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Covenant Life Church Members Vote To Leave Sovereign Grace Ministries - SGM Survivors

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Covenant Life Church Members Vote To Leave Sovereign Grace Ministries

Covenant Life Church affirmed their pastors’ decision to leave Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Here is a breakdown of the vote:

Total Adult (eligible voting) Members 2,442
Total Members who voted 60.8%
Voting Members who AFFIRMED 93.3%
Voting Members who voted No      6.7%

Interesting to note:

Only 100 members voted against leaving.
The pastors do NOT know how each member voted.
CJ and John Loftness were notified yesterday.
CLC will post a PUBLIC statement on the church website on Monday, December 17th.

497 comments to Covenant Life Church Members Vote To Leave Sovereign Grace Ministries

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  1. Kris
    December 31st, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I can attest that what Stunned says is true – over the years, SGM has split many families. I have heard from so many who have been cut out of their loved ones’ lives. It’s heartbreaking.

    And yes, yes – it is also true that SGM pastors don’t actually teach outright that SGMers need to distance themselves from non-SGMers. (At least, they don’t anymore, and probably haven’t for awhile, since people started calling ‘em out on their exclusivity.) I think it happens because of a much more subtle tactic than anything that might get stated from the pulpit.

    It seems that SGMers very quickly come to equate their Christian faith with their commitment to a very particular way looking at church. It logically follows that those who don’t share their outlook are not going to build them up in their faith…so the distancing happens. Grandparents with a lifelong commitment to, say, the generic Baptist church down the road are “not Christian enough.” The calls from the SGM grandchildren become fewer and farther between.

    It’s sort of the same for those who have left SGM churches. The family members who remain in SGM find the “leavers” to have become rather questionable characters – again, probably not good for their faith. So the distancing happens.

    I think SGM pastors have got to know that this is happening…and I think many of them must be OK with it or at least must not be doing anything to combat it. They probably like the sense that people remain loyal to them and to SGM rather than associate with questioning or disillusioned ex-members.

  2. Marie
    December 31st, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Stunned, thank you so much for typing up so much today. I wish I had the skill to draw out an angel for you on the screen right now – there are ways to combine different keys to make some shapes, and I have seen people do that in different venues.

    I once was typing out “angel” and noticed that “anger” and angel differ by one letter. So hopefully you can have an anger angel to watch over you, to help you cope with the stress of this happening, and reliving it as you type.

    I am sure you have blessed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people for what you shared today. I will definitely keep you and your son in prayer. I would not know how to cope with that kind of pain. You are an amazing person for how much you have shared of yourself here. Thank you so much for your giving spirit.

  3. Stunned
    December 31st, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    justme said, “I don’t believe we are all pure and everyone else is all guilty. I think we are all guilty to various degrees.”

    AMEN.

    5Years, thank you for what felt like a verbal hug. I really appreciate that. I wish every man/woman who is living in that kind of a nightmare could be hugged like that tonight. (Then helped OUT of the situation.)

    The clothes incident was before CCEF (or at least I think it was) but sadly, the pastor’s counsel to look to your own sin, no matter what the other person has done against you did NOT stop when CCEF came into the picture. At least, for me. Again, I LOVED my pastor and still do and I believe he loves me as a sister/brother. But the CCEF influence did little to stop the navel gazing, “Where’s your sin in all of this” in the least. If anything, it only gave them drawings to point out your own sin. I didn’t personally experience the “everything is the husband’s fault” thing. Not in the least. In fact, I had another pastor actually tell me that I should use my feminine wiles to manipulate my husband into doing something the pastor wanted my husband to do. (I was horrified. This wasn’t the pastor I was closest to but one I had heard preach against manipulation dozens of times from the pulpit. I guess you can’t use your feminine wiles to convince your husband to do something loving for you or your kids but it’s OK to sin if the pastor wants something.) This was weeks before our end there. (And before this pastor kicked us out.) So even near our end in the 2000’s, there was still some kind of thinking that the woman was responsible for her husband’s behavior.

    Crazy.

    Btw, I don’t blame CCEF for this. I know too many CCEF peeps who know that SGM is off its rocker and have spent years counseling those who have escaped from Cov Fel, etc.

    WOW said, “What kind of man thinks something is SO bad that he has to leave the country to get away from it, but freely leaves the children in it?”

    Freely leaves the children? WOW, what ever gave you the impression that Kerrin freely left his kids in SGM? Don’t you know that his desire to get them out of the cult like place is part of the reason he lost his family? From everything we have heard (from both sides), Kerrin trying to get his kids out caused tension in his home. How is it that you have chosen to ignore this? Or is it merely something you didn’t realize?

    Lee, I am sorry to hear what you went through. (Don’t you wish it were a “club” only you belonged to so that no one else would have to know what it’s like?) I am glad you are out now and that you had the wisdom to not join FFX. I am, also, sorry that you had to go to a shelter. I am glad they exist, though. I am glad you were listening to the gut God put in you years ago. (I am sure you don’t want to expose more of your story, but I’d love to know where you lived in Europe for those 4 years.) I agree that it’s not the best thing to go overseas in hopes of making things better. I haven’t read anywhere where either persons in this situation saw the move as a marital fix, more of a necessity of survival.

    Lee also said, “In other words, they told wives to follow their husbands, stay with their husbands, etc. because they just didn’t really have a clue of what they were asking these women to do? … They constantly “left the donkey in the pit” on the Sabbath day rather than looking with mercy and grace on the people involved.”

