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Date Posted:13/01/2009 2:44 PMCopy HTML

Hi again,

I left a message in a different area yesterday and thanks for your replies.  Now I think I should be posting in this area now. 

As I said yesterday I was brought up in the Revival Centres, and later the Revival Fellowship, in the UK.  Since I had been attending the meetings from as young as I can remember I knew no other way of life.  As a child I hated the fellowship.  My parents had no time for us children as they were so consumed with meetings, dinner evenings, camps, activities.  We were expected to be quiet, and be good.  Despite me being a very good natured child I was always being taken to one side by various oversight and chastised for all sorts of things.   Eventually I used to dread going to camps.  I was expected to be excited about camps but instead I would spend weeks feeling sick in my stomach, fearful and just desperately dreading the day summer camp started.  Our family was expected to attend every camp possible, whether or not they could afford it.  This often meant us going without a lot of other things in order to save up the funds needed.  As expected I would usually arrive at camp and within 24 hours I would have been taken to a room by some pastor or other (never my own pastor - usually someone who knew nothing about me) and basically verbally abused.  I was told that I dressed too provocatively (I was wearing black jeans and a white shirt at the time), that I was an embarassment to my family and the fellowship, and was even told my that my parents were going to be put out of fellowship because of me.  Apparently I should have been ashamed of myself. No one ever gave me any reason for why I was being disciplined.  I think they just thought it was good for my constitution, and presumed that I was probably up to no good in my life so they might as well discpline me anyway. 

I suffered most of my teenage years with sickness, migraines and stomach cramps which my doctor told me was stress (he presumed it was brought on by studying for my exams).  At the age of 16 I almost committed suicide on two occassions, and it was only because of the help of my 'worldly' friends that I did not die.  On one occassion I tried unsuccessfully to end my life, and on another occassion I was about to when friends intervened.  I have to say that the only reason I ever thought about ending my life was due to the stress of being involved in these fellowships. The burden of not being able to leave, and being a shame to my family.  None of my family know that this ever happened, even to this day. 

Any time that I expressed my unhappiness to my parents I was accused of having mental problems.  I spent most of my life believing that, only to find out recently that I am really quite a sane person.

I met my first boyfriend at the age of 16.  He came to the fellowship because it was the only way we would be allowed to go out together.  However, after joining he did put his heart and soul into the things of the Lord for many years to come.  Even though I had witnessed to him, brought him along, and he had been baptised, we were not allowed to go out together until he had been in the fellowship for 6 months.  After 6 months when we officially started dating we realised we weren't really any better off.  We were never left alone in a room for even a second, so any form of private conversation was impossible (doesn't really help you to get to know each other properly).  He was disciplined because someone once saw him with his hand on my knee.  Apparently that form of contact was to be saved for after marriage.  Lots of ludicrous things happened, including me being followed and spied on to make sure that I wasn't committing fornication.

Since we were not allowed to spend any real time together, and leaving the fellowship was unthinkable, we decided we ought to get married. Even though I was only 16 a wedding was hastily thrown together.  We wanted to get married alone in a registry office so that we could just be together, but that was frowned upon because weddings are considered to be a huge outreaching possibilty.  So we had a RF wedding, and really it had nothing to do with us.  We had no say in any part of it.

So many things happened to us along the way including being put out of fellowship for various reasons, being publicly humiliated and used as an example to the rest of the fellowship so that they wouldnt make the same mistakes.

We spent the next 14 years married and in the church.  We had children.  My husband became oversight and was running meetings.  Life was busy.  So busy in fact that I started to realise I was doing to my children what my parents did to me - spending all my time on the fellowship and neglecting my parenting duties.  W spent about 6 years trying to get up the courage to leave the fellowship, which all our family were so involved in.  Eventually we were expected to travel 4 hours to meetings every sunday, with young children, and when we didnt make it every week we were treated to long phone calls from various pastors telling us that we were being a bad example to the newer folk in the fellowship.

Eventually we realised that if we stayed in the fellowship we risked losing our marriage, our sanity and our children. So my husband decided that enough was enough, and we left.  But not without countless phone calls from distrought family members who we gutted that we would be going to hell.

That was 2 years ago.  From the day we left absolutely no one from the fellowship has ever contacted us.  As is usually they have been warned against any contact with us.  I was left with no friends, no family, and no idea how to interact in a world that I had never been  a part of.  And I also believed that I was doomed to an eternity of hell, because how could I possibly make it without the fellowship?  But now we finally have time to be a family. In the fellowship every free minute was filled with meetings, writing talks, answering phone calls from the flock, organising dinner evenings, running sunday school, etc etc.  Now we have time to breath and our marriage is blossoming.  Our children now have parents who have time for them.

I still have many personal issues in my life, my head, and my behaviour because of a lifetime in the RF.  I have spent 2 years ignoring it all but now I realise I need to come to terms with things and sort my head out, but I have no idea where to start.  I am so unsure of all my former beliefs. The only thing that I am sure of is that there is a creator.  I know nothing more than that.  I dont know what to teach my children when they ask me questions about God, or life after death, or any spiritual question.  I feel totally lost in that respect, but am glad that my kids will not have to go through what I went through.

Jojo the Lion Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:My story - 30 years in the RC & RF

Date Posted:15/01/2009 7:08 AMCopy HTML

Thanks for taking the time and having the courage to give such an honest account of your life in Revival and leaving it.  Not having grown up in it I often wondered what it was like for a lot of the young people who had come and gone to meetings week in week out all through their lives and what it was then like to have all the expectation on you not just from the oversight and assembly members but from your real families too.

One things for sure it's just so obvious and clear once you are free of the Revival mind-trap that what they teach is logically unnacceptable.  Whatever beliefs we adopt from this point on, whether it be in Christianity or not, believing in God or not, voting Labour or Conservative, like Marmite or hate it, we can at least see how even from a bible-believing Christian p.o.v. the Revival doctrines don't really hold water. 

Sometimes it is a lot easier to know what you don't believe in.  The good thing about this forum is that it is not monopolised by any denomination or faith so I expect that you would get quite a diversity of advice on what spiritual direction to go in.  My two-cents would be that it is really no fail to not know what to teach your kids about God.  After all this issue has eluded and baffled the greatest minds throughout the ages.  I think that it would be fine to educate your kids about what people believe about God, what you previously believed etc. and encourage them to understand and tolerate different beliefs but at the same time teach them critical thinking skills. 
And here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price / I have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice
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