I once belonged to a Pentecostal church. I was a bona fide member, I tithed – when I could afford to – and I regularly attended Sunday morning as well as Wednesday night services. I was pretty gung ho as far as being a Christian went. I convinced my brother to attend the church, and he in turn talked his Michael Jackson-crazed friend into going (this guy’s mother and sister both joined, and they were very much into it all – for a time, anyway). The congregants often danced in the aisles, shouting in unknown tongues, and scaring the wits out of me until I grew used to such displays of craziness.

Fortunately, I came to my senses before I got thoroughly brainwashed by the Holy Roller doctrine of this so-called House of God. I never knew that an Apostolic church was basically another version of a snake handling sect, just without the serpents. They speak in tongues – and woe to any member of the congregation that doesn’t – fall down to the floor or faint in their seats when ‘slain by the Spirit’, and look down on anyone and any church that isn’t into all that mumbo jumbo the way they are.

Christians! Yet these are people who supposedly practice love, forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, patience, sincerity, hospitality, humility, and meekness, among dozens of other Christian character traits. Yet how many do you honestly see those that call themselves followers of Jesus Christ actually revealing to others? Pentecosts generally believe in being ‘born again’ and if you’re not, you are doomed to burn in the fires of Hades for all eternity. They also believe in the Trinity, not that there’s anything wrong with that but the belief was truly taken from the Pagan belief in the Triple Aspect of the Goddess – Maiden, Woman, and Crone.

This particular church had a pastor – I won’t name the church nor the ‘man of the cloth’ here but it is now a sort of mega church in my hometown – who preached against astrology, the peace sign, the Baptist church down the street from their old location (at that time), homosexuals, lesbians, trendy hair styles, the Celtic Cross, any music that wasn’t a hymn or had lyrics about God or Jesus, and who knows what else. You got the impression that it was their way or the highway – probably to Hell!

This is a man who drove a late model Cadillac during the brief time I was a member (I’m sure he drives a Lexus or a Mercedes Benz now), whose wife wore a different dress every time I saw her, and who owned a nice house in a predominately White neighborhood because, according to one sermon where he made a remark about it, this was his wife’s desire. Pastors live off of the tithes and offerings of their church congregants. The more members the church has, the more money enters the coffers of the pastor. And he – or she – does not have to pay taxes on this money, unlike you or me.

I became disenchanted with this church for personal reasons I won’t go into here, and shortly after, while attending community college in another city, I finally threw off the yoke of religion for good. Even today, when I am attending church services with my boyfriend just because he hates to go alone, I am sitting there laughing inside at these grown people believing in a mythical Sky God and singing about a mythical place called Heaven that they hope to go to after Judgment Day.

It’s something to do, I guess. But I will never again belong to any organized religious group, and I most definitely will shy away from the Pentecostal sects. Those are really some screwed up people.


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