    Amen, Lee. They just didn’t really have a clue, did they? (At least I hoped they didn’t. I would rather believe it was tragic ignorance, rather than evil in their hearts.)

    yentl, it is sad to read about the families recently torn apart by the church split to Louisville. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for everyone. I’ve heard of one family in particular who went to Louisville and completely cut off any relative (or sibling) who didn’t join them down there. It’s just too sad to think of the numbers of estranged family members piling up, due to this recent church split.

    justme, how wonderful to hear that your dad got saved!!!!! Woo hoo! That is the end to each of these stories, that I hope to hear. I still want that so badly for my ex. Not to be romantically reconciled to him, (the trust could never happen and we have both moved on) but it would be so lovely for my kids to have a dad who can reconcile with them and our family to be a family, albeit in a new formation.

    and finally (thank heavens- I haven’t been this long winded in a while!)- justme, you were asking for clarification on the “silence” thing. I didn’t read it the way you read it, at all. I think the author of those words were saying that some who are now silent, weren’t always silent, allowed (by their actions, facial expressions and intonations) people to believe really bad stuff about the pastors still at CLC and then those who intoned things without actually saying lies, have not had the integrity to clear up the many lies which they KNOW are floating around. ‘Course, I could be way off. But that’s what I believe the author of the “silence” comment was saying.

  4. Diane
    December 31st, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    @ Stunned,

    Wow–your story really blessed me. I guess you’ll have no idea how many people will read what you shared and shed a tear, relate with what you went through, go hug their spouse/children, give glory to God for how He has given you such a sweet, giving, spiritand rejoice that He has kept you by His power. Your words and pain are validated by me. I am so grieved you went through what you did.

    I know what you mean about wanting a father for your kids–how you would have done anything for that. Our mom left us when we were older children. She just did not want to be a mom so she left us. Although it had nothing to do with religion, the hurt is, of course, the same. So, I can relate because, more than anything, I want(ed) a mom to love me like everyone else had. God bless you Stunned!! Praying for your son.

  5. Stunned
    December 31st, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Marie, stop it. Have we not already established that I am a great big baby? Your words (especially you saying you’d pray for my son) got me tearing up again. Can you, please, be a bit nasty so that I stop getting all choked up here? ;-)

    OK, so now is where I behave, once again, like my mother’s daughter and tell you how sweet it was to read your words. And how thoughtful and kind and encouraging they were. My brain has yet to grasp that there are that many people reading here so usually when I write I think of a handful of people, whom I hope feel less alone tonight. Then it’s worth all the typing and the emotional drain.

    In spite of those kind and encouraging words you gave me, there was something else even more meaningful which you said. When I read that you were praying for my son, it felt like something reached into my chest and pricked it, but in a good way. (Sorry, I can’t explain it any better.) To think that at that moment, (or maybe right before that moment) you were praying for my boy* touched me deeply. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    *He’s a grown man, but he’ll always be my boy to a certain degree. (Probably not what a grown man wants to be called, though.)

  6. lily
    December 31st, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Reading the last 2 pages of posts has affected me deeply, too. Praying for all of us and for our families and friends, in and out of SGM. I’m SOOO looking forward to the Lord’s return! He will wipe all tears away forever. It is such an encouragement to me to know that when believers see each other in heaven, the pain associated with so many of our human relationships will be forgotten. We will see clearly then, and even more, we will all be basking in the warm glow of Jesus’ perfect love. Happy New Year to all.

  7. Steve240
    December 31st, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Just for clarity…regarding “Esther’s” situation in Chesapeake…at the end of the day, there WAS a family meeting held where the pastors INVOLVED (Keith Breault, et al) publicly apologized for what transpired in her situation. (There are those who argue that is was an apology, and there are those who argue that it was NOT a real apology.) For better or worse, there was an apology…at least of a sort. I don’t recall what Gene Emerson did or did not say in the way of an apology, so I can’t speak regarding him.

    Glad to hear there was some type of reconciliation or apology even if it might have been only a 1/2 apology. Interesting how the pastors there have all moved on.

    It sounds like you were saying Gene Emerson wasn’t present and as far as you know didn’t make an apology. That wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t.

    CLC should make some type of apology to Ex CLCers Mom even though the pastors that handled her case (Gary Ricucci and John Loftness) are no longer at CLC. We know that any type of apology from Gary or John will in all likelihood never happen.

  8. Steve240
    December 31st, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Lee said:

    Have you ever stopped and thought that this whole situation isn’t the hyprocrisy you think it might be?
    I wonder if the leaders of SGM (being in their own little isolated world for so long) had never personally experienced what goes on in an emotionally abusive marriage? In other words, they told wives to follow their husbands, stay with their husbands, etc. because they just didn’t really have a clue of what they were asking these women to do? (I imagine some of this stuff is taught in a real seminary) Then suddenly the daughter of a top leader finds herself in this situation and now they are personally witnessing first hand the damage that you can cause a woman by requiring her to stay?

    As someone else said, it would much easier to accept these leaders being naive rather than being cruel to forcing or at least pressuring a woman to stay in an abusive relationship. It really doesn’t make it any better but might at least explain their stupid actions. Maybe it was blissful ignorance. Then again it could have been the easier non confrontational way to go for the pastors involved.

    I am not all saying I agree or believe Kerrin was abusive in his marriage btw as Lee seemed to at least imply.

    Maybe these SGM Leaders (living in their bubble) and their limited PC training thought all believers (or supposed believers) had the same sense of wanting to please God and change and would respond the right way to a wife acting submissive to her husband. These pastors naively didn’t realize that there were members in their church that weren’t God fearing etc etc. Maybe with the pastors typically working with the higher “go getters” they were ignorant that some supposed believers would never change no matter what.

    Again just a possibility and might explain why some of these pastors acted so ignorantly toward women in abusive relationships. In hindsight you really just wonder how a pastor could do this to these poor women.

