of the WoF, which seems to be going very well after a real rough start. – The Lord Jesus Christ is so good. Please read the short and sweet testimony below and my further comments that follow. THANK YOU MARY!!!
I attended a WoF church since becoming a believer at age 33. Prior to this, my feelings about these kinds of churches was that they were all and out wierd. But, it was the church of our choosing because my neighbor went there and God had used her to get me into a good Bible study (not WoF). I instantly trusted and threw myself into every aspect of the church including completed the 2-year Bible school and our children attending the school associated with the church and a host of other activities. Many weeks I was at church 6 of 7 days. I knew that I had drifted far from my First Love and out of ignorance or pride I got more and more involved in the church instead of returning to the truth. You name it, I experienced it…the running the laughter, shaking, falling, strange prayer meetings, giving 18 percent of our annual income, speaking of the leader like he was a god.
About the year 2000, my husband began to search out other possible churches for us, but I was not in agreement. In 2003, he shared with me his realization that if we did not both leave the WoF church, our marriage would most likely crumble. These were the words that got me away from the church… and it would take me the next three years to deprogram. Today I can look back and be so grateful for those people in the crucial moments early on in my deprogramming who spoke the truth to me, those I reached out to whom had left the church. I see this time as the greatest miracle in my life since salvation. “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”, by Johnson & Vondervan and “Toxic Faith”, by Arterburn & Felton helped a great deal.
Now in 2011, I am grateful for it all having been rescued. I am stronger and in a way weaker too. I don’t ever want to think that I am beyond being deceived. I have a tenacity for the Word…not just the words, but God’s message in His Word. I want to be authentic and fruit bearing.
I still feel sadness when I think of the people that I hurt during this pride-filled time in my life..my family as they tried to reason with me about the leader of the church and how I lashed out at them in defense of him…and the woman who shared in our woman’s group that her husband had lost his job and that they had no money for groceries and how we “leaders” prayed for her to have more “faith” instead of giving to her what she needed and what we could have provided.
Firstly, this testimony is particularly sweet to me because most of the people who have come to The Word of Faith Recovery Forums are looking for help and suggestions on how to help a spouse out of the WoF and how to cope with such stresses in the relationship that the Wof causes when either one spouse is in and the other not or if both spouses are in, it is always very stressful when one comes out (either in body or mind and soul) before the other. I am sad to report that I have met well over 100 Ex-Wofers and and have witnessed the WoF to be the ruin of too many marriages. Because of this I never suggest that a person give their spouse an ultimatum but I very much understand why some do, it is just that the WoF teachings are so divisive and stressful and relationships can be hard enough without all of that – I really like how mary’s hubby approached it, with love.
My advice is always the same, get equipped and love your spouses. By getting equipped I mean that if your spouse is in the WoF and you are not or you have already come out, you’ll need to know how to refute the devilish doctrines of the WoF – in other words, help them start the “deprogramming” process that is always involved in leaving the WoF. Look for doubts in the mind of your spouse about certain WoF teachings and learn all you can about that specific teaching, how it is twisted and taught and it’s biblical antithesis or truth. And of course it is always good to point out every chance you get that the WoF message sounds very good and alluring but it rarely delivers and when it does it is mostly coincidental, by chance and is usually the product of calling things miraculous that are far from miraculous (one instance comes to mind of a guy who called getting approved for a sub-prime loan on a motorcycle he thought he could not get a miracle not realizing this happens everyday to people of all walks everywhere, is all too common and with the extra interest it is not really even a blessing but a burden – if the Wof message was true why not just speak to your wallet or give to get until you can pay cash for everything your heart desires).
So I usually suggest getting prepared and pray pray pray and show love because it is the legendary love and goodness of the Lord that draws us to our God and more times than not it is love that draws people out of the WoF. But on the other hand if you have had all you can take, are prayed up, studied up and your at your last straw, I have seen ultimatums work but I suggest they not be given if they are not sincere. I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE MARY AND HER HUBBY STILL AS ONE FLESH!!! And I am always super grateful for those unique souls that quit believing in the WoF doctrine and wait patiently for the Lord to open their spouses eyes such as Conni Edwards did with her husband John Edwards (please see John’s, Connie’s and John’s brothers testimonies on our testimony page)
Secondly, you can use the search function in the side bar of this blog to find articles and videos for both of the outstanding books and authors Mary suggested, they really are great resources and you can also try the “Spiritual Abuse Recovery Sites” also listed in the side bar.
Thirdly, Gods strength is magnified in our weaknesses and His grace is sufficient for us in all things. Almost all WoFers have been taught to redefine salvation to always include health, wealth and material prosperity but in it’s basic sense salvation is a rescue and if we seek the Lord He will rescue us time and time again because He is just good like that and He will give us a hunger for relationship with Him and His word that will indeed produce authentic fruit bearing. I believe being WoF and being rescued from it uniquely enables and qualifies Ex’s to help others out of the WoF. That can be as simple as submitting a testimony to this site or a couple of others that collect such testimonies but also equips people with the love, empathy and knowledge it takes to help others. I would guess-timate that about close to 10-15 percent of the Ex-WoFers I have met go on to start blogs, start or get involved in support groups, write books and even get involved in documentary films about the WoF like co-founder of this groupblog Ex-WoF Pastor John Edwards did here. You can see John’s post on this blog here or visit his site at FaithPreacher.com.
Lastly, I believe feeling sad about those harmed is a common and appropriate feeling among Ex-WoFers. But all too often those sad feelings can be intermingled with guilty feelings and I don’t believe that is ever appropriate. When we are set free by the Lord we are free indeed and if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to cleanse us of all our unrighteousness and if we confess our sins one to another we will be healed. I believe it is important to remember that those things that may have caused others harm are learned behaviors that are inherent too and common in the WoF and that feelings of guilt are also prideful if we think the precious Blood of Jesus Christ cannot wash that stuff away and we cannot forgive ourselves for things the Lord forgives us for and does not even remember anymore. I can tell that the Lord has worked a genuine work in Mary’s heart because her last sentence captures the essence of the Gospel that most WoFers arrogantly miss but can be forgiven for.
NOTE TO MARY: Because I noticed you subscribed to this sites postings I would like to say that I did not mean to seem to preach at ya. I believe your testimony will be very pertinent to the person I mentioned in my preface that I felt I had to elaborate for her benefit and others that might read your testimony. I’ll leave comments open on this post if you would like to comment further or request anything I said to be changed. THANKS SO MUCH FOR CARING ENOUGH TO SHARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!