  9. Lee
    December 31st, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Stunned said:

    As to having missed my story, that is probably because I have never written it out whole. It is just too much for me to recount at any one time. Since early today when I wrote about those two incidents, I have been in a funk. (“Re-living” things are hard but sometimes I know sharing parts of my story is the right thing to do.) So it’s not like you’re going to find my story in any one piece.

    This is exactly how I feel. I’d tell more of my story here but my time in PDI is only a very small part of it. To be honest my time at FFX did more help than harm. I was in a great care group, and had loved the teaching and worship. Some of the books we were encouraged to read like Jerry Bridge’s “Trusting God” were lifesavers for me as I went through a divorce after 18 years of a very abusive marriage. But I definitely had a lot of “huh” moments while at FFX and after I left realized that there were some serious issues there. Reading this blog has helped me realize that I wasn’t crazy after all. :) I will always be thankful for my time at FFX. I think I somehow managed to take away all the good and ignore the bad. Actually, we get expert at that when we are in abusive marriages.

  10. 5yearsinPDI
    December 31st, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    My second child came back from a youth meeting maybe a year before we left, and came in the house and started to rave and rant “they are trying to hypnotize us”, “it is hypnotism”. Age 14. We brushed it off as overreacting. But I think they could feel it, the brainwashing that wasn’t the Lord but the flesh of men.

    Our last summer I did not want to go to Celebration, so hub decided to go with a couple kids. His first evening meeting was Ok, but when he saw what was going on with youth and what the leadership was deciding, he apologized to them and drove back home that next day. (several hours each way). They love us and respect us and I thank God that He moved to get us out even when we really didn’t know just how bad things were.

    Kris, thanks for all the good posts. Prayers tonight (again) for those of you here.

  11. Oswald
    December 31st, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    5years #460 — Thanks for your prayers for everyone here ’cause that includes me. I have a story too; quite similar to Stunned. Widowed now, I live peacefully, and everything seems peaceful after 45 yrs of the other. But God is faithful who will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, because his power in us makes us able to endure. Praise His name.

  12. Wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Kerrin,

    M “found” the documents about moving your kids overseas on your desk? No prior conversation? That must have been disturbing.

    I am not at all pro-SGM, or CJM, or anything like that. I just know you have been given five beautiful children. So now you have a job. You just don’t have them. Life is short. So sad.

  13. Somewhereintime
    January 1st, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Happy New Year!

    So maybe this is the year that the Lord brings complete judgement on SGM? Who would have thought 18 months ago that CLC would have left SGM? That CJ and his zombie followers would pick up and move to Louisville running away from their troubles? That Larry Tomczak would publicly call out CJ for his sins against him and his family? That Brent would publish volumes of emails that catch these evil leaders in their acts? That sexual misconduct charges against CJ and his cronies would make international news? That SGM’s #2, Dave Harvey, would step down from SGM leadership and basically be out of a job come this August?

    2012 was an interesting year. 2013 will be more interesting!

    Here are my predictions:

    1). SGM will lose 50%+ of their former churches as the year continues and churches continue not to trust the leadership and the new unbiblical polity takes hold.

    2). That Dave Harvey and Mark Prater take ALL the Northeast churches and break away from SGM, starting their own “family of churches”.

    3). That the sexual lawsuit gets so much negative attention in the press that the Big Dog Reformers completely distance themselves from SG and Mahaney.

    4). That CJ Mahaney continues his “Job” act and does not repent bringing God’s punishment on to him even greater than He already has.

    When 2013 is done I predict that SGM will be a shell of it’s former self and will yet become ANOTHER ministry in the Christian Community that the Lord rejected and leveled.

    Always remember, the Lord is not mocked and ALL vengeance belongs to Him.

    2012

  14. Steve240
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:02 am

    yentl said:

    I don’t know a single family at CLC that is not fractured by the divisiveness of the Louisville Loyal. The most painful aspect is the pastors you trusted for so many years are now the ones splitting your families. People feel scammed for trusting these people for so many years. It is so obvious by what they are doing to your relationships that they never truly cared about any of us. People feel defiled. People feel accused by friends who are sympathetic by the Louisville Loyal. People feel duped. People feel lied to. Victims of abuse are being threatened and accused.
    I know many families dealt with icy silence or empty chairs this Christmas. Lines clearly drawn.

    When you hear this report it is even more shocking that C.J. Mahaney could give a message titled “UNITY THAT COMES FROM HUMILITY | PHILIPPIANS 2:1-4.” Mahaney also gave this messave “LIVING WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL | PHILIPPIANS 1:27-30.”

    Just how “worthy of the gospel” has C.J.’s actions been, especially since Brent’s documents became public? Is C.J. demonstrating humility to produce unity that he called for? Does C.J. and those who moved to Louisville really think they are doing all things and making the gospel a high priority?

    As others have shared it appears C.J. gives these messages out of guilt.

    Happy New Year everyone

  15. old timer
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Stunned and all, I pray that each of you will give every negative, nasty, difficult thing in your minds to the Lord and let Him filter it all out. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (And believe me that I have my share of horrid thoughts that I give to Him about a million times a day)What we get rid of that comes from the darkness within us can be filled with His Light.

    So, know that it is only in and through Him that any of us can be that new creation.

    Kerrin, as someone has already said….your children will want to know their dad at some point no matter what brainwashing they receive now. Don’t despair…give it to Him. I have seen the same situation at a different sgm church….just not so high profile…

    I have had plenty to despair through the years which I will not go into…much related to pdi/sgm and will not ever believe anything those people say again…or even give them the time of day for their propaganda bs.

  16. Steve240
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:27 am

    One thought I have on Kerrin and Megan’s marriage dissolving is that maybe Megan was disappointed that the didn’t get or see with her marriage the “picturesque” type of marriage a lot of SGM Leaders portray having. Kerrin didn’t fit the mold and act like other husbands that married into SGM royalty like C.J. Mahaney’s 3 son in laws. Kerrin was (gasp) even starting to question things and wanting to leave SGM.

    It might have been good for the family to be somewhere away from SGM and see what they could do.

    Thus maybe Megan wanted to end it all since it wasn’t the “picturesque” marriage she had envisioned like other SGM born royalty had.

    As Kerrin pointed out, Megan’s father Bob Kauflin had significant financial resources to assist Megan in the divorce including her getting full custody of their kids. It is well known that one person can prevail over the other in court when the other doesn’t have the same financial resources for the legal fight. I am sure being in this situation with little chance of Megan being able to loose her kids removed any need for compromise or trying to preserve her marriage. Megan also apparently wasn’t like a lot of women what would have a hard time financially after divorcing since her father could support her.

    Thus it was easier for Megan to divorce then other women. There probably wasn’t any possibility of Megan really loosing anything (she probably already thought she had lost her husband). It wouldn’t surprise me if this took away a lot of incentive for her to compromise and try and save her marriage.

    Now look how people are reporting she is even engaged though she had 5 kids from her marriage to Kerrin. That wouldn’t happen with most women and usually not so quickly. Megan’s new fiancé is another SGM leader’s son is what people are saying. Oh the privilege and benefits of being in SGM royalty.

    Just some thoughts.

  17. justme
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:44 am

    steve240,
    so what’s your point? all this speculation makes me wonder, “what’s the point, why does it matter if they/he/she didn’t fit the mold.” etc. etc. this appears to be mere drivel. maybe I misunderstand, but I can’t see how this drivel (?) helps anyone.

  18. Muckraker
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:45 am

    5yrs. #460 Can you elaborate on what specifically your teen was describing as hypnotism? I am really curious. I work with teens and I have found “out of the mouths of babes” is so true — the BS filters are removed that we adults succumb to. What did he/she mean? Thanks.

  19. justme
    January 1st, 2013 at 9:49 am

    is anyone really shocked by anything CJ and ilk do, so, preach, don’t do, anymore? #240, “this is shocking”. Are we really shocked? I’m not. It’s definitely continuing the rhetoric and manipulation, unless there’s been repentance and change, but then that may include folks stepping down from ministry, being fired, what-not.

    I’m thinking we quit inflaming the wounds and allow God to heal them. CJ is CJ. DH and others are who they are. We know that. Lots of manipulation and abuse. We know that. Maybe it’s time to follow Old Timers recommendation to

    “give every negative, nasty, difficult thing in your minds to the Lord and let Him filter it all out. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (And believe me that I have my share of horrid thoughts that I give to Him about a million times a day)What we get rid of that comes from the darkness within us can be filled with His Light.”

  20. Steve240
    January 1st, 2013 at 10:08 am

    justme

    My whole point with Kerrin and Megan is that Bob Kauflin had large financial resources that enabled him to allow Megan to get “her” way. When someone doesn’t have anything loose like Megan apparently didn’t then people will typically take a different approach. The imbalance of financial resources is one that shouldn’t be minimized.

    From what I can see, with the financial resources of her family Megan had nothing to loose and thus swayed actions. Being a silver spoon has its privileges.

    is anyone really shocked by anything CJ and ilk do, so, preach, don’t do, anymore? #240, “this is shocking”. Are we really shocked? I’m not. It’s definitely continuing the rhetoric and manipulation, unless there’s been repentance and change, but then that may include folks stepping down from ministry, being fired, what-not.

    I’m thinking we quit inflaming the wounds and allow God to heal them. CJ is CJ. DH and others are who they are. We know that. Lots of manipulation and abuse. We know that.

    Are you saying we should stop exposing hypocrisy that we we see with C.J. Mahaney? I see no value in hiding it. SGM’s definition of what “gossip” and “slander” is and people being kept in the dark was a major reason the hypocrisy was able to go on for as long as it did in SGM. Most people were kept in the dark under the guise that sharing and exposing questionable leader’s actions was either “gossip” or “slander.”

    I wonder what might have happened if people knew earlier that C.J. Mahaney blackmailed Larry Tomczak or how John Loftness and Gary Ricucci so poorly handled ExClCer’s Mom’s case.

    It isn’t totally surprising that Mahaney says one thing despite all his hypocrisy but that should be exposed.

  21. Stunned
    January 1st, 2013 at 10:21 am

    justme, “drivel” and “inflaming the wounds” are rather strong words. I suspect that you can’t really know the hearts of man. It is possible that some of these words actually help others. If they don’t help you, cool. But I don’t see the need to tell others that their words are not helpful. Just because you don’t see the help in it, doesn’t mane it’s not helpful to someone else.

    Since the beginning of this site people have been telling others to stop around here. Thing is, what one man finds useless or bad can be life giving to another. If you’re ready to move on, then that’s awesome. But every single day many, many new people show up here and the words are not only news, but life giving.

    I’d like to see everyone’s process respected. If it’s not where you are anymore, praise God. That is awesome. But for the new people arriving, the words you call drivel or refer to as inflammatory can change someone for the better.

  22. justme
    January 1st, 2013 at 10:45 am

    stunned, that’s why i’m asking. that’s why I said, “appears.” I’m wondering, requested input. appreciate your points.

  23. 5yearsinPDI
    January 1st, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Muck- it was a youth meeting with all of the church youth (not a small group for youth) and when we asked, he said things about singing the same slow chorus 10 times in a row while they asked people to come up front and get saved and repent. I still remember telling him how lots of churches do that to try and break through people’s stubbornness and set a mood, and he kept insisting that he was there and it was hypnotism, it wasn’t just an altar call. (He was saved already, and had been through years of churches that ask people to come up front for prayer or salvation at the end). There was a guest speaker that night from another PDI church in NJ( Warren Boetchner-sp??) but I’ve no idea if Warren was doing it or just the worship team, I don’t remember.

    Subjective, but since then I’ve been in a few situations ( not SGM) where it reminds me of that passage in the CS Lewis book Silver Chair, where the green witch down in the carvern with the prince and the kids and Puddleglum is strumming music and talking sweetly, and they are getting lulled into obedience and loss of their wills. It is hard to describe the difference between sweetness and gentleness and trying to make a robot out of people, but I’ve been there and felt it myself.

    Looking back, I trust my kid’s discernment. Whatever was going on must have been more manipulation than Holy Spirit. But like I said, subjective.

  24. Marie
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Justme, I appreciate your questions. I have walked away from this board for a few days, because I thought that the repetitiveness of what was being shared was upsetting me.

    Here are some perspectives from my world. I do not intend to say that this is going on with you or anyone on this board, just wanted to share from my personal experiences.

    I tried to look for a few resources about trauma. I have heard that traumatized people go through a great deal of repetition before they can break free. I know I have recounted traumatizing events many times, to many people, before I have felt free from them. I am also getting better at recognizing who can listen to this kind of a story, and who would not be a helpful listener. Just recently I have been able to calmly relate some difficult experiences to a few people I was meeting for the first time. They no longer have a terrible hold on my emotional psyche. But it has been a long time of talking through the experiences with others, and prayer, that got me there.

    I like this phrase from this website:
    http://www.zoelodrick.co.uk/training/article-1

    ““Traumatized people lead traumatic and traumatizing lives” (van der Kolk & McFarlane, 1996:11). Notions of repetition are central to most models of psychotherapy (Moursund & Erskine, 2004; O’Brien & Houston, 2000) and for traumatized individuals their day to day existence is plagued with intrusive replays of the original trauma.”

    It totally resonates with me, in that things repeat for me a whole lot, and the more I can accept that, the less painful it is. I also believe in the phrase “If you spot it, you got it” meaning that if I am pointing a finger at someone, likely I have the same trait myself. I know that Paul wrote about that somewhere, probably in Romans. I am sure that there are sharp-eyed readers who can find that verse. Maybe I will find it later and post here.

    I am glad you are here, and I am happy for your Dad being saved, and your being able to filter the million negative thoughts that come your way. That is inspirational.

  25. Wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Steve240,

    Interesting thoughts, but be sure and read M’s side, the link of which was posted earlier in this thread. That’s not at all what she expressed.

    There’s a real dilemma here I’m still missing. How could K think he could afford to move a family of seven overseas, yet can’t afford to pay for a divorce attorney to represent him? Can’t afford to visit even once? Gave no answer on child support issue, in spite of now being employed? There’s a chunk of reality testing that needs to be done here. We are asked to believe a lot of things that simply don’t fit together unless we read M’s response, which he just brushes off as inapplicable and beside the point.

    A simple retainer to an attorney would succeed in delaying divorce proceedings (though not temporary orders) until such time as he could be present. For every obstacle he puts up, there are remedies which exist. The courts actually do not want relationships between children and either parent to be severed. He could fight for rights now….but he isn’t. He’s chalking everything up as being controlled by BK. I just don’t buy it. A fit father who wants a relationship with his children will not be denied. Are there exceptions? Probably, but they are extremely rare, and we can’t know if this would be one of them because K simply isn’t trying.

  26. Bridget
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Stunned –

    I was so moved to read your story. I’m very sorry for what you and your family went through for so many years. I had never read what happened to you and had wondered about your interaction with SGM. Thank you for writing it, though I’m sure it’s never pleasant to recall it. May God heal you and your family and restore to you all that was lost and more!

    I have heard you a few times mention being asked to leave your SGM church. Is there some place to read where you have told the details of that story? I understand if you don’t want to go there though. I’ve never heard you mention being contacted by anyone from SGM past to apologize to you and your family for the pain and heartache left in their wake, so I can only assume it never happened.

    I do wish that SGM and all “church planting” groups would stop the practice of wanting to be successful in a worldly way and following a pattern of using young, inexperienced, often immature, men to plant churches. It is folly and we are seeing the sad results throughout Christendom.

  27. justme
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Marie,
    thank you for the input, that’s very insightful.

  28. 5yearsinPDI
    January 1st, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Wow, people I know in a current custody battle are paying $250 per hour to the lawyer and are deep in debt over it. I know another person who finally got full custody but it took years and many tens of thousands of dollars. (paid by their parents). Money makes a gigantic difference when there is appeal after appeal. No money, you lose. It is that simple.

    Flying seven people to Britain round trip is 3000 bucks. google it-airfare DC to London. Under 400 each for the specials.

    There is a difference between weak and wicked. A person who is emotionally wiped out by a job loss and processing their time in a cult, can feel paralyzed and unable to fight. It doesn’t make them unworthy to talk to their own kids. It makes them right now weak and struggling, not abusive or evil or anything else that qualifies for no contact. Even borderline psychopaths get time with their kids with a supervising shrink present.

    Did you read what Megan wrote on her blog about her wonderful husband and what a good father he was? Not qualified for ANY contact at all? Really?

    I don’t think you understand sociopathy and what SGM is like. Nor do I think you understand attachment disorder and how bad this is for the kids. What on eath do you think they said to the older kids about why they can’t talk to their father anymore?

  29. JoyfulandFree
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    @ Stunned God bless you, and thank you for sharing, it is indeed helpful even though my story is different from yours.
    @ Justme, having just come out of sgm this year after almost 2 decades in, yes this is helpful and not drivel. My family and I are having our world rocked. We know nothing anymore except that we love Jesus. Reading here has helped us in processing what we have been through and given us encouragement that we can move on in time. But now we are still working through it and need to know we are not alone.

    As for the hypnotism, I have had an interesting experience that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share until you mentioned this. Not hypnotism in our case but certainly the manipulation. In the last week my mom, still in sgm suddenly forgets the real and devastating (to us) reasons we left and is blaming our leaving on chosing something else over the church. I don’t want to get into specifics here but suffice it to say this is so painful to have my own mother now accusing us falsely. It has been several months and she herself was worried about me before we left but now that I am returning to my old, joyful self she forgets the deep despair I experienced. To add to it and hopefully show a pattern here, she also rebuked us because we haven’t become members and joined a caregroup yet in the church we have been regularly attending. Ok so then we see someone else from the church and the first thing they want to know is if we have joined this new church and if we are going to some sort of caregroup. This from someone we know doesn’t even attend their own caregroup regularly. And then we hear from someone else who recently left sgm that they have been asked the very same questions just in the last few weeks. Can we say cult? How incredibly weird. It is as if there has been some sort of teaching or conversation at least on how members are to deal with several of us who have recently left. Crazy!

    @Marie I think traumatized is a good way of putting what we are going through. And every time I feel like we are making strides where we don’t think about it every day, we bump into someone or hear what people are saying about us. As for the finger point, My dh and I repent frequently as we know we were the worst of the pharisees in many ways. We have had opportunity to seek forgiveness from friends who left before us. We ask our kids to forgive us and we are trying to help them process all this hopefully in a way that doesn’t hurt their childlike faith that has been bruised in this process.

    I don’t have the right words to say, I sometimes am angry for what we have lost and how we were deceived. It upsets me that sgm and the local franchises can continue to spin and try to protect their system instead of repenting. I dont care so much what people think of us leaving except when the false reasons allow them to manipulate others to just turn a blind eye.

  30. Marie
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Wow, Just a thought about lawyers and retainers. We had to pay an expensive monthly retainer to a lawyer to work out a traffic situation that took a couple of months to resolve. I have no idea if a public defender could have helped K. in this case, or if the monthly retainer fee could have been affordable. Also, I moved around the country a whole lot in my 20’s. I would have great intentions about affording something, then reality would hit.

    K. said he looked for out of state jobs, and other opportunities. The overseas one was the only one that worked out. It looked to me that he was making the best effort he could to get some kind of custody for his children. He mentions PTSD symptoms. Are you familiar with what it is like to have those, Wow? The pain from PTSD is just indescribable. If K was lax in something I don’t mean to excuse it, but at the same time, my experiences with lawyers has been “grab your ankles” – apologies to all lawyers reading this – and a specialty one, to handle child custody, could be quite expensive.

  31. Stunned
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    sorry I misunderstood you, justme.

  32. Wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    5 years….

    Oh, yes, I understand the issues brought on by abandonment and what it does to attachment.

    In the individual case you reference at least they both cared enough to fight. M would not have full custody if K had expressed an interest and willingness to share custody or at least participate in parenting. He probably could even get summers with them in Europe were he to try (once each became of age). Here’s the thing…he just walked away and declared BK was to blame. Not buying it.

    And as for PTSD….many of us have had that. I’ve had that. My husband is a combat veteran. He’s had that. But bottom line….we are still PARENTS.

  33. Kris
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    5years said,

    I don’t think you understand sociopathy and what SGM is like. Nor do I think you understand attachment disorder and how bad this is for the kids. What on earth do you think they said to the older kids about why they can’t talk to their father anymore?

    I’m curious about why there’s not similar hand-wringing over the idea that those kids have not only had their mom and her family working to get their dad to lose his parental rights but are now also being expected to embrace a new stepdad so quickly.

  34. Kris
    January 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    To add to my #483…

    The way I understand it, sole custody isn’t just a default judgment. One parent has to actively seek it – and actively seek to write the other parent out of the picture. I guess I don’t understand why a mom would want to do that. Why make it necessary for the dad to have to fight for some sort of parenting time? Why not just request joint custody…particularly if you already know (or assume) that your ex-spouse isn’t interested and it wouldn’t make any real, appreciable difference anyway?

    I guess it just feels unnecessarily vindictive to me, that one parent would request sole custody and try to legally terminate the other parent’s rights…and then so quickly get married again.

  35. intheNICKoftime
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Lee said:
    Have you ever stopped and thought that this whole situation isn’t the hyprocrisy you think it might be?

    I wonder if the leaders of SGM (being in their own little isolated world for so long) had never personally experienced what goes on in an emotionally abusive marriage and because they just didn’t really have a clue of what they were asking these women to do?

    As someone else said, it would much easier to accept these leaders being naive rather than being cruel to forcing or at least pressuring a woman to stay in an abusive relationship.

    Maybe these SGM Leaders (living in their bubble) and their limited PC training thought all believers (or supposed believers) had the same sense of wanting to please God and change and would respond the right way to a wife acting submissive to her husband.

    Again just a possibility and might explain why some of these pastors acted so ignorantly toward women in abusive relationships.

    I recently had lunch with a pastor who used to be influential in SGM and I asked him about things like this…more especially about SGMs rules with children and how good pastors raised good children. He said, “We made those rules before we had children of our own. Pretty soon you learn that you can’t control everything in your kids. That’s why the pastors were afforded a double standard. It was a purposeful double standard but it was a realization that what we expected was not appropriate. We just didn’t learn the lessons from others and had to live it ourselves.”

    All that supports what Lee said about it not being purposeful double standards but more of a case where SGM held everyone to the standard until the leadership realized THEY couldn’t meet the standard either. The real problem with this was SGM didn’t come forward and say this, so it just looked to be a double standard for the privileged class in SGM.

  36. Square Peg
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    To Steve in #457,

    Regarding Gene Emerson, what I am saying is I don’t remember. He may have been there, may not have…may have said something…may not have. I’m just saying, I don’t remember. Somebody else who was there might remember and have something to clarify about it.

  37. Wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I will answer you, Kris, although we’ve gone in this circle before.

    First, I went back and reread Kerrin’s original posts. The funny thing is that I don’t disagree with those things. They are intelligently contemplated and articulated. I don’t disagree with him at all until he makes the decision that there are only two solutions from which he must choose….a) stay home and be constantly under the dominion of SGM, or b) move to a foreign country with or without your children. Yes, I said foreign this time.

    I believe there were many more options that wouldn’t have required K to resort to no relationship. We know many, many people who have divorced and received joint custody (typically where a primary custodial parent is appointed, with joint access and joint decision making). Most divorces we know don’t involve a person moving overseas, neither have most of us chosen to move overseas in order to escape SGM. Here we are, surviving. Several on here were pastors of SGM and haven’t had to make such drastic change to get away, even Brent, God bless him, who seems to have lost his grip, remains stateside.

    The wringing of my hands is that K walked away and gave up. That’s it.

    Why would a single mother of five want to remarry?

    Why would a mother who found passport applications for their children on her husband’s desk to take them out of the country (during intense marital strife) without discussing it at all with her apply for sole custody?

    I have no idea.

  38. Wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Excerpt from M’s response to K:
    ************

    “Again and again, I told him that I want to be a family, that I love him no matter what he believes, and could he please try to make “us” work, to no avail or response.

    In the fall of 2010, two weeks before I was due to be induced with our 5th child, my husband emailed to inform me that he had quit his job. Around this time, we also began receiving notices from our mortgage company in the mail regarding delinquent payments. It was an extremely stressful season with a non-communicative husband, a new baby, no income, and a house heading for foreclosure. I began attending church in Arlington, hoping that distance from our former church would help somehow. Our financial situation worsened, as my husband had no success in the job hunt. I found out that we had lost our insurance coverage, and started preparing for the loss of our house as well. A new British passport arrived in the mail, and I found British citizenship documents for our children on my husband’s desk. It seemed imminent that he had some plan in the works, but when pressed he refused to divulge anything about what he was thinking.

    In February of 2011, I came across a check written to a name I didn’t recognize. I googled the name and discovered it was for a divorce lawyer. My husband was out of town for the weekend, visiting a friend, at the time. As soon as he returned, I confronted him with the check and told him I was not leaving his room until he told me what was going on. At long last, he announced that in 2 months he was leaving for Europe where he had lined up temporary work. He told me we were going to abandon our house, and I was to go live at my parents with the kids for a year, at which point we would join him.

    After the initial shock, I started asking questions… how will we be provided for in his absence? Won’t I be held responsible for the financial ruin he’s leaving behind? After being MIA over the previous 9 months, and then leaving us for a year, how would this help our family situation? I had pleaded often over the summer that we get help from someone, anyone. My husband’s grandmother had even offered to pay for us to go see a marriage counselor she knew; but he declined. If he wasn’t willing to get help here, I didn’t see how going there would improve our situation. Given the lack of care for me personally, physically and otherwise, I didn’t feel it would be safe or wise for me to move overseas. There was no indication from him that his treatment of me would be any different when I came.

    The day after our conversation, I went by myself to meet with the counselor, recommended by my husband’s grandmother. He listened to my recounting of the past year, and encouraged me to go see a lawyer. At this point, my biggest concern was provision for myself and the kids, and protection in the financial matters at hand. I scheduled a meeting with a lawyer, making it very clear that my intentions were in no way vindictive or out of a desire to end our marriage. She counseled me to file for a legal separation, which in Maryland is defined as limited divorce, so that I would have a financial commitment and be able to make decisions for the children in my husband’s absence. In the end, this act really seemed the only way to guarantee accountability. It also provided documentation of what was taking place, enabling me to get insurance for myself and the kids through the state. My hope was that this measure would help my husband see the severity of his actions, and open the door for us to dialogue about our differences. I was truly heartbroken that I just didn’t see any other option.”

  39. wow
    January 1st, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    It really deserves to be read:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/2011/06/30/megans-response/

  40. just saying...
    January 1st, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    The pastors certainly taught us to look down on anyone leaving the church. I remember numerous times in which I went to a pastor and communicated my concern that someone who left seemed to be shipwrecked and why was that. They always told me to “look at the fruit”. If they were truly Christians, they would be thriving regardless of how things went down in our SGM church. If the fruit was bad, it was their soul that was bad. It was evidence they were never saved in the first place.

    Raise your hand if your friends or family members are condescending towards you since you left SGM.

    Better yet, send it to first initial, last name @sovgracemin.org. Tell them how their secretive exodus to Louisville is affecting your relationships.

    On a different note, if I were a judge, I would never grant custody to someone trashing their spouse on a blog. Judges take parental alienation very seriously. I heard a judge deny custody because immediate family members were told of details of a divorce. He was very clear. Your divorce is nobody’s business. It is between husband, wife and judge. That is all.

  41. Kris
    January 1st, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Wow said,

    I will answer you, Kris, although we’ve gone in this circle before.

    Yeah, why do we keep going around this circle?

    The funny thing is, I actually think that we probably see this from a similar perspective. I’m not a K apologist. I’ve never thought it made sense for him to just walk away…or that it was in ANY way the right thing to do…although I can understand why he reached a point where it felt like the only option.

    I guess where it feels like we differ is that I see and question both sides, whereas your questions are only for K. Frankly, I’m more appalled by a mom who takes such immediate legal action to cut her children’s father out of their lives and so quickly embraces a new marriage to someone else than I am by a dad who gets muddled and leaves his children for an unspecified period of time. In my view, there’s something a whole lot more sickly calculating about the legal action and the quicky remarriage than there is about a guy who had a midlife crisis and takes off in confusion to find himself. Both are selfish, but one is so much more organized and permanent and…legal.

  42. Kerrin
    January 1st, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    @Wow,

    M would not have full custody if K had expressed an interest and willingness to share custody or at least participate in parenting. He probably could even get summers with them in Europe were he to try (once each became of age). Here’s the thing…he just walked away and declared BK was to blame. Not buying it.

    I pleaded numerous times to drop the Litigation and use a more civilised (and less expensive) route of “legal separation,” which would include joint custody rights. My pleas were ignored (I have emails to prove this).

    I tried to the best of my ability at the time with the resources I had at the time.

    I absolutely participated in the parenting. You really have no idea what you are talking about!

    @just saying…,

    …trashing their spouse on a blog.

    The above excerpt, quoted by Wow, was written about me and would, depending on your definition of ‘trashing’, qualify as such.

    The lies contained within that excerpt are many, but chief among them is the idea that it was simply a “limited divorce.” The original documents had “absolute divorce” checked in addition to “limited divorce” (I even posted the documents online to prove that was the case).

    This may be the last time I respond. I thought I was strong enough to deal with this, but it is becoming quite painful to deal with you lot.

    All the best,
    kerrin

  43. Marie
    January 1st, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Amen, Kris!! Well said. Thank you for writing that out. I had promised I would not comment any more, but the legal angle is what keeps troubling me. The legal decision that came down sounds very permanent.

  44. Bridget
    January 1st, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I agree with Kris about seeing both sides of this tragedy. I think both K&M were in difficult positions with the messages (possibly misunderstood, in some cases, and overshadowed with mental anguish in others) that they were getting from each other. Speaking in general terms, does conforming to a certain doctrine of faith trump the two greatest commandments as discussed by Jesus? I would not think that doctrine trumps love. I know people who stayed married when a spouse denied their faith and no longer believed in God. If both parties are willing to continue in love – why not? There is no command to divorce in such a case.

    I can attest that the children are the ones (even in a fairly amicable divorce) who will be dealing with the consequences of the parent’s decisions as they grow older and come to know all the circumstances. I honestly don’t understand keeping children from a parent unless the children would be subject to some kind of abuse.

  45. 5yearsinPDI
    January 1st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t know either K or M personally.

    What I have known personally in my life is 4 psycopath/sociopath/narcissist people, up close. Not sure what the psych term is exactly. Totally charming, extroverted, wonderful first impressions. Three of them outwardly Christian. But their hidden dark side, if you become the target, is paralyzing at least at first. They are ruthless, they lie, they do everything in their power to win and stay on top. The ooze a vibe that is murderous, even while most of the people who know them remain fooled. It is hard to describe if you never experienced it. The stuff that comes at you in the spirit realm is beyond belief. They leave a trail of destruction behind them even while appearing to the nieve as great people. When people find out the truth they generally can’t handle it at all- they will deny it or cut you off. I see them as more than just sinful flesh, but I don’t really know about all the demon stuff.

    Anyway, we saw enough of CJ to spot it, and this was over a decade ago. We knew enough to just quietly leave and not try to fight anything going on at the top. We just knew.

    I can’t imagine being that close to it, married to BKs child, when you start to see it and question it. I totally understand the flight response, the not fighting response. If you fight it, it will smother you in darkness and try to crush you. Probably many people reading this will think I am nuts, but if you never dealt with this you just don’t know. I am so sympathetic to Kerrin because I know he was a target. A PC grad, a member of the royal family, and he turned on SGM.

    It can take years, with counseling and support, before a person can even try to stand up to it and fight for a relationship, even their own kids. Kerrin himself has admitted his own theological questioning, and you cannot fight this stuff without a close walk with Jesus. Even then, usually you have to just brush the dust off your sandals and get out of town and entrust it all to God. Sociopathy is a ruthless darkness.

    CJ is a high level false apostle, an angel of light, msquerading as Christian. He is a vessel for much more than human manipulation. There are dark evil spirits at work through him and anybody who sells their soul to him in loyalty. BK for example. Let me repeat this- if you don’t understand what I am talking about, do NOT judge Kerrin for getting as far from it as he could, or being paralyzed by it And pray for those kids and that poor girl who is so duped. The second marriage will probably bring more pain to her than the first ever did.

  46. Steve240
    January 1st, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Kris said:

    I guess where it feels like we differ is that I see and question both sides, whereas your questions are only for K. Frankly, I’m more appalled by a mom who takes such immediate legal action to cut her children’s father out of their lives and so quickly embraces a new marriage to someone else than I am by a dad who gets muddled and leaves his children for an unspecified period of time. In my view, there’s something a whole lot more sickly calculating about the legal action and the quicky remarriage than there is about a guy who had a midlife crisis and takes off in confusion to find himself. Both are selfish, but one is so much more organized and permanent and…legal.

    That Megan is getting remarried so quickly sure is one question I have. The short time period certainly asks some questions.

    I did read the old entry that someone posted the link to giving Megan’s response and there certainly was another side. It will probably be one of those things you never know this side of eternity.

    Megan did leave out some the critical items. Besides failing to mention it was CLC they were attending, Megan didn’t mention that her father was a leader of the denomination (I mean family of churches). She didn’t seem to show any empathy about Kerrin being more of an outsider and her deep roots in CLC and SGM. I wonder how easily she would have agreed to leave the “family of churches.”

  47. just saying...
    January 1st, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    #492 – K

    I am so sorry for essentially trashing you here. I do understand the trauma involved in being mistreated by those in power. I understand more than you know.

    I’m sorry for accusing you of trashing M on the blogs. I just felt it was a bad move that jeopardized your custody. I’m so grieved to hear they have the financial resources to cut you out of their lives.

    I’m so sorry for attacking you.

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